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Line 6 M13

 
Guitar Stomp Box Modeller


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Line6 scores a direct hit with the M13--this is Stomp Box Heaven!!! featured

Ease Of Use The words "Bonehead Simple" are actually printed on the M13 box and I think that about says it all. I received the M13 with the updated 2.01 software on-board. The one thing you DO have to watch out for is that it could be perceived as OVERLY bonehead simple. During one of my trial sessions, I couldn't figure out why sound was coming out of my amp but nothing was happening on the M13. That's because the M13 is truly "true bypass" and it simply wasn't powered on. So you know that if your M13 dies mid-gig, your signal will still get to your amp. Excellent!!


Sound The Line6 M13 is the flagship stomp box modeling unit from Line6. Unlike most of the Line6 products, this unit does not have all of the signature Line6 amplifier and speaker cabinet modeling software at your disposal. This unit is designed to work WITH your amp and not in place of it. Do not be fooled by this however. The M13 is an extremely flexible unit in that there are myriad different options for sound shaping including the various different stomp box models and the connection options that allow you to connect your amp via the now-famous 4-cable method. This allows you to put effects in their proper place, with distortion and non-modulation effects before your amp's preamp stage, and the time-based and modulation effects after the preamp stage.

The M13 that I received already had the v 2.01 software update installed so I did not have to go through the MIDI connection to a computer to perform the update. I understand that it is neither difficult nor simple, but the proper cords and connections are required on the computer side.

I played this modeler with the following guitars:
VOS '58 and '59 Gibson Custom Les Paul guitars with Burstbucker 1 and 2 models
Gibson Raw Power Les Paul with '57 Classic pickups
Ibanez JEM 7VSBL with stock Dimarzio Evolution pickups installed
Ibanez RG550MXXDY with Dimarzio Super 3 Bridge, Evolution Middle, and Evolution Neck
Ibanez RGR4 with Dimarzio Crunch Lab Bridge and LiquiFire Neck
Epiphone Les Paul Standard with Seymour Duncan Phat Cat P-90's
PRS SE Semi-hollow with stock pickups
Squier Telecaster with Dimarzio Air Norton T bridge and Area T Neck
B.C. Rick Mockingbird Neck-Thru with Dimarzio Super Distortion bridge and Super 2 Neck
Squier Strat with Dimarzio VV Solo bridge, VV '54 middle, and VV Heavy Blues neck.

I played the M13 through the following amps:
Marshall JVM410H head and Crate Blue VooDoo stereo 4 x 12 with Jensen 60's
Marshall HAZE 40w 1 x 12 combo
Marshall Class 5 1 x 10 combo
Marshall Vintage Modern 50-watt head and a Carvin mono 4 x 12 with Celestion Heritage 30's
Mesa Boogie 1 x 12 Mark V combo
Marshall DSL100MLB full stack.
Marshall Vintage Modern 50-watt head and a Carvin mono 4 x 12 with Celestion Heritage 30's + Hughes & Kettner TriAmp MK II and a Carvin mono 4 x 12 with Celestion Vintage 30's.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to create sound clips for every combination so I picked the ones I think sound best. Of notable mention is that I eliminated the Marshall Class 5 because the plain truth is that this amp sounds best with a Les Paul or Super Distortion-equipped guitar plugged straight in. I also eliminated the Les Paul Raw Power as I had a difficult time tuning the M13 to handle the higher frequencies of the '57 Classic pickups'the sound had too much treble that I couldn't effectively roll out with the M13, even with the myriad EQ options. I also eliminated the Marshall Vintage Modern as the preamp stage of that amp is excellent and the only way I could leverage the M13 in that particular instance was in the effects loop.

Now on to the good stuff. This is a great little (relatively) unit. The beauty of the M13 lies in its simplicity and flexibility. It takes about 10 seconds to memorize the color coding for the different types of effects, but hours to go through the settings and different models. There are two different modes of operation: Standard mode and Scene mode. Scene mode works like any other MIDI patch'you call up the patch and it brings up the pre-configured models in the pre-configured order and with the pre-configured levels. In scene mode you have access to the active models in each bank and you can toggle them on and off individually.

In standard mode you have access to 12 different stomp boxes'four banks with three options in each position. The payoff is no cables and no re-wiring. When you call up a model, the stomp box is activated with the last settings already pre-programmed. There is a global option to either save all settings automatically or not. I suggest leaving it on as that is really the purpose of the M13. I haven't yet found a need to have the settings NOT automatically saved. Without the auto-save enabled, any called-up model will accept the position of the knobs as-is' most likely undesirable.

