Line 6 take their modeling very seriously. The Helix (and original POD) offer amps, cabs and effects tones to use in the studio and on stage to give you a huge sonic palette with a myriad of tweaking options. Further developing this concept, Line 6 has introduced the Powercab range of active guitar cabinets designed as a live sound reinforcement device. Yes, it takes on the FRFR ethos that many modelers utilise, but it also incorporates specific cab sounds for added tonal flexibility.
Going the more traditional look, the Powercab has a cool combo/small cab look to it as opposed to the PA speaker look that many modelers use. Grabbing it out of the box, I was surprised at how light it was—great for those sick of lugging big rigs. Housing a 12” speaker designed in collaboration with Eminence and a 1” high compression driver made by Celestion, the Powercab already has some street cred on its side. Rated at 250 watts, all the connectivity is on the back panel. There are some variations between the Powercab and the Powercab Plus with the latter having additional inputs and a USB interface. Otherwise essentially you get combo XLR/ TRS inputs, an XLR out, MIDI in and out/ thru, ground and low cut switches, power switch and Line 6 Link/AES in and out jacks.
The standard Powercab has a push button to cycle through the speaker emulation options, which are colour coded for easy reference, whilst the top of the Powercab Plus then features a volume knob, home button, backlit display, save button and select knob. This makes it so easy to get started, you can really just plug your Helix in and crank it up as a starting point. In ‘Flat’ mode the speaker emulation is disabled and you get a clean and clear representation of your modeler tones. This is great for reproducing your finely tweaked sounds, but can also be quite confronting at first as it really exposes those sounds you’ve been crafting at home.
In the long run I feel this is a good thing as it just means you’ll get exactly the sounds you’ve been looking for—especially with all the effort put into modeling/profiling classic guitar tones. Line 6’s angle with the Powercab is then the speaker emulations which offer vintage, green, cream, jarvis, bayou, essex and Hf off models. The idea now is that you can add some cab emulations to your tones for even more shaping. Line 6 has covered most of the typical speaker faves here too with clean, sparkly F type sounds, rock tones, chimey brite sounds and some American sizzle.
All of these can be accessed quickly on the Powercab’s top panel and saved as presets or easily scrolled through on the standard Powercab. Of course there’s great connectivity when combined with a Line 6 Helix. FRFR mode is great for your modeler tones, with the feel and look of a 112 cab. Add in the speaker emulations and you could tweak 'til the cows come home to really hone in your favourite presets.
Hits and Misses
Traditional cab looks with modern functionality
Lightweight and portable
Two models adds choice of features
Price may exclude some punters