Catalyst series by Line 6 is a new approach to modeling amps. This series tries to enhance previous modeling amps and make them better. The amp offers interesting tones, effects, and other features.
Line 6 Catalyst series includes three combo amps in 60, 100, and 200 watts. The features are mostly the same. The main difference is that the 200-watt version has two speakers.
This is a Catalyst 100 review which is a two-channel combo amplifier. It’s affordable, has all the necessary features, and has enough power to be used on live shows.
The design of Catalyst amps is really beautiful and I like how it looks. It’s modern and has high-class look. The black color with silver logo and text looks amazing.
The front of the combo is very minimalistic. Line 6 and Catalyst logo and speaker cover. Nothing more. In the back, it has all inputs and outputs, power switches, etc. It’s an open-back style combo.
The control panel is on the top and I love this style of combos. For me, when controls are on the top it’s much easier to use. You can see everything which makes tweaking the knobs easier. Also, I love how knobs and switches are divided. It’s clear.
I can’t say much about the design of Line 6 Catalyst. It looks beautiful, modern, minimalistic, and very convenient.
The approach to amp models and overall tone features is similar to many other modeling amps. This amp offers six different types of amps that produce different tones. You can switch between amps with a dedicated knob.
All Line 6 Catalyst combos emulate the same amp types:
- Clean – Pure clean tones at any level
- Boutique – Adds little drive and sounds like a boutique amp
- Chime – Makes clean tones more diverse and three dimensional
- Crunch – Classic crunch tone
- Dynamic – Has a great response
- Hi-Gain – Classic Line 6 hi-gain tones
Of course, you can choose only one amp at a time. But because it’s a two-channel amp, you can switch between clean and overdrive tones. This option makes it a great live combo.
I like this approach to tone features. You have all you need from pure clean to very hi-gain tones. Also, six different types of tones are enough to create any tone you like. I don’t like modeling amps that have too many options. It’s overwhelming.
In my opinion, this is a great feature of Catalyst amps. It gives you every tone in a small package. Also, each tone is very different from the other.
Line 6 Catalyst doesn’t lack in effects. In total, it has 18 effects in three categories. You can use modulation effects, delays, pitch, and filters. And it also has a dedicated section for digital reverb.
The reverb section has a switch and a knob. If you want to engage the reverb, you press on the switch and control the reverb amount with the knob. It’s easy to use and I like it. You can choose from the chamber, shimmer, modulated, plate, hall, and spring reverbs.
Effects work the same way. But to switch between different effects, you need to press the switch button and hold it for about 2 seconds. After that, you can pick an effect. The knob controls the amount of effect.
I love how effects and reverb work. Catalyst allows us to control the level of effects. Some amps have only one option. But with this combo, you have full control over your sound.
I like how simple but powerful the effects and reverb sessions are. You can dial great tones in seconds without too much hassle.
How Does Line 6 Catalyst Sound?
Tone features and effects are great to have but the most important thing in guitar amplifiers is the sound. So, how does Line 6 Catalyst 100 sound? Is it good or just another digital amp?
Overall, I can say that this amp sounds genuinely good. Each amp type has distinct tones and the quality is good. Much better than other Line 6 amps. Namely, the Spider series.
The clean tone is very good. It’s crisp clear and really rich. And it works great with single-coil and humbucker guitars. You can just add a little reverb and it can produce amazing clean tones.
My favorite tone is the boutique. It sounds like a tube amp. It’s clean but has little overdrive overtones. Reminds me of when a tube amp starts to break. It is my favorite lead tone.
Chime and crunch are very standard tones. Nothing special. Chime adds an extra dimension to the clean tone. And crunch is very British-sounding. Reminds me of the Vox amp sound. Great for classic rock and blues.
Dynamic is a very interesting one. The tone itself is nothing special or different but it has a great touch response. Volume and playing style will have a great impact on the tone. I like this particular amp type.
And lastly, the hi-gain section is just normal. I don’t think there are any improvements. Yes, it sounds better than Line 6 Spider but it’s not a great tone. In general, I don’t like heavy tones in modeling amps. Maybe that’s the reason. But hi-gain is my list favorite out of the six tones.
Overall, I can say that Catalyst 100 sounds good. Some tones are great but some of them sound generic. But effects and reverb tones are great. It’s much better sounding than Marshall Code but it’s very subjective.
This amp is packed with different features. Other than amps, sounds and effects it allows you to control your sound even further. These features make it a great modeling amp.
First of all, this particular combo is equipped with a 12” speaker. It’s a Line 6 Catalyst HC100 speaker with a power of 100-watts. It’s a full-sized speaker which is always a great feature. Also, the sound of the speaker is really good.
As for controls go, it has a 3-band EQ with additional knobs. You have knobs for channel volume, gain, presence, master, and boost. Amps, effects, and reverb have dedicated controls.
All the inputs and outputs are on the back of the combo. Catalyst amps feature direct out, FX loop, aux in, headphones, MIDI in, etc. And it has a power attenuation feature. You can use full power, half power, or 0.5 watts.
But my favorite feature is that it can be used for recording. Line 6 Catalyst has a built-in 4-channel audio interface. It can record in 24-bit depth, 44.1 kHz, or 48 kHz sample rates. Also, it comes with an app where you can control the tones even further.
Line 6 Catalyst has a footswitch which you can buy separately. It’s a simple footswitch with only two switches – one for channels and one for effects. I love the minimalistic footswitch.
In my opinion, the Catalyst 100 combo from Line 6 is a really good modeling amp. It’s much better than the Spider series and a couple of other modeling amps I have used in the past. The tone options and effects are great, the overall sound is good, and it’s packed with features.
My favorite things in Line 6 Catalyst 100 are the sound of boutique and clean amps, effects, minimalistic approach, and recording capabilities. Also, the 100-watt power allows me to use it in rehearsals or live shows.