Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: JG Windows
Sound — 10
I use this mainly for electric guitar. I have used a couple of HiFi systems, earphones and headphones, amp cabinets and PA systems. Its sounds great in all of them. Of course it will sound better in a cab compared to a pair of ear phones but what else would you expect? The presets already included mostly suck but I think they are more aimed at showing the potential and capibilities of the POD X3 and less at getting decent sounds. There have been a lot more fx included in the upgrade and I personally find them fine. Not fantastic, but certainly acceptible to use. It is possible to get just about any tone you can think of with a decent ear. The noise gate is fantastic and I have never had a problem removing noise from my tones (which are mostly metal orientated). Some people complain that the distortion or gain sucks and the noise gate is rubbish. From past experiences with other musicians, I think they are trying to acheive huge sustain without knowing this can be done effectivly with one of the Compressor fx. With enough time and patience, I can replicate an artist's tone for a sogn so that it is indistinguishable from the original, this does take hours of painstaking tweaking but very rewarding. It is possible to get similar sounds in 10 mins if you do not have the patience. The most useful feature of all in my opinion is the dual tone feature. This opens up a whole new realm of creating tones. Using the duel tone, it is possible to create a blend of two different tones, or replicate a tone and use different fx (useful for causign the illusion of using two wah/chorus/flanger/delay/distortion pedals). This can be combined with panning the tones left and right to cause the illusion of two guitarist playing the same riff (in perfect sync too!)
Overall Impression — 8
I play mainly metal and this well suited for it. I have played roughly 5yrs and almsot 3yrs using the POD X3. I own a Spider IV 150w I like both equally. If it was stolen, I would definatly replace it because it is an invaluable tool for portability and bedroom recording. What I love about it is the common sense approach to the editing process, the dual tone feature and the ability to record via USB directly to your computer (without the tone be runied by the crappy soundcard in the computer). What I hate about it is the that tweaking dual tones through the POD X3 is pretty annoying compared to single tones. Using gearbox (the software on the computer) makes it much quicker and easier editing both tones simultaneously. I am also pretty dissapointed with the bass tones and mic tones. Compared to the guitar tones, they are pretty limited and poor. But hey, it is aimed at guitarists afterall. If I could have any additional capibilities, it would be some decent synth fx and the pitch shift/smart Harmony techniogy in the Spider IV series.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I have had it for almost 3 years now and I have had no problem with it. In foresight, if I was gigging with it, I would definatly buy a spare power cable because with is pretty flimsy. On occasions, it has crashed before and no sound comes out. This occurs roughly once every couple of hundred hours of use. Turning it off and on again sorts it out. I see no reason to bring a backup in the event of failing (no more than any other amp at least). If I had the money though, I would buy a 2nd one as a backup since they a reasonably priced, they can store identical tones and in the event faling occurs (could be a power surge, water damage or even theft) there will be a backup. Treat it with respect like I have and it should last for years. Keep standing on the wires and dropping it and I would predict it would last a couple of months.
Ease of Use — 9
At first, it is mind boggling. The instruction manual is huge and pretty pointless. After a couple of hours playing around with it, you can get the hang of it. It has a pretty natural flow to create tones. Tones are pretty easy to create and edit, they can be saved in the POD, on your computer and online makes it very accessible. Throughout the years, there have been upgrades to the firmware every couple of month. Most of the time these are to correct minor bugs (stuff like spelling mistakes). On occasions, they have provided excellent expansion packs (free of course) which include loads more amp models, new pedals etc. Since the Original version, they have added a dedeicated metal pack, an fx pack and a few others. It now has vocoder and talkbox fx (think of the intro to Livin on a Prayer). Overall, the POD X3 is packed with loads of customisation and tweaking, but it is all pretty self explanitory. If you cannot get to grips with editing tones, you can always download any of the thousands of tones available online.