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Line 6 HX One

Why clog up your stage with effects you only use briefly? Line 6’s new stompbox can be any pedal you want it to be, and will fit neatly into any pedalboard setup.

Line 6 HX One pedal.Some 12 years ago, Line 6 launched the M5, a multi‑effects pedal that offered a wide repertoire but produced only a single effect at a time. It proved a useful format, because although larger M‑series pedals could create several effects at once, the more compact M5 found a home on many pedalboards, for providing effects that might be used in only a few songs. For example, you might have a couple of songs that need a fuzz box and another that needs a rotary speaker or a multi‑tap delay. Or perhaps for another you require a Uni‑Vibe clone. Since such effects would get used for only one or two songs each, it isn’t worth buying — or allowing pedalboard space for — a dedicated pedal.

Towards the end of last year, Line 6 revisited that format with the new HX One, an even more compact ‘one at a time’ multi‑effects pedal, packed with over 250 HX effects that are based on the latest Line 6 Helix technology.

The HX One can be used in mono or stereo and has a TRS expansion jack for the connection of one expression pedal or a dual footswitch to augment the two onboard footswitches. There’s five‑pin MIDI in and out/thru, and a USB‑C port for firmware updates. Power comes from an included 9V, 500mA adaptor. The pedal can be locked to MIDI Clock and a Mac/Windows editor/librarian (not yet available at the time of writing but expected soon) will connect via USB. If you only need mono operation, the remaining two jack connectors can be used as sends and returns to patch the pedal into an amp’s effects loop. While few guitarists might be in a position to benefit from the stereo facilities in a live performance setting, stereo in and outs will certainly be appreciated by keyboard players, and I can also see the HX One being embraced by the modular synth community.


This new pedal has a robust cast‑metal case, in which the I/O jacks, power adaptor and USB port are located on the top edge to conserve pedalboard space. The MIDI sockets are on the left and the expression jack on the right. A small but pin‑sharp monochrome OLED display shows preset and parameter names along with horizontal bar displays that show the parameter amount. As a parameter is being adjusted its value is displayed, and it is possible to toggle the displays to show note values, milliseconds or Hertz.

The HX One supports stereo I/O, but if used in mono the second I/O pair can be used as a send/return loop.The HX One supports stereo I/O, but if used in mono the second I/O pair can be used as a send/return loop.

Operationally, the HX One follows a familiar paradigm, with the three knobs below the display adjusting the parameters shown above. However, these knobs are actually turn and press encoders and are used to support a new feature called Flux. We’ve seen a similar concept employed on Eventide’s pedals and plug‑ins: the user can morph between one set of parameter values and another within the same preset. Flux allows the users to set the in and out speeds and curves, and its settings are stored within the preset. That means it could, for example, be used in one preset to switch a rotary cabinet emulation from fast to slow with suitable ramp times, while in others it might allow the depth of a modulation effect to increase or a drive pedal to pile on more drive and perhaps a bit of level for those inevitable guitar solos.

Another press/turn encoder is used to select the effects or to step through presets, and there are arrow buttons on either side that are used for effect selection, navigation and to step to a new page of controls if the current effect has more than three adjustable parameters. Other than that, there’s a Home button that always gets you back to displaying the current preset, and the two footswitches.

In normal use the leftmost switch acts as a bypass and its status LED changes colour to indicate which effect category is currently in play. For example, it shows purple for filter, pitch and synth effects, green for delay effects, dark orange for reverb and light orange for distortion. When bypassed, the LED dims but still shows the appropriate colour. The rightmost switch can be used as a tap‑tempo or be pressed and held to enter Flux mode, in which case the sounds transitions between the two sets of effect parameters when the switch is pressed, then reverts when the switch is pressed again. In tap mode its status LED pulses red at the tap rate, while in Flux mode it goes from dull white to bright white and a bar moves along the top of the display to show the Flux transition taking place.

To set up Flux mode, it’s necessary only to adjust the controls and then press them to lock in the values to the current Flux setting (bright white light or dim white light). Then you switch to the other Flux setting and follow the same routine to set the alternative parameter values. The Page buttons takes you to the Flux On and Off time settings as well as adjustment of the transition curve shape.

As with the old M5, you can step on both pedals at once to change the footswitch mode to preset up/down buttons, and helpfully you can also set it so that you only step around your chosen effects rather than the whole preset repertoire. In preset up/down mode you can see the current preset as well as the preset to either side of it in the display. If you don’t want to keep switching between bypass and preset select modes, you can set up a dummy preset with the mix at zero and then use that as your bypass preset, and just stay in preset up/down mode. However, it might have helped if a dedicated bypass preset was available for this purpose from within the effect types. Pressing down and holding both pedals brings up a tuner mode.

