Most average guitar players associate Line 6 with affordable modeling amps. The truth is that this brand has a very capable line of effects pedals. These often time combine the modern modeling technology with a classic format in an effort to increase versatility.
The DL4 Stompbox Delay Modeler fits this bill pretty accurately. It’s not your average delay pedal, but more of a delay processor that comes packed with a whole bunch of awesome features. What makes it even more attractive aside from its core performance, is the price. You can grab one of these with a budget that would hardly afford you something similar. Let’s go over the features and performance of the Line 6 DL4 so we can see what this thing is all about.
One simple glance at the Line 6 DL4 will tell you it’s a very busy looking pedal. The chassis is a wide one, which is good considering the number of control knobs and switches there are. For the most part, the core of the DL4 is its mode select knob. This is where you can select one of 16 vintage delay and echo effects. Once you’ve done that, you can tweak the effect just how you like it. However, that’s not all you get. DL4 can also serve as a looper pedal and offers 14-second loops.
Right underneath, you will find four footswitches where three of them are used to store presets, while one is a tap-tempo switch. All of the switching is true bypass, so you don’t have to worry about your tone being altered in any way when the pedal is off. If you really want to expand the range of this already versatile pedal, there is a port for an expression pedal as well. Speaking of the I/O cluster, Line 6 DL4 comes with a set of stereo ins and outs.
In terms of power, this bad boy takes four C batteries which will get you some 30 hours of up time. On the other hand, you can also use the PX-2G power adapter, but that is something you have to get additionally.
Let’s talk a little about build quality. Line 6 DL4 comes across as a rugged stompbox, but that is not really the case. When used with care, you can count for years of reliable performance. However, the moment you start beating on it mercilessly, things tend to go downhill. Is this a deal breaker? The answer to that question depends on how hard you go on your pedals. For us, it’s not. Being aware of the limitations of your gear is a good practice that can save you a lot of trouble down the road. There are pedals out there which are built like tanks, being capable of dealing with all kinds of abuse. On the other hand, there are pedals which are a bit more sensitive in this regard. Line 6 DL4 belongs to the latter category.
Going from a standard delay stompbox to something like Line 6 DL4 feels like being given a blank canvas and a box of colors. This thing is packed with so much potential that is only waiting to be released. However, there are downsides to being allowed such freedom and reign over your tone. Using the DL4 can’t really be described as easy. There are so many things to dial in if you want to squeeze out the best performance. However, you can just use the built-in presets and stick to that.
The sound of the effect is where things really start to shine. Considering this is a fully digital processor, many have wondered just how good of a tone this pedal offers, and rightly so. Fortunately for all of us, the DL4’s sound feels fairly organic and natural. Even when you push the effect to its limits, it still responds pretty well.
The best thing about Line 6 DL4 is the fact that it allows you a whole lot of control. On top of that, it offers the looper feature, which is more than can be said for a number of similar setups. Now, look at this entire package through a prism of a fairly competitive price and you got yourself a very good deal.
At the end of the day, Line 6 DL4 brings a good performance at a great price. As such, it is only expected for it to have some drawbacks. We absolutely love the versatility you get, with all of the delay and echo modes available, but we can’t close our eyes to reliability issues. Again, if you take good care of your gear, chances are that you won’t have a single problem with this pedal, but you’d also expect for Line 6 do actually do something about it.
When it comes to its raw performance, we can’t praise it enough. Dwelling into complex delay patterns is not for everyone. However, those who do have a need for that type of experience will find the DL4 to be a great tool. There is so much potential to work with, especially if your demands step outside the boundaries of a regular delay stompbox. As always, it all comes down to weighing out the pros and cons. Those who need just a simple delay effect can probably save a decent amount of money by going with a standard model. Bottom line, we definitely think that Line 6 DL4 is worth it.