Price paid: $ 139.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I'm using the UX2 with an Intel iMac and plugging in my Ernie Ball Music Man JP6. The POD Farm software has some great-sounding amp sims, cabs, and effects, and you can download more models from Line 6 (an FX bundle is included with the UX2). Everything depends on your personal taste, but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find settings you liked the sound of; there's just so much variety. I downloaded the Metal Shop and Collector Classics amp model packs at a special bundle price, and those gave me even more options. I'm incredibly happy with the high-gain models in particular: The Bogner Uberschall and Peavey 50 sims are great for the style of music I like to play. But the Treadplate Dual (included with the product) is perfectly fine for high-gain tones as well. These sounds are all included on the other Line 6 PODs, though not every sound is available out of the box. For a bit of extra money, you can add all the sounds from any other POD, but I'm not so sure it's worth it. The thing already comes with way more options than I'll ever need. There is zero latency when jamming with POD Farm in standalone mode, and running the plugin in recording software results in just a touch of latency, though it is bearable (and you can tweak the buffer size to reduce it even further). Some models are a little noisy, but it's nothing the built-in noise gate can't handle.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing around 17 years, and I like to play everything from classic rock to metal. I've been able to get all the sounds I want from this, and for jamming at home it's great. I haven't messed with recording software in depth, but a few test tracks come out nice with the POD Farm plugin. It's also nice to be able to play into the software and hear yourself and all the POD Farm effects, but still record a dry signal so you can tweak the settings after laying a track down. I might have gone with the UX1 instead, if I had know that I can do pretty much the same things with it. The UX2 has a VU meter and phantom power, plus more inputs for guitars and mics, but I'm not sure if I'll ever use it for anything but playing/recording my guitar. Oh well, it's nice to have the option at least. There's really nothing I don't like about it so far. It does exactly what I bought it to do. I'm sure it's not up to snuff with most other pro audio gear, but what do you expect for under $200? If you're like me and just want a nice, flexible alternative to a practice amp, and some recording options that actually sound good, this is the way to go, though you might want to opt for a UX1 or a GX, depending on your needs. The software is the same for all of them.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This is meant for home recording, and for that, it seems plenty durable. I'm basically using it instead of a practice amp, but I like the option of being able to record with it. Since it just sit's on my desk, it doesn't need to be incredibly sturdy, but it seems solid nonetheless. I wouldn't gig with it, though; get a POD for that.
Ease of Use — 7
The POD Studio UX2 (formerly TonePort) is a hell of a device. The new, rebranded version comes with POD Farm and the POD Farm VST/RTAS/AU plugin for recording software (it also still comes with GearBox, but I like POD Farm better). Install the programs from the included disks or use the Line 6 Monkey software to find all updates for your device. There are no instructions included with the unit, and I was a little confused about how to hook it up, not being familiar at all with recording equipment. Once I had it figured out, though, I could set it and forget it. For those interested in buying one of these, be aware that it does not turn your computer into an amp simulator. It allows you to plug your guitar/bass/mic in and use the included software to play through your computer, but you will need to hook up headphones or an external monitor directly to the UX2 in order to hear yourself as you play. (I just plugged my external PC speakers into the headphone jack using a 1/4" adapter.) It was also a little difficult to figure out how to use the UX2 in recording software. That's to be expected, though; Line 6 can't possibly provide instructions for using their product with every conceivable software configuration. I didn't want to use their included recording software (a stripped-down version of Ableton Live) as I already use Reaper, but I was not able to get the POD Farm plugin to work in Reaper. It works fine in Garage Band and Ableton, so my guess is it's a problem with Reaper. But just plugging in and jamming with POD Farm or GearBox couldn't be easier once you have it setup and installed properly.