POD X3 Mini Review
POD X3 Mini Review By Fran
POD X3 is a recording interface made by Line-6, which has built in amp modelling and effects.
I got my X3 over a year ago, and when I purchased it I intended to use it both for my daily practice and to record.
I initially used it to practice emulating different amps & effects, connecting it to my laptop 2.1 speakers. It sounds pretty good thanks to the subwoofer, which adds that bass that is always lacking in regular computer speakers.
In my opinion the best thing about the X3 is its amp modelling. It models 78 different amps and cabs which sound really good. It also has 98 stomps as well as bass amps and a zillion things to tweak, and dual tone (two tones working at the same time) on top of that. I won't go deep on features, you can find them here.
One thing to keep in mind about these overloaded amp/fx units is that sometimes there's so much to tweak and add in there that it's hard to actually get a good sound out of them. When I started I felt I had to "use it all" to make it sound good. After a few weeks I realized that the best approach (and most obvious, though many times overlooked) is to go step by step as if it was real gear.
Start from Zero. Turn it all off. Just take an amp model, and tweak it until it sounds good. As if it was a real amp. When you have the right gain and EQ settings, then add only the stomps that you would use if you were using a normal pedalboard. Tweak each one. Done.
In my experience that worked better than starting from a preset loaded with a zillion effects & unknown amp EQs and then trying to tweak it all. That's madness!
I don't use the X3 to practice any more. As good as it may sound, it doesn't beat a real amp roaring next to you, but it's an awesome unit to record, because it's so easy to just turn it on and get going.
One thing I don't like about it is that it has too many menus and submenus. Though it's not particularly complicated I find that tweaking a tone using the actual X3 unit is a pain in the ass, at least for me. That's why I use Gearbox instead. Gearbox is the application that allows you to control the X3 through your computer, makes it much easier to select different amps/stomps/settings, saving tones, etc.
One last thing to consider in this fast review is whether to get the "Bean" X3 (the one I got) or the X3 Live, which comes as a pedalboard. I realized soon after getting mine that even though I don't use it "live" I sometimes needed to turn on/off certain effects in the middle of a song I was recording. Like, for instance, switching on/off distortion in the middle of a track I was recording. That's why I got a FBV-Express board that connects to the X3 and allows me to change tones in the middle of a song using my foot. It also provides an expression pedal for wah/volume.
Well, these were some of my fast thoughts about this little red gadget, feel free to write your own mini review with your experience and how you use it (connections, dual tone, settings etc!)