For those that have read my other live gig reviews, you may notice that I am lucky to have a constant in this type of testing: the exact same venue with the same band. This has been invaluable because it ensures that the tonal differences I encounter with different rigs/basses are NOT necessarily related to room acoustics, different stage positioning, etc. Though this review is more for the Bass Pod, I should take a moment and give some props to the rest of the setup: Fender CS 58 LTD Precision Bass: Like the one in my avatar. TI flats, foam mute, good to go. This bass has, hands down, the deepest bottom end of any bass Ive ever owned, but yet remains tight and controlled. I left my tone knob completely up all night and it did everything I wanted. Believe it or not, with the right setting on the Bass Pod, I even got a respectable fonky-Pbass slap tone! Aguilar AG500 and 2 GS112s: Cant say enough about this pairing. IMO, though the Markbass SD800+Epifani UL410 rig I had could put out more decibels than this rig, the Aguilar setup crushes it in low-mid thickness that hits you in the chest with each note. The coupling of the 12s made my stage tone tighter, and my drummer said I was louder and fuller than usual while not overwhelming the mix. The Markbass/Epifani rig definitely wins on stoopid volume though! Me and Line 6 .. To get this out of the way, I used to dis on Line 6 when they first really hit the scene, both as a player and as one who sold lots of bass gear. When the first kidney-shaped model came out, I plugged in and was very under-whelmed by the presets. Terrible quite frankly. It seemed that every person I sold it too, with a few exceptions of course, invariably brought the little bastard back. This attitude went on for a while as the Line 6 product line continued to evolve. Then I remember seeing that Weezer performance on SNL that was completely sans amps, and yet sounded amazing through the TV. I read later on that they had been relying solely on the rackmount Line 6 units. That bowled me over, but I still wasnt exactly a convert to modeling. XT Live While I was at GC, I had these come in, and was actually a little more won over on the tone coming out. Most of the presets were fairly weak still, and I couldnt exactly dive in to tweaking the thing, but it was much better than I remembered. Still, another year and a half went by, and we arrive at 2007, when I kept up my usual pattern of treating the TB classifieds like a GAS-fueled swap meet. The best thing I arrived at was what Im currently using, insofar as the flatwound-strung Pbass through an Aguilar rig just seems to fit my band and my own tonal leanings. Even still, I felt there was some character missing in the tone, a 3D quality that I have yet to find outside of the DB750 (still my favorite amp). Ive gradually realized that Im not a fan of the ultra-clean, transparent, get-the-crap-out-of-the-way-of-my-pristine-$6K-boutique-bass type of amp design. I like my tone to sound colored. And that simply comes from the few occasions Ive had the pleasure of working with a real engineer in a studio. This was the first time I encountered ultra-hi end mic pres and also the first time I came across Pro Tools and Desk Top amp Modelling and Plug-Ins. I used to bring in my fancy amp setup and would ask to be micd and DId. My long-time friend and excellent engineer, Ryan Zemke, always would over rule me and Id end up taking a DI, usually an Avalon, into his Desktop Plug-Ins. I turned my nose up at it until I actually heard the final mixdown. I was amazed that he could get a fat Ampeg B15 tone with amazing compression, at the click of a mouse. Amazed, and more than a little jealous that I could not seem to duplicate that pure sound live. The AG500 is a fairly dry sounding head compared to the DB680 or DB750 sounds. It was clean and thick, but I thought it kind of lacked real warmth that wrapped each note around the mix. I considered different tube DIs and Pres to run in front of my AG500 when I happened upon Tomixxs review of the Bass Pod XT Live. Now, I must say that Tomixx is one of those TBers whose impressions of gear match up perfectly with my own on the occasions that I run into the same piece of equipment. