Purchased from: Skif Music
Ease of Use — 10
It's pretty easy to work with POD, even if you haven't read the manual. The controls are friendly to the user, everything could be changed, even the order of inner FXs may be configured. Almost any possible feature you may need is within several hand or foot actions, which is really useful. Buttons of main effects, such as STOMP, MOD, DELAY, COMP[RESSOR]/BOOST, not just switch it on-off, but provide you with actual settings by just a double click on it. The manual is good too, covering most of the features one may need to understand how it works. The rest comes with practice. You can upgrade your POD via USB connection.
Sound — 8
First of all, this is a very versatile piece of gear. You can use it in different genres, all kinds of gigs - and still sound good, as long as you know what preferences have to be changed. It goes good with singles and Hs, Ps and Js, and all the popular types of mics that are around.
I used it with several amps in different rooms, and every next time it showed nice result (except for the very first time, maybe). For those who like hi-gain settings, there is a built-in noise gate and a compressor-booster with its own activation button on the pedalboard. Still, I had some noise, but that was probably more of other gear than of Pod. As any other POD piece, it has a remarkable FXs. More to that, you get 32 sets, 4 presets each, all which could be accessed without hands, and it is useful for playing live. Outside the stage, POD could be used as a soundcard with or without any additional software (connects to PC via USB using ASIO drivers).
However, overdrive/distortion and wah may rely very much on your own taste; some would love it, some may not. Totally up to you, but if you're at the point where you find yourself, say, a beginner or anywhere else below middle - it's just what you need. Not that it's pretty much versatile, but it may also help you with understanding what you really want to have in your gear - and keep you alright while you're getting it. There are all kinds of inputs and outputs, several "amp or line" switches, internal booster, compressor, 6-band external EQ + 2 volume knobs + 8-band internal EQ,"tap" button with light indicator to show you current tempo tapped.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's rather well built, seems to endure almost any possible live gig danger (hence the LIVE in the title), literally any know of the pedalboard has its own highlight, so you can see what you have switched on. Can't really think what you may need as a backup here, except for a class-up FXs like some rack gear. The wah/volume pedal is nice and smooth, very accurate and has a pretty tight holding surface, allowing you to control it with minimal risk of slipping no matter what. In addition to that, the bottom has several pieces to prevent the slip of the whole POD.
Plus, built-in tuner (pretty accurate) with one-click access; you may have it muted for in-gig tuning corrections or stay in full sound for some "real live atmosphere" (some like that :)). You may also use it not just for your own live performance, but plug in another guitar, or bass, or mic, and have it processed separately, which makes it very useful for any kind of band activity.
Overall Impression — 8
I myself play in different genres, including California/pop-punk, alternative, progressive, math, djent and acoustic covers, so I think that this POD is truly versatile when it comes to actual playing. I've been playing for almost 6 years now, and I would totally buy another if I ever lose this one (hopefully, this won't happen). I started using it after a pedal FXs chain, and now I'm using a combination of several main pedals and POD. And I must say, that really is an awesome build, maybe the best you can get without getting out of this level of gear.
- remarkably useful for anyone;
- has very nice "price/quality" rate;
- designed both for gigs and practice;
- variety of sound and FX options;
- easy-access tuner;
- several "for gigs" features;
- you may not like overdrive/distortion and wah;
- it's pretty huge compared to most of other FXs;
- the display may've been brighter.