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Bass POD Pro LIVE XT...Real World Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tommixx, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. OK, before anybody forms any preconceived notions about this thing TRY it for at LEAST a week or 2........Straight out of the box it is more or less useless....a LOT of the presets are just really pretty bad.......A few of them are REALLY good though if you look for them......I don't mean ANY disrespect at all to the folks at Line 6 but I honestly believe that they could do a better job with the initial factory defaults.....However, with that said I also feel in fairness to them that they HAVE to compromise between Live patches, Studio patches, and headphone patches so I will cut them some slack!!!

    A bit of background may be helpful.....I am a pro bassist and recording engineer for over 25 years and I have probably played just about everything, everywhere at some point or another.....I feel more than qualified to offer the insight I am about to give so come along for the ride, if you want.....

    IF YOU DON'T LIKE LINE 6 PRODUCTS DON'T READ MY POST.....I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR SOMEBODY SAY LATER THAT ALL MODELING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! With that said and off my chest MOST MODELING DOES INDEED SUCK.....but NOT ALL of it......From my own qualified statement a LOT of it does!! I know from whence I speak because I know for a fact that you hear it on the radio EVERYDAY....I do it....my friends do it.....big name artists and especially the "hottest" new (and "Old") producers do it......whether you agree with it, like it, don't like it or do not know the difference is NOT the point!! Read the review for what it is......Please.......

    Anyway.......I preordered this with the thought that I could use it for my Studio work (as a player and an engineer) and hopefully be able to incorporate it into my live gigs as well......I was especially interested in being able to use it on one offs and pickups through a set of in ears or into a good monitor system WITHOUT having to lug around my El Whappo and associated amp etc etc etc.......My bass(es) on 1 shoulder and the POD Live on the other......well guess what? IT WORKS!!!!

    I have spent roughly 18-20 hours tweaking NEW presets and organizing them and laying them out the way I want them.....you get 16 banks of 4 each which = 64 available presets.......I WILL NEVER use them all I don't think but at least I know they are there.......so far I have about 5 banks worth which = 20 patches.....I have grouped my presets by style and amp then varied cabs, effects, and EQ for each.........some have the effects already on and some have the effect off but there if I want to engage it.....I will tell you that you HAVE to tweak this thing to use it the way you want it......IT IS NOT A PLUG AND PLAY BOX out the gate......

    Now as far as sounds go.......the amp simulations are actually VERY good but obviously with a few exceptions....I particualrly like the AMP 360, Ampeg B-15 and SVT, Eden WT300, Fender Bassman Combo, Fender Bassman Head (Silverface), Fender Dual Showmen, and the SWR SM500 (I think this model is actually better than a 900 I have!!) I REALLY want to love the Aguilar 750 (which is illustrated in the book as a DB680???? go figure!!) but I have yet to get the right combo to be great.....I actually have it on several of my presets but I am still tweeking.......

    NOW here is where the depth of this comes into play....YOU REALLY HAVE TO get into the tweaking to figure out the best cab combos AND THE BEST CAB SETTINGS when playing with this thing........For Instance, you HAVE to choose the RIGHT sounding mic and room mix combinations if you are setting this up with headphones.......MY ADVICE IS SET THIS UP THROUGH A RIG FIRST!!!! That way you bypass all the room and mic combos and you can just get on with trying different combos together.....ONLY then would I go back and tweak the mic and room combos through phones!!!!!

    DO NOT have any predisposition when choosing your combnination of amp and cab....TRY THEM ALL to be sure.....you will typically find that there are several cabs that match well with certain amps and you can save each of these flavors as a preset and then you have them!!! I took the time to go through and try EVERY cab with EVERY amp to come up with the combos that I have but for me I liked the AMP 1X18, Ampeg 1X15 Flip Top and the 8X10, David Eden 4X10, Fender Bassman 4X10 new Speakers, Fender Bassman Combo, Fender 2X15 Double Showmen, and the Sunn Coliseum 1x12+1X18......I have matched these cabs with different amps (in some cases pretty weird combinations like an SVT with a Fender Bassman combo with new speakers or Aguilar 750 with a Marshall Major 4X15.....

