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The name "POD" and its long term effects :)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by musicelectronix, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    I don't know how to put this, this may be a sickness... really..No disrespect or disregard intended. :bag:

    When I read a review about some device, doesn't matter what or which, if I see the name "POD" , "Line 6" or anything somewhat resembles those, I immediately stop reading that review. Again, eventhough I do not find that particular brand appealing to me, I am not against using it.

    I really don't know, it somewhat feels fake to read that review and it makes ME insecure :smug: When a person compares a good tube preamp with their POD XTs (or live or whatever), that moment, the whole review become useless to me. Not that every person who uses their PODs for recording (or gigging) doesn't know anything about anything, I guess it is just me.

    I owned more than several "emulation" type of equipment ever the years. I owned most of the early Digitech stuff both floor and rackmount (RP and two digits, GSP and 4 digits), I owned the new RP series stuff (rp and 3 digits), I tried Behringer's V-Amps, etc. I have no negative feelings towards amp or tone emulation. But somehow particularly "POD" creeps me out. Maybe they brag about it so much about the things that device can do or maybe I am not ready to except someone actually simulated the saturated power tube sound.

    Any of you feel that way?

    PS. Worst part is, my feelings towards to original equipment get effected too :) I start to think less of that unit.
  2. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Emulation and modeling seem inherently bogus. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I use a digital multi effect with modeled overdrive myself but I can't help feeling that it's somehow inferior to "the real thing." I really have no basis for comparison, I've never used a real tube bass amp (although I have had a couple tube guitar amps). It's just semantics really, it doesn't actually matter how the sound is produced as long as it sounds good.
  3. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    Actually, I like modelling and I aggree with your comment, as in it's just semantics. If something sounds good, than the name and title looses its importance.

    My problem is, fellow musicians who only use modelling processors, compares their PODs to i.e. mesa amps? I just believe the real thing and emulation can not be compared with each other and I do not find reviews based on this kind of comparison not accurate and unreliable.
  4. I’ve tried a couple of the modeling pedals, and amps. While some are better than others, even the best ones don’t sound like the real thing. I do have to admit some of them have some great sounds on tap
    Back in the ‘70s a certain US auto manufacturer advertised that their model looked just like a Mercedes, It fell dreadfully short in all other aspects.
    Add hype of ‘Sounds just like’ is pretty much the same in my opinion.
    In the end, the only thing that tastes just like chicken is chicken. Unless you’ve never actually eaten chicken.

  5. stevethebassguy


    Feb 3, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Endorsing Artist, MonoCase, Aguilar Amplification
    Personally....i hate modeling equipment.....but that's me, I'd much rather use the real deal and trey to get as much from my hands as possible. i do agree that the "line 6" brand has definitely been brought to the same level of name recognition as "nike" for example, but they really should change it to Bass Pooh'd for fair representation....

    sorry to ruffle any feathers......carry on...
  6. DSP and in particular, amp modelling, seems to me to promote an unproductive obsession with relatively inconsequential detail. Subtle audio trickery is sold to us as the panacea of good tone - the reality is that it just feeds your ears familiar sounds so you don't feel uncomfortable.

    It encourages imitation and replication, stymieing creativity and individuality. Critical analysis is reduced to flicking through a dozen patches and deciding which one sounds least objectionable! It's McBusiness sense applied to tone shaping - 99% of people pick Coke and the remaining 1% feel like they should have picked Coke because everyone in the TV add did!

    I'm not really for it or against it, but I'm wary of why people use modelling and in what context.
  7. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    It's all a trade-off. Modeling can get you fairly close a lot of the time, but it's real power comes from versatility. Most of the time it's the better choice to use a POD-like piece of equipment if you're going to switch sounds than to try to switch between an SVT, a Mesa and a Genz-Benz or what have you, not to mention far more affordable.

    That is the beauty of effects -- being able to change your sound at the press of a button. If you want true blue SVT sounds and nothing else, then you're better off getting an SVT, but modeling as an effect makes sense as a niche.

    Also, it makes zero difference as to whether or not the audience can tell the difference -- it only really matters for the person playing. Just don't try to talk yourself out of getting the real sound you want by getting an emulation.
  8. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    I'm instantly turned off to anything branded "Line 6" - I think the stuff works pretty well for guitars but for bass...will the average Joe be able to tell the difference, probably not. But since I know better than the average Joe and I'm the one that ultimately decides on what I'm going to be playing, it matters!

