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Bob Clearmountain talks about the Pod! Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 4th September 2007
  #1
Bob Clearmountain talks about the Pod!

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 <http://www.mixthis.com/bobframeset.html>


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
Old 4th September 2007
  #2
Gear Addict
 

What Bob said!

GM
Old 4th September 2007
  #3
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gainstages's Avatar
do you think this has more to do with people recording stereo files of everything direct and having too many effects and too much ambiance on everything to begin with because of the convenience of the pod, or do you think this has more to do with the sound quality of the POD or the AIR circuit in general? maybe more people who buy pods are also prone to taking other "shortcuts" to good tone, such as cheaper guitars, cheaper recording systems, not educating themselves fully on the real tonal possibilities of their instrument, etc?

I've used the pod successfully in many many occassions, and many styles of music, and I know a lot of other people working on a pro level who do the same. I freakin' LOVE having an amp mic'd up and just getting a great tone that way, but do use the pod a heck of a lot.

I hate to see someone get all over Line 6, because they've also revolutionized the business in some ways. but, i do see where he is coming from and there is some truth in what he speaks.

i'd say the worst thing to happen to the recording industry is the proliferation of low-cost digital brickwall limiters. ouch....
Old 4th September 2007
  #4
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amost's Avatar
 

Quote:
PLEASE beg, borrow or steal a goddamn guitar amp!!
I've seen that quote & do love it but when somebody sticks Amplitube on my track...that wigs me out worse. I've liked some stuff I've recorded with a Pod ....but still I do love that quote.
Old 4th September 2007
  #5
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lord_bunny's Avatar
 

Used the pod when it first came out on tracks that also had a real amp, and I can still hear the pod sticking out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately it was the thing to use at the time. Definately Maybe had also broken the sound barrier a few years earlier, and everyone seemed pretty excited about brick-wall limiting as well.

Now we had multi-band brick-wall limiters so we can do even MORE damage!

Save up and buy a real amp. You don't need a King's X-sized amp collection to make a good record (although it would be nice), but one good amp beats a whole box of second-rate emulations.
Old 4th September 2007
  #6
84K
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84K's Avatar
Bull****

POD alone, I can understand. But when you get a song where guitars are piling up, the pod, or a palmer or now SPL speaker simulator can really help make a guitar cut through the other guitars in the song. Alone, yes the pod and simulated guitars can sound thin and uninspiring, but they can be good tools for blending in the mix with the big amp'd guitars.
Old 4th September 2007
  #7
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True North's Avatar
 

The biggest issue with POD's is more user related than anything else.

I work with a session guitarist who swears by them and this guy knows his gear more so than any other gtr player I personally know. His has lots of amps at his disposal so it is not like he doesen't have options. People try and treat POD's like amps and they are a different paradigm and you must adjust or you will get crappy sounds out of them.

It is generally true that there are elements of new technologies where convenience is a factor and I beleive that is true for the POD. In some cases those conveniences can mean sacrificing quality but I also beleive that there are benefits to some of the conveniences most notably consistently being able to dial in your tones with a POD. With real AMP's consistency of sounds and tone can be an elusive thing.

I had this same gtr player in with his pod on the weekend to lay some tracks. We were talking about a session he did where the studio had a whole bunch of vintage amps that they were trying to get sounds out of. The producer and engineer were twiddling to get some useable tones out of the amp. Out of frustration he asked to plug in his POD and within minutes he gave them a sound they were very happy with.

He also has a heavily modded guitar with the guts of a Line 6 ripped and placed in a strat (also modded). In my session he plugged his guitar in digitally into his POD and the sound qulaity was pristine without a hint of pickup buzz or AMP hum. I found the sounds and tones he acheived to be excellant. In the right hands I have personally witnessed a POD to be a very worthy tool........ on the other hand I have also seen it used to acheive almost unusable sounds.
Old 4th September 2007
  #8
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davet's Avatar
 

I played around with the POD when they first appeared on the market. Tried to make it work live or recording. It never cut it for me. There's just something fundamentally wrong with direct guitar sounds. Maybe some people can get them to work, but give me a room and mic any day.

