Roger Linn Design AdrenaLinn III

The AdrenaLinn III guitar effects processor features a range of beat-synced effects for guitar.BONUS MATERIALWeb Clips: Click for audio clips and videos that accompany the March 2008 issue of EM.
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The AdrenaLinn III offers a slew of new features, including new amp models, a compressor, reverb, and much more.

Like the previous two AdrenaLinn units, the AdrenaLinn III ($375) is a modeling guitar-effects processor notable for its impressive beat-synced filter effects. The latest version offers dozens of updates and new features, many of which were requested by AdrenaLinn II users.

This review will focus on what's new with the unit. To read about the AdrenaLinn III's legacy features, check out the review in the March 2004 issue of EM (available at www.emusician.com).

TO GOOD EFFECT

Among the many new effects on the AdrenaLinn III is a compressor. It offers fast attack, fairly fast decay, and a high compression ratio. The compressor has been optimized to increase sustain without adding distortion, and to level the volume of the resonant peaks from the AdrenaLinn III's various filter effects. The compressor sounded great on nearly all the unit's amp models and effects, especially in combination with the arpeggiator and filter-sequence effects.

Also new to the AdrenaLinn III is a stereo reverb, which offers five room types. Each room has a preset ambience depth and decay time. When the reverb is engaged, delay time is limited to 700 ms. I wasn't particularly impressed with the reverb; when turned up, it muddied the sound, and when turned low enough to not interfere with the other effects, it didn't add much.

The AdrenaLinn III includes four new Modulation effects types: Auto Pan, Wah Pedal, Fixed Filter (basically, the AdrenaLinn's existing bandpass, lowpass, and highpass filters in a single-band EQ configuration), and Sci-Fi, which is designed to transform your guitar into a special effect. The Modulation effects are one of the AdrenaLinn's most impressive features (see Web Clip 1).

The unit's user presets and drumbeats have each been increased to 200 slots, and the new presets really show off the power and potential of the AdrenaLinn III's amp models and modulations. Another AdrenaLinn III addition is a tuner. The 3-digit LED display shows you which note you're playing, while the eight vertical LEDs to the left of the parameter matrix become tuning meters. The tuner seems accurate and is a welcome feature, especially for live applications.

AMPED UP

There are 16 new amp models in the AdrenaLinn III, including 4 bass amps. These emulations encompass models of popular amps as well as original Roger Linn Design algorithms. The models that were carried over from the AdrenaLinn II have been enhanced to more fully capture tube characteristics and dynamics. Each amp model offers a footswitchable boost and a post-distortion treble control.

The models in the AdrenaLinn I and II were solid, but the AdrenaLinn III brings them to a new level. The result is far more sensitivity and realism in response to playing dynamics. I was particularly impressed by the authentic response in the level of overdrive that resulted when I adjusted my guitar's volume knob. The new amp models sound excellent either by themselves or in tandem with the Modulation effects.

A MATTER OF CONTROL

The scope of the MIDI control over the unit's parameters has been greatly increased. MIDI footswitches can be assigned to control nearly all on/off functions and actions that can be toggled. You can even connect two MIDI expression pedals simultaneously. Each preset can have its own MIDI assignments.

The physical buttons now offer more functionality. The right toggle button is called Effect and can be assigned within any preset to toggle any effect or combination on or off. Both the right and left buttons may be reassigned to any action that can be toggled.

Patch programming has never been particularly user friendly on the AdrenaLinn. With the added parameters in the AdrenaLinn III, building presets has become even more tedious. Fortunately, SoundTower (www.soundtower.com/adrenalinn3) offers the AdrenaLinn III Sound Editor software (Mac/Win, $39.95). It features onscreen buttons and sliders for all the effects, sequencers, filters, and drum parts and makes editing a breeze. It should be a mandatory purchase for anyone who wants to seriously edit the AdrenaLinn III.

A SHOT OF ADRENALINN

I don't have space to cover all the new features and tweaks to existing ones that are present in the AdrenaLinn III. Suffice it to say, if you already own a previous AdrenaLinn model, you owe it to yourself to purchase the upgrade kit ($99). If you're looking for an excellent-sounding and unique effects box for the studio or your guitar rig, you can't go wrong with the AdrenaLinn III, especially in combination with SoundTower's software editor.

Value (1 through 5): 4

Roger Linn Design
www.rogerlinndesign.com

BONUS MATERIAL
Web Clips: Click for audio clips and videos that accompany the March 2008 issue of EM.