    Give me the real deal!
  9. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    I've owned the line 6 BassPodXT and the Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeler. It was convenient. But with all the sounds that are available on that BassPodXT, they missed the sound I was looking for.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I'm in the middle of reviewing the compressors in the Yamaha Magicstomp. Maybe this is a derail since the OP was specifically talking about Line6/Pod, but the Magicstomp is also all about modeling amps and such. This is my first attempt to review a digital multieffect.

    I've had the damnest time writing down my impressions. Every time I start to write "the tone is fat but thin" or "the tone is rich yet sterile" or "the saturation is thick yet nasal" or "the lows are not rolled off yet somehow lacking" I have to stop and shake my head and wonder how much of what I'm writing is affected by what I think I was supposed to hear.

    I know I'll get it right eventually, but the process of sieving apart the reality from my prejudices is proving quite difficult.
  11. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    To me, it is not about how similiar they sound anymore. Really that three letters are enough to put me down. I prefer not to be in the same building with a POD let alone the room. It is not really a dislike, I sometimes use modelling stuff and will use in the future too. I am not dismissing them. But I really can not stand comments like this:

    " In my opinion SVT II sounds really good. But it doesn't have the clarity my Bass Pod has"

    Common! How ridiculous is that in so many levels? Or this:

    " I use my mesa tube preamp to give the tube warmth to my bass pod"

    Simply what is this?

    Stuff like that generally :)

    Marketting is great these days!
  12. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    Keep them coming man, we will be lost without you, compressor-wise :)

  13. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    There are pros and cons to both real amps and PODs.

    Real amps are finicky, inconsistent tonally and dependent on things like temperature, warm-up time, etc. These give them an "organic" tone and a certain in-the-moment magic when you get a great tone out of them. They also require much more maintenance and have a host of other problems. They cost a lot. They are heavy. But, when they sound good, they sound *good.*

    Modeling amps have pros in that they are 100% consistent tonally, regardless of temperature, maintenance, etc. They are much cheaper, you can save & share/download settings, and it's much faster and easier to get specific settings out of them (you can just recall your patches instantly).

    As a result, PODs are great for commercial studio situations because they save a lot of time and in a mix, they sound excellent. Not as excellent as a great tube amp on a good day solo'ed, but excellent in a mix. Considering that most guitar and bass commercial recordings are in a mix, this makes a lot of sense.

    Additionally, PODs are great for playing live and touring, because they are extremely consistent tonally from show-to-show, they are impervious to damage from being dropped or frozen by being left overnight in a trailer, they have TONS of variety when it comes to tone available at your feet.

    But, they lack the "magic" of tube amps. Unfortunately, in a mix, even pro engineers, producers and musicians often can't tell you with greater than 50% accuracy (chance) which is the tube amp and which is the POD. Note: This is not to say that people can't tell one from the other, even non-professionals. The models and the real amps do not sound exactly the same, that is to say, they are not indistinguishable. But if you can't tell which is the tube amp and which is the model, who cares?

    So, you have to ask yourself, what is more important to you? Magic that only you know about? Or price, practicality, weight, low maintenance requirements, tonal versatility...?

    In my opinion, expensive tube amps are on their way out in the pro music industry and will be pretty much gone in 10-20 years. All the really great tube amps from the '50s, '60s, and '70s are getting old enough that they are more trouble than they're worth, and modeling technology is getting better and better. Combine this with the fact that thanks to file-sharing and the internet, in the next 10-20 years, I think we will see much more of a move to tons and tons of home-made music and the big, expensive recording studios (who, formerly, could afford to maintain a collection of great tube amps) will just go out of business. The only people who will have classic, great tube amps will be collectors, similar to the way that Stradivari violins are all owned by billionaires or trusts and most professional violinists play still-nice and handmade, but only-$30k violins made by contemporary luthiers instead.

    It just depends on what you want. Don't get me wrong - I like using a good tube amp in the studio, when time and money are inconsequential. However, when time & money are a factor (and they are for anyone who actually works in music, not just collectors or hobbyists), PODs make more sense no matter how you slice it. They are more reliable, cost less, more durable, more versatile, and even professionals can't distinguish with better-than-50% accuracy which tone is which in a mix. If you want the "organic" (a.k.a. inconsistent) tone of a tube amp, and that is worth all the extra $ and time, go for it. I have nothing against people who use tube amps; I just think that tube amps will price themselves out of the market as modelings amps get better & cheaper. YMMV.
  14. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I'd like to point out that modeling technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. I still have one of the first Line6 (guitar, not bass) PODs, and compared to the newest POD X3s, it sounds *awful.* However, I've used that POD on record many times and never had any complaints. I don't use it anymore, haven't in years, but we are just limited by the technology that we listen to music on, anyway.

