Studio 110 LowDown Bass Combo
This is not the best
bass amp in the world by any means, but for the money this amp is a solid value and
sounds better than I ever thought an amp this small could possibly sound at this
price point. Because of the portability I use it way
more than any other amp.
I wanted a light easy to move amp to replace an 80 lb rehearsal combo I was
tired of dragging around. I tried out a MarkBass 12 inch combo and liked
everything about it except the price, but was about to pull the trigger on it
anyway when I saw the
little Line 6 Studio 110 and tried it out. If I was gigging with a small
combo on a regular basis and it was my only amp, then I could justify spending
way more for a more powerful combo. But the only application I was seeking to cover
at the time was rehearsals.
The MarkBass is a much more
powerful and better sounding amp partly because it has a piezo tweeter.
What it came down to was, how much power do you really need for rehearsals? Just
enough power to be heard is the answer. It was easy to talk myself into
trying the smaller Studio 110 and keeping nearly $500 in my pocket. If it
didn't work out I could sell the Studio 110 and then get the MarkBass combo.
Over two years later I am still glad I gave the Little line 6 amp a shot.
The Studio 110 is not super loud and isn’t going to cover any gigs with my
loud-as-heck old school R&B band without a PA direct out feed because everyone
else is either direct or miked up including the drummer with his 7 microphones
into a mixer just for him. I have played small indoor gigs with the Line 6
patched into the PA with no problem. While the Studio 110 can’t deliver
foundation shaking lows with only 75 watts pushing just one ten inch speaker, I
do hear the bass enough to know what I'm playing. Even with a cymbal happy drummer in a rehearsal setting
I hear it fine. This amp actually works great when using it
as a stage monitor with a direct out to a beefy PA.
Anyone that says it is not loud for the size and weight should try this trick!
After pushing a preset button jiggle the MASTER knob. That’s it! For
some reason mine likes for you to tweak a knob after a preset change and when
you do the jiggle it gets much louder. Maybe yours will respond in a
I’ve not found another amp at this size, weight or price that has this kind of
volume, tone and versatility. It is more versatile than anything else in
the size/price class. It sounds very clean with no hiss or hum or noise
that shouldn’t be there and can be dialed in so that it sounds totally professional.
Does it sound just like the amps it is supposed to model? In stand-alone
use the answer is a definite no for the 3 models I’m thoroughly familiar with.
I owned a used mid 60’s Ampeg B-15 from 1968 till 1970, a new 1971 SVT and a new
1974 Marshall Super Bass. All these amps were used with multiple 15 inch
speakers except the B-15 which had only one. Therefore a lone 10 inch speaker
can not possibly move as much air or create that buzzy sternum
vibration that a 15 incher does. I’ve never owned an Eden so I can’t say
how close the CLEAN model is, however there is no tweeter or horn in this combo
and I suspect you really need one to nail that Eden sound.
I can say for sure that when the
Line 6’s XLR out is patched into a PA system with adequate subwoofers or into a
mixer for recording you hear much more of the character of the vintage amps.
To me the R&B setting into a mixer still doesn’t sound exactly like a B-15
because it is more midrange heavy than I recall my B-15 sounding. When I
bought it I expected the R&B setting would be my very favorite, but my favorite tone actually
turned out to be BRIT and second favorite ROCK. R&B comes in third with
I think the BRIT tone is
very rich and full range with layered overtones that compliment a passive bass
making it the best all around tone for me. It also records well.
Unlike the larger Line 6 bass amps, the BRIT tone is a “HIDDEN FEATURE” and you
have to read the manual to find out how to turn "BRIT" on. Once turned on
BRIT replaces the CLEAN model until you go through the process to switch the
models around. Not having
fast access to CLEAN is OK with me since I do not use CLEAN much at all unless
I'm using a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver. The CLEAN is
so pristine that it could be used for an acoustic electric 6 string or as a PA
at a small function in a pinch. You can also use CLEAN with the tone
controls all set flat when adding
something like a SansAmp or Line 6 Bass Pod.
The ROCK tone is a velvety
bass heavy model that works great for ballads and old school R&B. I also
like this tone best with a pick, but I don't use a pick much at all.
A tone model I do not use is
"GRIND" which does not suit my style at all and sounds like an amp on the verge
of self destruction. If you play hardcore rock or metal the distorted GRIND
be precisely the tone you want instead of the vintage tones that I prefer.
The SYNTH emulation could actually be useful
as a novelty, but since there is no way to turn
it on and off on the fly with a footswitch and because the controls are so
intricate to manipulate I think the SYNTH tone is strictly for recording in a
multi-track environment. The SYNTH also does not track finger slides or
hammer-ons and offs. I’d prefer the Studio 110 come with a chorus effect
or an envelope filter instead of the SYNTH.