It’s possible to set up some seriously experimental loops with granular‑style overtones if you are that way inclined.

The effects are grouped into familiar categories: Distortion, Dynamics, EQ, Modulation, Delay, Reverb, Pitch/Synth, Wah Filter and Looper, the latter offering mono or stereo options with normal or Shuffling modes. In Shuffling mode you have adjustment of the Slices, Sequence Length, Shuffle, Pitch, Reverse, Repeat, Smooth, Drift, Playback and Low/High Cut, so it’s possible to set up some seriously experimental loops with granular‑style overtones if you are that way inclined. The simple looper offers basic playback and overdub level controls as well as low‑/high‑cut filtering.

In the Distortion section, you’ll find a very broad selection of boosts, drives, distortions and fuzzes including Klon and Fulltone OCD inspired effects. Dynamics offers a wide assortment of classic compressors, a couple of noise gates and a useful slow attack effect. EQ includes basic, parametric and graphic variants but also features an acoustic guitar emulation, while Modulation runs the gamut of phaser, flanger, chorus and tremolo options as well as a couple of rotary speakers, a Uni‑Vibe type effect and even ring modulation. Delay covers the usual analogue and digital variants both with and without modulation and multiple taps. The more specialist delays include ducking delay, reverse delay, slow attack delay, pitch echo, glitch delay and ADT treatments.

On the left side, there’s an expression pedal input.On the left side, there’s an expression pedal input.

Move on to the Reverb section and, once you get past the usual rooms, halls, plates and springs, you’ll find specialist treatments such as Particle Reverb, Searchlights, Shimmer, Octo and Glitz. It’s the same story when you get to Pitch, as in addition to both mono and poly pitch‑shifters you’ll find auto harmony, whammy emulations and a number of monophonic pitch‑tracking synths, which can sound very impressive as long as you play cleanly. In the Wah Filter section are various types of wah pedal, which really benefit from an expression pedal to make full use of them, plus auto‑filters such as emulations of the revered Mutron, a talkbox and pulsing filters.

The MIDI DIN sockets are found on the right‑hand side panel.The MIDI DIN sockets are found on the right‑hand side panel.

In most cases, the effects are of very high quality and provide close emulations of their inspirations. There’s enough adjustability to fine‑tune the sounds the way you like them without getting too bogged down with a huge number of parameters, and that Flux feature really is a big deal when it comes to live performance. If there’s a weakness, it’s that the polyphonic pitch‑shifting isn’t always as smooth as you might enjoy from a dedicated pitch‑shift pedal, and that’s something that carries over to the shimmer reverb, which sounded just a hint brash if used at a high mix value. Even so, when mixed in at an appropriate level, and perhaps with a little high‑cut filtering, the pitch processing gets the job done, whether it’s a spot of pitch‑sliding whammy you need or a 12‑string emulation.

Final Thoughts

Given that you can spend just as much or more on a ‘single trick’ boutique overdrive, the Line 6 HX One represents exceptional value for money, and it could definitely help players simplify their pedalboards by providing the necessary ‘wild card’ effects to go with their existing core pedals. On a practical level, the only shortcoming I can find is that, with the pedal on the floor, it can be difficult to read the small display. Some way of toggling the display mode so that the current patch name fills the whole screen would have helped (you may not need to adjust parameters in a performance situation). The same goes for the preset up/down switch mode, which uses even smaller text. Having a different coloured status LED for each effect type helps, but only if your effects fall into different categories.

Those very minor gripes aside, the HX One is a very worthy successor to the M5L: it’s the same concept, but it offers better effects, the hugely useful new Flux feature and a significantly smaller footprint.


  • Huge range of Helix‑quality effects.
  • Straightforward user interface.
  • The Flux feature is very useful in a live situation.
  • Mono or stereo operation.
  • Compact.


  • Small display won’t be ideal for everyone in a live situation.
  • Pitch effects not as refined as those in dedicated pitch processors.


The HX One confirms that the M5 concept remains a valid one, and builds on it by offering better‑quality effects, a more compact format and by adding the Flux feature, allowing you to morph between parameter settings at a user‑defined rate.


£249 including VAT.

Yamaha UK +44 (0)344 811 1116.


Line 6 Inc. +1 818 575 3600.

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