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what do you think about amp/guitar emulation? Line 6?

Got into an argument with my roommate about amp emulation. My first guitar amp was a Line 6 Flextone II. Which to this day i still have and I love it. My roommate said my amp was crap and hes never heard a good sound from it. On the flip side i know an experienced musician who owns a Variax and owns one of the modeled guitars on the variax. He recorded both guitars though the same amp, and he couldnt tell a difference. Im not saying a line6 is gunna sound exactly like a tube amp or a 4x10 cab, but very close to one.

so what is the deal with most people and this digital technology, do they not trust that technology can replicate other sounds?

What are some thoughts on this?


Scoobie Thu, 04/19/2007 - 17:41
I'll take a stab at my idea (opion) on this........

I own a POD and think it's real useful in the studio.
Amp emulation has it's place. We use one all the time tracking. Sometimes the track works well in the mix, sometimes not.

But, It will never replace a hard driven tube amp.
Something that a modeler can't give. True feed back that a over-driv'in tube amp can give.


sheet Thu, 04/19/2007 - 17:46
I too own Line6 stuff, SansAmp, etc. It has it's place. I think that in many cases it is going to sound better than what many people are able to achieve on their own, with less than professional rooms, mics, preamps, etc, etc.

Some of the patches are more convincing than others. The only way for you to know if it is right for you is to try it in the mix and then with the mix smashed like it will be on the CD. If you can't tell a justifiable difference then go for it.

BobRogers Wed, 04/25/2007 - 13:01
I have a Pod XT and a Bass Pod. I'm going to bid on a Bass POD XT pro soon. So yeah, I think they are very useful tools. One big factor for recording is that they take the room out of the equation. So for anyone with even minor room issues they set a very high baseline for recording quality. Another big factor is that you have a whole palette of sounds at your fingertips. You have to tweak each one individually to match it to the guitar and player, but most are quite good. (This "none of the sound are any good" is usually a bunch of second hand snobbery. I've mostly heard it from pimply teenaged boys who spend their time playing Smoke On The Water on their Indonesian knock off while reading the ads in Guitar Player.) Now, of course I expect you can beat any individual tone if you have the right room and the right amp and know how to mic it. But you'd be surprised at how high the POD sets the bar. And with a compressor, eq, and stomp boxes all included it makes a great package.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 04/25/2007 - 13:44
I think the clean settings and such aren't too bad, and the really distorted settings are pretty believeable, but the crunchy in-between bluesy drive isn't quite believeable.

I'd still like one for playing late night while other people are sleeping. And the line 6 delays aren't too bad. I used to give line 6 a lot of flak, but they've come a long way.

Still, if you have a real tube amp, why ?

BobRogers Wed, 04/25/2007 - 18:56
CopperheadRecords wrote: ...Still, if you have a real tube amp, why?
1. Because your room isn't so good.
2. Because your amp can nail a few sounds, but you want to be able to cover several more.
3. Because you want to be able to record direct while a singer or a drummer is recording.
4. Because you have a live cover band gig and want to play through the board.

moonbaby Thu, 04/26/2007 - 06:33
Exactly. And there are times in the studio where I use mine WITH a tube amp.I'll plug my POD into a '63 Princeton or into the effects return on Marshall JCM800 combo that's too heavy to move out of the way(!). Then I mic the speaker, which tends to act as a "giant lowpass filter", and that removes whatever bit of harshness there might be in the crunch, and adds a bit of dynamics and controllable feedback to the equation. Just not at 2 am... :lol:

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 04/26/2007 - 08:34
It's always seemed like the pod makes really the sound of an amp harsh and brittle. I've used the spider 3, and I didn't like any of the sounds all that much...the phase/echo were pretty good, but the distortion models still seemed really thin. I guess I like my old peavey deuce because it responds to playing dynamics a lot better than the pod. When I hit a G chord, it sounds different almost every time with the amp. The pod doesn't seem to pick up as much from the guitars.

Then again, I really like Lynyrd Skynyrd's guitar sound, and I have their exact amp, so I can get that tone pretty well. Throw in a wah, tubescreamer and a big old graphic eq and I can get more classic metal (Dio/Sabbath, Van Halen). I don't listen to much newer music, and most of the bands I don't mind as much use older gear. So I guess that's doing a lot of the same thing as the pod, but I like adjusting things with more control over my tone than just the pod settings allow.

