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Pod X3 Live - Sounds ok through amp?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Hippos Melas, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Yes, I did search already.

    I've been eying up the POD X3 Live for a while now because I'd like to take my recordings up a step in terms of tone (namely, the amp modeling). I also don't have a lot of money to spend on random pedals, so this seemed like a good idea.

    I've read a bunch of reviews on this product on M/F, and some of them comment on how this thing sounds great through a PA system, but awful through any sort of a practice amp or other rig. Can anyone comment on this?
  2. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    No X3 yet but soon.
    I do have the XTLive and run it through fairly flat speakers(ACME B2's). It sometimes gets run through a Henry 8x8 which does OK but it not 3-way or flat full range IMO. It actually sounds GREAT through my children's Behringer keyboard combo amp(3 way speaker: 15, mid, tweeter).

    If you are getting it for recording it will do great.
    IMO, you'll be better off getting a small keyboard combo amp that can handle bass IF small and inexpensive as a requirement. YOUR ears should be the final judge and it is strongly suggested that you try amps out with an X3 before buying.
  3. wonderjosh


    Nov 19, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    The X3 sounds good through an amp, not perfect, but good. Ideally you would run it to your power amp in or effects return so you can bypass your amps preamp.

    Another option is using modeling software (Guitar Rig, Amplitube, etc.) on your computer instead of hardware modeling, assuming you like the way your amp sounds now.
  4. wonderjosh


    Nov 19, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    You can turn the speaker sim off and just use the amp sim btw, so running through keyboard amps is unnecessary (and impractical if you need to be loud enough to play live).
  5. I don't really care about the way my amp sounds now except for the fact that it makes my Sterling sound like it should (more of the natural tone of the instrument). My Axeport Pro seems to take away a lot of the punch to the instrument despite my constant tweaking of settings and I can't figure out why.

    Also, I have the Acoustic B20 amp which doesn't have an effects loop built into the amp. Would the X3 Live sound ok with the line out sent to the amp? Or does it just sound like garbage at that point?
  6. CertifiedLurker


    Nov 20, 2008
    Most people that say the X3 sounds better through a PA are usually guitar players. The reason for that usually has to do with distorted tones. I haven't heard another bass player say something similar

    Some guitar players also think that you shouldn't use the cab sims when usually an actual cab from. I don't look at in the same way. I treat the cab sims as filters. Whether I use them or not depends on what type of sound I'm trying to achieve.

    It can sounds fine. Just treat you amp as another preamp. Start with its EQ flat and use the POD for the tonal adjustments.
  7. That's interesting. I can't say I'd ever care about distorted tones as I'm more likely to just drop $90 on a Big Muff Pi or ODB-3 to get that tone instead.

    Thanks for your input! I'm going to go ahead and pull the trigger on it at the end of May.
  8. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    The secret to having the POD X3 sound great in a real amp/rig can be found here

    Have a read and a listen @ http://www.zinfanus.com/svt

  9. I love the POD X3 Live for gig purposes. Signal path = bass -> POD X3 Live -> POWER AMP IN -> 4x10 cab.

    For me, you get much better results when you take these two points into consideration:

    1) plug the POD into your amp's POWER AMP IN, not the regular input jack on the front of your amp. That way, you let the POD become your sole preamp.

    2) there's a button on the X3 called "outputs" where you indicate your rig (is it DI, Combo Power Amp, Stack Power Amp, Combo Input Jack, etc.)

    I'm a huge fan of this setup - love at least 1/2 of the models this way.
  10. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    Bass tones having cabinet/mic simulations on them are typically not ones you would want pumping out of your live bass speakers or cabinets. Be sure to disable "cabinet simulation" effects on units that feature it when their output destination is to actual bass speakers or cabinets! That is, unless you like distant, mic-phased, blurry tones through a speaker box that would make them even more so.

    The trick with the POD X3 is two-fold:

    1) Set the Output Mode to something other than "Match/Studio Direct"

    "Match/Studio Direct" is suited for direct recording or monitoring through a full range system. A real live bass amp/rig is neither those. "Match/Studio Direct" is the default for POD X3's and most people do not even know to change this.

    2) Set the amp model's CAB parameter to "NO CABINET" and ROOM parameter to 0% because the CAB + ROOM parameters impart cabinet/mic/room simulations that you do not need or want when going through a real live bass speakers/cabinets.

    Most people have described the sound of POD's through a real amp as sounding "dead", "dark", "lifeless", "phoney" because they still have the effects of cabinet/mic simulations in place when going through real bass speakers/cabinets. The cabinet/mic sims are best suited for direct recording or monitoring through a full range system. This is why people claim PODs sound best through PA's, powered monitors, etc. -- and through a real amp, not so much!

  11. Bass Guitar and guitar amps are specifically designed to sound good with those instruments and are not true full range speaker systems like keyboard, PA or studio speakers. For that reason most bass & gtr amps actually work against modelers.
  12. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    Correct, sir!

    Since we know that both bass/guitar speakers + cabs will "dull" and "reshape" the tones fed to them, we want to ensure that we give them a signal void of those treatments.

    In particular, we need to remove the X3's cabinet + mic simulations that taint the integrity of the signal we need here. Those sims create the illusion of single/multiple speakers, enclosures, phasing, mic response, distance, etc.

    Feed that unadulterated tone to a clean power amp, that amp will feed your bass/guitar speakers, the speakers will then re-shape it and impart tonal qualities that should should sound pleasing, complimentary + natural to the instrument you are amplifying :)
  13. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    I have to throw this in for good measure, but I think Line 6 is somewhat at fault here.

    Not all X3 users know to even change the Output Mode, and almost all of those who do may not realize that the cab/mic sims are still in place, despite them "telling" the X3 that it's now connecting to a real amp.

    Line 6 perhaps should have tied the global removal of all the cab/mic sims when switching into any of the "amp" modes because just changing the output mode is really only half the story with the X3.

    Believe it or not, Behringer makes a competing product that does just that: it automatically removes all cab/mic sims on all patches when the single output mode is changed accordingly, so I know it can be done. It's just Line 6 didn't think of it yet and the result is that a lot of users are noticing that the X3 sounds wonky when connected to real amps :)
  14. Interesting. I actually bought an X3L used and wound up selling the stupid thing because I couldn't figure out how to get things to work properly after a good 9 hours of straight studying the manual. I do research for an internship and have patience, but dear God, that was ridiculous.

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