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> Line 6 X3 Underwhelming Despite Reputation
Todd Simpson
post Mar 29 2014, 02:06 AM
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So after much looking into it, I bought a POD X3. It's an OLD unit to be sure, but it comes with pretty much every amp/cab/mic/effect/preamp/expansion pack that line 6 ever made up to that point so not only does it look like a steal, it came highly recommended as the "Best Pod For Metal" even above the brand new Pod variants which have far fewer options/heads/cabs/etc.

After devoting a marathon playing/tweaking session, using the handy gear box app to edit patches, here are my thoughts.

1.) THE HIGH GAIN TONES ARE CRAP!!!!!! I mean CARRAAAAAAAAAPP!!!!

If you push ANY of the high gain amps beyond 50 percent, the signal collapses in to mudd/fizz. If you stack preamps/pedals and keep them all at 50, you still can't get where I'm trying to go. This made building lead tones very tough. I like consistent gain over the entire range of strings requiring delicate compression/gating/gain control. Just couldn't see it ever working on this unit.

2.) THE CLEAN EFFECTS ARE GREAT!!!!

I was impressed with the range of clean fx ( this unit has EVER EXPANSION PACK built in) and on clean guitar tones, it was impressive. I imagine that it would work for live BASS and for live VOCALS as well. Tons of patches/gear built in for quick and spiff results.


3.)THE FOOT PEDAL INTEGRATION IS ON PAR WITH ANY RIG AT ANY COST IMHO.

Wow to the foot control. I got a Shortboard MK II and and it's plug and play and DOESN"T REQUIRE A POWER SUPPLY which I count as a HUGE plus. The fewer chords dangling on stage the better. One RG45 network cable connects the unit to the pod, powers the floor control and is way cheaper than buying midi cables.
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4.) SO WHAT TO DO?

After trying every multi fx unit I can get my hands on for several years, I'd say that if you are looking for a cheap/used mult fx unit, your best choice is...... THE DIGITECH GENESIS 3!!! It's got a smaller form factor, sorta like a pod and you can control it with a midi foot controller, like a pod, but the high gain models are the Genetx ones that remain the best thing digitech ever did and why I still have my old GNX3 multi pedal. No device in the price range before or since has come close on high gain. So I BOUGHT ONE right after I got done with the pod. smile.gif
http://digitech.com/en-US/products/genesis3
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QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK OF THE X3 PLATFORM? In any variant? And can you share ANY high gain recordings you made with it ? Pretty please?


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Mar 29 2014, 02:46 AM


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Azzaboi
post Mar 29 2014, 04:24 AM
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I use to have a Pod XL, in which the high gain sounded terrible to start off with... I had to also purchase Model Packs such as the 'Metal Pack', which isn't even a download but rather an unlock code for the hardware. With all the Model Packs installed, you pretty much end up with a X3 (which has them all preinstalled I believe).

Even after that, the standard tones which come with it all sucked, a lot of tweaking and/or downloading of custom tones really helped out here. The noise gate, getting a good tone without the fuzz is a bit of work. Also it takes a little while to work it out depending on your own equipment (pickups/amp/cables all have a factor).

Check out the four cable loop for it, that helps a lot for some amps. Else use it in the preamp position, rather than effects loop. Also, if I remember rightly, it's best to have a flat or almost maxed even EQ on the amp as the Pod will do it's own on top of that (it doesn't know about one another) - else what was happening was if you have like cut-mid EQ on the amp as well as the Pod, you might end up with a little to no mid tone, etc. That was screwing me over early on without realising too.

I managed to get some good high gain tones out of it after a while, well I at least though they sounded good at the time, maybe a little digital, but nice - I enjoyed jamming with it.

This post has been edited by Azzaboi: Mar 29 2014, 04:30 AM
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klasaine
post Mar 29 2014, 05:00 AM
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Todd I'm curious as to why you didn't go for one of the HD500 models (either floor or desktop or rack)?
Did you score the X3 super cheap?

But to answer your question ... no, the really high gain sounds are all the same and all mushy.
I've a POD since probably late 1999 (with the v.2 software update). I don't really use it anymore but there's probably 4 amp models I can deal with - clean or dirty and I kinda like the built in compressor.

