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Bob Clearmountain talks about the Pod!
Old 15th December 2007 | Show parent
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
don't waste your $ buy an amp
Simple advise and to the point. I have no idea what kind of amp I would get because I don't have any attachment to a particular type of tone.

It begs these two questions: What are the pros and cons of models vs. real amps? What do I want/need for my application?

usually easy interface
variety of tones
low-noise (mostly)
easy to recreate tones for subsequent sessions
works on gtr, bass, keys, vox (x3 and others)

many have mediocre/problematic sounds
many don't work well in high-quality record/mix setting
or where particular expectations are at play
cheap/crappy additional fx
some latency issues

awesome tone
easy interface
nice dynamic range
real ambience
well-suited for guitar

less variety from one amp
bother neighbors, house-mates
heavy to lug around
part of more complex setup
more difficult to use as fold-back for vox & others

Perhaps recommending a pod as a lo-fi novelty box is not appropriate for this forum, but that is kind of how I think of it. Like sometimes I want a low-rent, slightly distorted, small-speaker with tremolo over here-- and I'm putting it on a little dinky nylon string guitar.
Old 14th January 2008 | Show parent
Here for the gear

I've been playing guitar since 1977 and have learned that one of the most elusive and most important aspects that makes a great guitar player great is touch. The maturity and subtlety of how they touch the string. Like how 2 singers can sing the same notes and one can make you cry with the emotion and one is just singing notes. Same with guitar.
When I play the feeling the impact of the pick and the velocity and manner in which I slide into a note or bend a note or how hard or soft I hit the string and whether I accent the next down beat or decreschendo with vibratto is pretty much Everything. That is where all of the musicality and emotion is. That is where all the magic is. That is your voice and your expression.
I've been forced to play through a pod for many casino gigs where they run the whole band direct and the thing I found was that 90% of what I was playing was lost. All the dynamics all the working of the wood, or the speaker, the air, the vibrations, whatever you want to call it, was gone. I tried realy hard to make a blues song song blusey but I had no way to voice it the way I felt or heard it im my head. All that came out was notes. What I was playing did not translate out to the sound that was produced. Very frustrating. Didn't feel like I was playing. Like having sex with 3 rubbers on. The tone is in the fingers but the pod seems to just take the notes you are playing and plays them back with a simulated tone on top of the pitches. Kind of defeats the purpose. And the amp modelers pretty much actually do that which is really awful sounding. Yea I can hear it and tell that they are trying to model a Plexi, or a Rectifier, or an AC 30 but in the same way as I can see a carbon copy of a blurry photograph and know what its a picture of the grand canyon, but thats not the same as being there. I'd rather be in any crappy real place than look at a picture of a really super cool place.
Old 30th April 2009
Lives for gear
ARIEL's Avatar
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
I have always said that I think the Line 6 Pod is the single biggest set back in recording quality in my life time and that the guitars just do not work in mixes. I have gone so far as to turn down some mix jobs where the guitars were cut with Pods or at least asked my manager to double my mix fee because of all the work that will go into trying to overcome how bad the Pod had screwed up the record. Lots of people think I am nuts, but it looks like I am not the only one:

Quote from Bob Clearmountain's web site <>

NO PODS IN THE RECORDING STUDIO!!!! Normally, I don't like to comment on how to record stuff, the general rule being "there are no rules". In this case, I'm making an exception as I've recently had to try to deal with guitar tracks recorded through The Pod (from Line 6). These are the most unmixable sounds I've ever encountered. I'd say they're probably fine for demos, but quite often demo tracks appear on final master recordings, then end up on my mixing table! Don't get me wrong, Line 6 makes some great products - I use Amp Farm all the time. I think the Pod is really for blasting your Strat, Les Paul or whatever through headphones so your mom/girlfriend/wife/bus driver doesn't get annoyed. PLEASE beg, borrow or steal a goddamn guitar amp!!