One of the best things about this amp and the other Line 6 Low Down bass amps is
the compressor, which is one of the more musical compressors I’ve ever used
because it allows dynamics. The Studio 110’s compressor lets you play
louder or softer unlike other compressors that squash everything to the same
volume no matter how hard or soft you play. This compressor sounds totally
natural! The XLR out sounds really good. I’ve never used the quarter-inch
preamp output, so can’t comment on it other than other people use
it to feed a bigger power amp or another combo to get the same emulation.
It has a CD/MP3 mini-input for CD/MP3/IPOD devices. I take it with me on
vacation and business trips with headphones and use it for practice with my IPOD
and it works perfectly. A built in tuner would be welcome on trips too.
There is one input instrument input jack with a push button pad for
passive/active instruments and if you are not careful you can accidentally push
this button plugging in your instrument. One input jack for passive and one for
active would be much better and probably have cost about the same.
The more I use it the more confidence I gain in it. I would never hesitate
to recommend a Studio 110 as a great practice/rehearsal/recording amp and even
passable for small gigs or to amplify an upright. It will not replace my
gig rig in the loud R&B band where the drummer uses 7 microphones, but that
isn’t what the little amp was designed to do. I find the larger Line
6 amps so heavy that I might as well drag the stack around as use one of them.
I sure like walking into rehearsal with amp in one hand and bass in the other
and gear bag over my shoulder. That is easy in and easy out in one trip
instead of 3 or more.
In January of 2010 I went
into rehearsal with an orchestra consisting of two keyboardists both playing
electric piano, two guitars (one into a Marshall Plexi half-stack with the
second into a Fender Blues Deluxe), a strong drummer behind a plexiglass shield,
Latin percussion, sax and flute for a local stage production of "FOOTLOOSE:
THE MUSICAL." I planned to bring my gig rig to the theater for the actual
performances, however the sound tech said the Studio 110 was plenty loud enough
at rehearsals to use in the show and did not want me to change it out.
When we got into technical rehearsals the band moved from the floor to a series
of elevated platforms of varying heights at the very back of the stage which
doubled for a bridge in the show. Actually I wound up turning the amp
around to fire toward the back of the stage instead of forward into the audience
due to the actors all wearing wireless microphones in front of the elevated
orchestra. Anything much louder wouldn't blend as well because of the live
acoustics of the room and the fact that there were at times ten to twenty
actor-worn wireless microphones all live on the stage some of which belonged to
the actors who were trying to sing. I did not even patch into the house
sound system. The Studio 110 did great all by itself. I used my
regular pedal board with Selector A/B/Y switch, Aphex compressor and Tech 21
SansAmp with the Studio 110 set on CLEAN. This experience is one of the
reasons I say the more I use it the more confidence I place in it.
While more expensive than typical starter amps, this is possibly one of the best “FIRST” amps
an electric bassist could have because it can take you from lessons and home practice to band rehearsals and jams, to home
recordings and even those first gigs. Instead of having to buy different
amps at each development stage all you need is this one and you'll wind up
spending less in the long run. If I could have only one amp, I probably
could get by with a Studio 110 so long as I could patch out to a PA with
adequate subwoofers. It may come to something like that because my current gear seems to be getting heavier and heavier all the time.
Every guitar player is always amazed at the little Studio 110's volume output
and it gets the job done in rehearsals.
I’d like to see a “LIVE 110” model with the additional following features for
more money: 1-Add a button for the “BRIT” tone and ditch the "SYNTH" and put
a chorus and/or an envelope filter in place of "SYNTH." 2-Add interface electronics and jack
for the Line 6 Shortboard pedal controller. 3-Add a built in tuner and a
tuner mute switch. 4-Add
an additional input so you can plug in one passive and one active instrument
simultaneously. 5-Add a “TILT BACK” bracket such as the one on the new Ibanez
Promethean bass amps. 6-Beef up the
power some to maybe 100 to 125 watts but try to keep it to a 10 inch speaker and the 12
inch cube design. 8. Adding a small tweeter/horn with level
control would also be great but not if it made the cab larger. I realize all this would cost more money and be a
tad heavier, but these features sure would make the little Line 6 far more ideal for playing live.
Probably the biggest test of any instrument or piece of gear is the question, “What you would
do if it broke or was stolen?” I’d be ordering another just like it!
This amp has already given me my money’s worth and it just keeps going.
The only micro amps that would suit my needs for a rehearsal amp as well as the Studio
110 cost at least twice as much. No way would I upsize to the Line 6 150
watt combo. It is too heavy to move as easily and too big to take on
vacation or trips with golf clubs, luggage, groceries and all the other stuff I
have to take. The only two amps I've seen I would consider as a
replacement for it are the MarkBass CMD 121P and the Ibanez Promethean 1x10.
Both are better sounding, far more powerful and way more expensive.
However both of those are also a little bigger and one thing I like about the
Studio 110 is the micro size. It is a 12 inch cube.
For a good economical cover,
I use one from “BS Covers” they are a very affordable quality product and are
about $30 delivered. Until I bought the cover I just used a kitchen
garbage bag to cover it when moving in the rain. That worked good too.
If you are considering
buying one, Line 6 has a demonstration video you might enjoy here: