Price paid: $ 399.99
Purchased from: zzounds.com
Sound — 7
My current set up is an Ibanez RG with an EMG 81/85 pick-up configuration plugged into a DigiDesign Mbox 2 Mini audio interface. When the guitar is left idle, you get absolutely no hum or feedback which is a joy. There is also a noisegate setting where you can pretty much cut out any unwanted noises as well. If you are a fan of heavy distortion this will definitely do the trick, but keep in mind this is a digital guitar processor so you do not get that tube-driven guitar feel and sound, but it is about as close to as you can get. For the price you pay for it, there really isn't much better you can get. The tones are fairly consistent, and with a bit of tweaking you can find your sound and SAVE it. No worries after you cut it off, as soon as you cut it back on your previous settings are there. To address one thing: Distortion, because I know many people will wonder about it. The distortion is fairly good, although you really can't get much variation on it. If you want a straightforward metal tone, it's got what you need but for more defined tone such as Periphery or Tesseract tone, this is not going to give you that unfortunately. The clean settings are very good, you have just about any stompbox effect on the market on this thing.
Overall Impression — 6
For my style, which is that of Periphery and Tesseract, it doesn't suit me well at all. With that said, I could still find great tones for heavy metal and hardcore type stuff. I wish I had have tried this out before purchasing it though, because if I had have known it wasn't for me, I'd have kept saving for the Axe-Fx. I highly recommend trying it out BEFORE buying it just to make sure it gives you what you want. I am super picky, so I'm sure it will work fine for other guitarists. If this were lost or stolen, I would not purchase it again, I would save up for a higher end unit. In comparison to other processing units in the same price range, this takes the cake big time. With that said, go try it out and I hope my review helped someone out. If you want to hear the tone I got out of it, check my page and view the mp3. Cheers and keep shredding.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have only had mine for a month keeping it at the computer for home recordings and it hasn't given me any trouble. I can't imagine taking this with gigs unless you have a footswitch, otherwise it seems pointless. It is a handheld device that I would imagine could give you troubles with it live. If you are someone who wants to use the POD series for gigging, I recommend getting the X3 live, or the HD500. If you do want to use this live, go for it. It will still get the job done.
Ease of Use — 7
The POD X3 is one the best units out there for the price and you can get a vast amount of tone from it. It is a little tricky to find the right tone and with a lot of tweaking you can find something that sounds pretty close to what you want. Some are pickier than others, but if you want a simple glistening clean tone, you got it. If you want a really heavy distortion tone, you got it. It's a bit overwhelming at first if you are new to using a unit such as this, but after a while of toying with it and searching through the almost endless tone settings, you will get the hang of it. The manual was a monster. It's about the size of a paperback novel and it really covers all the ground you would want a manual to and will definitely help you to find that tone you've been looking for.