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Line 6 Catalyst 60

Modelling Guitar Amp By Paul White
Published August 2023

Line 6 Catalyst 60

Some modelling amps can scare off potential purchasers by being too complicated, and with that audience in mind Line 6 have taken a very streamlined approach with their Catalyst range, while still managing to provide all the features needed for stage, studio and home practice. There are three models in the series, and we were sent the smallest in the range, the Catalyst 60, whose price is lower than that of most multi‑effects pedals! There are six Line 6 Original Amp Designs that cover all the essentials from pristine clean to uber‑filth, with some nice crunch and classic rock sounds along the way. You also get a generous selection of effects, which are drawn from the company’s HX and Legacy effects libraries, plus a basic tuner.

Equipped with a single 12‑inch speaker, the MDF cabinet is open‑backed, and its black leatherette covering and dark speaker grille give it a very traditional appearance. At just under 11.8kg, measuring 444 x 503 x 262mm and with a top‑mounted strap handle, it’s easy to move around, and an optional cover is available.

Line 6 Catalyst 60

The gain, volume and tone controls will be instantly familiar to guitar players, and the control panel is arranged to offer two channels comprising A and B presets plus a manual setting. There are also six banks of channel presets that you can access from the front, each bank holding a Channel A and Channel B setting. A rotary selector switch is used to choose presets, the amplifier type or effect type, and there’s a switchable Boost with its own level control. There are 24 onboard effects, an effects loop, a power amp input, a power level control, and a balanced XLR output with cabinet emulation and switchable ground lift. The rear panel has the usual IEC mains inlet and power switch, and there’s also an amplifier power control that can be set to mute, 0.5W, half power or full power.

There’s also a USB‑B port on the rear that can be used to connect a Mac/Windows computer running Catalyst Edit software for deeper effects editing, or to allow the amp to function as a four‑channel, class‑compliant audio interface with 24‑bit resolution and supporting sample rates up to 48kHz. The interfacing also works with mobile devices as long as they have USB ports or a suitable USB adaptor. USB channels 1+2 carry the output of the amp with all processing, while USB 3 and/or 4 carry the dry guitar sound with no processing — in other words, a DI feed which may be used for reamping later. There’s also a phones output (which mutes the speaker when phones are plugged in) and an aux input on a TRS mini‑jack for play‑along music.

The Line 6 Catalyst 60 features an open‑backed cabinet and 12-inch speaker.The Line 6 Catalyst 60 features an open‑backed cabinet and 12-inch speaker.Standard 5‑pin MIDI is available only on the larger two models, though MIDI over USB is available for all three and facilitates remote preset changing plus controller assignments for virtually all parameters. The TRS footswitch jack, for use with an optional Line 6 LFS2 footswitch, is also located on the rear panel, as are the aux in jack, the phones outlet and the effects loop’s send and return jacks. A Mode switch determines the function of the effects loop return, allowing for either a conventional effects loop setup or for the return jack to be used as a direct input to the power amp stage, for use with an external amp emulation pedal such as a Line 6 Helix. A separate footswitch jack input dedicated to the Boost would have been welcome, though you can reassign one of the existing footswitch functions to Boost via the free Editor app if required.

The effects section offers a choice of six reverbs, any one of which can be used at the same time as one of six delays, six modulations or six pitch effects. The reverb amount is controlled by the reverb knob, with a button for entering selection mode, after which the amp model selector switch is used to choose the reverb type. The remaining effects are selected and controlled in a similar way using the FX knob, and a couple of buttons to allow for tap‑tempo effect adjustment. For live use, the aforementioned LFS2 footswitch offers channel changing and effects on/off switching, but its function may be reassigned using the Catalyst Editor. There’s also a noise gate, activated by pressing and holding the Boost button and turning the Boost knob.

The six options cover pretty much all styles, with a nicely judged touch responsiveness that makes you want to keep on playing.

While the amp model types don’t seek to directly emulate specific amplifiers, the Chime setting does hint at a Vox AC30 and the six options cover pretty much all styles, with a nicely judged touch responsiveness that makes you want to keep on playing. The effect types also offer a generous range of impressively high‑quality treatments, many emulating specific pieces of hardware, for example an Echoplex Echo, a Uni‑Vibe, an MXR Phase 90, a Tycobrahe Octavia, a Leslie rotary speaker and so on, while the reverbs go from spring to shimmer. For deeper editing, the Catalyst Editor allows the virtual mic and speaker setups to be changed as well as providing the option of adding amp hum and varying the power supply sag. It also allows for editing the amp and effects settings, as well as saving any of your presets to the amp or offloading them to a computer, but again it avoids getting over‑complicated.

The bottom line is that despite its low price, this amp is very user‑friendly, it sounds musically satisfying and its generous effects section could save you having to invest in a pedalboard. Its USB recording option and low‑power mode also make it a perfect fit for home studio use.


£219 including VAT.


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