I try to keep an open mind about things. I think a POD does a bunch of things pretty well, and it could always be cool to add new sounds and textures to a mix. Even if it doesn't sound all that great on it's own, in context with a full song, it might be great. I know most of the guitar sounds I use sound kind of gross on their own anyway after I get it to sit well in the song.

hueseph Thu, 04/26/2007 - 11:14

You're comparing a Spider 3 (which is awful) to a Pod. They really are different machines. The spider doesn't really try to emulate any particular amp at all. It has that "warp" knob which does what? It changes the tone and gain yes but into what? The pods are specifically modelled after well sought amps.

Regarding the usefulness of Pods: has anyone seen pics of The Edge's rack? He has at least two Pod Pro's in his rack. Mind you he runs them through a vintage tweed bassman or Twin Reverb and combinations of various tube amps but they must have some use.

All things considered, amp emulation is a tool. Like any tool, it can be mis-used. But, applied with thought, they can both make a job easier and enhance your work.

Maybe it's a crutch. For probably 99% of home hobbyists(and their neighbors) it's a welcome crutch.

BobRogers Thu, 04/26/2007 - 13:50
I've never considered this a problem for my situation, but I've never been able to get as good a sound using the POD as a front end for a tube amp as I have from a PA. Now I admit that I bought it to use with the PA, worked a lot tweaking the sounds for the PA, but I've tried at least a little to use it as a stomp box and never really liked it.

Of course, the story of how I got into using the POD is pretty strange. My daughter and her friends started a band when they were in 5th grade. I had some equipment down the basement, so they "practiced" at our house. They asked me for help on one song and it got to be a habit. Well 5th graders can't lift tube amps, so I decided they were going to play through my mixer and started looking for PODs on eBay. Now, for my own playing I put my P-bass through a Bass POD and a JBL eon. Works for the old school R&B kind of stuff I do.

Davedog Thu, 04/26/2007 - 22:30
To Pod or not to Pod....THAT, is the question.

I railed against emulation for years. REALLY REALLY railed....

Why? Because I have access to a plethora of fine amplifiers.

BUT! I'm lazy and when I'm alone in the control room doing little things on my stuff, its sooooo much easier to dial in a sound on something direct and go from there. I dont have a Pod or a true modeling amp....I have a pedal thingy....Boss.... that has the speaker emulation. It sounds pretty good through my board and as has been said, its a tool. I have tweaked a bunch of personal sounds into it, so it does what I want it to do. It has certain aspects and while I do agree 125% about the natural 'feel' of an amp not being one of those aspects, its something that can be worked around and has its place in a musical composition if needed.

As in all things similar yet different, comparing one to the other is a lesson in futility. Better is a term that I like to use when describing my golf swing....(ranges from ugly to better to world beater depending on the moon phase, the Tree Sloth and the wind speed of an Eastern-bound Frigate Bird....)

They sure are easy to get a decent sound quickly with and you do see them in many high-end pro rigs. And these are people who can afford to play on anything and not worry about whos gonna move it or set it up at the 'gig'...... I think there must be something in these things to garner such attention.

dementedchord Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:53
the guitarist in my blues band uses one of the pedal pro ones... run into a waycool old deluxe... and while there are things that dont quite sound the same as the real thing it works for us since we might do a santana followed by a larry carlton followed by howlin wolf.... so going from exterems it makes lottsa sense.... and actually i'm kinda lookin foward to running it direct when we start on this new disc...

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 05/03/2007 - 12:19
line 6 amps are terrible, ive been directed to various line 6 (and other brands) and they sound dead. you can find good cheap tube (and the rare solid state) amps that give a nice tone. throw a 57 in front of it and even if your room isnt perfect you can still get a good sound. i had a trace elliot i picked up for 300$, sounded pretty warm and far better than any emulation ive heard (was solid state at that). for the lazy beginner a line 6 might do well, their effects themselves arent too bad (id prefer a dozen boss pedals personally), and line 6 have good clean tones.

theres never an easy way out for a good tone.

Groff Thu, 05/03/2007 - 15:44
I recorded POD (the first version) few times, at first I was impressed but after a while .... not so. From my limited experience: lack of dynamic, a bit cold and don't sit well in the mix (most important).
Now I'm thinking :-? to get newer version mostly for extra layering, reamping and different color to real amp, but I'm not sure V.2 or XT. I checked everything on their site and I would like to hear few words from real users. I'm interesting in POD's dry amp sound, not much for effects or add-ons.

