Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Local Dealer
Sound — 9
I play an Ibanez prestige S-1520NT, with a Bill Lawrence XL-500 Bridge pickup in the neck position, and a Kramer Quad-rail knock off in the bridge position. I play that through this unit, into a digital power amp for a movie theater surround-sound system, with JBL studio monitors for speakers. If you own a tube-amp, be warned that the amp models shouldn't be run through your dirty channel, only the clean... And even then you'll have to use the main volume to ensure you don't end your hearing-stuff-career. My bridge pickup's insanely hot, so I definitely don't have any issues with it not being "heavy enough." The higher gain amps sound pretty decent, they sound convincingly tube-like. My friends with tube amps seemed to be surprised/somewhat pleased with it's performance. The wah gate parameters aren't wide enough, and the pedal is stiff to boot. If you're a big wah fan, you better have a back-up plan for that. The pitch bender effect is pretty high standard, no delay issues, or envelope distortion. The pitch bend actually works pretty well with the stiff expression pedal. Many other effects on it, to me, are archaic and overused. I'm not a Vintage kind of guy. I like new stuff that isn't worn out. So, in a way this thing's not super-useful to me. I could work with less. However, I bought it when I was a beginner guitarist, and it did well for me to study the classic effects. It can mimic a lot of artists, but you're guitar will be the main determining factor. i.e., I can't emulate Keith Richards on it. Cause he plays a lame ass single-coil-laden Fender, and I play a guitar that has massive, terrifying testicles.
Overall Impression — 7
I play metal, mostly, but I play classical guitar-type things as well quite often. I dabble in various other styles, but those are my forte. It's a good enough match for me to be satisfied, but it's lacking elements I'd like to have, such as; The ability to have a clean channel that's smooth, but distorted enough to sustain and be saturated whilst clipped. I'd also like some of the features of the Line 6 X3 Live, such as; an 1/8th inch input jack for play along (for my IPod and other 1/8th inch instruments of noise), 2 1/4th inch input jacks (it does have stereo-out), A more diverse set of amp models(ie, instead of just putting popular amp models on it, why not just but a diverse variety), the ability to program the effects loop bias and topography in any order I want, including redundant effects (example: running the flanger through the flanger, or running the chorus before the metal distortion or vice versa) I do like the saturation of frequencies, and I also like the rougher sounding metal distortion than most digital distortions. But I'd also like a choice. However, if it were lost or stolen, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't bother with replacing it now... That's debatable though, cause I've played through a lot of others, and they suck a lot worse. I haven't played through a Line 6 X3 Live, but based on the design and specs, I think I'd enjoy it more. But the lack of an actual valve, might make it a little weak sounding. Possibly.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It is very durable, I doubt that it will be breaking anytime soon. The knobs can get turned by your guitar cables if you're not careful. Not a real big deal. I would use it on a gig without a backup. It's not valueable enough to me to leave behind, and I just don't see it getting damaged, even if I just carried in there without a case, lol.
Ease of Use — 7
It's very simple to dial in a "tone" when you turn a knob to an effect/amp/cab/modulation/delay, the parameters for the patch are alterable by designated knobs on the bottom half of the board. It's possible to take a setting and move it to a different bank, and also duplicate it. This is only slightly less simple. You can also change the line-in settings, and a variety of other settings no one ever messes with. If using the knobs isn't precise enough for a parameter, there are digital buttons that can dial it in directly. The manual is straight forward, but so is the Machine. You'll probably overlook the manual for a few months. My main gripe about ease of use would be that the expression pedal is somewhat stiff. But. That could also be useful.