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

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


  1. Alcyon

    Alcyon

    Jan 15, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    My dad (guitarist) recently rented a Line 6 Floor Pod for a month and a half while he practiced and gigged with a cover band. He's got a Pocket Pod that he totally loves and has fun with all the time, and he really liked the Floor Pod at home; recording it sounds amazing and the power of computer tools like Logic made it infinitely tweakable.

    But!

    Playing it live it sounded weak, trebly, thin, etc. etc. didn't have the nuts. Now, one could say that was because of the amp/cab he was using, but when you get an 8x10 fridge to play your Line 6 through, and a clean solid state head with enough headroom to make that cab sound nice, that's already quite an expense right there. IMO, Line 6 stuff is the precise opposite of big tube gear, and that makes sense. You wouldn't play a Sunn Model T or whatever really quietly in the studio for recording - those big tubesters don't sound ACE unless you crank 'em. Conversely modeling gear sounds amazing on the album but doesn't work cranked (OF COURSE YMMV). I think we'll see the day of everyone being able to sit at home and crank out studio-quality guitar and bass tracks, but when it comes to drum recording and live gigs there's no substitute for having the authentic gear. In my opinion.

    Note: In Dave's P vs. Variax thread, I guessed wrong - but that's because I expected the Variax to sound better. IMO, #2 sounded better to me. Am I insane?
     
  2. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I really don't think that PODs are entry-level, though. They are inexpensive, so I can understand why people would automatically "discount" them in that way (pun intended :smug:), but they really are designed for professional use, and I've used them in a lot of professional situations and I know a lot of pros who use them in pro situations, as well. It's not just simple minds and unsophisticated ears - like I said in an earlier post, 60% of TBers thought my Line6 Variax model was a real '64 Precision, and this was from a solo'ed, flat-EQ sound sample. In a mix, I doubt if even top audiophiles could tell you, with greater than 50% accuracy (pure chance) in a double-blind study with repeated trials, which is which. And I doubt that they could do this with greater than 50% accuracy even on a great pair of studio monitors. If TBers can't tell which is which more than half the time, why are we so worried about it? There's no way our target audience can tell, let alone cares.

    I'm not saying this to cause any trouble; I just really don't understand why people who insist on tube amps or become literally ill at the sound of the words "Line6" would choose to make what I consider to be an irrational decision (from an economics point of view). If you're a professional, you do what gives you the best value and the best return-on-investment (if you didn't, you'd find yourself needing a day job, haha). I'm not insulting anyone who chooses tube amps, I just don't understand why you would spend so much on something when nobody can tell the difference anyway. In my humble opinion, this is akin to spending $800 per bottle on wine for a banquet if you know that even experts can't tell the difference between a $20 bottle and the $800 bottles with better than 50% accuracy (random chance) in an ideal tasting situation. There's just no point, other than to feel good (?) about knowing you spent that much. (I'm not saying this is true of wine; but I've demonstrated that it's true of Variax basses on this forum at the thread link above). YMMV of course, and no offense intended in the slightest - I am truly curious about the economic reasons behind the choice of tube amps.
     
  3. Curtybob

    Curtybob

    Jun 2, 2007
    Jackson, MO

    I agree completely. That was my 3am attempt at humor. And I don't think my POD is entry level, either. It sounds great to me, my bandmates, our audiences... what more does anyone want? They'll not find me starting topics like "The horrid sound of a great tube amp made my ears shrivel up into corn kernels". Nope, not this guy. I love a good tube amp. I love a good solid state amp. I even luvs me some modeling hotness. There's nothing wrong with any of it. If it sounds good to you, use the hell out of it. I will be.

    BTW, the variax vs the real thing thread was awesome.

    Well, at least nobody started picking on my pink lipstick or leather thongs. It woulda been on, then. :eek:
     
  4. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    My mileage varies for two reasons: Firstly, I use my Line6 Bass POD xt Live when I'm gigging, through a Crown K2 (1200 watts per side) into a Schroeder 21012L (1000 watts RMS handling, 104 dB 1 watt @ 1 meter), and it sounds great to me and I've never had any complaints. In the past, I've had Fender, Ampeg, and Phil Jones rigs, but this Line6/Schroeder combination is my favorite by far. Of course, that's a subjective "measurement," but it's true in my own experience.

    Secondly, in a live setting (and I'm gonna take some heat for this, I'm sure), tone is not very important. In a live setting, IME, my cab is my stage monitor, and what the audience hears is pretty much up to the sound guy in the first place, not me. It's dependent on a million things outside of my control, some of which include the quality and speaker sizes of the PA system, the EQ settings at the board, the room treatment, where the audience is standing in relation to the speakers... and even if all of that were perfect, people are talking to each other anyway, half-deaf from the volume and/or wearing earplugs, dancing... all things that make tone almost impossible to really get right.