...and whatever you do, DON'T fall asleep next to one
Bob is completely wrong in this , I use both real maps or Pod , line 6 stuff - they are 2 different flavors ,Now if you are talking about the first generation of Pod , then i can understand some may not dig it - very synthetic , but many bands were able to make it work as a unique tone . Nine Inch Nails etc - The new Line 6 stuff is amazing !! I have done cd;s with all pod tone , and die hard purests have changed their tune on it If you cannot make the Line 6 stuff sound good then you dont have the proper ear to make it work or the skill .
Old 30th April 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Johnny Favorite's Avatar

I never liked PODs. The attack thing, already mentioned here a couple times, plus the equalization sucks. The "bass/mid/treble" buttons are worthless, no finesse at all. It`s as you`re increasing or decreasing layers on a pad, not reallyt cutting/boosting sculpting guitar tone. That`s it, recorded through those beasts, guitars become pads and I hate equalizing pads. Thing should be called PAD.

Old 30th April 2009 | Show parent
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larry b's Avatar

Personally i love my iPod.

It's one of the new nanos.

Old 30th April 2009 | Show parent
Gear Addict

The thing I hate most about these threads, is how many of the "conservatives" sound like they categorically dismiss amp modelling and state directly or indirectly that it will "NEVER" be as good as a real amp.

This is just stupid IMO. Sooner or later something will come along in the digital realm (you know - the one where anything is literally possible sound wise) that will sound great to long as they aren't told beforehand that it's a model, of course.

Personally, I find amp models perfectly acceptable for many tasks. For some - even better than amps, or at least easier to get there.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by guitar7171 View Post
Like having sex with 3 rubbers on.
LOL. That says it all. This is exactly what the pod does. It's an emotion remover. I've tried several versions and they're all just horrible.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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Audio Hombre's Avatar

ive tried to like the pod or any modeler amp for that matter and started with the first rev of the rockman, i thought i died and went to heaven when i got the rockman. but after time, i just couldn't get into that inherent odd- harmonic- enhancing- sub conscious would always give my ears a smack when i thought i was diggin it,especially after i printed the track and played it back in the mix.

these modelers always seem to try and enhance tonalities and frequencies that simply aren't naturally occurring in a "normal" guitar + amp rig. i remember pulling an analyzer up on one track, that i didn't record, and the stock preset the guy was using was boosting + 7k > frequencies like they were on red bull. it was pure ****e.
Old 1st May 2009
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
...and whatever you do, DON'T fall asleep next to one
Invasion of the Body Snatchers... LOL.

p.s. anybody want to buy my PodXT?
Old 1st May 2009
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by rcm View Post
PLEASE beg, borrow or steal a goddamn guitar amp!!

...and whatever you do, DON'T fall asleep next to one
Why didn't I read that last part when I was 16...
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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Blast9's Avatar
LOL was it at a Motorhead concert?
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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memphisindie's Avatar

Just wanna say.........Bob's right, pods suck.....gotta run......
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Pods have their place, some one else's place.

They do a great imitation of that trashy Mesa Boogie Mk3 or 4 sound. That's if you like that sort of sound.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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memphisindie's Avatar

Which I definitely do NOT.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Registered User

My old ipod plays 24bit wav files my Iphone does not. Hang on to your vintage ipod
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
When you think about it, the Pod is sort of like Invasion Of The Amp Snatchers - It looks like your wife or husband, until you catch it humping the wall socket. Actually, I think of the Pod as a tub of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter." Put it on bread and it tastes fine - but A/B it against real butter, and then you taste the difference. Also, it doesn't have the same consistency or nutritional makeup. However, it does have chemicals you won't find in butter. If you're on a diet, it's a great way to scramble eggs or have a butter-like flavor on your food. But here's the thing - You won't find world-class gourmet chefs, French or otherwise, cooking with it. Nor would you be happy if you went to Le Cirque, paid the big bucks for a dinner and found that the chef had used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter in the cream sauce for your chicken. And while you can argue that a good chef can make it taste good, the obvious answers are: 1. It would be a struggle for that chef to use it and get the flavor he is accustomed to (and no self-respecting chef would do it) 2. If you can't tell the difference, forget Le Cirque, save your money and head down Lex and walk the 7-1/2 blocks to McDonalds.

