Line 6 X3 Live?
April 28, 2008 7:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm seriously considering ditching my amp-pedalboard setup for a Pod X3 Live.

Any Mefi musician-types have any experience with this unit (or the XT board)? I'm trying to avoid having to cart my Hot Rod Deville and pedal board between rehearsals and live shows. This board looks like it will do it all. At shows I'd run it through the PA and have my own floor monitor or run it in my in ear-monitors. User experiences welcome!
posted by KevinSkomsvold to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
What's on your current pedalboard?
posted by wabbittwax at 8:09 AM on April 28, 2008


I 'd belore inclined to get ME-50. No menus, editing mode, or annoying "drill-down" parameter adjustment.

It's layout more closely resembles that of a traditional pedal-board, without pedal-board hassle. Everything is tweaked in real time with dedicated knobs.
posted by sourwookie at 8:16 AM on April 28, 2008


I haven't used the X3, but I've used the kidney bean xt, and it's a really great unit, if you're just looking for a wide variety of sounds. The mid-gain sounds are kind of lousy, though. If you're shredding, it's okay, if you want nice clean tones, it's good, but if you want mid-gain AC/DC-type tones, it's a little rough. As I understand it, the X3 is identical to the xt, but with dual amp sims. The GearBox software for editing patches is dead simple and reasonably stable.

One thing to watch out for is that there has always been a short, but perceptible, delay when switching patches. If you need to go from clean to dirty in a song, there might be a blip in your sound. Also note that, historically, delay-based effects don't tail when switching patches, so you'll get some weird behavior there, too. Try before you buy, for sure.

That said, as many cover bands as I've seen recently, nobody uses these things. Everybody carts around a Hot Rod or a half stack or something. There's got to be a reason for it.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:20 AM on April 28, 2008


wabbittwax: "What's on your current pedalboard?"

Ernie Ball Volume->Boss Tuner->MXR Compressor->BOSS DS-1 dist->Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive->BOSS Delay->Dano Tremolo.

The Line 6 would obviously have a shit-ton more but I'm not so much concerned with the effects as I am with the setup, the amp models and going through a PA. Going through a PA has always been a little dodgy to be and I'd miss the vicereal feeling of having a live amp on stage BUT loading and unloading this shit every week is becoming a pain. In my ideal scenario I'd like to be able to walk into a venue, plop the board on the floor, plug in and go.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:23 AM on April 28, 2008


Oh. I missed the part about using it to ditch the amp.

Not related to that specific model, guitarists I know who have tried going without an amp on stage and using a modeler through the PA generally found it kind of unsatisfying. Like a level of detachment from your instrument.
posted by sourwookie at 8:28 AM on April 28, 2008


sourwookie: "I 'd belore inclined to get ME-50. No menus, editing mode, or annoying "drill-down" parameter adjustment.

It's layout more closely resembles that of a traditional pedal-board, without pedal-board hassle. Everything is tweaked in real time with dedicated knobs.
"

I looked at that one too. Nearly bought it but I read that the amp modeling pales in comparison to the Line 6. How is the amp modeling in your opinion?

I did, for about a week, have the the Digitech RP250 but for live situations it was a disaster because of the selection switches (picture playing a country ballad and in the middle of the song accidently switching from a clean Fender to a wall of Marshalls).
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:28 AM on April 28, 2008


I used this Pod with the optional foot-pedal for years in small venues. I always found it reliable and convenient. Not having it go through an actual amp left me a little cold - but I usually put that down to the fact that having your own amp barking at knee-height is something you get used to.

When we were just plugging the POD into the PA you lose that, and you hear a more balanced, even sound. On paper, this should be better, but in practice you feel (with your tiny little delicate guitarists ego,) like you're turned too far down in the mix.

Having said all that, the X3 Live board looks so awesome that it just might add up to 3 inches to your perceived penis length. Maybe that'll make-up for the fact that you're "too damned quiet."

(By "Your" in this answer I mean "Our". Or, more specifically, "my".)
posted by Jofus at 8:40 AM on April 28, 2008


The delay in switching patches on Pods has been a negative for me. Go for the Pod, see how you like it, but don't ditch your pedalboard & amp.
posted by omnidrew at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2008


I have had a POD XT Live for a few years now. I love it -- the sound is fantastic, and it is great through an amp or for recording.

