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Connecting the Firehawk - new user


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Hi Folks,

Been thinking about getting a guitar effects processor for a while.  One thing that I have not been able to find is info on the connection options for the Firehawk.  At the moment, my amp does not have an effects loop  (Fender Mustang II v2) so I guess the only way to connect the Firehawk to myamp is via the guitar input but I think my amp will affect the Firehawk effects because of the modelling option selected on my amp.

So, what is the best/effective option to connect the Firehawk to bring out the proper sound:

- a new guitar with effects loop, or

- a 'dedictated' amp (hifi amp?) with monitors?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Season's Greetings






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Good questions.  The gold standard for a modeling device is either direct into a venue's PA or a flat response speaker system such as Line 6's own Powercab series ( Essentially, those let your modeler become the complete tonal machine with your speaker being where that sound is output exactly as the modeler intended (or if not exactly, with as little coloration as possible). In order of greatness, modeling options are:


1. PA or FRFR (i.e. full range/flat response)

2. Amp with an effects loop.

3. Amp without effects loop.


The problems with 2 and 3 are that, while all rules can be broken in some scenarios, GENERALLY you don't want to stack amps upon amps, and you generally don't want time based effects prior to distortion and amp processing.


Modeling software, particularly Line 6, does some GREAT amps - but if you have option 2 or 3 you're left out in the cold using them because the existing amp is already there, and you'd be stacking the modeled amp upon that one. So, most people using 2 or 3 would want to leave the modeled amp on the Firehawk turned off.


With option 2, by using a four cable method (guitar in to Firehawk through pre amp effects such as compressor and distortion >>>> out of Firehawk out into amp >>> out amp effects loop into Firehawk in >>>> through Firehawk post amp effects like delay and reverb >>> out Firehawk and back in to effects loop of amp >>>> out amp's cab to your ears) your modeler can still take full advantage of pre and post amp effects.


With option number three your modeler is largely stuck just doing pre amp effects, such as compressor and distortion, which is a lot more limiting and you're not getting near as much bang for your buck. Sometimes you can rig some pretty cool purely wet stuff (i.e. guitar + effects added) going from your modeler into the amp's auxiliary in for playing along to music, but that can take a ton of fine tuning and is far from perfect.  Your mileage and enjoyment on that may vary.


Unfortunately, amps with effects loops seem to be drying up as more and more amps go for being modelers of their own to some extent and don't see a need to attach one. This is tragically even the case with Line 6's own Spider series which, as awesome as it is, even the most expensive models do not have an effects loop.


It's for this reason that my advice to you would be that if you are even remotely interested in buying the Firehawk, if you choose to buy anything to go along with it steer clear of an amp with or without an effects loop and instead purchase a solid FRFR speaker system you can be happy with (Headrush makes the most affordably and solidly decent one that I'm aware of, though my ears give a slight preference to the Powercab).


That way you get all the juice possible from your modeler, and if by chance you fall in love and wish to dive in even deeper with some Helix model in the future, you already have future proofed yourself with the FRFR system and you won't need to buy something else yet again.


Edit: On a final note, the other HUGE advantage to an FRFR speaker is it's just stupidly easy. You connect your guitar into the Firehawk, and a cord out from the Firehawk into the FRFR speaker. Done, and with only two cords.

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