The POD family has been around for some years and the last month Line6 released the youngest member of the family and one of the most interesting releases of the year, the Line6 Pocket POD. This device brings all the sound power of the POD products but in a very small package that can be very useful for recording with laptop-based studios or as an always-on-the-bag “tone library” for guitar players.
The first thing that surprises from the Pocket POD is its size, it’s very small, a little bigger than a compact digital camera (you can look at the photo to see the size comparison) and has a very beautiful design, the classic POD family red color with chrome controls, a very cool combination.
Pocket POD – size comparison
The Pocket POD works very similar as its bigger brothers but with some limitations, the presets can’t be so easily edited (fewer controls means more combinations to edit), so if you need to do preset massive editing you can use the Vyzex software from Line6 (only works in Mac OS X and Windows XP and Vista). The more than 300 sound presets can be browsed by style, band or user modes.
The Style model has some different groups clean, crunch, heavy, effected, bass, vocal and song, the last one is the coolest one as you can choose from several presets that are very similar to some classic tunes like Walk this way, Welcome to the jungle, Rock ‘n roll, Smells like teen spirit, Jessica, Smoke on the water or Purple Haze among others.
The Band mode contains presets created by guitar players from rock bands like Bumblefoot, Tim Wheeler from Ash, Tim Mahoney from 311 or James Valentine from Maroon 5. And the last, but probably the most useful is the User model that allows you to browse your own custom presets or your Pocket POD’s favorites, you can create your set of preferred tones to find them easily, you can add up to 124 presets.
In each preset, you can change the amp model, the cabinet and the effect used. The amps and cabinet models included are the same 32 amps and 16 cabinets included in POD 2.0 (this means Line6, Marshall, Fender, Mesa Boogie or Vox emulated amps and cabinets that will give you almost all the rock history tonal range). The effects list include tremolo, chorus, flanger, rotary, compressor, and delays.
The controls are very intuitive, some functions are activated very easily and some others need simple control combinations that can be done with only one hand (even if you have the Pocket POD on a table or clipped in your trousers). The Pocket POD has four knobs, two buttons, and one 4-way navigation button control. The knobs allow you to adjust tone settings like drive, delay, volume, EQ, reverb and some effects (flanger, echo, …), the two buttons have a tap and save preset as primary functions and tuner and alt features (holding this button you can adjust the alternative functions of the knobs) as alternative functions. But the most important control is the 4-way navigation button that allows you to select the presets, the volume, the noise gate level, the amp and cabinet models and the effects.
The Pocket POD features aux (for playing along with CD or MP3 players) and guitar (that also is the on/off switch) inputs and amp (just connect it to an amp input, like an effect pedal) and direct/headphones (stereo output for recording, practicing with headphones or play directly to a PA) outputs. The device can be powered by four AAA batteries or by a DC adapter (not included).
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Things I Liked
The tones are really good and the range is very big, from clean to highly gained tones with some crunchy sounds and the sounds of some of the most played and classic rock songs. There are also some synth-like or highly effected sounds for psychedelic or industrial music.
The size and the weight, the device is very small, it fits in your hand, and has a very low weight. So it’s possible to play with the Pocket POD clipped in your pants.
The price is a good point, $129 for the same tones as its POD bigger brother but in a compact device that can be easily carried around, for example to the rehearsal room.
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Things I Didn’t Like
The controls are not endless rotary knobs so when you change the preset the position of the knob is not the actual position, for example, if you change from a clean to a high-gained sound preset and the drive control is at a low position instead of at the highest positions when you move the knob to edit this parameter the gain will be reduced to the low level before getting in the high-level position.
Although it’s very easy to edit the presets, from the device or from the editor software, you can only save the modifications of the Pocket POD presets or your own sound creation in the user banks, you can’t modify a factory preset and store the new sound in the same position.
This is a very good device to practice or for rehearsals, it can be useful for all kind of guitar players, but especially to heavy, metal or hard rock players because the quantity of different sounds for this kind of music is huge and varied, and all of them sound very good. Blues and classic rock players can found some cool crunch tones in the Pocket POD also. I’d highly recommend this device to practice or to play at home.
Thanks to the people in Line6 UK that send us a Pocket POD so we could try it and give our opinion about it.
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