To me, a Pod is a good tool for demoing and the occasional textural flavor, but it reminds me of MIDI samples. By themselves, they sound great. For example, a one-shot snare sounds fine by itself. Now, try doing a roll with that one sample and you get the ever popular machine gun effect - same attack regardless of volume. Our ear picks this up immediately and tells us something is up. Now, take an amp model, which has a snapshot of a tube going into distortion at extreme overdrive level, and a snapshot of tube distortion at a "clean" level. The model superimposes either snapshot throughout a range of levels, whereas tube distortion would increase or decrease with a continuous rate of change based the guitarist's expression. As such, an amp model going into distortion functions like a MIDI sample with the same frequency and overtone information regardless of level - sort of "machine-gun distortion," if you will.

The other issue I see with models, along with a static snapshot being superimposed over a sound, is the lack of frequency information one might need to EQ and control the sound creatively in context of a mix. The Pod sound springs forth as a fully formed clone and doesn't get a chance to grow up in context of the recording as it evolves. Another analogy would be like trying to shrink a picture of an adult down to various sizes, and with use of Photoshop to try to give you a growth sequence of pictures from baby through early childhood to pre-teens to teenage, young adult, and etc. The only one that will convince you is the adult picture by itself. Or, using the analogy of color, like handing an artist a specific bright blue and telling her to use this blue in a near-complete painting without mixing other colors with it in order to blend with the overall tone of the painting. In other words, adjust the entire painting to one color that's close, but no cigar. The same holds true for the Pod; you're taking a model of an amp and effects that was made totally out of context in an isolated circumstance - optimized for model-making and not necessarily music-making - and expecting all other instruments recorded with different equipment in a different room with a different engineer to fit perfectly into a recording because the sample happens to say it was modeled from a Marshall. Unfortunately, thanks to modern digital technology, something can now walk like a duck, quack like a duck, and still not be a duck.

If I may speak for RCM, and BC, I think this is what they're talking about: The Pod preset that may sound just fine on its own, forces you to adjust all other elements in a mix to it, rather than giving you enough frequency information for you to tell it what to do to fit in with its playmates. Keep in mind that their ear (RCM & BC) is going to work towards getting the Pod to respond in a mix in a way that is consistent with the quality and audio cues they are accustomed to when making a record with world-class artists and gear - or in essence, make the Pod do what it is not capable of due to certain inherent limitations. Does this make the Pod evil? No. (Unless it takes over your hot girlfriend who then dumps you for the wall socket.) Does this impugn their mixing skills? Absolutely not. However, if it forces them to spend countless hours to produce a product that is less that what they are capable of by their own standards (which is a crucial point here), then they shouldn't be asked to do so (Unless it's U2). Recall that people pay for their ear, their taste. If the Pod forces them to perform below the standards they've set for themselves, then it's not a wise choice to work with it. Again, not for lack of ability - the imperfection is the Pod's. Ask Da Vinci to fingerpaint you a Mona Lisa and see how far you get. (You'll need a time machine - mine's in the shop).

Basically, the Pod is what it is - a great and affordable way for a guy or guyette who can't afford Michael Wagener's amp and cab collection to delude themselves into thinking they don't need it. (Okay, that was a bit offsides.) What I should have said there, is that the Pod is for the guys and guyettes that don't mind a little "I Can't Believe It's Not Bogner" on their songs, and for that it's just fine. I'm also sure that if Mr. Wagener wanted to put out an album with nothing but the Pod in order to fool people - or had to use nothing but a Pod to make a record (obviously at gunpoint) I'm sure he could. However, would he, and would it be worth the effort and extra hours to do so? And, at the end of the day, would it sound as good as the records he made with miked amps? I think we know the answer to that.

