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Line6 DL4

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Howard K, Jan 2, 2003.


  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Alrightly there Steve,
    I trust you had enjoyed the hols?!

    I recently found a potential reason to buy one of those nice loop boxes you use so 'effectively'.

    Anyway, I was looking at the Line6 DL4 - is that the model? - Which I believe you have is that right? Anyway, how is it, does it glitch or break down frequently or have a too short a loop or something else bad?!
    Or is it generally easy to use, sound good, low noise etc?

    Anyone else please feel free to post experiences - especially if you're selling one ;)

    ta
    H
     
  2. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hi Howard,

    I've got one of these thingys (also use it mostly for looping purposes) and it suits my looping needs almost perfectly. Granted I haven't tested out a great number of loopers, but around here the DL4 had the most features for the money and was easy enough to use.

    In terms of the looper, it's pretty simple - the drawback is that you're stuck with whatever loop you get and can't edit it. The only thing that really bugs me about the DL4 is that you can't combine the delays with the looper, which is too bad.

    All in all, as someone who's just breaking the surface of the solo bass scene, this has been my most useful tool so far.

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    As I recall, Steve managed to break his a couple of months ago (although, to be fair, he must have had hundreds of hours of use out of it) and has been so caught up with his echoplexes that he hasn't got round to replacing it yet.

    I've also got one, not broken (and not for sale, either ;) ) and find it very useful. You can get a maximum of 28 seconds of loop, which is enough for a lot of purposes. My 'wishlist' would be:

    - more looping time (at 80bpm, you 20 bars per minute or ten bars in 30 seconds... so you can't lay down a backing more than about 8 or 9 bars long at that tempo)

    - an undo button to take back the last layer added (not only to remove silly mistakes but also so you could add a texture, play over it, and then take it away again)

    - more than one loop available (eg. letting you have seperate verse and chorus sections)

    - a way to use the other delay effects in the loop (as thrash_jazz mentioned)

    However, for the price, I think it has a good range of features and is pretty intuitive to operate.

    Oh yes - the other thing I'd like would be a unit with built in ears, so it can adapt to the rest of the band if they fail to lock in with your groove. I recently tried to use it for a song at church by playing 'rhythm' and 'lead' parts with different distortion settings from my Zoom pedal and then playing a bass line and singing over the top. Sounded great when I practised at home but fell apart shortly after the acoustic guitar and piano came in....

    Wulf
     
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Howard - happy new year!

    As Wulf said, my DL4 is currently in the 'too far gone to be fixed' bin, sadly, though I've been getting deep into what these 'ere Echoplexes can do, so haven't really missed it that much until this week - listening back to the stuff that I did with Patrick Wood last year, I realised how useful the sweep echo on there is (have a listen to the new version of Highway 1 that I added to my site earlier this week - it's got DL4 all over it...)

    anyway here's a list of pros and cons -

    pros - very easy to use, great delay sounds, really good sample quality, portable, 28 seconds sample time, double speed thingie is great fun as is backwards, the delay over the loop option, expression pedal control, nice sturdy box, not too expensive

    cons - only 28 seconds ( :) ), can't undo, no 'feedback' control (ie loops won't fade out, unlike the Echoplex), can't use all the delay mods while you're looping.

    The EDP on the other hand (EDP = Echoplex) has feedback control, replace, insert, next loop (ie, verse and chorus like Wulf said), and a whole host of cool MIDI controls... If I had to only have one, it'd be the EDP, but it's over double the price of the DL4...

    As it is, I'll replace my DL4 when I can afford it, and stick with my two Echoplexes for now... :D

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
    www.stevelawson.net
    www.pillowmountainrecords.co.uk
    www.pmrecords.gemm.com
    www.solobassnetwork.org.uk
     
  5. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    You can get the loops to fade out on the DL4 - only problem is, you can't play while it's fading (you have to leave the record button on), nor can you adjust the fade-out speed. That would have been nice too, now that I think of it.
     
  6. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I'm still adding up the pros and cons of looping units but since my budget has narrowed it down to the dl4 and the rc20 (boss). I'm leaning more towards the boss just for the huge amount of looping time on it but the dl4 has all those cool noises. The rc20 might be a better option if you have some other effect units to stick infront of it. The dl4 can be easily justified if you not an idiot like me and can actually use delay and echo in a band or solo situation. I'm going to try the rc20 in a week or to and the dl4 if they've got one in, so i'll let you know if one of them makes me sound good, it will be an amazing unit hehe

    Oh Steve I've kinda started a solo album I thought it was kind of cool but then went back to your stuff to get some ideas for song structure. Dear lord do I suck :D of course i'm blaming it all on only having 8 secs of looping time not my lack of ability.

    Happy new year every one
     
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Cheers chaps :)

    So there's another in the same price bracket.. interesting.. I shall have to find somewhere that has them in stock and try them out me thinks.

    I must admit I'm more concerned about the loop than the effects at this stage, but that said delay etc is pretty darned cool, even if real difficult to use.

    There's a boss dealer in Reading town centre - I shall swing by at lunch and get a price, and my local rehearsal room is a line6 dealer.

    Hey TaySte_2000 - do keep me up to date and I'll do the same :)

    So wulf - you say it's pretty tricky to use the loop in a band situation... I had a feeling it would be.... but imagine the results... being able to play two basslines with a band... bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!!!!
     
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    OK here's a link top the boss loop unit. It sounds a hell of a lot more powerful than the DL6... 5.5 mins of loop, overdubing for more than one part per loop, it will store up to TEN phrases and - a real beauty - a quantise function. Not sure how handy the click would be tho... live it would be a bit cack surely?

    Sounds damned good tho.. if the loop quality is high enough. I expect it is?
     
