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Fast App: 3D Mouse Makes Music

By DE Editors

When it comes to developing world-class gear for the studio and stage, Calabasas, CA-based Line 6 has today’s musicians covered. It offers a vast array of award-winning music creation products — from guitars and amplifiers, to effects, effects processors and recording interfaces. Renowned for its studio- and stage-standard gear, Line 6 invented digital guitar amp modeling technology in 1996, and is currently considered to be a top developer of guitar amps, used worldwide by pros and hobbyists alike.


Similar to the blood, sweat and tears that music legends put into crafting and promoting their top albums, an incredible amount of innovation and design also goes into making the tools on which leading musicians rely. Line 6’s lead industrial designer, Dale Wagler, and the rest of the engineering team spend an average of five to six hours a day working in SolidWorks, each using a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse to design and test their products.

Line 6“When you’re working in a complex application for hours on end each day, working as efficiently as possible has a tremendous impact on the design process,” says Wagler, adding that his 3Dconnexion 3D mouse just makes everything quicker. “I move around models in assemblies so much, that not having to stop what I’m doing and click and drag, and scroll the wheel, is the biggest benefit.”

For the past five years, Wagler and his team have been using 3Dconnexion 3D mice to design their products, from guitar and bass amps, to recording interfaces and stompbox pedals. Most recently, the team worked on the design of the Relay G-series digital guitar wireless system — used by the likes of Steve Stevens with Billy Idol, Peter Stroud with Sheryl Crow, and Sarah McLaughlin on stages across the world, as well as the next generation of Variax modeling guitars: Variax Designed by James Tyler.

Wagler drives the conceptual stage of products, then works closely with the engineering team to finalize the working design. According to Wagler, 3Dconnexion’s 3D mice have had a positive impact on the quality of their designs and the team’s overall productivity.

“You can do these things with a standard mouse, but they’re not as sure-fire,” he points out. “With the SpacePilot PRO, I can move around a model and rotate an assembly with greater ease — as if I’m holding it in my hand.”

Line 6’s commitment to the development of new technologies has attracted a formidable roster of artists who can’t imagine composing and performing without their products. Akin to Line 6 user devotion is the engineering’s team reliance on 3Dconnexion 3D mice.

“I had to work without a 3D mouse for a couple of weeks, and it was like working in quicksand,” Wagler says. “I didn’t realize just how much I relied on it until I didn’t have it.”

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.