In recent years digital modelling for the guitar has really come of age thanks to bigger, faster processors and the plummeting cost of memory.
The latest modellers, arguably led by Line 6’s Helix range, have a realism and ease of use that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. The all-in-one effects/amp modeller with direct outputs is a perfect solution for events that use ‘quiet stages’; typically broadcast, theatre and churches, where volume levels have to be tightly controlled and backline and onstage monitoring is removed, with performers using in-ear monitors. But what about those gigs that don’t use quiet stages?
For those, you need a powered speaker cabinet, but one that doesn’t colour your carefully programmed amp models. Line 6 has come to the rescue, with the new Powercab range, including the amazing Powercab Plus. Powercab Plus has a special co-axial loudspeaker that reproduces the full range of your amp modeller. It also includes built-in speaker modelling, with six jaw- droppingly accurate digital recreations of classic loudspeakers, and 128 Impulse Response- enabled pre-sets, with the ability to load more through the Powercab’s editing software.
Offering practical features like retractable kickstands, cool designer looks and a neat, understated control panel, Powercab Plus can be used with any MIDI-capable amp modeller; however, it comes into its own when used with the Helix, offering end-to-end digital audio with practically zero latency. You can choose to keep cabinet modelling in the Helix or offload it into the Powercab Plus, freeing up memory for other cool stuff.
The controls couldn’t be easier: there’s a small LCD display with a volume knob, home/save buttons and an edit/ select knob that features a programmable coloured surround, so you can see at a glance which patch is in use. Rear-panel connectors cover every need, with inputs on combi XLR/Jack sockets, a balanced output with ground lift, digital AES/EBU/L6 Link in and out, full MIDI and USB.
Line 6’s Powercab Plus is technology at its most brilliant, but the most important thing is a reassuring volume knob that you can turn up. With a digital power amp peaking at 300 watts and 125dB SPL on tap, there’s more than enough volume for most small to medium gigs and there’s a balanced output ready for bigger stages. The only downside is the price. There’s a simpler and slightly more affordable Powercab, which keeps the loudspeaker modelling but does away with almost everything else, but we think the Plus is the one to go for.