  9. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I swear there's more websites at the end of Steve's posts each time :)
     
  10. I was just thinking about this last night and I reckon TWO DL4's is what you need... :D There must be more ways to capitalise on the fact that the DL4 has separate left and right inputs which stay separate...

    Bass -> DL4 #1
    DL4 #1 LEFT output -> DL4 #2 Input
    DL4 #1 RIGHT output -> mixer/crossfader
    DL4 #2 LEFT (mono) output -> mixer/crossfader

    Expression pedal linked to DL4#1 so that you can control effects, loop settings (delay +/-) etc. DL4#2 loop running "dry".

    This would allow you to either have section A in DL4#1 and section B in DL4#2 or use effects in #1, loops in #2. You could also use the expression pedal on #1 to fade in/out a loop over another in #2. The only problem/added bonus is synching the two. Ooh the possibilities.
     
  11. Howard - sorry went off on one there.

    I have a DL4. Not long after I got it the Record stomp button/switch went on the fritz but I sent it back for repair and they replaced all switches on it. It has worked fine since.

    I can recommend getting the DL4 - it's a nice little unit and the "effects" on it can be tweaked to get some nice chorus like sounds and even a "flange" style of effect. I think the expression pedal is worth having too since it allows you to move between any two extremes of knob settings. For example you can use it to fade in/out, or to have a "dry" and delayed effect on the loop. The way the DL4 handles the inputs means that you can have two basses plugged in at once and the looper/effects will handle the sum of both signals.

    Whatever you go for, loopers are cool bits of kit, and very useful practice tools.
     
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    ... in next weeks seminar, Mike, will tell us all how to build a simple a time machine, that doubles as the perfect chorus pedal!!


    Blimey O'Riley, that sounds complex... but, correct me if I'm wrong, the DL6 loop time is halved if you use both inputs, ie. create a stereo loop? I'm guessing here...

    Just tried to get a price on the Boss RC-20 - no chance, my local dealer is utterly half-arsed, if anyone can get a UK price do let me know...
     
  13. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I haven't noticed loop time being affected by having two inputs. I have used it as a way of having two basses plugged in at once - I haven't experimented with sending the output signal into two different directions (only having the one amp to feed it into ;) ).

    I'll be interested if you can get a UK price for the Boss unit - one of those paired with a DL-4 might make a good set (the DL-4 is round about £200).

    Wulf
     
  14. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    £200 that's a bargain!

    I reckon the RC-20 might be a bit more, probly £300 to make a comparative guess.

    Still, if it's £300 or less I'll snap one up!
     
  15. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    www.dawsons.co.uk

    they have them in and there really good guys

    oh they have it for 250 quid which is quite a good price cos normally dl4's cost 230+ you'll have to do a lot of shopping around to get them for 300
     
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Howard,

    the RC-20 and DL4 are completely different beasts - the save function on the RC-20 means that it works as much as a backing tape as anything else, if that's what you want. The click is problematic in that it doesn't have a separate output, so if you've got it on, it'll be coming out of your bass amp and the PA! that's no use! The quantise allows you to start and stop on the beat (click) nearest where you click it...

    The 5 minute thing is cool, though I still don't often use loops that would be too long for the DL4 except when multiplying loops in the Echoplex...

    Certainly try them both out, but for my money, the DL4 is a far more intuitive 'musical' box...

    steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Hmm. I'll defo have to try both...

    I'd have thought the fact you cant overdub on a live loop in the DL4 is the limiting factor that can be achieved on the RC-20?

    It'd be nice to be able to loop a chord progression, add a bassline, then solo etc etc...

    Am I missing something here??
     
  18. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You can overdub a live loop on the DL-4 as many times as you want. The limitation is that once something is added, you can't take it away. Eg.

    - Record on
    - Play a short chord sequence
    - Tap record to close the loop - anything else will now be an overdub
    - Play a bass line to anchor the chords
    - Tap record off and then solo for a couple of repeats
    - Tap record on and add some floating harmonics
    - Tap record off and solo again

    So far, so good... but what if you want to play another solo without the harmonics in the background? Your only option is to rebuild the loop from scratch - if each loop is fifteen seconds long, that's thirty seconds of rebuilding. Although you're thinking of conceptual layers, everything is being painted on a flat surface. The only way round that with the DL-4 is to have two of them :eek:

    That's why I'd be interested to try both pedals together - probably with the DL-4 first and the RC-20 following it in the chain. Even aside from the possibility of creating loops on the DL-4 and storing them / replaying them on the RC-20, I've immediately got three discrete layers to work with (each of the pedals plus playing live).

    Of course, balanced against that, you've got the added weight of an additional pedal, not to mention having to come up with a good reason for going to the expense of getting a second pedal...

    Would the echoplex allow the kind of flexibility I'm envisaging with the two pedals, and how much would that cost?

    Wulf
     
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    ...and it's 28 seconds total loop time on the DL4 is that right?

    That's quite a lot... and as Steve says I cant imagine many chord sequences running over 28 seconds... although I think I have one or two?
     
  20. I had some success working with Strings Direct (www.stringsdirect.co.uk). They sell both Line 6 and Boss effects units, and offer to beat the price of any other dealer. Try giving them a call and see what they can do for you. I got a Line 6 DL4, power supply unit and expression pedal for about £230 (if my memory serves). They're also pretty good about ordering up stuff that they don't have in stock (6 string sets of TI Acousticores!).

    There are many chord sequences that I'd like to set up in the DL4 where it just doesn't have enough time (verse-chorus usually). This is where we delve into an old thread about using ambiguous chords/notes that would fit both verse and chorus, thus allowing you to set up a loop which will cover both.