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Line 6  
POD xt
Type: Gear, Hardware, Musical
From: Line 6
Usage: Audio, General Use, Windows PC
POD xt
You're dating yourself if you remember the days of Andy Summers, on tour as guitarist for The Police, toting along with his fine self an effects rack no smaller than a three-story apartment block with parking out back. You'll also recall his Goliath d'Electronica was a) cool, and b) ridiculous. We've come a long way since making Roxanne sexy. Line 6's PODxt crams Roxanne into a toaster and leaves room for all her friends.
Posted June 20, 2006
By MARK CONLIN, EVERGEEK MEDIA
 
You're dating yourself if you remember the days of Andy Summers, on tour as guitarist for The Police, toting along with his fine self an effects rack no smaller than a three-story apartment block with parking out back. You'll also recall his Goliath d'Electronica was a) cool, and b) ridiculous. We've come a long way since making Roxanne sexy. Line 6's PODxt crams Roxanne into a toaster and leaves room for all her friends.

Continuing in Line 6's now great tradition of "Digital Amplifier Modeling," the PODxt brings to guitar players of all levels instant credibility, merited or otherwise.

Rarely, if ever, have musicians had such a powerful tool, let alone in such a portable package, that appeals to newbies and pros alike. Through modeling, the xt gives you virtual access to countless thousands of dollars worth of expensive amplifiers, cabinets, and effects, all fully programmable and easily tweaked with intuitive knobs and buttons.

Real guitar players and wannabes alike will be thrilled to find this tool is not limited to use as a small home practice amp or glorified headphone amp, which many musicians heretofore shied away from due to poor, uninspiring tones. Shy no more; the Enormodome now fits lakeside with an average pair of headphones; sounding all the better in "dubly."

Too, neighbors, roommates and spouses will be relieved that practice sessions don't need to happen cranked up to "11" anymore just for the wanking feedback rawk effect; the PODxt allows amateur and experienced players alike the flexibility of walking into any recording or live environment with a guitar arsenal at their command at a reasonable volume; a wall of sound or blissful white noise at an otherwise-impossible conversational level.

It's all made possible though a blessed feature in the POD xt known as the CAB/A.I.R switch, a proprietary circuit that, in layman's terms (though the technobabble of it all is brilliant), allows the user to not only plug the xt into any amplifier but, surprisingly, any mixing console, direct. In stereo. Dubly, even. Though you may cringe at the thought of that thin, nails-on-chalkboard tone you hear when daft Van Halen wannabes go direct into the house sound system or rehearsal hall P.A., whip the gain and treat it like a guitar amp in disguise, anyone from the tonal purist to the absolute daftest will get away with it when using a POD xt, because, again, we're talking Stereo Enormodome with all the subtlety and tone preserved. Dubly, too. A boon to anyone frequently rehearsing or gigging and can't really afford to drive their fuel sucking 74' dodge sportsman across town 3 nights a week weighted down with 800 pounds of Marshall halfstacks. It's Enormodome in a toaster-sized package, after all.

Andy Summers would definitely have Roxanne earn her keep with the exhaustive sets of "modeled" effects and toys, including classic stomp boxes like Andy's much touted CE-1 chorus, Stevie Ray Vaughan's Ibanez tube screamer, Vibratone / Leslie rotating speaker cabs and the MXR phase 90 Jimmy Page made famous. All available, stackable and ready to serve. Emulated amplifiers include Eddie's Marshall 100 watt Plexi lead Variac (see manual for details), Highwatts, Vox and a veritable cornucopia of the best fender combos ever made. And cab options, a virtual warehouse full, your own personal electro-mutant Meccano Set that screams at you when you're done.

Playability is instant with 64 modifiable presets and 64 user programmable blanks for your own creations. Many have gimmicky titles such as "eruption," "highwaytohell," "streetshavnoname," "That'sAlright" and my personal favorite "SultansofSwing," each replicating the guitar player sounds in the songs they're named after. Not bang-on replications, mind you, but demonstrative of the unit's versatility, close enough for garage hacks and a fair starting point for pros that know what they're listening for and where to take it to.

The manual is comprehensive if you care to read it, but seeing as the average musician most likely suffers from A.D.D.-- voluntarily in most cases--, the folks at Line 6 were kind enough to also include a one-page quick start guide that will have you ripping in minutes. Oddly, there's virtually no documentation included to explain the uses for or capabilities of the xt's USB port. However, knowing USB is a computer connection means you also know how computers work--at least enough to find the USB instructions and drivers on Line 6's product support page, so it was probably best they left it out of the manual so as not to confuse the dinosaurs who don't know USB from A.D.D. in the first place.

Anyway, the USB port allows direct-to-computer recording at light speed, editing and mixing with your preferred software or any number of sound editing applications Line 6 also offers online. Thus, you can hook up with your bass-playing brother on the other side of the Rockies; pass on song ideas or record entire tunes in virtual studio sessions through ftp, file sharing and what not. Extra cool because his Bass POD also has a USB port of like function. Now all you have to do is convince him to get off his Heineken™ and send you something to shred over. (Editor's note: workin' on it)

With the PODxt, the only thing you need Andy Summer's apartment block for is crashing after a hard day in the studio, long night of playing/drinking at your local club, or just practicing in the quiet comfort of your living room-based Enormodome while you watch Tiger Woods make another million bucks an hour on a crappy Saturday afternoon.
 
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4.75 (out of 5)