058 | Line 6 DL4: A Closer Look at this Delay Modeler Stompbox | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 58 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have one of my all time favorites, this is the Line 6 DL4 delay modeler. This thing is utilized by some of my favorite artists so I am super pumped to be talking about this one today. We'll see you on the other side.

Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today. Hope you are having a great one. Well, I am super pumped for this episode. I've been waiting a long time to cover the device or stomp box that we're going to be talking about today, and that is the Line 6 DL4 delay modeler. I absolutely love this thing. It has a special place in my heart. And yeah, excited that this one is on the schedule for today's topic.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. This was really the first delay pedal that I actually played. It was my friend's board, and he had one of these. He had some cheap Behringer reverb, a couple Amazon brand distortions or whatever, and I didn't have any pedals at all, so this whole thing was mind blowing to me. But this one in particular, I remember it was huge, it had presets, you could loop on it, and it was just crazy. And so I'm really excited to be talking about this one because I feel like, for me, it really changed my view on delay, and just how you can use it, and how you can use looping, and different things like that.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah, I absolutely am in love with this thing and I wish I would have had one long time ago. So I actually just got this one maybe a couple months ago and it's like wow, where have you been all my life? So yeah, as you mentioned, this thing's been around for quite some time. It's got some years on it. It's actually considered really one of the first digital modeling effects units out there. It was released in 1999. There's 16 vintage delay options, everything from the Echoplex to the Roland Space Echo to even the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man. I mean there's so much baked into this one thing. And it's not small. It's a big one, for sure. Wish they would make it a little bit more compact.

Eric Wilson:
But I mean for 1999, I mean that was over 20 years ago now. So I mean at the time this thing was mind blowing, to see presets on a delay with tap tempo, and then they hid a looper in there, to think that you could get all that and then 16 different delay modes was just mind blowing at the time. And I mean now, it's like okay yeah, you can get a lot more in a lot smaller package and whatever, but there's something to be said for this being the first thing to really set the guitar pedal industry down that trajectory to get to the place we are today.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh sure, it really set the standard for everything else that's followed. And speaking of that, I know I've been on the fence, so I actually have in my possession, and normally I'll buy these pedals really for this podcast just to see what things are all about, but I have a Boss DD-500, I've got a Strymon TimeLine, and I have this one. And man, often I would think, looking at averages, I think this thing typically has the delay position on my board more frequently than the TimeLine and the DD-500. I just love this thing, and I want to love the TimeLine more, I want to love the DD-500 more just because they're more modern, but I don't, I just love this thing. It's got such a ... They're all in the digital space, I get that, but this thing just has a warm sound to it that I just can't seem to match or mimic on either one of those other devices.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, my favorite thing about the DL4, and I think this might be what sets it apart compared to a DD-500 or a TimeLine is the approachability of it. With digital effects, there's often a lot of menus, there's a lot of things you have to worry about, screens you have to navigate, whatever. What the DL4 did is it really took all of this digital stuff that Line 6 wanted to do in this package and laid it out in a way to where it just looked like any other piece of gear, any other pedal. So instead of having to go left brain, thinking super analytical about 35% this, digging through menus, doing all that kind of stuff, you can really stay in the right brain space, and just create, and just keep going, and keep going down that rabbit trail of let's see what this does, let's see what this does, and just turning knobs, and playing, and stuff like that.

So they just made it super accessible, super easy to use, and I think that's why it's taken on this really big following. Especially among the indie rock scene. I mean this thing owned the indie rock scene for the last 20 years with bands like Grizzly Bear, Radiohead, Deerhunter, all using this thing on just countless recordings, countless records. And I mean if you went to any indie rock show in the early 2000s, or even up to today, you'll still see these on the stage.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly, man. I think you nailed it just right there. I mean just the ease of use is super simple, and I know it's one of the big reasons I love it. Again, I'm thinking about the TimeLine or even the Boss DD-500, as you mentioned, you just have to go into menu after menu after menu, and adjust things, and change things. And it's just all right in your face with the Line 6, which I love. You can set it where you want it, and move on, and start creating stuff, which is great. And as you mentioned, I mean this thing is adored by many.