    Live, my question is really, why bother? You're in a mix, which already makes it harder to pick out good tone on the bass. You're in a room beyond your control, which makes it harder to get your tone right. And there's a soundguy between you and the audience. Not that you shouldn't feed him the best source tone that you can, but again, there's just a point of diminishing returns.

    I actually think that a Line6 is a BETTER source live than an amp. Here's why: The Line6 models don't know whether you're feeding into ProTools at a recording studio or into a house board. They put out the same expertly-designed and modeled amp, cab, and microphone tones. Say you have an Ampeg Fridge that you use live, and you slap a Beta 52 on it for a live show. You're gonna have to put the mic up pretty close to the cab to get your gain staging and feedback under control, so there goes the idea of giving the air coming out of your speakers a little "breathing room" before it goes into the mic. After that, it goes to some dinky little mic preamp, perhaps built into the board. The soundguy might throw some compression onto the bass, maybe not - it's not really up to you from the stage, anyway. Is that really better than having models of a Neumann U87, or a Royer 121, or any other mic you want (including the Beta 52) on any bass cab you want (even switching between songs or during songs), and any amp model you want (again switching between songs or during songs) into any of many really great, high-end and/or vintage preamps (again switching between songs or even during songs)?

    When I'm playing live, I send the signal from my POD both to the board and to my Schroeder (as a stage monitor). The soundguy gets a source that's *exactly* the same as what's used on tons of platinum recordings and what I use on my own recordings. It's hard to get better than that live, even under perfect conditions of using an iso-booth backstage for the cabs and bringing along a few really great studio mics, like you sometimes see on pro tours.

    Nah, you're not insane. Fenders have a good tone. I don't think anybody is arguing that, even Line6. The question is whether it's worth it to spend an extra $6k on a vintage Fender Precision for that tone when you can get a Line6 for $500, just without the cool "Fender" logo, vintage vibe, appreciation, resale value, etc, and considering the fact that the Line6 also models 20+ other basses as well as the P.
     
  5. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Haha, gotchya. It's hard to pick up on sarcasm in text, sometimes :p And like I said about Fenders, I don't think anybody is arguing that the real deals don't sound great. If I didn't like the sound of vintage amps, why would I buy and use a device that models them? Tube amps sound great, vintage Fenders sound great, etc, but the reason Line6 is popular (and getting more so) is that there is not a lot of money in the music business anymore, compared to the days before file-sharing, and because musicians are realizing that tone and sound quality are less important than we thought (evidenced by things like the wide-spread popularity of mp3s as a recording format).

    Music is not about sound quality - if it were, no one would listen to The Beatles anymore, because any 16-year-old and his computer can get better tone with less noise than recordings made 40-years ago, and we know that's not the case. Music is about joy and expression and sharing feelings and emotions; it's an art and although tone is our "voice" as instrumentalists, tone is *not* what we have to say.

    IMHO, tone is low on the list of priorities when it comes to enjoying music. Don't get me wrong, I *love* a good bass tone, and I can tell you with unbelievable detail what exact rig my dream bass tone would come from, but the truth is, I'm a musician, I don't make a lot of money, and it's just not worth it. Even if I won the lottery, I would still use Line6, because it's just easier, more efficient, sounds great... it's just a better value (and tone doesn't matter that much, lol).

    This is NOT an insult so please don't take it that way, but IMHO, tube amps are best suited (in terms of price, weight, maintenance requirements, and limited versatility) to collectors and weekend warriors.

    As a gigging/recording pro musician, I want light-weight, maintenance-free, versatile, easily replaceable, good-sounding gear, and that's why I use Line6.

    If I wanted heavier, not-maintenance-free, limited versatility, not-easily-replaceable (aka expensive), great-sounding gear, I could understand the choice to use tube amps. IMHO, considering the state of the industry and the average consumer's (or even the top-of-the-bell-curve consumer, like other bassists') ability to distinguish real tube amp tone from Line6 models, it's just not worth the extra $. YMMV!
     
