Price paid: $ 164.98
Purchased from: Guitar Center, Arlington, TX
Sound — 8
I am currently using my PODXT in conjunction with my Randall RH150G3 head and Marshall 1960A cabinet. I'm using the FX loop of the Randall to be able to Switch between the PODXT and Randall's preamp for tones, then feed either tone into the Randall's power section. For guitars, I use a Paul Reed Smith Tremonti SE loaded with EMGs, a PRS SE Singlecut Trem, and a Fender Strat from the early 90s with a Duncan P-Rails pickup in the bridge. Before I go any further, I want to say that if you're expecting the 1965 Double Verb model to sound EXACTLY like a Fender Twin Reverb, or the Brit J-800 to sound just like your JCM-800, then you'll more than likely be disappointed. The truth about amp modeling is that you may NEVER be 100% right on the money in comparison with the real thing. This isn't a knock or anything about modeling, I'm saying this because not even two of the same model tube amps will sound EXACTLY the same. What the POD does (as well as most other Line 6 products) is that it gives you amp/effect models that display characteristics of what we know and love about particular amps, and you can recognize what amp is being modeled with each model. There are virtually endless possibilities with this device, which is why I decided to use it as a second preamp in my A/B setup. There are a lot of great sounds on this thing, and some of the presets even sound good to my ear. However, some sounds I am not at all impressed with, and personally I think the best sounds are achieved on processors like this when the user tweaks their own sound. The sound quality is good, and rather usable, depending on what your uses are of it. Be sure to hit the tuner button, and turn the select knob to the right, to find the "What are you connected to?" feature. I love this feature. This feature optimizes the PODXT to sound best for what you are using it for. If this isn't calibrated right, the POD can sound rather muddy and unpleasant, but with it properly set, I've had no issues with sound quality. The noise gate is very helpful, and I do find myself using it a lot. My favorite amp models on the PODXT would be the models of the 60s Vox AC-30 Top Boost, the Marshall JCM-800, the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, the Orange AD-30, and the '58 Fender Tweed Bassman. I have also taken a liking to other sounds as well, but these have proven as my go-to models. Most of the effects are usable, and sound good. There are several Wah models (which work best if you have an FBV controller with expression pedal), a Whammy pedal model, several distortion/overdrive/fuzz box models, and several reverbs, delays, and many chorus, flange, and Phaser effects. These all sound pretty solid, except I'd say that most of the distortion pedal effects sound either too muddy or too tinny at times (but hey, even those have their uses!) I have found that I use the rotary speaker/Leslie effect quite a bit, and I love that sound. I'll rate this an 8, because I feel that most everything sounds good, as long as the POD is calibrated for what you're using it for; however, I still find some models to be somewhat lacking--not bad, just like there's a little something missing.
Overall Impression — 9
I play driving mainstream alt-rock (think Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, 30 Seconds to Mars, etc.) and this is a great match. I can coax about any workable tone I want out of this thing, and with the FBV Shortboard, most of it's done with one stomp. I was previously using both a Spider II head with my Randall and running them into my Marshall cab in stereo, which was always a pain, because levels were so hard to get right. Now I can run both the POD and preamp section of the Randall into the amp's power section--which drives the cab in mono--and still have more options, tonally. If it were stolen/lost/damaged/etc, I would seek a replacement POD. No question. I bought this over the used PODXT Pro they had at the same GC, because there was a $60 price difference in the two...only thing, this POD didn't come used with the power supply, which was another $25...no big deal. The only downside is that it's not a rackmount device, but anything can be made to fit in a rack. All in all, great buy. Well worth the money.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Almost any and all of the Line 6 stuff I've owned or used is solid. This is no exception. Actually, one of my cats knocked it off of my amps yesterday, and it fell onto my hardwood floor. Nothing happened. I definitely plan on using it onstage without a backup, however a friend and I both plan on rackmounting it first (as I didn't get the PODXT Pro).
Ease of Use — 9
I bought my PODXT used for $139.99 plus $24.99 for the PX-2 power supply, plus tax. I'm rather familiar with Line 6 products--I'm an avid user of POD Farm and GearBox for home recording; I've recorded in studios with a Vetta; and I previously used the Flextone II and Spider II and III amps for live use--so needless to say, there wasn't too much of a learning curve for me when acquiring the PODxt. Everything on this device is easy to edit, from amp model to EQ to effects, and even cabinet and mic models for that matter. There's even a feature in which the PODXT optimizes itself for what you're using it for, i.e. direct recording, in front of an amp, or as a preamp alone. Some of the more advanced functions might take some getting used to, like on ANY device, but one should find basic operations to be child's play. The manual, which I downloaded from Line 6's website, is over 150 pages long, and is rather in depth, from describing basic functions, to information about the amp models, to even more advanced use, such as re-amping or live use. I've had the device for almost two weeks, and its manual has proven very helpful. I'd definitely suggest reading it if you own a PODxt. Line 6 offers periodic updates of the software on their devices, and I recently just upgraded the POD software to version 3, via USB cable. Also, their Line 6 Edit software is great for saving tones on your computer and transferring them to and from your POD via USB. I'll rate this section a 9, because it is easy to use, however some of the more advanced functions might take some learning. Again, I'd say read the manual, and you should have no problems figuring this out.