There is no way that I can describe everything that the HX Stomp can do. This unassuming effects box — which, by the way, isn’t even asking for much space on your pedalboard — is so deep that the manual is 50 pages long. If you ask any questions that start with the words, “Can it do…,” I’m just going to go ahead and say, yes, it can do that, and more. Check out the videos on line6.com (which are super-informative) or, if you actually buy the HX Stomp, read the manual and then read it again. Get to know the HX Stomp and learn to play it as if it were a musical instrument. I guarantee you will be amply rewarded.
If any of that sounds overwhelming, fear not. You can absolutely plug in and rock with the HX Stomp and never concern yourself with menus, controllers, MIDI or mapping out parallel effects paths. The presets it comes loaded with sound great, and many are good-to-go for gigs and recording sessions with no editing whatsoever. With very little fuss, you could set up a clean tone, a crunch sound and a lead tone and be done. You could also rig it up for a killer clean patch and kick in an overdrive for dirty rhythms using one foot switch, and add a boost for leads — with maybe more delay and reverb — on the other foot switch.
But if all you wanted were a few amp tones and effects, you probably wouldn’t have bought this magic box, even though it can do those things really well. Most likely, you’re thinking more expansively about tone and functionality, and to repeat what I said earlier, it can do that. You’ll need to consult the manual and watch the videos to get your button and knob moves down. In the meantime, here are some applications that might excite you.
The HX Stomp is totally set up for the four-cable hookup, so you can send certain effects — like compressors, overdrives, wahs and so on — to the front of your amp while sending time-based effects, like delays and reverbs, to the loop. Many of these patches are helpfully labeled with a “4CM” (Four Cable Method) in their designation. This especially makes sense if you love the inherent tone of your amp and simply want to add the HX’s awesome effects to it.
But since the HX Stomp also has the killer amp and cab tones of the mighty Helix, you might also want to make use of that firepower. You can run these presets (which have the prefix “DIR,” for direct) into powered speakers or right into the P.A. This could make for the ultimate fly rig or, as Line 6 modestly asserts, a great backup solution if your amp goes down. In fact, no matter how you use the HX Stomp, you’d be crazy not to program a few patches for clean, crunch and lead for such a scenario.
Recording with the HX is easy. It has a USB port right on it, and, far from just being a way to get guitar tones into your computer, it functions as a high-quality, multichannel, 24-bit/96kHz audio interface for Mac and Windows computers, with DI, re-amping and MIDI functionality built right in. Remember when I said this thing does a lot?
However, the most important thing the HX Stomp does is sound amazing. Anyone familiar with the current crop of Line 6 amps and effects knows how rich sounding they are, and the Stomp is no exception. It would be worth the price even if you only used a fraction of what it can do. Getting the most out of it will require a pretty deep dive (although you can always hit the handy Home View button if you get lost), but it’s capable of being the control center of a truly state-of-the-art rig.
PRICE $599 street
INPUTS 1/4" left and right, 1/4" left and right return/aux In
OUTPUTS 1/4" left and right, effects send (stereo) headphones, EXP (TRS), USB, MIDI in/out
MODELS 77 guitar and bass amps, 37 cabs, 16 mics, 200 effects.
KUDOS Great tones. Amazing depth. Massive flexibility
CONCERNS Navigating menus will be daunting for some players