Behind the Scenes with Co-Founder Michel Doidic

Michel Doidic, co-founder of Line 6 with Marcus Ryle, reflects on the company’s founding and its pivotal product introductions.

Line 6 is the industry leader in digital modeling technology, and has been the pioneer in bringing a host of modeling products, both hardware and software based, to musicians worldwide. In the following Q&A, Michel Doidic looks at Line 6′s roots and how the product line has developed since its founding in 1996.

Your background was originally in sound design for other electronics companies. What made you decide to branch out on your own?

Michel: As employees or consultants with existing firms, we only had an input in the technical aspect of their products, but not so much the general direction of the line – its look, its features, and probably most importantly for me, the “spirit of the business.” Starting Line 6 gave us a chance to experience all of that. Luckily we were ignorant enough to dismiss all the headaches that would also come along with it.

Line 6 introduced patented modeling technology in 1996 with the AxSys 212. How was it developed, and how did it change the way guitarists create music?

Michel: The ability to dial the specific sound of a classic amp or effect allows guitar players to experience sounds that many of them could not have obtained before. This is especially true for the people who do not have access to expensive classic gear, but who can now enjoy their unique tonal qualities. I believe that modeling has contributed to make guitar playing a much broader and satisfying musical experience.

Can you talk about the development of the POD product line, and what that meant for Line 6 and for guitarists?

Michel: The original POD was a direct derivation of our first guitar amplifier, the AxSys 212. For this first amplifier we had concentrated our efforts on emulating tubes with digital signal processing, but the POD, not having a speaker or a physical cabinet, obliged us to go further and develop algorithms to reproduce speaker and cabinet behaviors. Other guitar processors of that time were rather deficient on these points, and the POD was the first to achieve a good level of realism.

“The POD was a key component of Line 6′s success. Its broad acceptance by the guitar player community made us realize how much of a need people had for accurate modeling of classic gear, and for easy access to a wide palette of sounds.”

I think this product and its successors have allowed guitar players to enjoy their instrument on a new level.

In a relatively short time, Line 6 has produced world-leading products like the Vetta, Variax guitars, Spider amps and many more. Is there a common vision or purpose behind all of these products?

Michel: We love music, and anything we can do to get musicians to make more of it is a good thing.

Can you describe your musical background and influences, and how they shape the choices you’ve made professionally?

Michel: My background as a musician is dismal. I thought for a while that I could play guitar, but whatever pretention I may ever have had in this area was instantaneously crushed when I heard some of the extraordinary guitarists who now work at Line 6.

Luckily, I can still contribute to the music experience through my engineering background, and in fact I am quite happy to concentrate on the instrument itself, and let the real musicians use it to produce something worthwhile.

As far as my original musical influences are concerned I must admit, to the risk of dating myself, that the synthesizer work of Wendy Carlos got me irreversibly into the electronic music field.

“Since Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, I have always been fascinated by whatever equipment can produce new sounds.”

2 Responses to “ Behind the Scenes with Co-Founder Michel Doidic ”

  1. dcmor Says:

    Helloooo

    I have a combo AX2 212 LINE 6 (TUBE TONE)….I have not used it in a long time ( or really used it at all). Plugged it in last week and ran into a few issues….

    No# 1: lots of static from volume/switches on amp when I turn them in any direction (my solution: bought a contact and head cleaner and sprayed them down….no more static…seems to be ok) guessing that dusk etc….was the issue.

    No# 2: floorboard was not allowing me to bank up (same as above, hit it with contact cleaner and now I can bank up)

    No#3: Now my problem is, when i select a preset on the floorboard (or manually on the the amp) the sound is cracking terrible like a shitty guitar jack sound (yes, tried 2 different brand new cables on 2 differnt guitars…it’s not the cable or guitar). Volume drops, and the floor board indicator goes from the selected preset i.e. P28 to E28… and if I switch to another channel, it seems to work for a minute and then goes from ie P14 to E14.

    Friggin shame, bought this amp about 5 years ago as a friend spoke highly of it, but never really got around to playing with it….. now i am starting to see the potential of this rig and am starting to experiment with it…and it shuts me down right out of the gates…lunchbox letdown!

    Did i damage something by using the head cleaner??? is is because the amp has been sitting there not used for 5 years that it does not work ( hope not, all my other gear works and has been sitting there longer then that ).

    at a loss????

    any thoughts or feedback would be great

    thanks
    Dickie

    p.s. i have just done another soft and hard reset on the amp, just to make sure…indicator goes from P “whatever number” to E “same number as P” within seconds, but before it changes, the sound is still “shitty guitar jack” sound….cracking, breaking up etc..


  2. Line6Angela Says:

    Hi, So sorry for the late response. The comment alert wasn’t working and didn’t see this come through. This is something that Line 6 Support can advise on with you, just visit http://line6.com/support/ and you can either post in the “Ask A Question” section or call during business hours. Thanks!


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