If you didn't check this already, power amp drive on white model seems to sound fair enough:

When we are already here :) , what you prefer Bas POD or SansAmp BassDriver?


moonbaby Fri, 05/04/2007 - 06:53
Hi, Groff:
How's that studio coming along? I play guitar and and have both Sansamp and Pod boxes. I have the Sansamp Bass Driver, the Tri-A.C., and the Acoustic DI. I have the Pod 2.0 and the xtLive. I also have a Vox ToneLab, which I prefer over the Pod as far as DI to a mixer is concerned. The only way I can stomach the 2.0 is through a clean Fender-type of tube amp. The speaker acts like a giant lowpass filter and rolls off a lot of that top-end "fizzy trash tones" that the Pod generates under higher-gain settings. You might try that in your new room instead of simply throwing it aside. The Sansamp Bass is great, and a few players have brought in the RB-1 rack unit, which is even better. Fat, tight and quiet.
I think that the basic tonal differences between the 2 lines is that the Pods offer very good control and variety, but the SansAmps are more "organic" in tone and dynamics, with simple controls. I truly believe that if you want the type of sounds that you initially described, you need to get a real amp involved. It doesn't have to be loud ( I use a real old Princeton), just set it for clean and roll off the treble. Try it out..

Groff Fri, 05/04/2007 - 14:30
Hi Mr. moonbaby,

I’m stuck with the progress at my place and waiting for financial injection (next week). Wall painting is done. Now I’m looking for some laminate for flooring. I will post the pics after that. In the mean time, I’m cleaning the rest of the place, and I’m cleaning, and cleaning … the gypsum dust is like a cancer, can’t get rid off, it’s real *ss pain.

Thanks for your input about the POD and the rest. Oh, yes I’m planning to try the POD with the tube amp, at least through the power amp section.

XT model offers too much possibilities that’s “scares” me because I believe in simplicity (a minimalist). From “my” rule of thumb - if isn’t possible to get good sound from 5 potentiometers - just forget this device. So 2.0? Anyway, less leafs – more bloom isn’t always the truth.

I’m curious do they make any sound improvement from v1.0 to 2.0 and made it more organic and natural?

BobRogers Fri, 05/04/2007 - 18:04
I'm afraid I'm in a different camp. I really felt the XT was a big improvement over the 2.0. Much more natural sounding. But then I really like using the computer interface and tweaking all the parameters.

I have the bass pod 2.0, and I was able to dial in tones I like very quickly. It has actually been hard to find something to beat it. I had a Sansamp PSA-1 for a while and found it noisy and harsh. (Now, I play a P-bass with flats in a very old school style, so my requirements are not typical.)

I recently bought a Bass POD XT Pro on eBay, so we will see if that beats it out. I will report back in a few weeks.

Groff Sat, 05/05/2007 - 01:57
Thanks Bob, I appreciated your comments.

I really have no clue why I thought that 2.0 was developed after XT, therefore all my expectations about possible improvement.

Bob, how XT standing in the mix with regular amped guitars and live drums. I haven’t much success in mixing with 1.0. I've noticed 1.0 is acceptable and fits well with processed loops, „electro“-ambient and music like that but not much in guitar oriented rock.

It would bi nice to see Bass XT pro report and comparison comments here.

Here are some pieces from my early recordings, first two are POD V.1 direct into TLA mic pre, the third is guitar direct to old Roland transistor amp (?) with 58 in front, and the last is DigiTech 21?? (silver model) with Mesa 50/50 and 57. It was long ago so details are foggy, I think 1604 VLZ pro was used as pre in last two samples.



BobRogers Sat, 05/05/2007 - 06:13
I've almost always used the PODs in bands where everyone played through the board other than the drummer. (Actually, our church praise band now uses electronic drums.) I really found it helped to tweak the settings in reasonable approximation of the live setting using the PA. My daughter's band had two electric guitars on PODs, bass on Bass POD, Acoustic through a Baggs Para, Keys through the board, and live drums (kick and snare miced always, overheads in large venues) They'd use my PA at practice and the mix that was created in practice translated very well to the stage.

As far as the POD sitting in the mix, are you talking about the stage sound or front of house? If you are playing through the board while others are using amps, monitoring will be crucial of course. As far as mixing amps and PODs for FOH, I've only done it with one-shot deals at outdoor festivals with bands I didn't know. Usually a "first song is the sound check" kind of situation. How are you using the POD in your setup?