  6. FireArm

    FireArm

    May 17, 2007
    Dave, I tend to agree with you on this subject. I guess I could be classed as a "weekend warrior" I use a 300watt line6 lowdown to gig with and after testing out many tube amps I decided to go with this because it was about £500 cheaper than any other amp and I get 100% consistency with my sounds. Ok... my line6 isnt as responsive as my Peavey Combo 115 but I press the "A" button on my memory channels and I get my ampeg-svt style sound (note the word style) and press "B" and I get a John Entwistle type sound... there is an octaver,autowah,tuner, compressor, envelope filter and a chorus effect also built into my amp it also has synth (which i will admit right now is the most awful sound ive ever heard) But all in all its a great amp - I dont wanna sound like some kind of line6 spokesman because I am sure that someone could give me 100 reason why there valve rig is better than my lowdown. The only major gripe I have with this amp is that its way too small (ok it has a direct out) but as Dave said earlier these things were intended for studios where space is often limited. I hope line6 bring out a head/cab version of their lowdown because i'd get one straight away.

    Please note: I have not said the sound is superior in anyway than any other amp I have only stated why I prefer to use my line6 amp. I'd love to here from some people who love their valve amps and why... after all - this is what talkbass is about right?

    Peace... :bassist:
     
  7. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I agree about the responsiveness... There's something about the attack and/or latency of Line6 (and all modeling) gear, and something about the complexity or "glassiness" of the sustain and decay, that just doesn't feel 100% real. It's sooo close - you can't hear it in a mix, for sure - but when I'm playing my MTD 5-string through, say, an old SVT, there is just this presence that is not there on the Line6. Solo'ed, in a NON-blind A/B, it's something I notice, but if I listened to recordings of both, I know from experience that I can't tell which is which. It's something about when you're in the room with the amp, and it's hard to pin down. I would like to blind A/B an old SVT head through my Schroeder with my current setup (Line6 POD --> Crown K2) and stand in the room, versus listening to a recording, and see if I can tell which is which... that would be fun.

    About the Line6 though, when I say not 100%, it's more like 99.8%... On maybe 2 out of 1000 notes, I have this "it doesn't respond the same way" feeling, but that's a small price to pay (IMO/IME) for the fact that a POD weighs a lot less, is impervious to climate change, exempt from warm-up time, needs no maintenance, costs only a few hundred $, and has the versatility of thousands of amp/cab/mic combinations in a single box. For a working musician, it's a dream come true (IMO).
     
  8. keb

    keb

    Mar 30, 2004
    PODs and other modeling devices are found in pro environments everywhere. I pick up a trade mag at the newsstand on any given day, and I see mentioned how so-and-so artist/producer used a POD in some way on a recording. It's a re-amping dream device. Plenty of non-weekend-warrior bands have used them extensively live or in the studio: Weezer and Porcupine Tree come immediately to mind. Steve Howe of Yes uses a Variax live.
     
  9. Swift713

    Swift713

    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Yeah, some of my favorite players use line 6, like Adrian Belew and Trey Gunn for instance. Trey runs a POD through 3 iAmps I believe so it's not like he couldn't afford a big old Ampeg if that's what he wanted.
    2nd. If it was not called modeling but just digital processing would people stop comparing it to vintage tube amps and just call it extremely versatile and convenient?
     
  10. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    My experience, also. Like I said earlier, IME, it's the weekend warriors (with nice day jobs) who tend to have the really nice instruments and amps; vintage amps and boutique or vintage basses are just not practical for gigging and recording on a real-world budget, and the law of diminishing returns kicks in fast and hard after about $1000. Real producers want the session players in & out because they cost money, and in the music industry, money is always tight (and getting tighter with file-sharing) and competition is always fierce (and getting fiercer with lower cost-of-admission for recording studios and indie labels). You can always reamp later with a POD if you need to.
     
  11. I think my biggest complaint with most Line 6 stuff is their users, especially when it's the amateur variety. These people simply do not comprehend that sounding good does not require 6 different types of phasing run into 3different amp emulations(you know, Twin for verse, cranked JCM800 for chorus and throw some AC30 on there during the bridge for the Queen feel)) during a single song. It's abuse of a tool, though it seems that Line 6 really caters to that type of thinking.

    I think the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" principle should be adhered to most of the time.
     
  12. Swift713

    Swift713

    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    It's funny, one of the things I don't like about my multi is that there are too many options. It sounds stupid but it makes my head spin, like the hamster wheel of tone. That post-modern style of switching instruments or amps or whatever mid-song can be very powerful if you have the taste and sensibility for it, I don't. I do think that tone is primarily in my fingers but I'll fiddle with any gadget that's available up to a point.
    I played for 20 years with no effects so I'm still a bit of a noob to all these choices. When it comes down to it I'd rather play my instrument than my signal processors.
     
  13. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    I have mixed feelings about Line 6, but their gear has definitely seen dramatic improvements in the past few years. I've seen Nine Inch Nails and Megadeth use them live, and they sounded unquestionably amazing.

