Backline, Front-of-House and Monitor in One Box
By Craig Vecchione
Contributing Editor, Harmony Central
I wasn’t prepared for what I found when the boxes arrived from Line 6. Inside the nicely double-boxed cartons was one each of the StageSource L2t and L3t active speakers. I’ve seen and used quite a few active speakers over the years, and they all offer some pretty nice features. But Line 6 has upped the ante with the StageSource line. These speakers have pretty much everything you need to support a singer/songwriter or duo, as well as being scalable for PA support of full bands.
The L2t is a 10-inch 2-way 800 watt bi-amped speaker. The L3t is a 2x10-inch 3-way 1,400 watt tri-amped speaker. The L2t is about 12”x12”x24” and 39.1lbs. The L3t, is about 12”x12”x34” and 57.5lbs. The cabinets are tour-grade plywood with stout end caps and 18-gauge perforated steel grilles. All controls are well protected in recessed panels.
A really nice feature of the cabinets is that the end caps do multi duty as pole mount, M10 fly points, handles and corner/edge guards. The side mounted handle swivels open, and does double duty as a tilt-back stand for floor monitor use if you need a 30 degree angle. On a small cramped stage? No problem; Line 6 thoughtfully added a pair of kickstands to let you tilt the speaker at 60 degrees.
Most small powered speakers can be used for FOH or monitor wedges. But how many speakers know which way they’re oriented and adjust their functionality automatically? There’s an accelerometer and pole sensor built into the L2t/L3t that sense attitude (no, not your lead singer’s ‘tude, sorry…) and select the default output mode accordingly. For those of us who appreciate small details, the Line 6 logo can be turned 90 degrees so it’s readable in either FOH or wedge orientation. If the speaker is not pole-mounted and is vertical, “virtual tilt-back” is activated, which optimizes tuning to direct the sound up towards the performer’s ears.
The back panel has all the I/O and controls you normally associate with a powered speaker. Power switch, XLR/TRS combo input, RCA inputs for media devices, loop-thru XLR out, mix XLR out, master level, speaker mode, and feedback suppression are all here. Additionally, Line 6 has added their L6 Link™ proprietary network system to the StageSource speakers. There’s a pair of jacks (XLR) for I/O, and an indicator LED which displays the network ID of the speaker.
The speaker mode selects one of 6 EQ and DSP modes the speaker will employ; PA, Playback, Floor Monitor, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar. Mode selection changes the EQ, adjusts the crossover frequency, and in electric guitar mode even reduces the HF horn output to emulate a 212 combo amp.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s another panel on the side. It features a very complete two-channel mixer. XLR combo, pad, gain, 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange, modulation, reverb and feedback suppression are provided for each channel. Channel 1 adds the acoustic modeling feature.
For singer/songwriters who perform solo, one of either the L2t or L3t and a stand are all you need to handle your mic, guitar, and media playback device. The acoustic modeling feature is intended to emulate body resonance for piezo-equipped guitars. Line 6 has been doing emulation technology for a very long time, and this feature really warms up the piezo sound without having to deal with a mic, feedback, or boominess.
I found the effects were nicely done…the verb is a hall reverb, and the modulation sounds like a delay/doubler. Both are all you need for the majority of solo/duo acts playing to small venues, and sounded warm and appropriate when used correctly…in moderation.
Any time a performer is mixing from the stage, feedback suppression is important, as there’s no sound guy available to control that annoying squeal. The feedback suppression in the StageSource is effective and easy to use; simply enable it on any input via the on/off button. Holding the button in lets the user choose aggressive, medium or mild suppression modes. The LED on/off indicator glows red, amber or green to indicate the chosen mode. In use it took narrow tone slices when each of the 12 filters found an offending frequency, so the performer’s sound wasn’t compromised, and reacted quickly to clamp impending feedback.
The L6 Link™ will let you connect up to 9 StageSource speakers, 9 StageSource subs and a StageScape mixer, and allow them to integrate as a system, selecting crossover points, setting left, right and center placement, and when oriented horizontally, assume use as a floor monitor. In use it’s really slick; the system simply “knew” what was what, and set things up. The use of just one cable from the mixer and between each component really cuts down on setup time and stage clutter. This really is technology working for you to make life easier.
So, how does it sound? The L2t works great for solo guitar and vocals. The warm natural mids really complemented any guitar we used. The L3t added more punch and low end extension when prerecorded tracks were used, or for guitar and bass duos. With the addition of a sub either speaker is loud enough for full band support in midsized venues. There are several bands in my area that perform in various combinations of solo, duo, or full band. The StageSource’s scalable versatility is perfect for this type of band…bring only what you need for any size gig. The easy setup with L6 Link™ and familiar controls make sound check a short process. And the warm, natural sound makes them the complete package.
For smart, versatile great-sounding active speakers, check out the Line 6 StageSource L2t and L3t. Order yours today and enjoy the protection of our 45-Day Total Satisfaction and Lowest Price Guarantees.