    Consider this: Most consumers of music listen to it in less-than-ideal conditions. We're talking iPods, home stereos, or those little home speaker things that hook up to your iPod. A lot of people listen to music in their cars. Most people listen to music while they're doing something else - sitting on a subway, driving (with road noise), or drinking in a club, dancing, and talking, for example, or cleaning the house, or in the case of music licensing, underneath scenes in a movie, or on TV commercials or radio commercials or over MySpace, etc (and then it's on computer speakers, boomboxes, or TV speakers, etc).

    Of course, the standard resolution of 128 kpbs for recorded music sales these days (or even CD quality) will get better with time (and is already starting to, with iTunes Plus and SACD, etc), but even then, we are limited by the speakers.

    We do not yet have the technology to make lightweight, low-cost, small-size speakers or headphones (for example, used with iPods) that sound any good. Speaker technology just isn't there. Given this, what's the point of worrying about bass tube amps versus Line6? Nobody listens to the bass in a mix, anyway ;) People can't tell the difference and wouldn't appreciate it even if they could. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars getting perfect tone, but people aren't going to buy more CDs or downloads because of it. Most people download a song from iTunes after hearing a recommendation from a friend or from listening to a 30-second clip on computer speakers. If they are *really* into music or musicians themselves, they might use some nice studio monitor headphones, but come on... If you can't tell the difference in an above-average real world situation (listening in your car while pulled over, for example), it's just stupid to worry that much about it, let alone spend so much time and money on it.

    I think that we (musicians) are too obsessed with tone, to our own detriment, and from a business standpoint, it's a pointless obsession.

    It's a question of value, and of diminishing returns. Look at it from an economics standpoint. Put a dollar value on how important it is to you to know, privately, that you use a tube amp instead of a modeling one (99% or more of consumers can't tell and don't care).

    The truth is, if nobody can tell the difference, let alone appreciate it, it's not worth pursuing unless it's for private reasons. There is nothing wrong with doing something for private reasons - if it makes you happy, go for it. But if you're curious about why people like PODs, well... people like PODs because they make more sense, economically - better return-on-investment, pure & simple.

    More and more music is coming from home and project studios rather than commercial studios, and those numbers are tipping more and more every year. As they do, we're seeing fewer high-end mics being sold (and therefore, being designed and produced in the first place), and fewer and fewer studios equipped with expensive iso-rooms necessary for recording real amps.

    Building an iso-room, buying a $3,000 mic, and buying and maintaining a nice tube amp is 50 times more expensive than buying a POD and plugging it straight into ProTools - let alone an entire collection of amps, effects, cabs, and mics. If our industry is barely making money selling the finished product anyway, this seems like a very logical place to cut costs - very few people buying the finished product can even tell the difference.

    I did a "Can you tell a '64 Fender P from a Line6 model (in a blind A/B)?" poll thread in summer of 2006, with sound samples (solo'ed, flat, and totally clean, straight into ProTools via a high-end Demeter mic-pre set flat). Over 60% of TBers thought that the Variax was the real P-bass. This is worse than chance (50% accuracy). In other words, we are too hard on Line6. They are doing wonderful things for musicians - more and more musicians are able to get pro tone with less fuss and less money. Why are we complaining about this? Because it lacks "magic?" ("Why, in my day, we didn't have computers; we had to go to the library and look it up!")...

    I don't see the spread of Line6 technology as a bad thing at all.

    YMMV of course.
  15. stevethebassguy


    Feb 3, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Endorsing Artist, MonoCase, Aguilar Amplification

    one of your main axes is a Line 6 Variaxe.......I think you need to regroup and play a pbass through an svt, then a Jazz bass through a bassman...a real one.....not the new Fender Pedal!!
    Then tell me about your tone.
    Your argument about speaker technology and your attempts at belittling the general public into accepting mediocre sound sources is a croc. You should flip through a magazine sometime and see how many "hi-Fi" rigs there are for ipods these days. Some even tube driven.

    AS far as not being able to tell a pod tone from a non pod tone...step into any control room that most of todays pop music is mixed and mastered in, then see if you can tell. It's actually quite obvious. and every producer I've worked for has nixed any idea of anything other than bass to tape...

    Maybe I'm a bit passionate about these things. Sorry. I do recognize that for the entry level guy or even the weekend warrior a pod like piece of equipment is not a bad idea for a solution to a pile of tones rather than spending pile of dough on boutique pedals or even vintage amps, but for the line 6 stuff to be marketed and accepted as "pro gear".... i think that we can do a lot better.....
    In my opinion.....of course
  16. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    No apology necessary; you are entitled to your opinion and we welcome these sorts of discussions on TB (welcome, by the way!)