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=192530 This review got me extremely curious, and I dropped by GC and picked one up. Like every Bass POD before it, only a small % of the presets were usuable IMO and the rest were mostly strange and useless. Like Tommixx reports in the thread above, this pedal will only pay off if you put in the time. And boy did it take some time. I highly recommend that you spend a good 5 hours or so with the headphones and the manual, studying the myriad of possibilities within this thing. I doubt Ill ever really utilize more than 30% of this things capabilities. After a while, I keyed into the ease of modifying and saving created patches. Its a lot more straight-forward than previous POD designs. Just remember to save every EQ/Stomp/Mod change that you make, and youll be good to go. After you have a good grasp of this process, then its time to plug into your rig. This is also a necessary step. Do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT get onstage with this before hearing how it works with YOUR rig, in the mix with YOUR band. The difference between the sweet and buttery tone you conjour up with headphones and the muddy and useless tone you have live is tremendous at times. As I turned up loud in the middle of a week day ( I called in sick that day to work!), I had a revelation while running through some of my bands material: I could save multiple banks, even having one bank for each song that gave me a completely different set of tones tailored exactly for that arrangement. Wonderful!! The basic sounds I hit upon that I used throughout the night were as follows: Adam and Eve (Eden Mod): This was my go-to amp sound live. The only thing I changed was to boost at 300hz, where as the factory preset on that patch has a cut at the same frequency, giving it a muddy scooped-mids tone. I saved my tweaked version of this to every single bank I employed because it really does give my tone a new fullness and a tube-like give to each note. IME and to my ears, Line 6 is dead-on with this one. Suprisingly, the Eden Mod through the Aguilar rig worked out better than the Aguilar Mod or anything else for that matter. It kicked my tone up a few notches, and added a syrupy dimension to the ultra-dry punch of the AG500. I find that the Adam and Eve patch on the Cab selection is the best match up, although the 2x15 works well. Another cool thing about saving this amp to each bank was that I could change the Stomp selection on each one. I might like an octave sound to kick in for a tune (liked the OC-2 mod the best), or maybe even some distortion (Brass Master Mod= almost make your drummer soil himself mid-set. Use with caution!). Even though you unfortunately can not mix some sounds together (like adding an octaver or envelope filter to a synth patch), the variety to be had in keeping multiple banks for different tunes more than made up for it. Sub-Dub: I also saved this patch (the only factory preset patch I actually used) to most of my banks as a respectable keyboard bass tone. Impossible bottom-end without getting overbearing or murky. Also, if you add a Lead Synth patch to the stomp portion, youll get a disgusting Square-wave sound that really works live. Instant thickness in the mix. Slap Tone: The best thing I arrived at was to take the SWR mod, put it through the Eden 4x10 on the cab option, and then add a phaser and an auto wah to the stomp and modulation pedals. Even with a flatwound strung pbass complete with foam mute, this sound was down right wicked! I cant imagine how good a Jbass with rounds would sound with this patch. Also, for tunes that needed a brighter fingerstyle tone, the SWR patch was perfect. On the Gig This was essentially what I used the entire evening. Using different banks was basically a way to save different arrangements of the same sounds listed above. I made sure to write in the bank to be used next to each song on the set list, and I was left with a well-organized, workable tone machine. I cant wait to get surgical with this thing, and hopefully next year Ill be back out there with my Top 40 Neo-Soul Group, where Ill get to mix and match a bunch of different sounds. Im looking to adding some more basses to my stable this year, in particular a fretless Jbass 4 banger and hopefully (come on Roger!!) a Metro Sadowsky P5, and I cant wait to hear the variety of tones Ill have at my disposal between these basses and this wonderful floor unit. Im real excited about taking the AG500, one GS112, a fretless J, and the Bass Pod to a jazz gig. I got a great fretless tone with my Rick Turner with the Achemist Amp Mod (Alembic Preamp) through the Boutique 1x12 (modded after an EA 112). Line 6 has pretty much won me over on this concept. Even though a large portion of this would never be used in any of my gigs, I consider it money well spent for what it brings to my live sound: a portable, perfect studio tone.