    There IS NO right or wrong only whether it sounds good or not......obviously they nailed a few and REALLY missed on a few and I am sure that we will probably all disagree on which so I will leave that for another debate.....In my opinion, and more importantly, in my experience, this is a tool just like anything else....you buy it for a specific thing and use it as such....nothing more, nothing less.....KEEP AN OPEN MIND!!!!!

    In practical application so far I have used it on a LOT of different stuff....I used it as an EFX insert into my Thunderfunk (using failry flat settings) into my El Whappo with GREAT results....The Thunderfunk adds just the right amount of "something" along with the El Whappo to make this concept really work....I have used the POD Live into a Demeter Tube DI (to amp and snake) into a Crest CA9 through the EL Whappo with unbelievable results.....this is a really great and flexible rig.....I also have used it as an EFX insert into my 750 but I was not as happy as with the other combos....I have used it to a console to tape and through an Avalon U5 and a Demeter tube DI to tape and I like both....the Avalon was sweeter, but hey, it is an AVALON!! I should mention also that I have a pair of Blackfaced LA2A compressor and the one modeled here is VERY VERY good......BUT, use it in moderation for best effect.....I have set it to come on on the peaks only and I have it on each preset....some of them need the volume boost so you will have to watch for that...

    The most interesting combinations so far have been my bass to the POD Live, out of the POD live to a Demeter tube DI to the snake and run off In ears (Shure 600 with UE-5's) and/or a stage wedge......this is where this rig is really a killer......I walked into a gig last week with my Sadowsky on 1 shoulder and the POD Live on the other pushing the case for my Meyer Floor wedge with a gig bag on top......A couple of the guys wanted to know where my bass rig was and I pointed to the wedge.....almost freaked them out......got a sound check, added a little drums to my wedge mix.....got the bass happening in the wedge and bam I was done in like 3 minutes....took all of 5 minutes or less to setup for a total of under 10 min setup time.....

    UNREAL tone through the EAW PA and my Meyer LOVES this thing!!!!! I could hear the changes I was making to the POD Very clearly and got mondo compliments on the tone from the band and the FOH guy (a friend of mine) The FOH guy was blown away that it was that simple to get my level and I did everything else (IT IS CRITICAL TO MATCH LEVELS BETWEEN PATCHES AND THIS WILL TAKE SOME TIME!!! I used the Live XT out to a console and then used the solo function after I set up the initial levels......just go through each patch and match the gain on the patch from there!!).....he had me more or less flat in the PA and I used the POD to get all of the tone!!!! It could not be any easier (except for the time I dedicated to getting it to this point!!)

    I AM SOLD.......I HIGHLY recommend that if you are looking for a flexible, programmable, tone tool, check it out.....IT WILL NOT BE FOR EVERYBODY and if you think it sucked thats OK......this is all my opinion and LINE 6 did not make this for everybody.....Personally, I KNOW that somebody will use this on a hit record that you will hear in the next 6-12 months and you will never know the difference!!!!! All you will hear is the tone......TRY it you may like it.....

    EDIT: DO NOT GET IT UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO TWEAK!!!!!! That is all I can tell you!!

    EDIT : In defference to incubus post below I am not trying to be pompous but to avoid the trolls who will come on here and say how bad the unit sucks....I WILL use this (along with a Bass Pod Pro XT and Bass POD as well as LINE 6 guitar gear) on projects that are probably going to win Grammys and sell millions of records over the next couple years or so (unless I die or until they make the next 1)....I have no particular tweaking talents and therefore I know that the same results can be had by all with enough patience.....PATIENCE....now that is something that most of us are lacking in these days including myself......

    The Patience required to maximize the performance of this tool will be greater than a number of instant gratification type people are willing to invest and thus my point....If you don't have the patience don't ruin it for someone else who might want to make the investment....IF you don't give it a fair shake and merely dismiss it because "it sucks" you are doing a disservice and in my opinion, borderline slander against LINE 6.......If it sucks to you and you have given it a fair shake GREAT.....you gave it a chance and did not like it, move on......it sucks TO YOU but that doesn't mean that the product sucks....



