Line6 DL4 : echoing the good tone !

I’ve just received a “broken” Line6 DL4 . The pedal bought for really cheap turned out to be….perfectly working !?

actually there was no sound and lights coming out of the circuit when first plugged. But it gave me life signal one time and that was enough to lead me thinking that the DSP and its additional components were ok . During the short time  all fonctions were working properly.

Working with dsp , micro-controllers and digital circuits is always tricky because if one of those is fried the pedal will inevitably fly and land in the trash. Those pedals have all the magic and actual effect is in the micro-controller and its memory chip (contained in it or in a external memory). The effect is a program made of a “code” . The same things used in the software world.  Analog is , more or less, always repairable . A fried transistor can be replaced , a tube can be changed , ect…In digital device if the guilty is in the digital world, the compagny won’t send you a new micro-controller or Eprom (the little IC which keeps the program safe) , It may happen though . Simply because if you have the proper tools you can read the program and make copies if you’re a bad person. Note that some compagnies don’t send schematic for the same reason. But analog can’t really hide ideas and it’s really simple to trace up a schematic.

No need to say that if the compagnie no longer live it’ll be really hard to get the code (unless you meet the designer on  internet forum !)

Anyway, The DL4 (and the other pedals sharing the same case) uses a relay (triggered by the input (mono) jack ) to switch on the power supply when a chord is plugged. So the first thought was to check  if the voltages were where they should be and the second thought was if the relay was making  its job .Then … it started living again ?! pretty weird isn’t it? a ghost haunting the circuit ? I don’t think so ,  things happen by reasons . I think there is (was?) something disturbing the powering up of the circuit. The pedal was made in 2005 and the contacts of the jacks aren’t clean . So maybe a rusty contact or non proprely founctioning part of the jack or nothing at  all !

Actually I can’t really know if the pedal was really broken or damaged. I observed that people  don’t even bother reading manuals and therefore  blow up gear so easily and sometimes they think they did without having really damaged anything.

The pedal lives and works as expected , what asking more ? (especially for the price….). If the issue comes back I’ll investigate more.

So, what to say , sound wise, about this DL4 delay ?

it’s pretty good actually , a lot of options available , a tap tempo and 3 saveable presets. The numbers of possibilities makes it , maybe, hard to use at first . But it’s not rocket science and the “user interface” is simple .

There’re still few things to complaint about . First  you have access to a lot of different kind of sounds but to only 3 saveable presents . It may be frustating. I guess the rackable “pro” version is present to bring this opportunity.  The second  annoying thing is the tonesucking of the pedal if plugged directely between the guitar and the amp. In the debugging process I always plug the device alone in the line (instrument, device , amps) and in this case I was surprised that the sound really suffered and lost colors ,  and ending up with a poor and dull sound when all the effects are bypassed . In doubt, I put my trusty Boss TU2 (to have its buffer in the line) and the sound became clearer and “normal” .

The third one , and the most important one, is the massive volume loss ! what that hell ?! Are the pedal tested before being shipped ? No one noticed this in the prototype process ? It’s apparantly matter of two resistor which set the gain of the output gain stages. I’ll change that ! (I won’t post photos , you’ll find all you need if you want to do the same on the internet. There’s some plenty well documented topics available)

And the Forth thing is the 9vAC 1.2A power supply . But this baby needs energy to live.

So , I can add that I’m pretty happy with it , especially for the price . It ins’t perfect (but who is ? ) but will be modified  !

thanks for reading.

06/14 : a small update about this Line6. The issue comes sometime. It isn’t a power issue , even if off the voltages are present in the circuit . My thougts make me think that one of the IC controlling the footswitches are the reason of this misfonction. I’ll read some datasheet and see what could be the issue (or ? it’s just the crappy momentary footswitches that people complain about and change . But they work fine so …. )

 

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