Since it first introduced the Variax guitar line over a decade ago, Line 6 has been working hard to improve the design and playability of what is often dubbed “the world’s first modeling guitar.” Line 6 took the Variax line to new heights with the JTV (James Tyler Variax) line that marked the first major upgrade to the Variax line. Now, Line 6 is taking Variax even further with the new Variax Shuriken guitar:
Featuring a longer scale length, advanced Variax HD technology and an assertive body shape, the Variax Shuriken guitar is the result of intense collaboration between Line 6, Yamaha Guitar Development, and guitarist Steve “Stevic” MacKay of Twelve Foot Ninja. Designed for heavier or more technical styles of music, Variax Shuriken delivers exceptional playability, clear and tight tone—plus the unrivaled versatility that Variax HD modeling provides.
If you like to perform with heavier strings and lower tunings, Variax Shuriken features a 27” scale length that delivers optimized playability and punchier, more-precise tones. The extended scale length also works in conjunction with Variax alternative tunings—so you can play in any tuning, regardless of the tension and feel of the strings. With Variax Shuriken, you can go far beyond the range of any standard 6, 7 or even 8 string guitar.
Variax Shuriken has all of the features of previous Variax guitars, with the ability to model a number of vintage electric guitars and acoustic stringed instruments. The increased scale length of Shuriken is new to the Variax line, and should be useful to players looking to get deeper, heavier tones. Variax Shuriken has Line 6’s Variax Digital Interface (VDI) built-in, so it works seamlessly with most VDI-equipped products.
Variax Shuriken is currently available for purchase from many musical-instrument vendors with a starting price of $1399.
Line 6 is proving its commitment to its flagship Helix line of effects processing tools with the recent release of upgraded firmware for Helix hardware devices. Helix firmware 2.20 works with Helix Floor, Helix Rack, and the recently released Helix LT. According to an e-mail from Line 6, the new firmware includes these features:
…offers guitarists an additional suite of HX amp models, including new amps, cabinets and effects, with a special emphasis on models for bass players. The release will also feature a host of functional upgrades and a newly crafted set of impulse responses.
Included in the update are 6 amp models, 7 cabinet models, and 9 effect models. A total of 11 models are designed for bass players. Highlights in the release include models based on* the Pearce BC-1 bass preamp, a Darkglass® Electronics Microtubes® B7K Ultra bass preamp/overdrive/EQ pedal model, and Line 6 Badonk, an original Line 6 amp model inspired by the original high gain Big Bottom model.
Helix 2.20 also introduces the Line 6 Allure IR Pack, a free download of new speaker cabinet impulse responses created by Dan Boul of 65 Amps fame.
The e-mail also noted that the firmware update will allow owners of Line 6 Variax guitars to use the Helix as a bridge between a Variax and a host computer for connecting to Line 6 Workbench software. The firmware update is a free download for owners of all Helix hardware products.
Audio production professionals can never have enough reverb/echo plugins. These effects can often help turn a good mix into a great one. There are plenty of good free plugins out there for reverb and echo. In fact, most digital audio workstations come preinstalled with decent ‘verb and echo sets of their own. But sometimes, a mix needs more than what the base line can offer. That’s where plugins like Echo Farm from Line 6 come in.
Recently, Line 6 released the latest version of Echo Farm (3.0) for ProTools:
Classic Delay and Echo Effects for Pro Tools Systems Bring the same legendary collection of vintage echo effects back to your studio with Echo FarmTM 3.0—now available as a 64-bit AAX plug-in for Pro Tools 11 and higher. Choose from 12 models based on* vintage hardware units like Maestro® Echoplexes, Roland® RE-101 Space Echo®, Boss® DM-2, Electro-Harmonix® Memory Man and T.C. Electronic® 2290—plus Line 6 originals. Each unit delivers the detailed sonic properties of tubes, tape and vintage electronics—so you can add organic warmth and mojo to your mix without the expense and hassle of bulky outboard gear.
Echo Farm 3.0 for ProTools is currently available for macOS only (Windows version coming soon). The plugin requires iLok authentication as well as a qualified Pro Tools HD or Pro Tools system, software version 11 and higher. Echo Farm 3.0 for ProTools costs $199 for first-time buyers. There’s also a $49 upgrade option available to owners of Echo Farm 2.x versions of the plugin.
