Hands-On Review:Line 6 LowDown LD300 Pro (and Friends)


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The ultimate bass  combo for professionals who like to have fun

By Darrell Smith
Line 6 Product Line Manager

 

Line 6 LowDown LD300 Pro

With the LowDown LD300 Pro Combo bass amp and its little brothers the LD175, LD150, and the ultra-compact Studio 110,  Line 6 has hit on the perfect combination of bold power, easy  portability, a broad palette of high-quality tonal options, and pure  juvenile fun. The serious adult side of your brain will be knocked out  by the LowDown LD300 Pro’s functional features—a tight and brawny 15" speaker, an HF horn, four  channels with one-touch scene storage, an adjustable vintage studio  compressor model, headphone and CD/DVD jacks, a tuner, and an XLR direct  out with POD-based cab modeling. Meanwhile the non-serious, childlike  part of your brain will go bananas with the sub-octave, envelope filter,  and chorus effects; five bass amp models and a bass synth; and 300  foundation-cracking watts of sonic power.

 

Hand me that ’fridge

 

One of the great burdens of being a bass player is hauling around a  refrigerator-sized cab in order to be heard above the many apparently  stone-deaf guitar players and drummers who plague our nation's  nightclubs. Maybe Harry, the hairball, string-breaking, volume freak  doesn't mind dragging around amps that are bigger than his car, but I  do. So I was very, very happy to grab the LowDown's spring-loaded  recessed bar handles and discover that I could pick it up with less  effort than lifting my eight-year-old daughter.

 

At only 21"W x 26-3/4"H x 14-1/2"D, and less than 75 lbs. the LowDown  is no problem for one guy to handle by himself. Its dense carpet  covering and heavy mesh grille mean you don't have to worry about dings.

 

Richter rocker

 

Though it has a very unassuming stage presence visually, the LowDown  is a sonic monster—a veritable behemoth of the auditory underworld. At  half volume, this thing set all my basement windows to rattling. Its 300  watts drive that big ol' 15-incher like Barry Bonds smacking a baseball  over the fence.

 

If you're looking for a secret weapon to spring on that obnoxiously  too-loud drummer, the LowDown won't let you down. He may snigger at the  size of it when you set it on the stage, but he'll soon wonder why he  can't seem to play as loud as normal. And five-string basses are no  problem; this thing blasts out frequencies so low you hear 'em with your  teeth. Its octave effect will go you one better by generating a note a  full octave below your bass's lowest note. The high end is also well  taken care of; the mutable tweeter has no trouble keeping up with that  big 15, letting you slap and pound at the same time.

 

Channel Cat

 

The LowDown's four-band EQ is the most lively I've encountered on any  bass amp, and it is obviously tonally specific to the amp model you  select. Start by just choosing the Clean setting on the model selector  and you can generate a huge range of very usable sounds by tweaking  these four knobs alone. To save your tweaks, you just push one of the  four self-illuminated channel buttons and hold it down for a few  seconds.

 

The LowDown LD300's control panel gives quick access to a huge range of sounds.
The LowDown LD300’s control panel gives quick access to a huge range of sounds.

The EQ is not all that's saved, every setting on the whole amp except  the master volume is stored in your channel and one push brings it all  back to life. A channel volume lets you set your levels in advance as  well. Pick up a Line 6 FBV Shortboard and it will add an additional 32  channels, all controlled with your feet, FX on/off, wah, deep switch,  comp, volume pedal, and more.

 

Clean, R&B, Rock, Brit, and Grind amp models plus a bass synth  further expand your tonal repertoire and a Deep button gives each of  them a little broader butt while a Drive knob lets you pile on the  distortion. All of the amp models have good things to offer but the  R&B model is my favorite, delivering a very funky sound that works  great for slappy grooves, especially when combined with the envelope  filter, which sweeps a broad swath back and forth through the tonal  range like a wah. The rock model sounded like an SVT in a combo, very  impressive.

 

When you apply the Synth model, the EQ knobs begin to work like  oscillator controls on a real synth. Combine this with the filter sweep  and you can come up with some truly out-there sounds—perfect for ambient  sections and intros. A single knob controls the filter, sub, and chorus  effects. Just turn it to the desired range to activate the effect  (which is indicated by a red LED), then control the intensity with the  1/3 knob sweep before you reach the next effect. It's a simple and very  usable system that keeps you from getting mired in menus when you're  trying to keep your muse alive.

 

Open doors

 

A headphone jack on the front of the LowDown lets you practice  silently and an 1/8" input jack lets you jam along with your MP3 or CD  player, which actually sounds pretty good through the speakers, thanks  to the tweeter and tight cone. An XLR direct out with cab models based  on the Line 6's famous POD models sounds incredibly accurate run through  the board live and especially in the studio. I had better luck running  straight into my digital recorder this way than I did miking the cab.