When I started writing this review, I liked working in standard mode over the Scenes, although in truth the 'Standard' mode is really just a 'scratch pad' scene. Unless you have a special need for a high number of different sounds, you can get a great deal out of standard mode. I have my 'Scratch Pad' M13 scene set up in the following configuration:
Bank 1: A. Screamer, B. Blue Comp Treble C. Line6 Drive
Bank 2: A. Line6 Distortion, B. Heavy Distortion, C. Dimension
Bank 3: A. Noise Gate, B. Dual Phaser, C. Tri-Chorus
Bank 4: A. Stereo Delay, B. Noise Gate, C. Echo
Notice that I have the Noise Gate in two different positions and weaker distortions in front of heavier distortions. This allows me to either run the Screamer or Comp for a little boost of my amp's preamp or the Bank B distortion. Having the Noise Gate in Banks 3 AND 4 allows me to either put the gate at the end of the signal if running in 2-cable mode, or after the distortion effects in 4-cable mode so that the modulation effects are super-clean. In the latter configuration, the modulation effects really shine through the mix. With this configuration, I can get punishing distortion out of the M13, juice the front end of my amp, or get wonderful multi-dimensional clean tones. After learning about the flexibility of the M13 and how to better leverage scenes, a whole new world opened up to my tonal 'mad science.'
It's like having 12 stomp boxes at your disposal at a time, 12 sets of 12 stomp boxes, and you can activate any of them in their pre-defined position' NO WIRING!!! The only thing you can't do is have more than four boxes active at any one time, one from each bank. (You can only have one 'A', one 'B', one 'C', one 'D' on at a time). Pressing the foot switch activates the effect'pressing another button in the same bank activates that effect and deactivates the previous one. Pressing the button of the active effect toggles it on/off. There is a dedicated button to activate the looper, a button to activate Scene mode, and holding the looper button activates the on-board tuner. The tuner is one of the most sensitive I have encountered.
After running the M13 straight into the front of the amps, I configured the M13 to have the effects loop in between banks 2 and 3. This one of the other beautiful features of the M13'you can place the effects loop wherever you want as opposed to being locked into one configuration.

The M13 ended up sounding the best with the Marshall HAZE 40 so I used that as my basis for sound. Hooking up the M13 with the 4-cable method opened up a whole new dimension to the tone. The distortions were tighter and the clean tones were, well, cleaner since I could just run the clean (standard) channel preamp valves of the HAZE. One of my favorite models in the M13 is the model of the old BOSS Dimension C. If you tinker with the different switch combinations on the Dimension C you can get everything from light Chorus to Phase to some unique sounds. I highly recommend using this effect to add a unique ambience to your sound. The Blue Comp + Treble model is nice for cleaning up the darker overtones of the EL34 power valves and really focuses the tone when engaged. Using the Screamer model adds a nice compressed boost to just about anything after without adding too much gain. I didn't have much use for any of the 'Purple' category models, but I play pretty straight-ahead rock, so your mileage may vary. I DID include one sample sound just to provide an idea of the M13's capabilities. The quality of the models is so good I encourage you to at least try them. There are only a few reverb models in there, but the ones that ARE there are all I could want or need in a reverb including 100-200 millisecond echo model. You can get lost in the delays, especially in the Scene dedicated to them.

One of the things I found odd about the M13 is that the EQ models were in the preamp (yellow) category, making them somewhat hard to locate at first. Also, putting them in that category limits the number of EQ/Overdrive/Distortion combinations you can create, but I suppose they had to put them somewhere.

Even though there is a Noise Gate pedal model, there is also a master noise gate that is accessible from the main Setup screen, so if you can live with just the overall noise reduction of the M13 you can save pedal spots.

