LINE 6 AmpliFi review

I've been using a LINE 6 AmpliFi 150 for the last couple of months for both playing and recording, here are my thoughts on how it performed.

The AmpliFi is a hybrid between a bluetooth speaker, guitar amp and interface for recording.  It comes in two flavours (75w and 150w) and retails for around $559 (75w) and $699 (150w).

It contains 5 speakers for stereo surround and looks great at home or in the rehearsal room.

Design

I love the design, it's contemporary and blends right in.  I'm glad that they went for the black/red boxed design with the controls hidden away.  I've had it in my music room and living room sat next to our TV, which to be honest is where it spent most of it's time.

The controls are well laid out, hidden well enough away and where it's recess it acts as a handy grab handle/iPad stand.

Connectivity
First off the majority of the time you will be using this is with the associated iOS app, that I used on both my iPad and iPhone.  I believe there is an Android version in the works.  It connects via Bluetooth and was easy to set up, simply hold down the button on top of the unit and go to the Bluetooth settings on your device to pair.

At the top you have your standard guitar in connection and on the back we have a USB for connectivity to your mac/pc, Aux in and headphones.

iOS integration
First off if you want to use simply as a bluetooth speaker, you can no matter what you are streaming from as long as it has bluetooth.  In my testing I used with an iOS and Android device and it streamed audio fine.

If you want to take it further you need to have an iOS device. You can download the free Line 6 AmpliFi app from the App Store and you are good to go.  Within the app you have access to your pedal board, tuner and the tones other users have uploaded. 

The UI on the whole is pretty intuitive but I found searching for tones to be a little tricky and could definately do with a few more tweaks. 

I loved the tone library (wasted so much time here rather than playing!), if you are playing alongside music it will allow you to download the appropriate tone to play along.  You can also search outside of playing a track to find your favourite artist tones and for the most part I found them to do be enjoyable and there was a massive catalogue of players and songs available.

Great to see a manufacturer embracing this technology and I look forward to seeing what they do next with it.

Sounds
I'm going to split this into three parts

As a speaker

As a bluetooth speaker this unit absolutely nailed it for me, it had enough low end to feel the bass and with the extra speakers created a very immersive, rounded sound.

Our main speaker at home is the B&W Zeppelin and once I had been using this review unit for a few hours when I went back to the B&W it sounded muffled.  Don't get me wrong the B&W is a fantastic system but once I had heard the almost surround sound from the Line 6 it sounded a bit bass heavy.  So a big plus for the Line 6 here, it's completely killer as a bluetooth speaker.

As an amp

Sound is good, the 150w I tested is loud and the sound continues on from the bluetooth speaker section above - round and clear (especially on clean with lots of reverb).

For home use it's been great, you can control the volume to a level that is going to be ok for not annoying your neighbours (or waking a toddler!) and although I didn't get a chance to rehearse with it I'm sure that based on my testing it's going to be loud enough to play in a band setting at small venues and rehearsal rooms.

The only downside that I found was that without a footswitch changing tones on your iOS device wasn't that quick and if you are playing a song that goes from clean to dirty often you might struggle without one.

As a recording device

I've used Line 6 products for quite a few years (started with a UX1) and they have always been easy to use and easy to set up.  I plugged mine into a MacBook Air and iMac, downloading the drivers and plugging it into the USB connection on the back of the unit.

The tones you have already set up will be available to you, just select the AmpliFi as your recording source in your favourite software (I used Garageband for testing).

You can see some samples over at my SoundCloud.

Value for money

I think that this unit is great value for money, if you look at the price of a quality bluetooth speaker alone it almost justifies the purchase.  As an amp it makes a great bedroom practise amp, which can also handle small venue's.

Final thoughts

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with the AmpliFi, it became part of our daily life at home using it as both a bluetooth speaker and living room amp for me.  It has a great round sound, limitless options in terms of getting the tone you want and a way to record on your Mac/PC - I really feel that it's great value for money.

If you are looking at using it in a band setting, get the 150w version but investigate it's use with a footswitch first.  If it's at home as a practise amp, guitar recording unit or bluetooth speaker then definately get the 75w version.

To see more: Line 6