Nowadays, it seems like everything is going portable. There was once a time when browsing the internet actually required a desktop computer or at the very least a laptop. Now there’s enough computing power in your pocket to send you to the moon! Or something like that, I forgot where I heard this. Anyways, the guys over at Line 6 have given the same miniature treatment to one of their most iconic pieces of gear, the POD. The original POD – in its entire kidney shaped glory – turned more than a few ears when it was released way back in 1997, even with its now paltry sum of just 16 amp models.
Fast forward to today and we have the Pocket POD; essentially a miniaturized version of the POD 2.0, complete with the same 32 amp models and 16 effects, albeit with some pretty thorough, standalone editing features. For example, basic guitar amp models can be edited and saved as easy as you would expect but getting deeper into customizing the cabinet emulation along with the detailed effects parameters will require users to download the free Vyzex software (not a big gripe as pretty much everyone has access to a computer nowadays).
Even without the software, getting things setup and saving them is pretty straight forward and veterans of the POD series will essentially already know what to expect – both good and bad. For example, just like on previous POD models, it’s much easier to edit and save a sound in its originally designated preset than it is to move it to another one.
Now when you combine the Pocket POD with the free Vyzex software is where this piece of gear really starts to shine. The software is easy to use and lets you tweak your sounds via a pretty user friendly UI just in case maneuvering and editing with the physical buttons on the POD gets tad bit tedious. Once the Pocket POD is attached to the computer via the included USB cable and the Vyzex software is launched, loading up downloaded presets is as easy as clicking the OPEN button under the L6T menu up top, then saving by pressing the SAVE button on the POD itself.
And taking a page from modern socially integrated gadgets, the Vynex software will also let users create, download and share presets created by fellow POD users, downloadable through Lin 6’s customtone.com site. As far as creating these signature sounds go, you’ll be glad to know it’s actually pretty seamless through the software. You start off with an amp model on which to base your sound, tweak every other parameter – cabinet emulation, effects, effects order, reverb parameters and about a million other things – and when everything is ready to go, hit SAVE on the POD. All edits to the software are sent back to the POD so having speakers or a headset plugged in to the unit will allow you to monitor your editing progress.
But what about the sound? Not bad at all! If you spend a minute or so fine-tuning your preset you can easily come up with tones that work really well for home recording, jam sessions and the like. So, do the included amp models sound exactly like the amplifiers it’s trying to emulate? Not really. If you want the exact sound of a Marshall JTM45 or an AC-30, you’re going to have to get the real deal, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t sound pretty good in their own right as it shines in its ability to obtain a near ideal tone for a particular song with very little work. All you have to do is set up a rough approximation of the sound you’re going for – such as a clean Fender with some Marshall overdrive and maybe some Mesa/Boogie treble – tweak the EQ settings a bit and you will most likely end up with some pretty awesome tones.
All in all, the sounds are convincing enough, especially when you have the POD connected to a good set of speakers or headphones, not to mention the ability to create near approximations of “dream tones” that would otherwise cost you thousands in amps.