Price paid: £ 47
Ease of Use: The Pocket POD Express is one of Line 6's ventures into portable amp simulation/multi-FX units, putting 5 amp models and 6 effects into the palm of your hand. Literally.
This unit is very easy to use, consisting of 4 knobs; amp model with gain, effect with extremity, delay/reverb and volume. There's also a tap button to set the delay rate, which can be held for a few seconds in order to use the tuner, which I have found to be very accurate. Other features include a headphone/recording output and an auxiliary (e.g. iPod, CD Player) input for playing with your favourite music.
Making sounds is easy; choose an amp model with the knob and turn it some more for extra gain. Then use the other knobs for chorus, tremolo, flange, delay, spring reverb and hall reverb. Simples.
The unit takes 4 AAA batteries or can use a 9-volt DC adapter. So far I have used the unit for a total of about 3 hours with new batteries and it is still going strong; I originally imagined that they would have been drained within a couple of hours. The battery cover itself can be difficult to reattach with batteries inserted.
A manual is included, but can also be downloaded from the Line 6 website. // 9
Sound: The 5 amp models in this unit are based on the Fender Deluxe Reverb, Fender Twin Reverb, Vox AC30/6, Marshall JCM 800 and Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amplifiers. Everything from reggae to metal is well handled by these simulations
I'm playing this with a Fender Stratocaster and some headphones; in general it sounds good. The clean channel is great and with some gain and spring reverb, Killer blues tones can be achieved. The other channels, however, sound a bit flat; because there are no EQ settings, the distortion channels don't have enough treble for my liking. This, of course, can be overcome to an extent by using an amplifier. The delay and hall reverb effects are pretty good, as are the chorus and tremolo. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I could depend on this for practising and home recording, but not for gigging since there is no footswitch compatibility. I would use my Behringer X V-AMP for playing live. // 8
Overall Impression: I play all sorts of music; reggae, ska, punk, blues and sometimes metal. This suits them all rather well. I have been playing for 5 years and I own the aforementioned Fender Stratocaster and X V-AMP as well as various stomp boxes. In terms of an amp, I only have a Squier SP-10 at the moment (boo!); I'm hoping to buy a new one very soon.
If it was stolen, I would be annoyed on the one hand, but on the other hand I can make all of the same sounds with the X V-Amp. I love the clean channel, but hate the fact it has no EQ. Overall, good for beginners or those just wanting to practise with some effects, as well as some headphones! // 8