The Line 6 Gearbox Plug in is very simple to use, there are only 6 knobs on the main interface (Drive, Bass, Middle Treble, Presence, Volume). I do recommend looking through the manual to get a better feel of working with the pedal options and cab models/amp models though. The Gearbox does come with a manual that is easy to understand and comprehend. This plug in can work with Mac and PC computers, it is an effect and amp modeling plug in software that uses a high amount of CPU. The amount of CPU that it uses almost made it impossible for me to run more than 3 instances of it without wanted to deal with the cracking sounds that most DAW programs start to make when there is no CPU to use. Even when running with ASIO drivers it still uses a significant amount of CPU. There are a few different bundles you can purchase of it as well including the Silver bundle and the gold bundle and they will cost more.
I originally started using the Gearbox plug ins with the Line 6 Hardware USB back in 2008. I loved it and it had some great effects emulations to use. I also had the Toneport DI that allowed me to have very low latency monitoring because it served as a dongle for the Line 6 GearBox software.
This whole package has over 80 effects and comes with a total of 78 guitar amps and 24 guitar cabs/28bass amps and six microphone preamps. I loved working with it but do not use it as much anymore mainly because of how it ate up the CPU. It makes it almost un usable some times and If you do not have a lot of RAM available then I do not suggest wasting your money on this because it is not cheap. If you have sufficient RAM then I recommend buying it because of how many great amps it comes with!
Hassle-free installation, the DI included in the software bundle works as a big dongle. You can then use the Gearbox software as a plug-in or in standalone mode. As usual with Line 6, the manual isn't really necessary, since the 'interface of the software is pretty intuitive.
I use it on a Dell XPS, with 4 Gb RAM and a PreSonus FireBox under Windows XP. I have never tried to open 50 Gearbox plug-ins at the same time, but I have used 7 or 8 instances in my projects and it all runs perfectly. Do note however, that it takes quite some time to load the plug-in, surely because it checks the presence of the "dongle."
I've used it for six months and I am very satisfied with it inasmuch as Line 6 modelings provide directly usable sounds. It is not hard at all to get a fat rock or metal sound doubling guitar tracks. The hundreds of sounds available are more than enough for any style and, besides, you can download user presets via the software.
However, the design and usability of the latter could be improved. When used as a plug-in, you'll regret the disappearance of the tuner, which is present in the standalone version. Further, the preset manager isn't the most practical when you have tasted the simplicity of Guitar Rig, for example. Finally, compared to Guitar Rig or ReValver, you have fewer routing and processing possibilities: The effects chain is almost fixed, for instance, and you can't split the signal... But what you lose in terms of freedom, you gain in ease-of-use. And since I almost only use the presets with a reverb here and a compressor there, I can't really say that it annoys me. The same goes for the modelings: It's not a Vintage Amp Room-like raw emulation where you can find the sensations of on an amp, but rather the emulation of a recorded amp. What I mean to say is that the sounds produced by Line 6 plug-ins sound as if they had already been produced, with compression and effects processors. Some may think that's a defect, but for me it's an attribute: What I want is guitar parts that suit my songs nicely and without the need to rack my brains or enrage my neighbors ─ and that's what Line 6 offers me. Whether the JCM 800 sounds like a real JCM 800 or not is something that doesn't really interest me that much...
No issues, you need to use line6 Monkey to keep it updated.
I use it on a Fujitsu Core2duo with 2Gb Ram, but I use that computer as a source to record with another one, so I can't really tell you whether it works fine when you open 10 Gearbox instances...
But I do recommend the GoldBundle, which has many more effects and amps.
It's a very good alternative to POD 2 or Pocket POD, but certainly not PODX3. Its great advantage is to be able to use it with a Toneport to record vocals, basses or something else other than guitar.
You can use it with the packs (metal shop, FX junkie, collector classic, and gold bundle) to have dozens of amps and pedals. It's been 3 months since I have it but still haven't explored all possibilities! It's truly incredible.
However, it's impossible, or virtually impossible, to use it live, it's for studio only. Live, you need to couple it with an amp or a POD X3!