Dude, try some of this I Can't Believe It's Not Bogner on your scrambled Eggnators - it rocks!

And that's all I have to say about that.

Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear

oh yeah

ART Power Plant Kicks as$.
So Does BC !
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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JustinAiken's Avatar

How about a table of contents for that? I think I recognize some Steve Morse, but I'd like to know who are those are...
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
I personally prefer the fun and inconsistency of miking a guitar cab.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear

I defended Pods (for what they are) earlier in this thread, almost two years ago. I don't like playing through them, but they have still a place.

I just realized I haven't used my different Pods even once since then. I still don't turn my nose up at them, but when other options are available it's pretty tough for the Pods to win.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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DeathMonkey's Avatar

rcm, I feel ya on the original point you were making, I really do. All the Line 6 stuff has this weird "idealized" tube attack algorithm that drives me crazy. It's clicky and doesn't exist in nature. And all the sims seem to have this midrange gunk that is almost impossible to get rid of, and I think this is the cause of exactly what you're talking about. In their quest to make everything sound "tubey", they've constructed this really harsh and boxy midrange thing that will kill a mix dead as you try to compensate for it, or you have to make too many sonic compromises on everything ELSE to allow the guitars to be heard. Since it isn't really a full frequency sound, everything else seems to have to get chopped up to accommodate it.

If you do EQ it to sound un-obnoxious, it disappears like one of those "massive in my bedroom" guitar sounds that vanishes live. Seems to be a catch-22.

I do agree that Line 6 stuff in particular, but modelers in general are always going to fall short of the real thing. There is some overlap, mind you - I'm sure a good engineer can make POD sounds that are better than poorly recorded real amps. But at the top of the heap, well recorded amps are always going to have the potential to sound better, IMHO. They aren't limited by software the way modelers are, and will react to the other pieces in the signal chain far more naturally.

A good amp - even a good SS amp, although I'm a tube guy myself - will let you hear the difference in wood, in the neck, in the string tension, in the pickups, etc etc etc. Modelers seem to not be able to really show that. A $500 LP style LTD guitar with decent pickups is going to sound a lot like a '59 LP, just because the amp cannot translate the magic of the '59 enough to make the distinction.

That's not to say that PODs are useless - Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) and Meshuggah both use Line 6 stuff live and on the CDs exclusively (although I think Dino is now using the Ibanez Thermoin series). Dave Mustaine, Bleeding Through, and some other bands of that ilk have had reasonable results using Line 6 stuff both live and in the studio. Even Allan Holdsworth uses the Yamaha DG series. A lot of love is given to the new Fractal Audio Axe-FX as well. I think there's enough evidence that there ARE people out there that can get at least useable sounds out of the PODs and their ilk. I know a few Nashville producers that have used them on more CMA award winning records than you'd think.

For myself, however, I tried to like modeling, I really did. I did a record with a Yamaha DG-100 (which I still have), I own an H&K Zentera, and I used the Vetta II for three years live. I've gotten some really cool and unusually sounds from em. But in the end, the lack of dynamics and feel, coupled with the "sameness" of each note regardless of guitar or technique just left me cold. In fact, it was that experience that led me to design the purpose of my studio the way I did, offering a modest recording setup with some killer amps.

That doesn't mean I don't use them, however. I just don't use them for guitar sounds. I have found that treating modeled guitars more like synths gives me a better grip on how to use them. I'll use a modeled sound for either reinforcement or sound effects, and I find that allows me to tailor the sound a bit better to fit in the mix than if I am trying to emulate some tube amp. THAT just ain't gonna happen. So instead of trying to get some smooth, well balanced, detailed tone, which doesn't exist inside a red kidney bean, I am free to use their inherent issues to create parts that will stand out in a mix, if I EQ it's sharp, obnoxious midrange to do so. Or, I can treat it like I would a keys pad, and EQ it for just low end, say, and it's tendency to disappear in the mix will be exactly what I want - for it to be subtle. View them as a kind of guitar synth, and it becomes easier to find ways to use them.

