Hands-On Review:Line 6 Vetta Modeling Amp
Take the expressway to Tone City
By Freddy Prichard
Recently, I've been in the market for a new amp. I tried just about everything out there, but nothing could quite cover all the bases. Some boutique-y amps got a great sound, but it was only one great sound, and I crave more variety. None of the multichannel amps I tried were really satisfying across the board. So it was with a healthy degree of skepticism that I approached Vetta, the latest generation of modeling amp from Line 6—the folks who started it all with the AxSys 212 five years ago (has it only been that long?).
Touted as their new flagship amp, Vetta offers a slew of "never before" features like being able to model two amps simultaneously and built-in stompbox effects based on Line 6's modeling stomp boxes. But all that's gravy. What I really cared about was: How does it sound and feel? I wish I could say I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn't. I was completely and totally blown away! All the little details that I was looking for were there—the amplifier "sag" when you turn it up, the way it responds to changes in my guitar's volume knob, the way it responds to different guitars, the punch of the attack.
A new take on modeling
According to Line 6, it's their new Point to Point Interactive Modeling technology that does the trick. Not just another modeling amp, it's an entirely new approach that they say enables them to capture incredible detail, even down to little things such as the sonic contributions of aging capacitors and transformers. All I can say is, it works, and not just for the dozens of vintage amps that they've modeled (including, finally, a Hiwatt 100W head). They've put together a new collection of original amp models as well, some of which are just amazing. The new Line 6 Class A, for example, offers something reminiscent of Brian May's "AC-30-about-to-explode" tone, and drives into controllable feedback more easily than any amp I've ever played through.
Authenticity in the details
The attention to sonic detail goes way beyond just the amps, though. The effects are just as spectacular. The new reverbs, for instance, far surpass the generic spring and hall that many manufacturers offer. There are three different springs, four rooms, three plates, four halls, and a couple of miscellaneous reverbs that are so good, I'd put them up against most dedicated reverb units. The internal stompbox effects are great, just like the ones in Line 6's pedals, and you can get any three of them at once. Delays, flangers, choruses, phasers, compressors, distortions, overdrives—you can rearrange the order of them, assign them to different amps, just like having a pile of your all-time favorites to play with. You can even run three different delays at the same time. Almost all of those effects, plus things like a Leslie model and stereo delays, are also available as rack-like effects for post-processing, all completely routable (even the built-in effects loop is movable).
Double your pleasure
One of the things I thought I'd hardly use is the 'two-amps-at-once' feature. Wrong again. After checking out some of the factory presets that used two amps, I was sold. It opens the door to a lot of guitar tones I never thought I'd be able to get outside a studio. And with an extension cabinet, the sounds are absolutely huge. Adding in the new Double Tracker effect, which re-creates the effect of two guitarists playing in unison (as if that were possible), makes it even bigger. It's almost like I was Malcolm and Angus.
Creating your own sounds is extremely easy, as well. I was positive that any amp that could do so much had to be complicated to use. Not the case with Vetta — everything is accessible from the front panel. And the displays (yes, there are two) let you see exactly what you're doing and exactly what the current settings are at a glance.
The optional FBX Foot Controller turns the whole setup into something closely resembling a custom-made switching setup. You get complete control over everything from the stomp boxes and post effects to pedals that can switch between controlling wah and volume or controlling things like delay time and tremolo speed.
There are a lot of Vetta features that I've left out here, like 'Wide' mode (a wet/dry cabinet setup, where all the effects can be sent to a separate amp) and the incredible punch of its new power amp design. Because this amp can do so many things, I've already gotten incredible results and I've just scratched the surface. I can only begin to imagine just where this amp can take me!
It sounds fantastic, with big, meaty tones and stunning effects. It makes me want to play more guitar (that's a good thing, right?) and has me happier than I've ever been with my guitar sound. It's simply the best sounding amp I've ever heard!
|Line 6 Vetta Combo||Line 6 FBX Foot Controller|