With the M13, Line 6 offers an affordable, logical, and useful multi-effects system that is gig-ready with both its looks and sounds.
When it comes to modeling technology, guitarists have some pretty strong opinions. People either seem to love it or hate it. The company that has been primarily responsible for this opinion is Line 6, maker of the original POD and other modeling gear, including effects pedals. The company's modeling effects have been pretty well received, especially the "big green one." Not content to rest on past achievements, Line 6 has recently created the "M" series of effects, which offer even more tonal options and flexibility. The flagship "M" pedal is the M13.
The Line 6 M13 offers pretty much every effect from the Line 6 lineup, including the DL-4, MM-4, DM-4, and FM-4, as well as the individual Tonecore series. There is no amplifier or cabinet modeling; the unit focuses only on effects. The unit allows you to use 4 different effects or even 4 of the same effect in different arrangements, or what Line 6 calls "scenes." These "scenes" can be used on the fly, or you can save up to 48 scenes for instant recall. A built-in looper is also available, offering up to 28 seconds of loop time (as opposed to the DL-4's 14 seconds). A dedicated reverse switch is also included.
It would have been easy for Line 6 to really mess up the M13 royally, given the complexity of the unit. However, the verdict is definitely a thumbs up. The unit is very intuitive to operate, and the color scheme for selecting effects is incredibly helpful (i.e. the modules are backlit, and light-up green for delay, blue for modulation, etc). The inputs, outputs, and expression pedal controls are also very gig-friendly. And how does it sound? Well, they sound like the other Line 6 effects the company offers. I think the delays and modulations are the unit's strengths - digital distortion just doesn't seem to be ready for prime time yet - though all of the effects are ultimately useful. For what you get, though, the M13 is a real bargain.
With the M13, Line 6 offers an affordable, logical, and useful multi-effects system that is gig-ready with both its looks and sounds. The onboard looper is only icing on the cake. The versatility and sound quality demonstrates that Line 6 is still pressing forward in the controversial and competitive world of gear modeling.