So what's the verdict? It really depends on what you're after. I've read a lot of material that compares the M13 to other Multi-Effectors like the GT-10 or X3 Live. At first, the difference seems pretty obvious... Units like the GT-10 and X3 Live have amp and cabinet models in them and have the ability to emulate both and amp and add effects, where the M13 just adds effects (no amp modeling here), so one would be led to think that the M13 needs to be run into/with an amp, whereas the others can just be run straight to the board or recording console. Well, I got to thinking about it. Let's say for example I just want to use the M13 in 2-cable mode right into the front of my, um, 1968 Plexi. No problem, right? Well, what's the difference between running the M13 into a 'real' Plexi and running the M13 into the POD Farm model of a Plexi? Turns out not very much'you have to tweak the levels a bit, but I found that I could run the M13 in front of my Line6 KB37 and then into POD Farm and with minimal adjustment of levels I got the same results as running into a 'real' amp. How cool is that? I initially figured to get the M13 recorded I would have to turn on an amp and mic a cabinet. Not so'just wire it in front of your amp modeling software of choice, tweak it to taste and you're good to go.

Bottom line, not only is the M13 a great stomp box modeler on its own, providing you with an arsenal of stomp boxes that would cost you thousands to collect and would be a nightmare to wire up the signal chain, Line6 has done it all for you in an affordable, flexible package that works for both live performance, live recording, or in front of your DAW. If there's a sound you're looking for that you can't coax out of the M13, well, there are always drums, right?

Because there's so much going on with the sound clips, I'm just going to make the file names letters/numbers'refer back to this list to check what gear and which stomp models were used to create them.

Clip 1 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, Dry, Ibanez RG550MXXDY, Super 3 Bridge, Evolution Neck, Evolution Middle

Clip 2 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Opto, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 4

Clip 3 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 'DL Mania' Scene (Tube Echo, Sweep Echo Dry/Thru, Reverse, Stereo Delay) all active, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 4

Clip 4 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Screamer off, then on, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 5 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Blue Comp Treble, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 6 -- Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Line6 Drive, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 7 -- Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Line6 Distortion, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 8 -- Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Heavy Dist, IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 9 -- Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Heavy Dist + M13 Blue Comp Treble on/off/on/off etc., IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1

Clip 10 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, M13 Heavy Dist + M13 Screamer on/off/on/off etc., IbanezRG550MXXDY Position 1'Notice how the Screamer also compresses the sound, how easily the pick harmonics jump off the strings, and how tight the Heavy Dist gets when used in combination.

Clip 11 ' Marshall Haze 40, Normal Channel, Haze Dry, then Dimension added, then Tri-Chorus added, then Echo Added, then Stereo Delay added, then Throbber added at the end.

Clip 12 ' Marshall DSL100 Full Stack, Ultra Gain Channel 2, M13 Connected with 4-cable method, dry first, then Screamer added, then Tri-Chorus added, then Dual Phaser added, then Echo added, then Stereo Delay switched over from Echo, B.C. Rich Neck-Through Mockingbird with Super Distortion bridge and Super 2 Neck. Sorry about the little squeals in between'I was standing pretty much right in front of the stack.

Clip 13 ' Marshall DSL100 Full Stack, Classic Gain Channel Clean, M13 Connected with 4-cable method, dry first, then Line6 Drive added, then off, then back on. B.C. Rich Neck-Through Mockingbird with Super Distortion Bridge.

Clip 14 ' Marshall DSL100 Full Stack, Classic Gain Channel Clean, M13 Connected with 4-cable method, dry first, then Screamer added, then off, then back on in different neck positions. B.C. Rich Neck-Through Mockingbird with Super Distortion Bridge. Truly, the Screamer added way more gain than I thought it would.

Clip 15 ' Marshall DSL100 Full Stack, Classic Gain Channel Clean, M13 Connected with 4-cable method, Phaser engaged, Squier strat with Dimarzio Virtual Vintage Solo Pro Bridge pickup, Dimarzio Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues Neck pickup.

Clip 16 ' Marshall DSL100 Full Stack, Classic Gain Channel Clean, M13 Connected with 4-cable method, Tri-Chorus engaged, Epiphone Les Paul Standard with Seymour Duncan Phat Cat P90s installed'middle hum-cancelling position.

Clip 17 ' Crate V5, M13 connected straight in, Screamer and Dimension engaged, PRS SE Semi-hollow with stock pickups, sorry about the clam in the middle' Also, the picture may be a little tough to see but it's pretty high-resolution--if you zoom in on it you can see the different setup options--this is where you set global options such as Expression pedal setups, signal chain direction, placement of effects loop, master noise gate threshold, MIDI functions, display contrast, etc.