 

Family matters

 

Need the dialed-in, stage-perfected bass tones of the LD300, but want it in an even smaller package? The LowDown series has additional options for you:

 

LowDown LD175 & LD150

Like the LD300 Pro, these two members of the LowDown family also give  you five amp models and five effects. The Deep Switch, XLR direct out,  four programmable memories, the built-in tuner. . .  it's all there. The  LowDown LD175 gives it all to you with 175 watts of power and a 15" speaker with horn, while the LD150 offers up 150 watts of power and has a 12" speaker in a tilt-back monitor design

LowDown Studio 110

LowDown Studio 110 has four killer bass amp models, plus Synth, to give you sonic  flexibility in a compact 1' cube. It's loaded with 75 watts of juice and  a custom-designed 10" speaker.  They put a lot of features in this tiny  box: a modeled vintage studio compressor, headphone out, CD/MP3 in, and  a studio quality XLR direct out with Line 6's exclusive Bass POD® amp and cab modeling that's the "go to" for studio direct recording.  Plus, LowDown Studio 110 has a Preamp Out that can take your tone from studio to stage simply by  jacking into the house or rehearsal studio rig.  Put it all together  and what you've got is a great bass combo amp designed with the gigging  and recording bassist in mind.

 

The low down on LowDown

 

For practical daily gigging and practice, the LowDown family easily  tops any bass combo I've encountered. It's compact and easy to carry. It  hits harder than Tyson. It has a built-in tuner, and it lets you dial  in any kind of bass tone you could ask for with amazing ease, then save  it with the push of a button. And, most important, it's FUN. Find out  for yourself now. Without exception, Musician’s Friend will make you the  best LowDown deal you’ll find anywhere!

 

Features & Specs


Line 6 LowDown LD300:

  • 5 Incredible Bass Amp Models: Clean, R&B, Rock, Brit, and Grind
  • 5 Essential Bass Effects: Synth, Compressor, Envelope Filter, Octaver, and Chorus
  • Deep Switch With Special Tone Shaping for Supreme Fatness
  • XLR Direct Out With Line 6’s exclusive A.I.R.™ processing
  • 4 Programmable Channel Memories, 36 with FBV Shortboard™
  • Headphone Out
  • Jam Along CD/MP3 1/8" Input
  • Built-in Chromatic Tuner
  • Footswitch Jack for FBV Express™ or FBV Shortboard™
  • 15" Speaker with horn
  • 300 Watts
  • Dimensions: 22"W x 30"H x 18"L
  • 89 lbs.

LowDown LD175:

  • 5 Incredible Bass Amp Models: Clean, R&B, Rock, Brit, and Grind
  • 5 Essential Bass Effects: Synth, Compressor, Envelope Filter, Octaver, and Chorus
  • Deep Switch With Special Tone Shaping for Supreme Fatness
  • XLR Direct Out With Line 6’s exclusive A.I.R.™ processing
  • 4 Programmable Channel Memories, 36 with FBV Shortboard™
  • Headphone Out
  • Jam Along CD/MP3 1/8" Input
  • Built-in Chromatic Tuner
  • Footswitch Jack for FBV Express™ or FBV Shortboard™
  • 15" Speaker with horn
  • 175 Watts
  • Dimensions: 22"W x 30"H x 18"L
  • 86 lbs.

LowDown LD150:

  • 5 Incredible Bass Amp Models: Clean, R&B, Rock, Brit, and Grind
  • 5 Essential Bass Effects: Synth, Compressor, Envelope Filter, Octaver, and Chorus
  • Deep Switch With Special Tone Shaping for Supreme Fatness
  • XLR Direct Out with Line 6 exclusive A.I.R.™ processing
  • 4 Programmable Channel Memories, 36 with FBV Shortboard™
  • Headphone Out
  • Jam Along CD/MP3 1/8" Input
  • Built-in Chromatic Tuner
  • Footswitch Jack for FBV Express™ or FBV Shortboard™
  • 12" Speaker
  • 150 Watts
  • Convenient Tilt-Back Monitor Design
  • Dimensions: 17.5"W x 21.5"H x 16"L
  • 48 lbs.

LowDown Studio 110:

  • 4 Incredible Bass Amp Models: Clean, R&B, Rock, and Grind
  • Synth Bass
  • Full-time Opto Compressor
  • XLR Direct Out With Line 6’s exclusive A.I.R.™ processing
  • Pre Amp Out
  • 4 Programmable Model Memories
  • Headphone Out
  • Jam Along CD/MP3 1/8" Input
  • 10" Speaker
  • 75 Watts
  • Dimensions: 12"W x 12"H x 12"L
  • 24 lbs.