This is about as heavy as I could get but still have some punch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=138ThSbuz9E


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Spock
post Mar 29 2014, 01:29 PM
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Really good review Todd. I will say though that with tweaking, you can get great distortions out of it, but I was never too happy with what came stock.

I love my new PodHD500 X, and have it integrated with my Marshall now - using the midi to change channels - but I'm only using the FX, along with my Marshall tone - and for $500, to me, it's the best deal out there. I actually like the chorus, phaser and flanger better than my stomp boxes.

This post has been edited by Spock: Mar 29 2014, 01:29 PM
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 31 2014, 07:44 AM
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Agreed!!! Tried EVERY SINGLE AMP and the X3 comes with all of them!!! I was trying direct recording to see what the actual tones coming out of the unit were. I've owned the old line 6 modeling Amp Head and it had many of the same models and suffered from the same issues. It's possible to get something workable, but you just can't push it far enough sad.gif Live and learn. The good news is, you can push the ELEVEN RACK to 11 and get some baruuuutal tone smile.gif

QUOTE (Azzaboi @ Mar 28 2014, 11:24 PM) *
I use to have a Pod XL, in which the high gain sounded terrible to start off with... I had to also purchase Model Packs such as the 'Metal Pack', which isn't even a download but rather an unlock code for the hardware. With all the Model Packs installed, you pretty much end up with a X3 (which has them all preinstalled I believe).

Even after that, the standard tones which come with it all sucked, a lot of tweaking and/or downloading of custom tones really helped out here. The noise gate, getting a good tone without the fuzz is a bit of work. Also it takes a little while to work it out depending on your own equipment (pickups/amp/cables all have a factor).

Check out the four cable loop for it, that helps a lot for some amps. Else use it in the preamp position, rather than effects loop. Also, if I remember rightly, it's best to have a flat or almost maxed even EQ on the amp as the Pod will do it's own on top of that (it doesn't know about one another) - else what was happening was if you have like cut-mid EQ on the amp as well as the Pod, you might end up with a little to no mid tone, etc. That was screwing me over early on without realising too.

I managed to get some good high gain tones out of it after a while, well I at least though they sounded good at the time, maybe a little digital, but nice - I enjoyed jamming with it.



I've tried those as well and was equally underwhelmed, not to mention the X3 actually has a better rep for "Metal/High Gain"tones than any of the new Line 6 gear, not to mention wads more amps/cabs/mics/ etc. despite be way older. The line 6 stuff all falls victim to the same problem of really bunching up on bass and treble under high gain. I mean really high, Carcass, Death Metal Grinding Palm Mute stuff. The result is often boomy/fizzy tone. sad.gif I agree all the way with you that most of the high gain models sound very similar and all sound MUSHY sad.gif Lame!!!!

Your vid is about what I was getting also. Mushy/Doom Oriented tone. I can seem some Doom Metal bands LOVING the X3 smile.gif They pay wads to get that tone out of their Vintage Orange amps.


QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 29 2014, 12:00 AM) *
Todd I'm curious as to why you didn't go for one of the HD500 models (either floor or desktop or rack)?
Did you score the X3 super cheap?

But to answer your question ... no, the really high gain sounds are all the same and all mushy.
I've a POD since probably late 1999 (with the v.2 software update). I don't really use it anymore but there's probably 4 amp models I can deal with - clean or dirty and I kinda like the built in compressor.

This is about as heavy as I could get but still have some punch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=138ThSbuz9E



Also agreed! smile.gif The FX section in many of the line 6 products is stellar! Same in the x2, good reverbs, delays, chorus, flanger, it's a buffet of fx!! Just falls down on reall high gain, palm mute stuff.


QUOTE (Spock @ Mar 29 2014, 08:29 AM) *
Really good review Todd. I will say though that with tweaking, you can get great distortions out of it, but I was never too happy with what came stock.

I love my new PodHD500 X, and have it integrated with my Marshall now - using the midi to change channels - but I'm only using the FX, along with my Marshall tone - and for $500, to me, it's the best deal out there. I actually like the chorus, phaser and flanger better than my stomp boxes.



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