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Line 6

Former Oberheim designers Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic co-founded Fast-Forward Designs in 1985. The company designed audio technology that underpinned numerous hit products during the '80s and '90s such as the Alesis ADAT series, Digidesign Sample Cell, and Fostex RD8. Tired of making other people famous, they launched Line 6 in 1996, with the name coming from the code their receptionist used whenever Fast-Forward clients called, so the pair knew to keep guitar-related noise to a minimum.

Line 6 launched their first digital-modelling guitar amplifier, the AxSys 212 that same year, and the Flextone the year after. Amp Farm then brought their modelling algorithms to Pro Tools in 1998, but it was the release of the Pod a few months later which precipitated the company's rise to fame. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chips had grown in power and affordability to the point that a floor unit could provide bucket-loads of tone to the average guitarist.

These days Line 6 amplifiers and effects are renowned, and the unfair comparisons between near-priceless rigs and the affordable devices that emulate them have all but evaporated. With modern processors and algorithms, the line separating hardware and software is indistinguishable, except that the potential of emulation is literally limitless, with hundreds of legendary amplifiers and effects fitting neatly into a single device.

Photo credit: Alejandro Morelos

Line 6 amp next to Epiphone Explorer
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