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davefergy

Firehawk - Impressions and Tips

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As an early adopter of the Bluetooth concept with my Amplifi 150,  I've invested in a Firehawk and so far I'm mightily impressed. In the early days of Amplifi there were issues:

 

1. Is it gig able....not really, not loud enough, maybe a small pub and that's about it.

2. 4 on-board tones, nowhere near enough

3. Bluetooth in an live environment.... no way, too messy, too risky and too steal able

4. I bought an FBV short board 1 to get more gig tones...mistake, FBV 2 was better but still a frig and not good enough to compete with my stomps.

5. As an in house practice device the Amplifi is great and the stereo is excellent

2. The early Tone Cloud was rubbish.

 

What I wanted was a multi FX that was bombproof and easy to operate at the point of delivery. The Firehawk has got it right. Use the Pad /phone to select and tweak the tones you need, upload to the Hawk and go gig. Brilliantly simple. The tones are mighty close to premier stomps, so much so, only us musos would notice.

 

The Tone library is now brilliant...just type in "Rory Gallagher" and its there, My Gibson custom is magically transformed into a battered Strat. Its also occurred to me, having tried it with a number of guitars, that the guitar is fast becoming redundant; it really doesn't matter what you plug into the Hawk, it still sounds great. This is great news for guys and girls who can't afford a premier guitar.....with the Hawk ... you no longer need one. 

Word of warning, do NOT try to upgrade the firmware via a pad or phone it can hang and take forever. Use the downloader software  available from the L6 website. Yep the boys have got it right, the latency doesn't bother me, you just need to time your run if switching during a performance. Most times I'll be using a max of two tones. And most times I'll be using the pedal as a boost. I've been reading about the Helix and OK it takes this stuff to the next level, but quite frankly for most gigging musos the Hawk is more than enough. Keep rockin Fergy

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I own lots of gear  - including  lots of Line-6

 

Ive had a Firehawk FX since June 2015

 

 

Compare HD500X vs Firehawk


 

 

I have  current  Firehawk FX Firmware  1.10  - which added:

New Live Edit mode—adjust nearly all amp, cab, and effects parameters without a mobile device (or even taking your hands off the guitar)

New one-button looper (20 seconds)

New channel volume from stepped encoder

Improved Bluetooth performance

Removed artifacts when switching patches; we're still working on making it faster

Volume pedal now behaves properly when switching patches

 

1st thing I did was install the ASIO Driver on one of Windows 7 machines, install the Line-6 updater 1.03 app, launched and updated the Firehawk FX  to Firmware 1.10.

 

Ive been using my Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones, and JTV-69 Guitar, and Installed the Firehawk Remote IOS app on my iPhone 6 Plus  - the patch change delay is not bad -  much faster patch to patch changes compared to Roland GR-55) and zero audio dropouts when changing patches while streaming music backing tracks over bluetooth into the Firehawk.

(The FireHawk's Audio over Bluetooth wireless transfer exhibits the lowest latency I have ever experienced for a Bluetooth Connection!)

 

The LCD Display is very crisp and legible from all off axis viewing angles, and I really like that there is a dedicated Reverb knob  and FX Tweak knob, without need to dive into menus if working without the Firehawk Remote Editor running an iPhone/iPad. Many factory Preset Tones are quite usable for a gig.

 

When no Tablet or iPhone  / iPad is available, the latest FireHawk FX firmware 1.10 added a "Live Edit" mode  - which allows adjusting all FX parameters in stand alone mode using the Expression pedal / data wheel.

Firehawk FX Factory presets PDF


 

Its very lean on I/O compared to HD500/HD500X, (Missing the L6 Link, 3.5mm TRS Aux Input, No Mic Input)  - but having access to the nice Firehawk Remote Editor on my iPhone or ipad makes for a fast  / easy setup  / teardown and minimal cables.

 

 

Re patch change time,  It changes patches faster than the GR-55, but see more details below    - one thing to say its a joy the Firehawk FX does NOT mute the backing audio tracks on every Patch change  if you are streaming them via Bluetooth or USB from your iphone /ipad

( many examples of competing gear employs a "mute circuit" on the final output that mutes All audio for 150-200 milliseconds on every patch change while the DSP loads new patch data, and that can ruin a "one man band" live gig/

 

For creating tones and learning songs, I already I prefer Firehawk  over my HD500. Firehawk is whisper quiet, excellent dynamic range  - no Hum, even when I used the Normal Mag Single coil PUs on my JTV-69, and I'm in a rather noisy EMF environment in an industrial building.

The Tone Matching tool actually works rather well, I was surprised that when I played arcane tunes in my iTunes library, the Line-6 Firehawk Tone match tool would suggest 6 or 8 patches from the cloud, and in seconds I was in the ball park for playing along with the tune.                  

 

On my Firehawk FX - some patches do take a bit longer (but never more than 250milliseconds) and occasionally I hear a momentary burst jump in volume, which is tolerable for some, and not for others


 

But know this about Line-6 Firehawk FX

 

* No compatibility with Line-6 Monkey

 

* Its clear the Firehawk is just a AMPLIFI FX100 with a bit more switches and Variax VDI input.

 

* No compatibility with Variax Workbench HD

 

* No MIDI control over USB

 

* No PC /Mac Editor

 

* USB Audio is USB Class Compliant   I have much easier time using Firehawk FX as Audio interface on my iPad+CCK  -  but very different experience with the Windows ASIO Driver that is fixed at 48kHz  - and I had to give up due to noise and distortion from the ASIO Driver and not use Firehawk FX with Reaper or Sony Vegas or Protools. Might improve if I try ASIO4ALL.

