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M13 information needed
by Slartibartfarst on 2013-01-20 02:39:11

I'm seriously thinking about a Line 6 M13 but not sure if it will work for me. In the past I'd always used good quality stompboxes but found it a pain to get them all working together with no conflicts so I went the multi-fx route and bought a Digitech RP1000. For the most part it does what I need but I simply don't use amp modeling at all and the effects aren't quite good enough. More accurately, the delays and chorus effects are fine but whatever would normally go in front of the amp isn't. Compressors are awful, they add a ton of noise and the noise gate is poor as it kills any sustain. The Wah effect is equally limited and overdrives are OK at best. This leads to a number of questions about the M13 and I'd be REALLY grateful if somebody could help;

  1. Is there a Wah effect that I can control from the optional expression pedal and if so, is it any good or would I need to buy a separate Mark Tremonti Wah to get something of quality?
  2. What are the Compressors like? Do they add a ton of noise so I need a noise gate and do they actually add sustain like a real compressor?
  3. If the setup is noisy, what is the noise gate like? Is it effective and avoids killing your tone at the same time?
  4. At the moment I use a noise gate all the time. On the M13, would this mean that one of my 4 effects is going to have to be the noise gate?
  5. Same as question 4 but relating to the EQ. I use this all the time so if this also takes up an effect slot, I'm down to only two effects I can use on the M13 and this would make the system largely useless.
  6. Are the overdives actually any good or are they as useless as every other multi-fx unit I've ever tried so I'd have to buy a dedicated stompbox to go with the M13? I always use my amp's own distortion but I usually also like to add an overdrive with the gain on zero and the level on maximum to really tighten things up. If I need even more saturation for modern Metal, I add some gain to the overdrive and again use it on the dirty channel of my amp.

As far as possible I'm after an all-in-one solution but I realise that may not be possible. The M13 may be better but it does seem to me that overdrives, compressors and Wahs usually aren't very good on multi-fx and I don't know why that should be. Maybe it's because they're all digital and to be really effective these effects have to be analog. I really hope the M13 is different.

As further explanation of questions 4 and 5, at the moment I always use a noise gate and EQ and I often use an overdive, compressor and delay on top of that. Sometimes there's also a bit of chorus and a lot of the time I'll kick in a Wah for solos. To me, most of the time I don't use more than 4 effects at any one time so the M13 would be all I need but if the EQ and noise gate take up two banks of effects then the system becomes ineffective.

At the moment, I'm also seriously considering two other options. One is the Boss GT-100 as I can always disable the amp modeling and I could easily run however many effects I needed in whatever order I wanted even with a noise gate and EQ. The other unit I'm looking into is the Carl Martin Quattro as the effects are superb being all analog, it's so quiet I just wouldn't need a noise gate and the only thing I'd really NEED to buy on top of it is a Wah, a tuner and maybe an EQ.

Any information at all on the M13 would be very gratefully received.

Re: M13 information needed
by phil_m on 2013-01-20 09:21:26

Let's see, I'll take a shot at your questions. Regarding the more subjective ones, there's not much I can say, though. How one defines quality in things like compressors and overdrives really comes down to a matter of taste. I've seen so many conflicting opinions on those things even in the analog world, that I don't think anyone could really give a concrete answer to those sorts of questions.

But here goes.

1. There are seven wah models to choose from, and, yes, they can be controlled by an expression pedal. The only drawback is that you have to turn the wah on and off with a footswitch on the M13 and then the expression pedal simply controls the position of sweep. It's different than a traditional wah in the sense that you don't have on and off capability with the expression pedal itself.

2. I actually like the compressors, and I think they basically act like a "real" compressor.

3.  Noise gate is generally OK. You have threshold and decay controls. I actually am not a fan of noise gates in general, and I don't have a lot to compare it to. I do have a Boss NS-2, and to me, the M13's noise gate and it are comparable.

4. No, there is a noise gate setting that can be saved on a scene per scene basis. This noise gate comes at beginning of the M13's internal signal chain. It is essentially the same as the noise gate that can be used as an effect, though. Most people would use this gate instead of the actual effect block, because it frees an effects slot up.

5. EQ does take up an effects slot.

6. I hit on this at the beginning of my reply, but I don't think the ODs and distortions are useless. They are quite good, actually. That being said, I still use analog pedals for this, because these types of effects aren't really something I generally want to use in a preset type of scheme. I use them more as a foundation for my tone, and I will tweak them quite a bit. I just find it suits my playing style better to use analog pedals for this.

Re: M13 information needed
by Slartibartfarst on 2013-01-20 13:10:31

Many thanks indeed. The M13 does indeed look like a good bit of kit and I'm grateful for your help. Having the noise gate separate from the effects banks helps a lot, it's a shame the EQ isn't the same. Somebody else on a different forum told me that the overdrives were the weakest element of the unit but there were some good models in there. He said the Screamer was very good and I think it was the Tube Driver that he also singled out for praise. The compressors should be fine, especially with the noise gate there. I am sorely tempted by this unit but there are distinct drawbacks. I would almost certainly have to go down the path of a separate Wah pedal which increases the cost and there is a chance that this would also apply to the overdrives. If that is the case, the real problem is that it would end up as taking up a lot of floor space and when you're playing in pubs, space is at a premium and the M13 by itself is hardly small. I suspect that these factors will push me towards either the GT-100 or the Quattro. If I was after amp modeling the GT-100 wouldn't get a look in as it's rubbish but as an effects box it has a lot to offer while the Quattro just does almost what I want in a very simplistic but high quality way. You've been really helpful and I'm sorry it looks like this time I'll be going elsewhere. Perhaps my feedback may be useful for the future.

Re: M13 information needed
by phil_m on 2013-01-20 14:00:26

You could look at the HD500, too. It has all the effects that the M13 has, an on-board expression pedal that can be used for wah, and it allows you to use up to 8 effects blocks at once in a preset. It's the same price as the M13.

The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.