Price paid: C$ 350
Purchased from: Long n McQuade
Sound — 10
I play a lot of different stuff. Wolfmother, Rage Against The Machine, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and a TON of Tool. I'm using a 2000 Epi SG equipped with Seymour Duncan Jazz/JB set and using the POD X3 in the "Power Amp IN" in the back of my Line 6 Spider Valve 212. HOLY. FRIG. Make sure to set up the POD X3 in "Power Amp Combo" mode if using thru the back of an amp, or if you plug in the front of the combo, there's a setting for that too. Whatever you do, this thing will sound like poop if you use the pre-amps in the POD and then go through the pre-amp of your combo amp. The double processing makes it sound terrible. There are so many different ways to set it up, you will find a sound you like with some tweaking. Since Tool is my favorite band, and my favorite thing to play with my set-up, I gotta say that the POD delivers. When I'm using my headphones (or sometimes 2 amps!), I'll enable the dual output mode and split my guitar through left and right; each with a different amp/cab heavy distortion (modelled on Adam Jones setup) and each Tone Channel using the noise gate and some other stuff. This sounds AMAZING. It makes the guitar sound absolutely HUGE! With the noise gate on, it cleans the guitar up beautifully - steady chugging, palm mutes, big strums, they are so crisp and clean that you'll feel like a million bucks. Messing with the other modulation effects, you can really tweak the sound you want. I like the Wah selection, and the flange/trem/chorus/reverbs are all great. The reverb can be a bit touchy on the dial though, there seems to be a very small "sweet spot". There is a large selection of stomb boxes as well; I have to recommend the use of the Ibanez Tube Screamer (TS-808), its great. Dial back the Drive for a decent crunch, or turn the Drive up when you want to melt some faces. I'd also like to note that I recently started using this to record some riffs on my computer using the unit's internal sound card and usb interface. It sounds fantastic and you can use any multi-track recording program to make some really nice tracks. Very easy to do. Since the POD X3 has it's own sound card, it takes over so that your computer doesn't need to work as hard, which eliminates any Lag between your guitar and the recorded track.
Overall Impression — 10
I. LOVE. THIS. THING. Don't even bother with the pre-made sounds. Make your own! You can come up with any type of sound you want (or download some that you would like! Just tweak it after you get it for your particular set-up), this thing will deliver every time! If you don't like it at first, just keep messing with it. You will like it, and it will become a core piece of gear in your arsenal. I always back up my tones on my computer, so if it were lost/stolen I'd buy another and just transfer my tones and keep on playing. I've used Boss GT-6, GT-8, DigiTech RP series, a bunch of different stomp boxes, and this is by far my favorite. Especially since I play through the back of a tubed 212 combo. I know some people don't like Line 6 gear, and I fully understand their reasoning, but this unit and the Spider Valve 212 are a perfect match and the POD X3 will surprise you. It may not blow your socks off right away, but if you know what sound you want, you can get it. When you do find something by accident though, your face will light up like a kid at Christmas. Enjoy!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well I've used this just about every day for the past 6 months, using it at home in my bedroom with amp, or headphones, or computer. I've also brought it to my group's jam spot every week to jam. It's chassis is all aluminum and is pretty damn tough. The knobs are tough as well. I throw it in my back pack with my FBV express controller and it is great for jamming/live playing. The only issue I have is that there's no bank up/bank down on the FBV so you need to keep the POD close if you need to switch banks. Since it sits by itself, I only tweak it as I go, so no real punishment unless it's power socket related or it falls to the floor or gets bumped in transit. I can't see anything happening to it while gigging/jamming.
Ease of Use — 8
Well I've had my POD X3 for about 6 months now and I can finally give it a proper review. It took me this long just to go through enough settings that I can properly construct the tones I'm looking for when I hear a song that I want to play. I mistakingly threw the massive manual aside for the first few months, and I only dug it out a month ago so that I could see what amp/cab names are modelled. The whole time I was using it, I just downloaded the tones I wanted (amazingly simple and fast using Gearbox). Also, getting the dual input/output can be tricky to get a good blend but when you do it a couple of times, you get it. Kind of a steep learning curve to this if you're new to processor units. Only giving it a 8 because it can be overwhelming to get your head around it.