    I have deleted what I hope was the pompous part of my post....I stand behind the rest of my statements......
  2. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I hated it, and thought it sucked, BUT, for the exact reasons you stated. I didn't have the time or patience to tweak it how I wanted, so I returned it. I have no doubt your review is very accurate.
  3. and a very valid reason.....that is why I wanted to stress the point...a LOT of people will be put off by just how much tweaking it really takes to make full use of the thing......unfortunately, the other side of the coin is that a LOT of people just don't know how to "tweak" effectively to obtian the sounds they are looking for.....In my opinion it would have been far more useful to actually offer initial presets of usable models instead of "special effects" type presets......get the tone right and THEN let people play with the various effect parameters!!! Thank you for helping to illustrate this point for me....


    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  4. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    So far I like it a lot. T you are right about tweaking. The presets I think are pretty bad and the amps and cabs you mentioned are also my faves so far.

    Much more time to spend with it but I am digging the tones and flexibility.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  5. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I've used the old bass POD, not the XT. I agree that you have to spend a lot of time with it to get a lot out, and that was a turn off for me. I did have an advatage being that it was a used unit that had already been tweaked and edited, but ultimately I thought it had too many options that I didn't need to justify buying (even used).

    I am a huge fan of modeling. I adore my J Station, which has excellent capabilities and for me is much simpler to work with than the POD (which I feel is more "feature choked" than "feature chocked"). The main thing for me is that I can do so much recording without worrying about an amp. Every time one of my friends launches into the whole "Modeling sucks" rant I have them record thier best tone on whatever rig they use. 9/10 times I can come very close to matching it, and several times have gotten tones that they agreed sounded better.

    If you known what you are doing modeling is a hugely powerful tool.
  6. This is why modeling sucks, not because it sounds bad. I have a B Pod and I came to the conclusion that I'd rather spend my time on the music rather than perpetually screwing around with the electronics.
    Bassmec likes this.
  7. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Very interesting.

    On Line 6 website I see the Bass PODxt Pro and the Bass PODxt Live, but not the Bass PODxt Pro Live.

    What gives?
  8. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    +1. Im exactly the kind of person that doesn't have much luck tweaking effectively. The presets were REALLY bad for the most part. The most amazing part to me, was how different the levels were on each preset. Some of them were twice the volume of others. I have NO doubt that it is a KILLER piece of equipment when set up properly.
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Oddly enough, one of my favorite 'roots type' players uses one. Johnny Mars from the Bill Kirtchen Trio. I had the fortune of catching the BKT live at The Tin Angel in Phillly a couple of years bacl and JM's tone was just phat and punchy. P-Bass into the Pod into a power amp. Mesa 15 and 2x10. Perfect P-Bass tone. Perfect PBase punch.

    The BKT is a rockin y'all-ternative band, BK his-self was the Tele lead guy on Hot Rod Lincoln (Commander Cody back in the 70's). The BKT is a seriously kick ass unit. You geta chance, you want to check them out! Be prepared to drink beer and lot's of it as it will be a long sweaty evening.

    Whatta suprise that the POD was in his rig. It was just so punchy and 'organic' sounding...
  10. lo-freq......my bad, you are correct I have them all is why I misspoke!!! LOL!! there is NO Bass Pod PRO XT Live .......yet....there probably will be if history holds....Bass POD XT LIVE......

    Mudbass...I agree it is a drag to have to spend the time BUT after you do you have a VERY powerful tool.....


  11. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    Good review. But basically you are saying that if I get it and tweak it endlessly but still don't much care for it (for my needs/tastes) that I am not as smart and brilliant as you are?! Nice pompous touch......review disregarded :spit: .

    (edit......I should probably delete this post but will leave it for the sake of continuity)
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Nice review.

    I definately agree w/regards to the Line 6 stuff. Example-the Bass POD Pro and Floor board i bought on here [actually from Tomixx at that], after some tweaking and searching-i found/made some tones that sound good to me. I bet i can get a lot more tones that sound even better if i spend another 20 hours with it, or it might be as simple as reading the manual online to find a fix.

