Thoughts on the Line6 HX Stomp

May 2021 · Amsterdam, NH · 6 minute read

Some time ago I wrote about my journey from your-perfectly-adequate-2nd-violin player to your-perfectly-mediocre-yet-very-loud electric violin player, and I mentioned that my setup has been evolving. I started with individual pedals, I then switched to using a multi-effects pedal and now ended up with a hybrid solution.

The multi-effects pedal in question is the Line6 HX Stomp , and this post is about how I use it and why I find it to an amazing, versatile, and superb value piece of gear.

Line6 people, if you’re reading this, I am happy to take your money.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that I use the HX Stomp with electric violin and a bass guitar. YMMV with other instruments, although I think most of the comments below are universal.

Ok so what is an HX Stomp: it’s a small multi-effects pedal with 3 foot switches. You can plug additional 2 foot switches or 2 expression pedals (there is only one TRS port, so you need a Y-cable; and no, I don’t know if you can plug 1 foot switch + 1 expression pedal using this method, but in theory you could), and MIDI controllers (in_out). You can use the HX Stomp as an audio interface by plugging it to your computer via USB. You can connect the output directly to FOH_PA, since the HX Stomp supports amp/cab modeling. You can use the “4-cable method” to plug an amplifier into the signal path, and finally you can just use it as a stomp box. So yeah, it’s a versatile little beast. All this in a box the size of, roughly, a fancy Strymon pedal .

Here are my impressions after using the HX stomp for about 2 years.

Pros:

HX Stomp the way I use it now. I may need a small pedalboard, yes.

HX Stomp the way I use it now. I may need a small pedalboard, yes.

Cons:

How I use the HX Stomp

I found some ways to mitigate HX Stomp’s cons. Like most musicians that use effects pedals, some parts of my signal chain remain constantly on. For example, if I am playing violin, my EQ, reverb and phaser will be more or less constantly on. On the bass guitar, compression will always be on (actually, even two compression blocks). On either instrument, overdrive_distortion_fuzz is not only seldom on, but also needs to be tweaked quite frequently if on, so I use a dedicated effects unit for that.

I use HX Stomp’s built-in tuner, because a) I want to have the tap tempo switch and the only way to assign it to the 3rd foot switch is to make it a tap tempo/tuner combination, and b) the HX Stomp’s tuner is amazingly good. I find it better than Boss TU-3 especially in situations when I drop my bass tuning to C, because I want to play bad metal (it’s therapeutic). The TU-3 would get super confused in those low registers, and the HX Stomp just doesn’t.

I never use the HX Stomp as an audio interface, because I find it a bit limiting. I plug its output into my sound card instead, and every preset I use, I make in 2 versions: one with amp/cab sim on for recording, and one without, for practicing and playing live.

The above setup covers my electric violin and bass guitar sounds, fits on a Pedaltrain Nano and thus easily in a bag or on a bicycle (I live in Amsterdam, all my gear needs to be transportable by bike). It allows me to easily record and perform. I’m super happy with it.