Review: Line 6 DT25 Hybrid Head

US 25 watts of fun      02/12/11
    MP4 10:43 mins    

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Until recently, analog and digital have not exactly lived in perfect harmony. Valve purists have long been the gatekeepers of guitar geek-hood, championing the sound of vintage technology and tone.

There have been many companies who have pioneered the development of digital technologies, and this often revolves around modelling the tone of certain analog products or even the tone of certain guitarists. Line 6 are one of these companies, and as we all know, they do a tremendously good job with their HD modelling technology.

The marriage of analog and digital has not been on the agenda for very long, but Line 6 teamed up with Reinhold Bogner to bring us the DT50, and damn did they do a great job. The complex analog circuitry in the power section was designed by the genius of Bogner, whilst the digital preamp incorporated the flagship digital HD technology made famous by Line 6.

The amp sounded great, but it was a beast of an amp, and by the time you were really driving the power section to make full use of the valves, you needed to be playing your music in a venue... certainly not at home in your bedroom.

Then the DT25 was announced. The little brother of the DT50 is lighter than its predecessor, it's prettier than a Miss World contest, and it manages to somehow sound genuinely unique whilst doing the job of modelling other amps very accurately. The amp is a paradox, the DT25 features a digital preamp, and an analog power stage
designed by Reinhold Bogner.

It's also affordable (relatively speaking), and this makes a huge difference in the digital market. Many young guitarists go for digital because of the value for money, and the DT25 makes an obvious stepping stone into the world of analog. It's easy to use and to be able to learn how to use it to its full extent, you need to do a bit of research on classic amplifiers, so it's also educational for those young whippersnappers!

For example; when using the amp you are met with a multitude of choices. First you must choose which 'voicing' to choose. There is voice I, which is 'Classic American Clean'. This would be your Fender Blackface style amplifier, so other than the digital technology incorporated into the voicing, how could you make this sound authentic.

Well you also get to choose between running the voicing in Class A or Class A/B mode, and you can choose between Triode and Pentode configuration with the valves. Since the Blackface Twin Reverbs I've seen have housed 6V6 tubes or 6L6 tubes, and ran in Class A/B with fixed bias. This would give you a 25 watt fixed biased set up for the DT 25.

But what if you wanted the sound of an earlier Fender Narrow Panel Tweed Tremolux? You could switch the Amp into Class A mode, which would give you 10 watt cathode biased sound of that particular Tweed. The further choice between the pentode sound of the EL84s, and the Triode-based 12AX7s gives you even more choice/bewilderment.

So the voicings on the amp are:

Voice 1 - Classic Amercian Clean
Voice II – British Crunch
Voice III – Class A Chime
Voice IV – Modern Hi Gain

The British Crunch sound is by far my favourite, it's basically your sure fire way to sound like you have a Marshall JCM up your sleeve. Try playing AC/DC on that channel, it will bring a smile to your face.

Class A Chime is presumably a Vox AC30, although I find this slightly upsetting, as the Vox AC30 was actually had a Class A/B amp. But I can change that by using Bogner's circuitry, so why am I even complaining? The Class A Vox AC30 belief is a commonly held misconception, and the amplifier is not a 'true' Class A amp, here is a link to a very interesting article on the matter should you wish to know more.

Finally, Voice IV will give you that Triple-Rec sound, so if you want the Hi-Gain madness of a Mesa Boogie, then look no further.

You can probably tell from our video review that we thought the DT25 achieved all of these sounds incredibly well. It's not just about sound though, it's also about functionality. With modern amplifiers you can reap the benefits of the amplifier having been designed for modern players. The DT25 includes a cabinet simulated line out for quiet recording in your house, it also features a low volume mode, and the choice of 4, 8, and 16 ohm outputs.

All-in-all, this is a very classy amplifier (excuse the pun), and for the price I think it well do very well on the current market. It doesn't sound 'digital', but it does have the functionality of digital modelling. It is important to point out that whilst the digital preamp is in the business of modelling other amplifiers, this really isn't modelling as we know it. You don't press a button and immediately sound like somebody else, you can very easily develop your own sound with this amplifier, and you have the advantage of being able to have a Marshall stack in your rig for your crunchy rhythm sounds, and then flick to channel B, where you would have your Mesa Boogie sound for your solo.

Oh yes, we forgot to mention! There are two channels based on a relay system, so if you have Channel A set to Voice II, with Class A/B and Pentode mode, you can flick one switch and find yourself in Channel B which is set up on Voice IV running in Class A and triode mode. It's a clever amp!

You can control this with a footswitch, or you can also plug in your POD HD3 or 500 for ultimate control. The POD then becomes your preamp, and you can use this to switch between sounds.

If we were the type of website that gave star ratings (which we aren't), then we would give this five stars!

DT25 is available now in Head/Cab or Combo formats.

Full Retail List Pricing:
DT25 Head  £599.99 / $1289
1x12 Cab    £199.99 / $419
DT25 Combo £699.99 $1399.99


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