Digital amp modelers have become one of the most popular options for guitarists of all experience levels.
However, there is one common issue that until recently has kept this technology from becoming the go-to solution for guitar amplification: the lack of “amp in the room feel”.
That issue has been solved with the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus – an all-in-one FRFR and speaker cab simulator that gives your amp models the sound of real guitar cabinets.
As an owner of this awesome speaker cabinet simulator, I’m going to give you a first-hand Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus review in which I’ll explain what gear is compatible, how it sounds, and whether or not this product is right for you.
At a Glance…
What we like: multiple authentic speaker cabinet sounds in one 1×12 cabinet
What we don’t like: small LCD display menu
- 18 Powercab speaker models with firmware 2.0, plus FRFR.
- 250 watts (125dB SPL)
- 128 user presets/IR locations
- Edit through Powercab Edit
- MIDI and XLR In/Out
- Angled stands for use as monitoring wedge
Our Verdict: As someone who relies heavily on amp modelers, specifically the Line 6 Helix family of products, I find that the Powercab 112 Plus is a must-have for live performances. It’s well-built, but light weight. It offers tonal flexibility through FRFR and Speaker simulation functions, as well as routing flexibility, so you know it will work in any venue. Most importantly, it sounds amazing.
Who is the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus Best Suited To?
The Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus is best suited for guitarists that uses amp modelers and needs a way to perform live. If you’ve tried amp modelers before while listening through monitors or headphones, and felt that they lacked the feel of a traditional tube amp, then this is the ideal solution.
It can certainly be used in the studio for recording, but its main purpose is for playing with other musicians, especially when you need to be loud enough to play over drums.
Features and Benefits
Build of the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus
As the name suggests, the Powercab 112 Plus is a 1 x 12 speaker cabinet design. There are currently three models to choose from: Powercab 112, Powercab 112 Plus, and Powercab 212 Plus. The Powercab is designed to work and sound as if you are virtually installing a new speaker into your cabinet.
This is done with Line 6’s proprietary speaker monitoring that relies on a custom built 12” coaxial speaker with a guitar-cone instead of a PA-style cone.
All models include six speaker models (Vintage, Green, Cream, Jarvis, Bayou, Essex), but the Powercab 112 Plus and 212 Plus have an extra 12 models beyond that, as well as 128 presets for storing third party IR’s.
I find these added speaker models and IR storage to greatly expand the functionality of the cabinet, as different amp models can require different speakers.
The 112 Plus weighs around 33 pounds (about as much as most combo amps of the same size) and can be tilted back, making it very gig-friendly.
Controls of the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus
One of the major features that the Plus model has over the regular Powercab 112 is that the Plus has an LCD control screen. With this screen you can access additional presets and Global EQ parameters. This is really handy in live situations when you need to adjust your parameters for a specific room or band.
While I find this LCD screen to be a necessity, it is also somewhat clunky and dated in its design. It doesn’t seem to match up with the advanced menu style that the Helix family utilizes even though this came out after the Helix was released.
Overall this is a very nitpicky critique, as the Powercab Plus is a simpler device and has full edit capability when using the Powercab Edit software.
The Controls on the back of the Plus model are also more expansive. It includes and extra input so you can set up two Powercabs in stereo. You’ll also find inputs for USB, MIDI, L6 Link, as well as Ground/Low Cut controls.
Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus Sound
While there are plenty of videos that show how the Powercab 112 Plus sounds (see below), you really have to hear it in person to understand just how much this unit responds, feels, and sounds like traditional speakers.
Below are some diagrams from the Powercab manual illustrating the differences between Speaker Modeling (as done with the Powercab models) vs Cabinet Emulation/Impulse Responses.
The Powercab sounds just like a speaker, as opposed to a speaker/cabinet that has been recorded with a microphone, processed, and then played back through monitors or headphones. The Powercab is ideal for recreating live speaker tones.
Each of the included speaker models are dead-on and sound exactly like the speaker they emulate if they were placed into a 1×12 cabinet.
- Product Type: Speaker Modeler/FRFR
- Speaker: 1×12” coaxial speaker
- Power: 250 Watts
- Dimensions/Weight: 22.3”w x 18.2”h x 12”d (35.5 lbs.)
- Features: 18 Speaker Models, 128 Presets/IR banks, MIDI In/Out, LCD control screen, XLR DI out.
Limitations of the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus
In my opinion, the Powercab 112 Plus solves any limitations that the original Powercab 112 posed, such as limited speaker selection and limited routing options. If you want as few limitations as possible, go with the “Plus” model.
As with traditional tube amps/speakers, using the Powercab speaker models means that what you hear isn’t what the audience hears. If this is an issue, then running the Powercab in FRFR with third party impulse responses is the way to go.
Popular Questions About the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus
With 250 real watts of power and 125dB, the 112 Plus is loud enough for you to be heard over drums and small band applications. I have gigged mine in every size room imaginable and I have always been able to hear myself on stage. Hooking to a PA on top of that ensure that the crowd can hear me.
The only time I wasn’t loud enough was at an outdoor show with no PA space available for my guitar rig. I could hear myself, but the crowd couldn’t. In this case, you may need the Powercab 212 Plus.
The Powercab 112 Plus will work with any amp modeler, including Line 6 products, Yamaha THR30II, Kemper, Axe FX, Quad Cortex, etc.
It will not work with tube amps unless you load the signal down to line level using something like the Suhr Reactive Load or the Universal Audio Ox Box, or if your amp has a “Line Out”. Plugging a tube amp into the Powercab like it’s a regular speaker cabinet will damage your amp.
The Powercab 112 Plus is designed specifically for guitar, not bass. You could run a bass amp model using the Helix or HX Stomp at low volumes in FRFR mode and it will work, but you risk damaging the unit if you push it to stage-level volumes.
The stock option is a model of a Shure SM-58. This can be changed/customized through the Powercab Edit software or with the onboard LCD screen.
Yes. The Powercab 112 and 212 Plus have 128 IR/Preset slots available for you to load your favorite third party IR’s. The regular Powercab 112 does not allow this feature.
A Speaker That Makes Your Amp Models Feel Right
The Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus is a one-of-a-kind speaker cabinet for amp modelers.
While your only option for amp modelers before were studio monitors, PA speakers, or headphones, the Powercab 112 Plus digitally emulates raw, natural speaker sounds that you’re used to hearing in a room. It is loud and sounds like old-school, vintage speakers.
If you rely on amp modelers for live performances like I do, then this is a must-have piece of gear.
- Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus Review (An Owners Experience)
- Line 6 HX Stomp Review (Find Out Why I Own It & Love It!)
- Bass Amp vs Guitar Amp (Everything You Need to Know)
- Guitar Amp Noise Troubleshooting (Fixing Buzz, Hiss & Hum)
- How Does A Guitar Amp Work? (Everything You Need to Know)
Davis Wilton Bader is a professional guitarist/writer based out of St. Louis, MO. He plays in the bands Lumet and The Outskirts.