BUT: It's pretty lousy when you put it through the PA. When I have used it live (rarely), I have put it through an old Roland JC-120 to excellent effect (though you do have to tweak the POD a bit - it has output settings to adjust for what type of amp you're using). It sounds not-as-good through a PA, and there is an unacceptable feeling of detachment from your sound. Nothing really matches having your guitar on stage through an amp that you control, rather than having to fight with the sound guy to get as much as you want through the monitor and hope that it sounds real.

My usual live setup is very similar to yours -- Hot Rod Deluxe (w/ a different speaker) and a pedalboard consisting of an old Rat, Boss tuner, Echo Park, Boss Super OD -- and I strongly prefer it over the POD XT Live and a PA, and I do prefer it significantly over a POD XT Live through a JC-120.

If you're looking to save your back, I would suggest using a slightly smaller amp. The Hot Rod Deluxe, with a little tweaking (aftermarket Jensen speaker and a retube) sounds pretty amazing, and is more than loud enough for whatever you're using it for. I played the Roxy on Sunset with it a few months ago, and the Deluxe was loud enough that it had to be turned down to about 2 even for that venue. If you're playing huge venues, like stadiums, then you will have roadies and sound people to take care of it for you, so I assume you're not playing anywhere that you actually need a huge amp.

On preview: Jofus hits the nail on the head. I can tell that the POD XT Live sounds as good as a real amp when it's put through the PA. But I can't stand not having my own real amp pushing air at my knees and making me feel really, really loud, even if I know deep down that the mix is better when it's not there. Also, if you play a venue with a fantastic sound guy who you trust to tweak amp settings a bit in soundcheck, that becomes almost impossible with the POD.
posted by The World Famous at 10:02 AM on April 28, 2008


Thanks World Famous. Yours is the answer I was more or less looking for. I've read a lot about the XT and the X3 and to hear people on those forums talk about using them through a PA, you'd think it was the second coming of Christ where sound is concerned. I'm sure after sinking $500 into a board, people are going to hype it a little more too. I would :)

I've worked with bands that used basically the same setup; a rackmount amp or Pod going through the PA and they tell me the same things. Its not the same as having your amp behind you. Even with in-ear monitors, I end up half-way through a show, tearing them off and listening to the PA.

Our sound tech has talked about using an iso cab or side filling because I've NEVER EVER pushed the volume up over 2 on that amp and as you know, tube amps sound like ass if you're not pushing them. So I think I'm gonna stick with my current setup and see how that goes.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:19 AM on April 28, 2008


You know where they're great? The home studio. Fantastic for messing around in, especially if you're on a budget and/or in a home studio that doesn't have an arm's length of effects to mess around with. The speaker simulation's not bad and they're certainly an easier solution than playing with mics. Native Instrument's Guitar Rig 3 is possibly a better choice, but then you're dealing with software, which many people would rather avoid.

But live... I'm all with the picked opinions.
posted by Magnakai at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2008


I have a Vetta, which is Line 6's flagship amp. I believe most of the processing is the same as the x3.

I have really fallen out of love with it. It took me a while to notice all the subtleties (or lack thereof) of the sound - it doesn't have the same feel as a good tube amp, and playing it next to one is a depressing experience - its just doesn't stand up. I'm ditching mine for a Marshall TSL

One of the biggest problems I have is that if you dial in a good crunch and then dial down your guitar volume knob, you don't have nearly the same control over gain/tone as you would with a real amp. You also don't have the same sort of dynamics available when you're guitar volume is all the way up (ie playing softly vs. playing hard). I don't think you notice these sort of things when you're jamming on it for the first time in the store.

How would you rank the importance of convenience, variety, and tone? If you want to get tons of different tones that are 90% there, all without having to haul a heavy amp, go for it. If you want one or two really awesome tones, then I would recommend against it. Can't beat a real amp.

My advice is to play a lot over several sessions before you invest in one, and if possible play it next to a good tube amp for a comparison. Also, make sure to play the sorts of stuff that you really will be using the thing for, and try to dial in a few sounds that you think you really could use, as opposed to flipping on all the effects and ripping through scales like Steve Vai (unless thats really how you're going to use it)
posted by jpdoane at 3:48 PM on May 5, 2008


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