LINE 6 DL4 Mkii

Updated: Sep 13

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Review

The Line 6 DL4 Mkii

The original Line 6 DL4 was pretty much ground breaking when released all those years ago in 1999, combining a huge number of different delay types and even a very versatile looper.


It garnered a number of high profile devotees including artists like: Jo Satriani, St Vincent, PJ Harvey, Gary Moore, Buckethead, Trent Reznor, Johnny Marr, Thom York, Matthew Bellamy, John Mayer and more. Honestly, the list just goes on and on.



Now Line 6 have taken the next step and provided us with the Mark 2 version of this absolute classic.


Let’s take a little look at what makes it so amazing.


Firstly, it’s got all the delays you could possibly ever want. Here’s the list of delays on the original DL4, which are still on the Mkii:



  • Tube Echo -

Based on the 1963 Maestro EP-1, the Echoplex.

  • Tape Echo -

Based on the Maestro EP-3, which used transistors instead of tubes.

  • Multi-Head -

Based on a Roland RE-101 Space Echo

  • Sweep Echo -

Original Line 6, basically adding a sweep filter effect to the Tube Echo emulation.

  • Analog Echo -

Based on the Boss DM-2. These were amazing little units that used bucket brigade chips.

  • Analog Echo with Mod –

A take on the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. Also a bucket brigade design but adding in a chorus effect which is only applied to the echoes and not the through signal.

  • Lo Res Delay –

Based on early digital delay units, which provided much longer delay times than anything previously, but only had 8 bit resolution resulting in dirty, low res echoes.

  • Digital Delay –

A clean digital delay with adjustable treble and bass control of the repeats.

  • Digital Delay with Mod –

Just like the Analog Echo with Mod above, this adds in a chorus to the repeats.

  • Rhythmic Delay –

As it sounds, this keeps the delay to the set delay time e.g. quarter notes, eighth note triplets etc.

  • Stereo Delay –

This one is fantastic, separate controls for delay times for the left and right outs! Ever wanted to sound like The Edge?

  • Ping Pong –

Uses a stereo delay to bounce the repeats from the left channel to the right.

  • Reverse –

Great fun. Plays what you do, but backwards with up to 1.25 seconds of delay time. Can go fully wet, so you only hear the backways part, which can be great fun and inspiring.

  • Dynamic Delay –

Based on a TC Electronic 2290. This is a ducked delay, so when you’re playing the volume of the delays is quieter than when you stop. Can be great when you don’t want the echoes to overpower the guitar part.

  • Auto Volume Echo –

A volume swell fade in with Echo. You can also add tape style wow and flutter to the repeats.



On top of this amazing selection of delays, and I mean come on, is there anything not there that you’d want, there is also a 14 second loop sampler that can do ½ speed and reverse.


Oh, also all the delays have certain modifiers, for example, wow and flutter on the tape emulations, modulation on the ‘with Mod’ delays and so on, all adjusted with the Tweak and Tweez controls.


There is also tap tempo and an expression pedal input which can be great fun and also be great for creatively and experimentation.


There are also 3 selectable presets.


Overall, an amazingly versatile pedal at a very reasonable price.


So, now let’s get to the exciting bit. Let’s check out what the new DL4 Mkii brings!


Firstly, if you are a fan of the original, you’ll be happy to know that we’re in very familiar territory with the Mkii.



Here are the highlights:


  • The layout is very similar, with the controls all in the same places.

  • There are 15 new delays, taken from the Helix family and also all the original delays from the first DL4, plus ‘Echo Platter’ taken from the Echo Pro.

  • You access the original delays by pressing the ‘Legacy’ button.

  • It’s case is made from cast aluminium, so nice a solid.

  • The looper operates in mono or stereo and there is now a 4 button or 1 button version. The 1 button being much simpler with less functionality. More importantly it can be accessed at any time in any pre-sets, and can set the looper in pre or post position.

  • The looping time is vastly increased with 240 seconds of recording time which you can expand into lots more with a micro SD card, and you can then also store loops.

  • There’s an XLR input now, so you can use mics! Delays on your vocals anyone?

  • MIDI – Oh yes, this iteration has MIDI, which the original was sorely lacking.

  • Optional buffered, true and DSP bypass.

  • Connect up to 2 external footswitches.

  • The expression pedal is very easy to set up and can control multiple parameters.

  • 6 pre-sets, instead of 3, or 128 via midi.

  • Physically smaller and lighter.



Finally, and this is extremely cool, there are also 15 Reverbs. These also seem to be taken from the HX family as they share the same names such as Searchlights, Particle Verb, Ganymede and so on.


This is a massive feature and although not much focussed on as yet in the Line 6 information, it takes the unit into the area of other incredibly feature rich pedals such as the Source Audio Collider, and may even surpass them as the looper function on the DL4 Mkii is really good.


Pros:

  • All the reverbs and delays you could probably every want

  • Great looper functionality

  • Expression pedal input

  • Midi

  • Long loop time and loop storage with the SD card

  • An amazingly feature rich pedal

  • A decent price

Cons:


None, apart from I can’t help thinking wouldn’t it be better just to get a HX stomp? It’s not exactly the same of course, but with the Stomp you get all the delays and verbs still, but also amp and cab emulations, drive emulations, straight to desk functionality and so on, in a very small unit.


I think if you loved the older unit but wished for the MIDI control and other more modern features that were missing, maybe this is the perfect product now. BUT, what about the HX Stomp?

What are your thoughts?


Here's the link to the official Line 6 product page: https://line6.com/effects-pedals/dl4-mkii/


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