Clip1.mp3

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Clip4.mp3

Clip5.mp3

Clip6.mp3

Clip7.mp3

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Clip11.mp3

Clip12.mp3

Clip13.mp3

Clip14.mp3

Clip15.mp3

Clip16.mp3

Clip17.mp3

M13_Setup.JPG



Reliability The switches are what I would describe as "slightly unstable." Sometimes they have a solid feel under your foot, but at other times I'm not really sure whether I actually made contact or not. I could see this being problematic or distracting during a live performance. Luckily, you can control the M13 via MIDI so that takes the potential for a faulty switch out of the equation.


Customer Support Every time I've called Line6 customer/technical support they've been incredibly knowledgeable and have always gone above and beyond. Extremely happy with their personnel, level of product knowledge (and not just Line6 products) and their genuine desire to help the customer.


Liked about it NO RE-WIRING TO GET DIFFERENT COMBINATIONS

Easy to learn color-coded effect classification system that is even easier to see on a dark stage.

EXTREME FLEXIBILITY--Can be run in a multitude of configurations to suit your needs and your setup.

I could actually go WAY beyond three things I liked - But I wrote about them above already.


Didn't like EQ models are in the same category as overdrive/distortion--somewhat odd to my brain and takes away one spot on the board.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By racerevlon
Feb 28, 2010
 
Last updated: March 01, 2010
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Effects junkies - form an orderly queue here featured

Ease Of Use The first thing I did with my M13 was to update the firmware to version 2.01, so everything in this review takes that into account. As of December 2009, units were still being shipped with 1.70 firmware and the update adds a lot of new models as well as ironing out some creases from earlier versions.

Diving in, it couldn't be much easier to start getting the sounds you want out of the M13. Line 6 sensibly supply a separate Advanced manual rather than cramming everything in to one book but, even without opening the manual, the basic operation of the unit is dead straightforward.

Imagine all of your effects pedals squashed into a single, heavy-duty, steel chassis. In fact, imagine all of the effects from the Line 6 Stompbox Modeller range, plus a load more. Because that's what you get in the M13 (something in excess of 100 with the latest firmware). At any one time, you can have up to 4 active effects out of a virtual pedalboard of 12, and the M13 stores up to 48 of these virtual pedalboards.

Routing is basic, being user selectable as either 1>2>3>4 or 4>3>2>1. There are no advanced routing options for signal splitting; keep reminding yourself it's "just" an fx pedal modeller. No crazy deep-editing options and pages upon pages of parameters here. The M13 does have its own fx loop, so when connecting it to your amp you can ensure that your time-based effects (chorus, delay, reverb, etc) come after the amp distortion. The position of the fx loop is selectable for each virtual pedalboard (or "scene" as Line 6 refer to it). The M13 also has a global noise gate and the facility to add one or two expression pedals to control any effects parameters.

So we want to dial in a sound. Start with the first "pedal", spin a knob until you see the fx you want and click the knob. The other knobs under that pedal then control the various fx parameters. Repeat for the other pedals you want and you're done. Remeber that you can set up a total of 12 "pedals" per scene, and swap between them as needed at the press of a footswitch.


Sound The M13 models effects pedals, not amps or guitars, so the sounds you get will obviously depend greatly on the guitar and amp you use it with.

After much tweaking, I have evicted all of my pedals from the pedalboard, with the exception of the following :

Boss NS-2 Noise Gate : I found the M13 noise gate was struggling on high gain tones.
Vox Big Bad Wah : Mainly for the pedal feel - the M13 has a whole range of very decent wah models but you can't beat the feel of the real thing underfoot.
Digitech Whammy : Again, the M13 has a Pitch Glide model which does the Whammy thing, I'm just a sucker for having loads of expression pedals on my board.

Simply put, if you can't get the sound you want out of the M13, you're doing something wrong, All the effects are great quality; this isn't one of those multi-fx boxes where some of the sounds are an afterthought.


Reliability I've had no problems with the M13. That said, there's a lot of clever DSP-trickery going on in there so you might want to pack a couple of your go-to pedals just in case that next pub has bad AC and freaks out the M13. That might just be me worrying for no reason (I routinely pack 3 pairs of socks for an overnight stay).


Customer Support I've never had to deal with Line 6 for any of their products and I've owned a few. Their website and customer forums are always full of information, so any questions you have should be answered pretty quickly.


