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MGR/Derek Mok 02/03/2004

Line 6 POD 2 : MGR/Derek Mok's user review

« Line 6 Pod 2.0 »

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Bought at Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles for around $220. Manny's across the street sold it for around $40 more, if I remember correctly. Unbelievable.

No musician and producer I've met who owns this piece of gear has disliked it, and I'm no exception. Now, there's a certain quality about miking a real amp that no amount of processing can achieve with plugging a guitar direct, but the Pod will add many more dimensions to that direct sound.

There is a vast array of presets and they do sound good, but I tend to switch them off in favour of the manual mode, which allows "What you see is what you get" operation. In that respect, I was able to get Stratocaster-esque tones out of a Gibson SG, a searing blues-rock wail akin to my favourite standby, the Zoom A1 setting, McGuinn-inflected electric 12-string sounds out of an Ovation 12-string's piezo pickup, a horn section emulation from an Ibanez R-series superstrat...the list goes on. This is definitely the most versatile piece of guitar effect I own, and when you count any effects stompboxes you can connect into the chain, the possibilities are unlimited.

This unit also fulfills the primary reason I'd bought it in the first place -- to record loud, aggressive guitar parts without rousing the neighbours.

I actually tried both the Pod 2.0 and the Pod XT at Manny's in Hollywood and I liked the older version, the 2.0, better. The XT gives you more controls and presets, but is also much bigger, more expensive (around $100 more), and harder to use intuitively.

Sometimes my P-90-equipped SG actually generates *more* noise with this Pod than with my old Marshall amp. I can't figure out why since there's no sound speaker on the Pod. Some of the amp model settings are drastically quieter (I'd say too quiet) compared to the others, even with Channel Volume, Drive and Output up near 10. Though this may not be inaccurate to the qualities of the original amps modeled (and was probably an intentional design decision), I'm not a big fan of the discrepancy. The tuner setting seems erratic -- it's dead accurate with my Epiphone Dot, but my Gibson SG was definitely more out of tune than before after I'd used this tuner on it. I had to tune it by ear to improve it. Bizarre! This is also one massive piece of gear, not even including the transformer you have to use with it.

The chassis is good, though the knobs could be a little sturdier. They seem designed for ease of turning rather than longetivity.

I do like this piece of gear and get great results from it, so its shortcomings are easily overlooked. It's been a defining piece of studio equipment since its inception.

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