Like you mentioned, there's so many bands that use it, so many musicians that I personally admire. I mean the list goes on and on. I mean you're talking about big names like John Mayer, John [Frusciante 00:06:12], Matt Bellamy, James Hetfield, Billy Joe Armstrong, St. Vincent, ed O'Brien, Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready. All these folks have used this pedal or continue to use it, and it's had such a major contribution to all the music that we love and know today, which yeah, I'm blown away by this pedal and I understand now why so many people actually love it.

Eric Wilson:
Definitely. And I know for me, like I said, it was my first gateway into really delayed pedals as a whole. I mean I played my friend's DL4 and then I went and found a Line 6 Echo Park on Craigslist or something. That's how much I liked it is I wanted to find something as close as possible for not that much money, but yeah, it sounds really good and it's just super easy to use.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. And speaking of money, if you guys are curious about how much one of these actually costs, you can get them brand new street price for about 299. I was able to actually snag this one on Facebook Marketplace for about 100 bucks. It was missing a power cord, which I actually had to get off of Amazon for about $35, but all [inaudible 00:07:21], and I think Eric, you saw one the other day for 75 on Facebook Marketplace?

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. These are one of those ones that you can catch a deal on every now and then, because I mean people know what they are, but a lot of times people will just have them sitting around for years and years, and they're like, "Well, I'm not using this, so I'll just get rid of it." And so oftentimes, people let these go for quite a bit less than, I mean in my opinion, what they should, but also that works out for you if you're the one who ends up buying it.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. And I mean definitely one to just ... This is one of those pedals I would confidently say you need to have as part of your collection because not only is there so much history wrapped behind it, but again, like we talked about earlier, it's just so easy to use, and from a tonal standpoint, it's going to compete with some of probably your favorite delays that you own. In fact, I would say, in some cases, maybe even trump it, as it does with the stuff on my board. So yeah, it's a good one. You're owning a piece of history if you own a pedal like this.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. So as far as I was talking about very tactile controls, very easy to use kind of thing, the whole control setup is six knobs total, and then four foot switches, and you have three presets, and then a tap tempo foot switch, as well as those switches also function as your looper controls for this pedal. So you have that mode knob all the way to the left and that controls what algorithm, what setting, what type of delay you want, and then it's followed by delay time, then repeats, then a tweak control, which varies from setting to setting, a tweeze control, which I don't actually know what it does, I've never known what it does, it just does cool stuff, and then all the way to the right, you have your mix. So I mean like I was saying, extremely straightforward, it has less controls than my Memory Man, so it's just really easy to use, really approachable for any musician just wanting to create.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. And as you mentioned, with all those options, you get really just endless supply of vintage delay, which is amazing, and a really solid looper. So yeah, I'm a huge fan. Well, I'm excited to actually demo this for you guys. We're going to get things connected here and get this all set up. Eric, what guitar are you going to go with for today?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to go with the Tele for this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, we'll get that all set up and we will see you guys on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
Alright, that was the Line 6 DL4, a super approachable delay, an echo machine that just gets you all the tones that you've always wanted from all the vintage units.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah. Again, I just love hearing this thing, huge fan, obviously, as you guys can tell from this episode, so if you don't have one, go pick one up, it's a great one to add to your collection. All right. Well there you have it guys, that is the Line 6 DL4 delay modeler. It's a big one, but it's a huge value add, again, to any board. All right, well join us next time. We're going to go back into the world of modulation, specifically we're going to go into the world of tremolo and we're going to be covering the Walrus Monument. This is another solid pedal, particularly for those that love the world of tremolo.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I'm excited to talk about that one. I haven't tried the Monument. When I was deciding on a tremolo before, I was going between the Kodiak and the Monument, and I decided to go with the Kodiak, so I'm excited to try out the one that I didn't end up buying.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's a good one. I've enjoyed messing around with this one over the last couple days. So yeah, should be fun to unpack that in the next episode. We hope you guys have a great day, have a great week, and we will catch you in the next one.

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