Of course, I do mainly electronic music, where synthetic guitars and odd noises are far more acceptable. I can get sounds from a POD or a Vetta I just can't get from anything else, it's just not really a "guitar sound", which I think is more the OP's point. I understand that the POD and Axe-FX especially can make a guitarist who may be an inexperienced recordist sound decent, but to me, that just takes away the fun. As to actual guitar sounds, tho, I agree, I like the challenge and inconsistency, the possibility of magic. I'd rather end up with my mediocre recordings of good tube amps than deal with the eventual hassle of trying to make POD tracks sound good.
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Gear Nut

i agree 110% with Bob...
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
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Originally Posted by ARIEL View Post
Bob is completely wrong in this......If you cannot make the Line 6 stuff sound good then you dont have the proper ear to make it work or the skill .
Old 1st May 2009 | Show parent
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by DeathMonkey View Post
And all the sims seem to have this midrange gunk that is almost impossible to get rid of, and I think this is the cause of exactly what you're talking about.
I think the DI input is the problem... I've recorded guitars direct through DIs like the Countryman 85, high end pres like UA and Neve and then run it back to amps AND line in to Pods... Pods sound very nice... But totally different from when you just record via the Hi Z input on the Pod...

This is the same phenomenon we've been facing recording DI bass; hony mid range when you have poor Hi Z stages... Nothin new...

Old 2nd May 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear

linn III

How about the Roger Linn box?

Beats the hell outa the POD IMHO.

YouTube - Adrenalinn III Demo from
amp models about 1 minute in.

I agree a good real amp is always better.

But some tracks I got from a player who used the adrenalLinn III were very usable.

It was a surprise to me. I thought it was just an filter and delay effect box.

Roger Linn kicks butt.
Old 2nd May 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac


I think you can get quite creative with the pod. I'd not record with it in a rock band being that I own an AC30, but I have been going into the pod, and out into the AC30, and then miking that for a variety of reasons, I like the results... Depends on what your doing as always.
Old 2nd May 2009 | Show parent
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DeathMonkey's Avatar

Originally Posted by starfighter View Post
I think the DI input is the problem... This is the same phenomenon we've been facing recording DI bass; hony mid range when you have poor Hi Z stages... Nothin new...


This might explain why people prefer Amp Farm to the POD as well. Even tho the algorithms may be the same, going into better converters and bypassing the DI might make that difference.

However, there is still a nasty midrange contour, and raspy edge common to all Line 6 products, just as part of their aesthetic of "what makes this sound like a tube". It was there even when I would mic up the Vetta. It's just part of the software, as is the weird pick attack thing.
Old 3rd May 2009 | Show parent
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DAWgEAR's Avatar

Originally Posted by Backhousepro View Post
Dude, try some of this I Can't Believe It's Not Bogner on your scrambled Eggnators - it rocks!

And that's all I have to say about that.

LOL! The entire post that that quote came from is excellent, especially the third paragraph with the adult picture analogy.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac

i have 2 words for Pod : Scholz Rockman

yes, Scholz Rockman... the chevy vega of amp sounds...

it made a splash, scarred some good records and faded into the sunset. not the same situation as the pod but equally bashed/endeared etc.

if the pod was wiped from the earth tommorrow, it would be coveted here and a cult established. people not liking it would not miss it but the fence-sitters and casual users would turn into ebay stalking zombies.

i like all stripes of horrible sound and to be honest never pklayed thru a pod. heard them & they do suck. what we're saying here is, never base a song around them. and if you do you better have some tricks and/or amazing songs up yr sleeve to get you thru it. gimme a marshall ms-2 anyday.
Old 1st January 2010 | Show parent
High End Moderator
mwagener's Avatar
Here is what I think heh
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