Liked about it - It's the world's biggest fx toybox, and not a patch cable in sight
- Easy setup, no messing around with a hundred parameters per effect
- No more tapdancing
- It sounds great for any number of musical styles
- Did I mention it's got a 28-second looper with half-speed and reverse functions in there for free?
- Solid, road-ready construction
- Price


Didn't like - Built-in noise gate struggles in my setup
- Lack of advanced signal routing may be limiting for some (you can't split your signal within the M13)
- Backlit LCD displays could be a little clearer from 6ft up


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By MarkE
Jan 02, 2010
 
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Simple to use and versatile featured

Ease Of Use It doesn't get much easier than the M13 to use a multi effect board...so far. Turn a knob and forget about it. The unit will automatically remember your settings. Great sounds can be found with some knob twiddling, but twiddle you must. This thing sounds different with different amps so don't get rid of it until you've tried a variety of amps and setups. This is the best equipment investment I've made in 15 years.


Sound This has revolutionized my playing and the textures I can develop. It's easy to find something worth experimenting with. Some of the distortions do have a digital sound to them but they still sound really good especially in a band setting. That is where the unit really shines. Bedroom players might like their boutique pedals better but once you get used to the sounds of the M13 you'll find it easy to come up with quality sounding patches that really inspire. The delays and reverbs are really nice and easy to use and dial in. The pitch glide tracks really nicely and all the new wah pedals are terrific in the free 2.0 upgrade.


Reliability I've had no issues with my M13. I've used it at rehearsals, at gigs and at home. Each place gets a little different AC supply and the unit sounds consistent everywhere I play it. It's near bomb proof.


Customer Support I'm sure that if I ever had an issue it would be taken care of quickly. Line 6 customer support is very good.


Liked about it I like that it is easy to program and toggle between scenes. I also like the quality of the delays. Very good and inspiring. My favorite thing that I like is that if I get wild ideas it's easy to implement them by bringing in new pedal models and tweaking until I get what I'm after without having to scroll through a bunch of sub menus. Simple and versatile. It's much more simple than plugging and unplugging individual stomp boxes.


Didn't like The first versions of the unit had many patches not leveled. Switching from pedal to pedal yielded inconsistent volume levels. Some were really loud and some too quiet. Line 6 listened to us users and in the 2.0 release adjusted much of that. I also don't like the 28 second looper. I would love to have more time (which can be had by engaging the half speed button)a little more time at regular speed would be nice. The final thing that is a niggle is getting the midi functions figured out just so that you can upgrade the software. It can be a bid daunting to learn and remember from one update to the next.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By Spudman
Nov 14, 2009
 
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Best of its kind

Ease Of Use Extremely eash to use. Even a brain dead zombie could figure the M13 out


Sound The M13 is awesome. I can find a use for most of the sounds and they do not sound digital in the least. The best effects are the delays, fuzz, and oddball effects. The best part is that everything is fully tweakable. It seems like it has an endless array of sounds. It sounds great going straight into an amp and is much better than the Boss GT10.


Reliability I love this thing. It's in a sturdy metal housing with the same dependable switches that Visual Sound uses on all their pedals. I can trust this on the road.


Customer Support Line 6 is a good company to deal with. They have a website that should answer all your troubleshooting questions.


Liked about it Endless array of sounds. Easy to navigate. The looper.


Didn't like Distortion and phaser could be a tad bit better. I wish there were more switches and even more effects


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By The Rossness
Jan 30, 2010
 
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Stomp Box all in one!

Ease Of Use The unit is very easy and intuitive to use, even for people who are not such multi effects freaks, or, like me, have used only stomp boxes before.


Sound The sounds on the unit are very authentic (I am referring to Firmware Version 2.01 here!) and very close to the original. Even the Eventide Harmonizer Simulation is very nice and gets the job done.
Depending on your setup, if you use the 4 cable method, with some amps you can introduce some ground humming and you might need a ground lift box in the effects loop to eliminate the hum.
Apart from this the sounds are very good. However in some cases you have more sound options than the original, so you need some time, especially with Distortions, to dial in that vintage box sound.
All in all I found many applications and thanks to Line6 they added support for more scenes, as I have so many setups now.


Reliability It is very well built and lasting. The only crappy part is the original power supply (9V AC!) that I had to replace with something more solid.


Customer Support Line6 support is awesome and very nice.


Liked about it - Sounds
- Versatility
- No more hassle in stomp box setup


Didn't like - Firmwares before 2.0 were limited (YOU NEED THE UPDATE!)
- Power Supply is bad
- Ground hum with some amps


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By Tank
Oct 27, 2009
 
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