    My band's guitarists use PODs to record, and it sounds awesome. Our rhythm guitarist bought a POD X3 Live a while back, and I've been itching to try it out with bass. I've been reluctant to use it for recording only because it lacks a model for the GK 2001RB - my rig can do things it can't.

    Although I leave plenty of room to be proven wrong, especially if the 800RB model is any good. ;)
     
  14. speak_onion

    speak_onion

    Jun 22, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Yeah, give the X3 a shot. Its amp models sound a lot better than previous PODs to me. Our guitarist got one and last night was our first show with it; I was pleased.

    He got it just because of what Dave Muscato was saying; he was sick of having an awesome "summer tone" and a lousy "winter tone" with his tube amp.

    As for the general issue at hand, I think the POD is a great thing in general, and the advancement of the X3 series over previous ones makes me think that future generations will eventually be able to nail the sound of basically anything.

    Note use of the phrase "able to." Just because they can model anything, doesn't mean they will. I was super disappointed in the effects models in the X3. Not the sound of them (although there were some that were not up to snuff), but the variety. Now, of course, there were more models than the 6 effects that I use, but there's 1 sub-octave model, maybe 2 filter models, 1 pitch-shifting model, and so on. I don't necessarily want the sounds that Line6 picked, but if I am using a POD, I'm stuck with them. I think this is because they're focused on the Amp modeling thing, and they've really nailed that, and there's tons of options, but for someone who is more concerned with effects, it's not cutting the mustard.

    So what's the answer? Plugins. That's the answer. Show me a POD that is up to even the simple task of throwing one VST plugin into the chain, and storing even 10 of them in memory, and I will throw my entire rig in the trash and grab it. Once you eliminate the constraints of Line6's model choices, then I have no beef with using amp modeling or a multi-effect.

    And I will mention here, that I am eagerly awaiting and saving a S/R loop in my switcher for this tonecore SDK that lets me put my own DSP code into a pedal:
    http://www.vettaville.nl/page.php?id=100#609

    A POD that had a slot for that even would really whet my whistle, but I don't think it's a real answer to the problem, since most people don't want to sit there and code DSP (nerd alert).

    Whoa, mammoth post. I started out just intending to tell Boo that the X3 models are superior. Oh well.
     
  15. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    :D
     
  16. I feel the same way about Pod and Line-6 stuff, and it just comes from personal experience of trying them and absolutely hating the way they sounded.

    For several years it even turned me off to the whole concept of tone "modeling," until I tried out a Vox Valvetronix guitar amp (the ones with the silver metal grills) and I was blown away.

    Not all modeling technology is equal. Perhaps the Vox Valvetronix line is so good because it uses a real tube... I don't know... But I brought my amp in (because it needed a new input jack) to a guy who normally only services/restores all-tube amps (especially vintage Fenders) because his shop is an authorized Vox repair shop. He is EXTREMELY into vacuum tubes, ultra-savvy in everything related to tube tone, and he was so impressed with the Vox's modeled sounds that he said he plans to pick one up for himself.
     
  17. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    I know this is the wrong instrument in the wrong forum, but my guitar "amp" consists of an old JBL EON powered speaker fed by a guitar V-amp pro. Actually, my small bass amp setup is the same thing just with the bass version of the V-amp. I've actually gotten many compliments on my sound. Ironically, the JCM-800 patch on the guitar V-amp sounds like crud when I'm practicing by myself, yet with a group, it sounds great in the mix. If I had the money, I'd love to record in a climate controlled studio with a vast selection of amps, on either guitar or bass, but for broke college students like me, getting 90% of the way there for pennies on the dollar sounds like a great economic choice.
     
  18. Curtybob

    Curtybob

    Jun 2, 2007
    Jackson, MO
    Both ways of thinking are perfectly acceptable. I can see the benefit in changing sounds over the duration of a song, and I can see the stability in staying with one familiar tone. But I don't think you should go calling people amateurs just because they don't do it your way.

    About plug ins, they do have effects "packs" that you download and apply to your POD.... from the POD XT on up, I believe. I still have the 1st gen POD pro, so I can't do that stuff until I upgrade (no need right now), but the effects loop will let you run any effects box you want if they have no model for it.
     
  19. livingstone

    livingstone

    Jun 15, 2007
    Oneonta NY
    I found that my Bass PODxt was a real good way to totally ruin the wonderful tone of my MTD USA into the sweet preamp of an Eden Metro. :scowl: IMHO, about the only thing it is good for is as a practice headphone amp. :rolleyes:
     
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Wasn't there a recent thread where somebody asked about the killer bass tone on recent Meshuggah albums, and the answer came back that it was all digital modeling?
     

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