We all know Line 6 for their innovation in the field of guitar and amp modelling, but the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim in January saw the company take a bold step in the direction of live sound. They announced three products that, used together, constitute a completely scalable ‘smart’ PA system, all of which can be controlled from a touch-screen mixer, or wirelessly via an iPad — good news for FOH engineers who want to be able to roam about or anyone wanting to control their own monitor mix from the stage.
At the heart of the system is the StageScape M20d: a 7-inch touch-screen digital mixer that features on-board 32-bit DSP to provide parametric EQ, multiband compression, feedback suppression and a variety of effects on every channel, as well as four global effects. It’s also capable of 24-bit multitrack recording to USB drive, SD card or computer. Twelve mic inputs and four line inputs each features ‘auto-sensing’ technology, which means the mixer knows when you have plugged something in and can offer you a menu of effect and processor presets to get up and running quickly. The mixer can be connected to the other elements of the system described below via Line 6’s proprietary L6 Link networking protocol, or conventional line outputs.
There will initially be three other components in the system: the StageSource L3t powered speaker (pictured), L3m passive satellite speaker and L3s powered subwoofer. Line 6 say that the L3t is “the most flexible loudspeaker available,” and it looks like they might have a point: as well as being a conventional active PA speaker, it can be a wedge monitor, provide clean backline for keyboards and acoustic guitars, or even — courtesy of Line 6’s acclaimed modelling effects — act as an electric guitar amp. Like the mixer, the speakers too are ‘smart’: for example, the L3t includes orientation sensing (such as that found in smartphones), so that when you turn it on its side it knows it is supposed to be a wedge monitor and configures its response accordingly; and when the L3t and L3s are connected, they can automatically set the crossover point and match levels. The L3t is a tri-amped design delivering 1400W through two seperately-driven 10-inch woofers and a horn loaded one-inch exit compression driver, delivering up to 132dBSPL. The L3s features a dual 12-inch bass reflex configuration, with 1200W of power. The impressive demonstration of the system at the NAMM show built up a system in modular fashion, starting with a single performer, running through a small band, to a larger ensemble — so it appears that they’ve met their aim of making a truly scalable mixing and amplification system. Pricing at the time of going to press was as follows: M20d £1999.99; L3t & L3s £1049.99 each; L3m £899.99. Prices include VAT. Prices quoted are MSRP. We’ll be reviewing a system just as soon as we can get our hands on one!
Learn more at http://line6.com/stagescape