Line 6 Flextone III XL
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Line 6 Flextone III XL

Flextone III XL, Modelling Combo Guitar Amp from Line 6 in the Flextone series.

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MGR/3shiftgtr 06/01/2010

Line 6 Flextone III XL : MGR/3shiftgtr's user review

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Nice vinyl cover with a tweed grillecloth that gives it a retro/boutique look. The controls are top mounted, and are well lit and laid out for dark stages and the back is open. There is a speaker extension jack that clips the combo's speaker's out. There is a nice series stereo efx loop that actually works quite nicely. There is a midi in and out, as well as stereo XLR direct outs (like a pod). For the past 20 years, I have been a working full time pro that has several rigs for several musical situations: from fusion and jazz to country to progressive metal to cover band rock/RandB/funk.

I bought it used with an FBV shortboard and a vinyl amp cover from craigslist for $400.

What I like about the unit is that it is NOT a tube amp. I can take it to cover gigs, where the power is often sketchy, and get a wide variety of tones with an amp and the floorboard. It doesn't cost me $100 in tubes every time I play a gig with crappy power. And it has a wide variety of tones. Yes they are modeled and not the same as the real thing, but it can get a better Dual Rec tone than my Peavey Classic 30, knowhatimsayin'? The tones are very usable and there are plenty of them. They are also ALOT better than the spider stuff they sell. The distortions I use are plenty dynamic for cover band work. It also records direct just as good as a POD. The XLR outs are decent for live work if a bit sterile. The amp also seems to work best with low output pickups. And the unit works well when used with the stereo loop for nice spacious stereo tones. And the tweakability of the patches is quick and easy. And the accessibility with the FBV is very intuitive.

Well, what I don't like about the unit is the same thing I like it for: no tubes. The best tone comes from great tube amps....IMHO. But they can be finicky, and unreliable for a variety of reasons. Solid state is MUCH cheaper, and less susceptible to power problems, and less heartbreak and expense when they go down. I use this amp in a sense, to relieve my other tube wonders. Would I use it for a master session for an artist? No. For a cover band? You betcha>> Tone wise the cleans are a bit stringent as are the direct out tones. The speakers, which are custom Celestions, are called to deliver everything from Dual Rec sounds and Fender like cleans, which is a tall order, often bark differently with different tones. They also have a volume sweet spot. They don't sound as good pushed hard, or at low volumes as they do a decent club stage volumes. Which sucks for tweaking. Also, you have to write the patch names from the FBV and it takes 4 ever.

The unit is very well built, and has taken everything I have dished out so far....Probably 100 gigs in the past year and a half...

Will it replace my 92, Dual Rectifier Tremoverb combo? Or my Marshall Silver Jubilee? Or my Voodoo modded Fender Blues Deluxe? My AC15? My Rivera? Hell, I'd get rid of the Line6 before my Peavey Classic 30. But this thing is reliable, and versatile. To me, modeling is the same as a 'picture' of a tone. It ain't the same thing. But it ain't bad neither. In fact it is damn decent. If you need a solid performer that delivers a BUNCH of natural sounding, decent tones, with the stereo thing as a bonus, the Flextone III XL is the way to go.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com