    I disagree with the "entry level guy or even the weekend warrior" bit. In my experience, it's the other way around. Pro musicians tend to use PODs and Amp Farm because is is faster, cheaper, more convenient, and they sound just as good as the real deal. It is, in fact, the weekend-warriors (who have day jobs outside music) who spend all the money on tube amps (IME). Professional musicians know that spending 50 times as much to do something one way, if it will not result in at least 50 times more sales, is a bad decision, and as such, they tend not to do it. Now, if you're hiring a studio that already has a bunch of nice amps, it's a little more arbitrary which one you use, and IME, producers tend to pick what they think sounds the best. However, if time is an issue (and in the studio, time is most definitely money), PODs and Ampfarm often win out because of this factor. As far as running a bass straight to tape, yeah, that is true in my experience, too... because they want to re-amp later with a POD! haha :smug:

    YMMV of course. This is just in my experience - I do a fair amount of session work (I'd say it's 20-30% of my income, the rest coming from fill-in gigs, playing with my own band, and selling and licensing our own music) and most producers I've worked with have breathed a sigh of relief when they see me walk in with my Line6 bags. I have a standing offer with any producer I work with that if they truly prefer the tone of a P-bass over my Variax, I'll do the session for free. No producer has taken me up on it so far (in 21 months of using the Variax), because the Variax has better signal-to-noise ratio and simply sounds like a great vintage Fender P with no fuss whatsoever.

    As far as tube-driven iPod speakers.... well, I don't even know what to say to that, lol. Whatever makes you happy. A friend of mine owns a very high-end audio store (they sell $10,000 home stereo speakers, pure silver braided cables, etc) and he told me once about an experiment he tried of having a nice, huge, Theta/Ariel setup with SACD player etc on display, but with an iPod hidden behind the rack, running through the line input, playing regular 128 kbps recordings at a trade show. Everybody ooed and ahhed, and he got a real kick out of the fact that these people were going to go out and spend $2k on a CD player instead of hooking up their iPod Nanos. I think we see a lot of the same thing when it comes to musicians - people "listen" with their guts and their wallets, not their ears. "If it's expensive, it must be good", "If it's tube, it must be good" - but it's a matter of diminishing returns. Recall what I said earlier... if you can't sell 50 times as much by spending 50 times as much, it's not worth it, unless it's for your own private enjoyment. That describes weekend warriors, not pro producers. Pro studios and producers don't care about their own private enjoyment beyond a certain level - they care about a great performance with tone as good as possible in a reasonable amount of time and by spending a reasonable amount of money. PODs accomplish all but the "great performance" part for $300, IME.

    YMMV again of course :)
  17. I heard almost the exact same thing 20 years ago.
    As far as unreliable and require lots of maintenance goes, I have an amp made in 1945 that works perfectly. Sure I had to change the electrolytic caps and tubes, but that’s kind of like changing oil or new tires on a car. Of course back when all those “old” tube amps were being made, they weren’t throwaways, they can be repaired.

    Didn’t Rack gear make stomp boxes obsolete in the late ‘80s so I know nobody uses stomp boxes any more.

    Modeling effects and amps aren’t designed to be repaired, or for longevity, they have a shelf life that lasts until some one updates their model, then every one chucks their old models and introduces new ones too.

    Saying that every one will eventually stop using tube amps and stomp boxes is like saying because of Guitar Hero no one under the age of 10 will ever play a real guitar.

    OK rant over..

    Modeling effects and amps are just another tool.

  18. Curtybob


    Jun 2, 2007
    Jackson, MO
    What Dave said.


    I like my entry level POD.

    Darn my simple mind and unsophisticated ears. :scowl:
  19. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Not to detract too much from the subject of PODs, but speaking of Variax technology versus the real deal, this is (IME) why producers prefer Line6 gear...

    It's a flash page so I can't link directly, but once you click, click on "Movies" in the menu at the left, then scroll right to the 14th video called "Sound Quality" (thumbnail photo of a computer screen).


    As far as bass, like I said, you get much better signal-to-noise ratio, and just more options - I can go from rounds to flats, a vintage P to a vintage Jazz to a modern Jazz, even to a MusicMan or an MTD sound with the turn of a dial. It's a pro producer's dream. The same goes for the amps - forget an hour of setting up and micing and sound-checking various amps, just record direct and you can manipulate all of this from the control room. If time is money, PODs are like hitting the jackpot.
  20. Drucocu


    Jan 24, 2007
    my 2cent.

    POD's are an alternative for expensive tube gear. you may use it, or you may not, it just depends on YOU.

    'nuff said

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