 

* If changing preset to preset , if both presets include delay, but the new preset has a much shorter delay time, there is a noticeable high volume "Chirp" during patch changes that occur only if you are playing guitar during the patch change.

 

 

My typical worst case Firehawk FX Patch change noise occurs under these conditions

 

1 ) Select the factory preset "03C Move Like Jagger"

 

2) Strum a chord and let ring, and while the chord is still ringing, select factory preset "03D Tighten Up"

 

3) I always get a very loud high volume burst of chip noise duration 80 milliseconds   = maybe I can pretend I'm Steve Stevens doing Rebel Yell laser gun sound FX blasts on patch changes.

 

 

Same  very loud burst of noise during patch change also occurs frequently on other presets too

 

like changing from "04C Day Tripper" to "04D 4 What Its Worth"

 

Line 6 says they will have another firmware update to address the chirp on patch change  - but not expecting it until December 2015.

 

 

My work around for bird chirps on patch change is  just be sure to stop playing guitar and mute all strings before changing presets at the gig

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just be sure to stop playing guitar and mute all strings & count to 3 -  before changing presets at the gig 

 

Unless you enjoy jamming along with loud bird chirps each song. 

http://line6.com/support/topic/13511-time-between-preset-swtiching-unbearable/

Bird chirps- only good for the songs Disco Duck, and the Bird Dance! Lol!

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I've been following the thread(s) that express the frustration and disappointment from Firehawk users re: the lag and noise concerning preset changes. I don't deny that it's a serious issue, and we've been told that Line 6 will release a firmware update to address the issue soon.

 

But there are some users, like the OP and myself, who don't rely on fast, silent preset changes during songs. You'll note that he acknowledged the latency; it's not an issue for him. For me, and the OP, the Firehawk is not only very useable, it offers very good tones and other advantages that he so articulately described.

 

Let's allow a positive thread to exist. Do we really need to hijack a new user's first post - a very positive one - by repeating negative things that have already been (and can continue to be) thoroughly expressed elsewhere?

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Well said. There are no issues with the Firehawk that bother me enough to sell up, and if I did I wouldn't hang around to bash it at every opportunity.

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Human nature. How boring would the forum be if the Firehawk was perfect and everyone was positive? There's a lot to like about it, but it needs some surgery. There's a certain joy in waiting for a firmware fix. When? Will this cure it? Nobody has mentioned before that this pedal has got a lovely name.

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Pre-curser to Firehawk FX Remote control 

 

6 years ago Line-6 and Daddario had iPhone remote control for Variax and Vetta  


Demo of the new MIDI Mobilizer and Planet Waves Rig Remote Application featured at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2009

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Even though I traded my Firehawk for an HD500X, I like the unit and it's possibilities. I still check back to see if progress has been made in the areas the unit was lacking, as well as offering any help I can to users, as I did log many hours on the unit, and know a thing or two about it. When the Firehawk was first introduced, it had a picture of a Pheonix on it, in mythology this bird burned, and then rose from the ashes in a rebirth - hoping that happens to this unit as well, as lots of bad press coupled with the release of it's big brother Helix is it's "burn". It has too much potential to be obsoleted.post-2158087-0-38630000-1442361557_thumb.jpeg

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One of the many things i really do like about the Firehawk is that it contains everything you need to gig in one box. 

 

For the past decade i have been gigging with a rackmount POD XT PRO and a separate midi foot controller which, to be honest has been great, it's made me a huge fan of line 6 gear as it's been 100% reliable and sounds fantastic.  (Being so used to this is probably why i want the ability to program more presets per bank.  We don't like change do we?  by we, i mean me, myself and I).

 

So, for me, the Firehawk is a single piece of kit that can not only do everything the POD can do but a whole lot more.  Whats more, I'll be carrying one less box around with me, win win situation! :D   Turn up with a flightcase and my guitar and I'm good to go.

 

I had a case made by flightcase warehouse that fits the pedal etc in the top and all my leads etc in the bottom;

 

board%202_zpsupcba0yl.jpg

 

 

if anyone would like info on the box let me know :)

 

 

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Does your box sit angled or flat on the floor? I like it! Especially how you've incorporated the infuriatingly awkward shaped plug!

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The box i had made has a removable pedal board which everything is fixed to.  this board currently sits flat on the floor but i am toying with the idea of fitting bigger feet on the rear so it all sits on an angle on the floor.

 

this was the design;

 

box%20design_zpshofvo7ut.jpg

 

Id have it made so there was more room on the board for the connections at the rear / to attach things etc if i did it again...

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One of the many things i really do like about the Firehawk is that it contains everything you need to gig in one box. 

 

For the past decade i have been gigging with a rackmount POD XT PRO and a separate midi foot controller which, to be honest has been great, it's made me a huge fan of line 6 gear as it's been 100% reliable and sounds fantastic.  (Being so used to this is probably why i want the ability to program more presets per bank.  We don't like change do we?  by we, i mean me, myself and I).

 

So, for me, the Firehawk is a single piece of kit that can not only do everything the POD can do but a whole lot more.  Whats more, I'll be carrying one less box around with me, win win situation! :D   Turn up with a flightcase and my guitar and I'm good to go.

 

I had a case made by flightcase warehouse that fits the pedal etc in the top and all my leads etc in the bottom;

 

board%202_zpsupcba0yl.jpg

 

 

if anyone would like info on the box let me know :)

Looking good.

 

Does your box sit angled or flat on the floor? I like it! Especially how you've incorporated the infuriatingly awkward shaped plug!

I bought a 3rd party power supply as a spare. A bit shorter and a bit wider. It doesn't have the swappable pin section so is a bit more robust.

 

But I run a 9v line inside my cable snake and leave the power brick behind my amp.

2uf8rdf.jpg

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