AMPLIFi: The guitar amp reinvented?
Line 6 has unleashed what's claimed to be an entirely new kind of guitar amplifier. In addition to a powerful guitar speaker sitting behind the red grille at the bottom, the AMPLIFi is also home to full range stereo speakers in the black top section. The design is claimed to offer players a wider frequency range, but the inclusion of Bluetooth technology also allows the system to be used as a streaming audio speaker. Impressive stuff, but the company didn't stop there. A companion app has been created that opens up the system to a new world of tone. The Remote app will even suggest matches for the sound of guitars in favorite songs so that you can easily nail the tone of your heroes, or jam along to tracks without sounding (too) out of place.
Recently acquired by the Yamaha Corporation, Line 6 has claimed a few firsts in the past, including the release of the first modeling amplifier almost 20 years ago, and beating everyone to the marketplace with the first hardware MIDI interface for the iPhone. For NAMM 2014, the company pulled back the curtain on a high performance guitar that doubles as the "best-sounding Bluetooth stereo speaker system ever built," and which gets some serious feature and functionality boosts via an iOS app.
AMPLIFi comes in two sizes, both sporting two mid-bass drivers and two tweeters up top and a custom guitar speaker below. The five speaker stereo design is claimed to cover a wider frequency range than any traditional guitar amp (though no audio specs have been forthcoming), and offers consistent tonal reproduction at any volume (meaning you should be able to dial in the same kind of sound for bedroom jams as you get on stage or in the studio). There's a 0.25-in instrument input to the top, as well as a headphone jack, USB port, a connector to plug in a Line 6 FBV Mk II foot controller, and a 3.5 mm stereo aux in to the rear.
The AMPLIFi system has built-in Bluetooth to wirelessly stream music from Android, iOS, Mac and PC devices. When being used as a streaming music system, the guitar speaker adds some low end thump to the mix. If you want to jam along to backing tracks or songs from a digital music library, tunes are played back through the four full range speakers, and your guitar through the instrument speaker. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users running iOS 7 can take wireless control and functionality to the next level with the AMPLIFi Remote app.
The AMPLIFi comes with four sonic presets included, but players using the Remote app and an iOS device's Wi-Fi connection can get access to many more. Custom presets can be created by choosing from over 70 amp models, more than 100 digital effects and 20+ speaker cabinets. An unlimited number of presets can be stored online, they can be saved to the mobile device, or on the amp. Users will be able to download tones created by other AMPLIFi community members, too. Up to eight effects can run simultaneously.
The AMPLIFi Remote app is also the introductory platform for new tone-matching technology from Line 6. Rather than spend hours trying to emulate the tone of the a favorite axe god, the app will search its online database and suggest presets that best match the track you want to jam along to. The tones are community rated, allowing you to see at a glance whether the ones selected for tone-matching actually cut the mustard.
You get no prizes for guessing that the AMPLIFi 75 has a rated output of 75-watts. An 8-inch custom speaker joins the two mid-frequency drivers and two high frequency drivers. There's a built-in tuner, and independent amplification of dry (core guitar tone) and wet (with added effects) stereo output is said to offer improved detail and clarity. This model is priced at US$399. If you really want to blow out your living windows, the $499 AMPLIFi 150 with a 12-inch Celestion speaker is probably going to be the model you'll want to plump for.
The promo video below from Line 6 outlines much of what to expect.
Product page: Line 6 AMPLIFi