Line 6 is best known for guitar amp modeling
and onboard effects for the electric guitar, but
in recent years the company has been creating the same kinds of modeling technologies
for bass gear. The Bass POD has been quite
popular and now the LowDown Bass Amps
series is making waves, giving bass players
another realm of tonal options within a single
amp. So, in addition to the normal bass amp
considerations—size, weight, power, sound
and features—bass players can mull over the
flavor-specific options that come with the purchase of modeling gear.
Clean According to Line 6, “It’ll give you
all the warm lows and punchy highs you
need.” As advertised, this indeed has a
warm, punchy clean tone with everything
in its place. Flat wound strings on a fretless
bass really complement this setting.
Effects Some players may find the onboard
effects more useful than others. With an
envelope filter, octaver and chorus, you
may discover that you will leave the stompboxes behind and just roll with the onboard
effects of the LD400 Pro.
The amp weighs 95 pounds and comes with
two heavy-duty handles and four sturdy casters that are so smooth and steady I’d almost
take them down to the local skateboard park.
All of the features are clearly and prominently
placed on the front panel of the amp. It runs
400 watts through two 10” Eminence speakers
and a compression driver horn, and has stage-friendly features like a balanced XLR direct
output, a 1/4” preamp output and an onboard
tuner that mutes the DI and the speaker when
activated. The amp’s four-channel programmable memory allows you to save, on the fly, that
perfect tone you came up with for future use.
It’s practice-friendly, too—sporting a headphone out and a 1/8” CD/MP3 input. There’s
also a jack for the optional Line 6 FBV Express
or FBV Shortboard. Players who like running
an extra cab on stage can do so with the right
cable if their cab has a NL4M-series Speakon
four-pole mono speaker connection.
R&B This model pays tribute to the late
‘60s and early ‘70s and the clean, fat tones
of rigs like the Ampeg ’ 68 B- 15 Flip Top.
This preset is a very useful bass tone,
and I can definitely hear what they were
going for as I played some classic James
Jamerson bass lines. This is a very functional setting and will sound appropriate in
most any situation.
Rock The ’ 74 Ampeg SVT was the inspiration behind this model, which reminds me
of a George Porter, Jr. sound. I find that
adding a little bit of drive to this preset
gives me a superb rock tone.
The Final Mojo
The LD400 Pro could solve many problems for
you in the studio. For gigging musicians with
versatile set lists, not having to take additional
gear to a practice or a show could make up
for what the amp lacks in comparison to sim-ilar-sized combos that shine in their ability to
power far fewer tones at louder volumes. The
LD400 Pro’s array of amp models sound pretty
good, especially at lower volumes, and its output options give you the flexibility to do what
you need in larger gig settings with FOH help.
The Line 6 LD400 Pro really shines in terms of
tonal options and useful features packed into
a single combo.
Brit If you’re looking for ‘60s Cream and
The Who kinds of tones, the ’ 68 Marshall
Super Bass is the way to go. The Brit model
definitely has that old Rickenbacker-type
tone in the mix. Line 6 gets you as close as
possible to the experience without actually
making you drag that Super Bass around.
you’re a fan of onboard effects
and amp models, and want something for rehearsal or the studio.
My basses of choice for this review were a
5-string Fender Jazz Bass and a 3/4 upright
bass mic’d with a Shure SM58 wrapped in
foam and placed under the tailpiece.
Grind If you put a SansAmp Overdrive
pedal in front of an SVT, you get that very
popular angry, clear, punchy aggression.
This one is all about the power, which I
definitely feel while tearing through powerful monster riffs. Mucho massive tone, and
yet no pedals to drag along.
you need it to be as loud as your
drummer on the backline, or you
have a bad back.
Shake Your Head for Me, Darling
Models are what Line 6 is known for so, not
surprisingly, the preset amp models offer a
range of bass tones that will match up with
most musical styles. These are intended to
give the player a wide range of versatile
amp sounds while reducing the amount of
gear you need. There are many fine shades
and nuances to be tweaked within each
setting but for the purposes of this review,
I’ll focus on the preset amp models as they
appear from Line 6.
Synth For ‘70s funk and modern rock, this
tone is necessary. And it’s way cool! While
in the bass synth mode, the knobs reconfigure to tweak all of the parameters of the
synth (drive, cutoff, resonance, envelope,
attack/decay, and waveform). This gives you
the ability to create an incredible variety
of fat’n nasty, old-school to modern synth
sounds. After operating in this setting for
a while, I was able to come up with several
pure synth sounds, two of which I saved in
the programmable channel memory. I could
have spent hours coming up with one killer
synth sound after another.
Click here to hear sound clips
of the amp in action