    That's all
    zon6c-f likes this.
  13. Good review. But basically you are saying that if I get it and tweak it endlessly but still don't much care for it (for my needs/tastes) that I am not as smart and brilliant as you are?! Nice pompous touch......review disregarded

    I wrote and posted a reply to your post but have decided to delete it out of consideration for your viewpoint.....While I did not say or infer anything like what you said I understand your point and you are entitled to it.....I will not be drawn into a response that obviously would be what you are looking for.......I will say again TRY IT, IF you don't like it AFTER you have given it a fair shot, hey......you gave it a shot and it was not for you but that does not mean the unit "sucked".....that would be an insult to me and other people who use them and to Line 6 and I think they deserve my support for what they offer at the price point they offer it.....

    EDIT : Deleted text


  14. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    To say my response was out of line and that I'm a tool is fine.....it may be true. But to imply that I am a troll and my past posts show that I am looking to cause problems is misleading and a lie.

    After re-reading your original post/response my opinion still stands (even more so) BUT I will say that I was wrong for making my post. Very wrong. I should have just posted nothing and gone about my business. I guess I was feeling a little feisty today. So.....I'm sorry for making an inflammatory post in your thread. And I'll consider this matter closed.
  15. I see you got a chance to read my post before I deleted it...for that I am sorry...it was my intent it not be read by anyone....I guess I should have deleted it and then responded in a new post....there is a response above this if you are interested.....I too consider this matter closed....God Bless you.....


  16. relayer66


    Oct 10, 2002
    Zushi, Japan
    I have been fooling around with mine for 2 or 3 weeks now and it's a lot of fun.
    I think it sounds great. I agree not all the presets are that well done or even useful (way too many "out there" special effects patches...about 25% total). Also way too much uneveness in levels between patches.
    I haven't had much time for tweaking yet, but over the last few days have been digging deeper into editing.
    It really does require a lot of patience, and willingness to tweak but I don't have a problem with that. I don't buy the whole "modelling sucks" and "Line 6 sucks" because it's "artificial and digital sounding" bullcrap that seems to be prevalent on this forum, mainly from people who haven't spent much (or any) time using the gear.
    Thanks tommixx for an accurate and helpful review.
    zon6c-f and Gospel Bass Player like this.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Great review, Tom. Incubus, get your Prozac prescription refilled, OK?
  18. TimothyGroovy

    TimothyGroovy Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 3, 2000
    Hong Kong
    Owner: Uni••Sound Endorsing Artist: La Bella Strings
    Thanks Tommixx for the reviews. I really enjoy this thread. :)

    I have checked out Bass PODXT live last week, the reason that I want to check it out is that I don't want to bring my SWR SM-900 to the show anymore, because it is trouble and inconvenience. So I would like to give it try as I knew PODXT live feature a SWR SM-500 model.

    Testing review and opinion -

    I first tested the PODXT live with a MM Stingray 5 and plug it in to a Hartke combo. Same as what Tommixx said, most of the presents aren't that good. So I first tested the present that using SWR model and I slighty modify it to my taste. Frankly, I feel impressive with the sound. I could say it is 80-90% like the actual SWR SM series sounds. I really love it. Later on, I AB test the bass with the PODXT live (SWR mode) and an actual SWR SM-900 with Big Bertha cab. Like what Tommixx said again, I think this model is actually better than the SM-900 in some ways (I own one too :D ), I don't know why and what's the difference is. :scowl: ) Anyway, I feel good with the PODXT Live, it is pretty flexible and I can get all the sounds and effects that I want. I will get one for myself ASAP!! :D

    Tommixx, a question for you. Can you please tell me what you think about the SWR mode of the PODXT live and why you think it is better than a SM-900? Thanks a lot!
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  19. Reggae Eric

    Reggae Eric

    Jun 24, 2005
    This is a SPOT ON review...

    I'm with Cheesewiz... I do not have the time to tweak the settings...endless options... I returned mine as well...
  20. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    That was by far, one of the best reviews I've read in a while...period.

    Excellent job, I have/use a variety of Line 6 equipment. I use it a lot primarily for Bass but the Guitar equipment is where I think they excel the most.

    I am happy with Line 6 equipment as a whole, but as with anything, it has it's strong points as well as it's weak ones.
    zon6c-f likes this.