WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM LINE 6 OVER THE YEARS, AND UNBOXING THE HD 147 upped the anticipation factor considerably, because this is just a great looking amp. Before even plugging it in, we were knocked out by the gleaming chrome housing. When we turned it on, the purple glow that emanated from it was just plain sexy. Like so many Line 6 products, the HD 147 does a ton of stuff—way more than can be covered here, but here are the main points.
With the EMG-loaded Schecter in hand, I spun the Models knob to audition the 32 amp simulations. The usual suspects—brands F, M, V, and M/B—were all there, along with Diezel, Bogner, Cornford and several Line 6 originals. My fave clean and semi-gritty sounds came from the Vox and Fender models, especially when they were up loud, which really brought out their complexity. You can gussy them up with the killer onboard digital effects—the chorus and the rotary being particularly juicy.
Being that this is a metal amp roundup, however, I put my metal face on by calling up the Treadplate model, which is based on a Boogie Dual Rectifier. This is a great tribute to that great amp, and packs ungodly amounts of distortion, plus huge lows and biting highs. To my ears, this was one of the HD’s best models for disemboweling chugs. Other great heavy models include Line 6’s own Insane, which has so much gain it’s crazy! The Marshall tones, such as the JCM800 and Silver Jubilee, sound great but, just like the real deals, don’t have absurd amounts of gain. They really excel at medium grind and have a ton of touch-sensitive detail. Props to Line 6 for not making cartoonish caricatures of these great amps. The only thing I can ding this amp for is that, while plenty loud enough to keep up with almost any band, it doesn’t deliver the punishing volume I would expect from an amp rated at 300 watts. Side by side with other amps in this roundup it was noticeably softer.
So—the HD 147 can obviously give you a slew of different tones, many of which are lardaceously heavy. But it does much more than that. It’ll store four presets on the front panel and 36 with the optional Floorboard. It has time-saving editing features like Amp Default, where every time you call up, say, the Plexi 45 model, it’ll remember your settings for that amp, irrespective of the front panel presets. You can use the mic- and speaker-simulated XLR outs with no speaker cabinet hooked up (don’t try that with a tube amp!). The list goes on and on. This is a deep, multi-faceted tone machine from the folks who wrote the book on amp and effect modeling. —Matt Blackett
(818) 575-3600; line6.com
MODEL HD 147
PRICE $1,750 retail; $1,250 street
CHANNELS Four (on front panel, 36 with optional Floorboard)
CONTROLS Front panel: Select (Jazz Clean, Blackface Lux, Double Verb, Plexi Jump Lead, Brit-800, Connor 50, Treadplate, Bomber Uber, Deity, Line 6 Clean, Super Sparkle, Crunch, Insane, Smash, Octone, Treadplate), Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Channel Select buttons, Volume, Reverb, Delay Select button (Sweep Echo, Ping Pong, Digital, Analog, Tape Echo, Tube Echo), Delay, Tap Tempo, Mod Select button (Rotary, U-Vibe, Flanger, Phaser, Chorus, Tremolo), Mod, Gate, Compressor, Master Volume. Rear panel: Effects send and return controls, XLR Level Trim, Output Impedance selector (4Ω, 8Ω, 16Ω)
POWER 300 watts
EXTRAS MIDI compatibility, headphones jack, pedal jack, XLR outputs, Ground Lift, speaker outs (2 right, 2 left)
SPEAKER Line 6 4x12 w/custom Celestion speakers
MAXIMUM MEASURED VOLUME 122dB
WEIGHT 30.7 lbs (head)
KUDOS Plethora of tones. Digital effects are cool.
CONCERNS Complicated. Might be underpowered for some situations.