My first attempt at understanding and using a digital amp modeler went a lot better than I could have expected.
Overview & Cost: $479.99 from Sweetwater, Line6.com, Reverb.com, and Amazon.com (some affiliate links)
As a staunch lover of warm tube amplifiers, I have always been skeptical of these digital amp modelers. It didn’t matter if it was Line 6, Axe, Fractal, etc….I just wasn’t really sold on them even though I was curious. The Line 6 Pod Go made a lot of sense as a sort of jumping off point, both for me and any of you who are curious as well. Coming in at a fairly affordable price point, you get voicings for essentially every major amp and cab model/company. My beloved AC15 is on there, as are AC30 options, Marshall options, Mesa Boogie, Fender, you name it the Pod Go has it. Effects are the same way, with every major genre and stompbox represented. Plus, you get an FX loop to control an additional external pedal from your rig through the footswitches. You can always just plug your pedalboard into the front of the Pod Go too, to really use it as a replacement for your amp without relying too much on their effects modeling. With each preset, you can tweak the amp’s EQ, drive, and whatever other features that amp may be known for having. Then, you get 4 effects pedals, an EQ, plus the expression pedal to layer. So you could realistically create my rig on here by using the Vox AC15 or AC30 pre-sets, layering on their tube screamer, RAT, a warbly chorus (of which they have many options), and some sort of crazy delay (even more options). Add in some EQ and then I use the expression pedal for a volume and wah effect. I literally could just take this, plug into my computer or a PA and not have to rig up my whole set up at a gig or recording session. Other fun features include a built-in tuner, and endless pages of wonderful pre-sets that will inspire you to build your own or let you experiment with new amp types and sounds you didn’t have access to previously.
Review & Opinion:
While I’m sure I could go into a ton more detail about how the Line 6 Pod Go works, this is a review and not a demo article. So the point is I want to convey what I liked and disliked, and how I think people can use it to make sure they get their money’s worth. The good news here is that there is something for everyone and a plethora of useable sounds. I really dig the clean tones from the Fender and Vox-style amp modelers, they are very useable for recording and likely even performing. The big take away here is that I could absolutely see myself taking this instead of an amp to my next gig or band practice. And that’s really important, because a lot of the value is derived the convenience, portability, and versatility of the Pod Go. Obviously the amp tones aren’t going to be perfect, they aren’t going to be as warm and chimey as my real deal Vox AC15, but it gets really quite close enough that it just makes more sense to use for traveling or recording demos and scratch tracks. For me, this will never replace my amp entirely, I still prefer to write most of my music on the Vox and if I go into a legit music studio I’m taking the Vox with me. But, I can now play my guitar quietly late at night, I can now record a demo late at night when I discover a new riff or melody. I can take my rig on the go way easier now and set up quickly. The Line 6 Pod Go shines brightest when you treat it as a gigging/practice/home recording solution that won’t break the bank. I don’t think it is fair to expect it to be your midi-controlled solution to replacing ultra-high end rigs. But it is fair to expect it to accentuate your rig and provide flexibility where you didn’t previously have it, especially on a budget. For that, I’m a big fan and proudly grade this as a superb product.
Final Conclusion & Rating: 8 out of 10
There is just an insane amount of value for the price with the Pod Go. It’s a produce that addresses multiple needs for the modern guitarist including at-home practicing, at-home recording, gigging, travel, versatility, etc. I think Line 6 perfectly straddles the line between the HX Stomp and Helix products with the Pod Go and this sort of amp modeling has come a long way from where it was when I was learning guitar. These are real amp sounds, that can sound great live or in a studio mix. And most importantly, I think it is at least on par, if not way better than whatever amp you’d buy for about $400-$500 all things considered. If you’re looking to dip your two into the modeling world, the Pod Go is perfect for you, because it has been perfect for me as I consider exploring the non-tube world. I’m really sold on the utility and overall fun aspects of having all these tones a few clicks away, and the minute I can safely gig or join a band, this will be coming out of the apartment and used heavily! Stay tuned as I try to recreate my entire live rig, tone for tone, in this Pod Go in the coming days!
2 thoughts on “Line 6 Pod Go Review: Are Modeling Amps Really Worth It?”
I used a pod go with a headrush frfr cab for the first time at a gig this weekend and my band mates loved the tone. Numerous fellow guitarists complimented me as well and that was proof enough for me to continue using this as my main bar rig….