Line 6 has been innovating the audio hardware and effects space for decades. The company made a big splash with the release of its latest flagship guitar effects processor, Helix, in 2015. And while the hardware version of Helix has proven to be very popular with musicians, Line 6 identified a need for Helix’s effects outside of an all-in-one piece of gear. That’s why Helix will soon be released as an audio plugin, with native versions available for most popular digital audio workstations:
Helix Native is a world-class guitar processor plug-in that accurately recreates the dynamic sound and feel of vintage tube amps, cabs, mics and effects with award-winning HX modeling. It allows guitarists and engineers to accurately recreate the dynamic sound and feel of vintage tube amps, cabs, mics, and effects in professional DAW environments and they can now bring those exact tones to the stage by simply transferring their plug-in presets to their Helix hardware.
Seamless workflow and broad compatibility. The Helix Native plug-in features broad compatibility with your DAW of choice, offering powerful 64-bit performance on AAX, AU and VST3 platforms. It also tightly integrates with Helix hardware so you can take your presets from studio to the stage—and back again.
Pricing is not yet available for the Helix native plugin. Line 6 has marked the plugin’s status as “coming soon,” with no further release details.
Musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer Line 6 made waves in the guitar gear field when the company released the Helix processor last year. The Helix is Line 6’s first next-gem level processor, packed with high-end hardware and software designed to give guitarists access to the best possible tones.
The Helix processor itself comes with one of the industry’s largest built-in displays. But Line 6 promised it would release a computer-based application guitarists could use to create and edit Helix patches. (This follows suit with other Line 6 products that have also had their own computer-based editors.) When Helix units first shipped, the software editor was not yet available. Making good on its promise, Line 6 has now delivered its computer-based software editor for the Helix. From an e-mail sent today by Line 6:
Drag and drop amps, cabs, and effects to build complex signal chain
Quickly reorganize, rename, edit tones, and modify footswitch labels
Visualize every detail of your tone editing workflow on your computer
The Helix Edit application is a free download from the Line 6 website. In order to find it, go to the software download page, select “Helix” from the products menu, leave the software menu set to “All software,” select the appropriate OS for your computer from the operating system menu and then check the “Beta” box on the right before clicking the Go button. The Helix Edit software will come up as the first downloadable item on the next page.
Music and audio equipment manufacturer Line 6 revolutionized the guitar effects industry with the release of its POD effects processor nearly two decades ago. The company hasn’t stopped innovating since. When it was clear that iOS, the operating system that runs Apple’s mobile devices, could be used for more than just placing phone calls and sending text messages, Line 6 began developing a special POD-inspired app for iOS. Hence, the Mobile POD app was born. Mobile POD was recently updated to version 2.0.
The app comes packed with 65 classic amps and effects for dialing in the perfect guitar tone, Users can save preferred custom tones or choose from presets designed by Line 6 engineers. Updated UI combines ease of use with fast interaction, and features a dynamic layout that adapts to any iOS screen. Updated ergonomics offer immediate on-screen access to all parameter settings while simultaneously allowing for precise editing with a single finger.
With Mobile POD 2.0 and an iOS device and it becomes possible to practice, jam, or record anywhere. Need to lay down some guitar tracks at 2AM without waking the neighbors? Maybe head out into the wilderness (or just the backyard) to do some inspired composing? It’s all possible with this app from Line 6.
Mobile POD 2.0 is available as a free download from the App Store. To unlock all of the app’s features, a $19.99 in-app purchase is required.
Line 6, the California-based manufacturer of popular musical instrument and audio production gear, made an official statement last week about a problem that users have been reporting for awhile. Spend even a short amount of time on any public forum dedicated to Line 6 gear and you’ll see multiple posts complaining about issues using Line 6 products with the latest build of Apple’s Macintosh operating system, OS 10.11 (“El Capitan”).
Line 6 sent an e-mail to registered users late last week acknowledging the issue. It’s the first time any official word has come from the company regarding the problem:
We have discovered an incompatibility of the Line 6 USB audio driver version 7.3.8 and Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan. After updating to Mac OS 10.11 the Line 6 USB audio driver will no longer connect to hardware devices. Line 6 applications that rely on this driver, for example Line 6 Monkey, will therefore not process audio or allow hardware configuration changes.
We apologize for the inconvenience and we will publish an updated driver soon.
The e-mail also provided a list of the affected Line 6 products. The list is rather long and contains most of the company’s popular products, including its PodHD line of effects processors and the M20d digital mixer. The only advice Line 6 is providing on the matter is to hold off on upgrading to El Capitan:
We highly recommend you do not update to Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan in order to maintain correct Line 6 USB audio driver functionality.
It’s not much of a solution, especially for those who’ve already upgraded their machines. Overall, it’s unfortunate that Line 6 customers have had to face this inconvenience. But it also shows why it’s a good idea to exercise patience in the face of these kinds of upgrades, especially for mission-critical gear.