DaveT
Old 4th September 2007
  #9
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I use a PODxt Pro at home to demo stuff then I reamp the direct signal in the studio later.

Seems to me the biggest problem with tracks straight off the Pod is that they don't match the room ambience of the rest of the recording because they were recorded in a virtual room. Kinda like using a different reverb for every instrument in a mix. The converters are kind of veiled and muddy as well, so I bypass those and feed it a digital signal.

If you "position" the virtual mic so it gets 0% room and use any reverb sparingly it can work in a mix. If I can't get a reamped track to work out, then I'll sometimes run a 0% room, no reverb, Pod track through a convolution processor with impulses of my tracking room. Yeah, I know, sounds a little crazy. But, I get more done at home when I can just screw around for 30 minutes at a time on a Pod, rather than having to come into the studio and fiddle with mics and amps.

You can also run a Pod through a power amp and into a mic'ed speaker cab. That helps if you have a particular tone dialed in that you can't reproduce with real amps at hand, and you want a mic'ed cabinet.
Old 4th September 2007
  #10
mwd
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When they first came out I had decent results with POD on POD for roughing out ideas.

Then came jamming with one of my buddies. We laid down some tracks and I could not cut thru his wall-o-sound. It just washed out.

I wound up hocking it on eBay and never looked back after replacing it with a Voodu Valve. The VV humiliated my POD 2.0.

BUT believe it or not I just bought a Pocket POD for heading out into the back yard and jamming with my headphones. For a guitar headphone amp I think the P/POD is a superb little Rockman on steroids.
Old 4th September 2007
  #11
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Watersound's Avatar
 

Pods are disgusting.
Old 4th September 2007
  #12
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beau_mckee's Avatar
There are alo of big name producers that use Pods all the time on records, so good on you Bob Clearmountain, but some people prefer to wipe their as with toilet paper, and some dont.

Here i s a REAL question...
which one is better? Protools OR Sonar?



Old 4th September 2007
  #13
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

The POD people are always sending me tracks to mix, and I constantly have to deal with it. I too have found the artificial room ambiance to be strange. There is also some kind of front end limiting going on. Other than that, I can see where they could be useful for quick overdubs and things of that sort.
Old 4th September 2007
  #14
Gear Nut
 
tclash's Avatar
 

I once used a POD going into a Champ because there was nothing else in the studio that would produce tremolo. Even going into a real amp the POD ruined the tone of the guitar.

I felt the same way about Sans Amps when they came out. I thought they sounded cool on just about anything BUT guitar. One of my most miserable mixing experiences EVER was mixing a record where all the guitars were tracked through a Sans Amp.

Ironically, though, I have found Bass PODs to be very useable (not for guitars).

But, really, all you have to do is take one look at the physical design of the POD to know you are going to get anything but a full, classic guitar tone.
Old 4th September 2007
  #15
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darkwater's Avatar
 

Haven't turned on my POD in a looooooooong time. Gathering dust. The worst problem with it is the converters, I think. Amp Farm (in a pinch) works in the mix much better.

Still, I'm not selling the PODXT yet. You never know when it might be handy....
Old 4th September 2007
  #16
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s.d.finley's Avatar
I use(d) pods for recording scratch tracks, on occasion they do make it in the final mix, albeit rarely.

One time I was recording this dirty rock band, guitarist using the pod, he was doing a bunch of hi pitched squeals, and kept pushing the guitar infront of the pod, to make it feedback. All thru headphones, no cab in the room. Of course it didnt feedback, but sure was fun to watch!

Last edited by s.d.finley; 4th September 2007 at 10:13 PM.. Reason: cant spell
Old 4th September 2007
  #17
Hi Ronan!
I do not like the POD on Guitars either..but yes to saturate drum loops ...etc.
The question it is:

Do you think there is something worst for guitars than the POD? o are you saying that because is a pretty popular way to record guitar?

Also...do you ever got a line guitar sound that was good or Ok?
Old 4th September 2007
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K View Post
Bull****

POD alone, I can understand. But when you get a song where guitars are piling up, the pod, or a palmer or now SPL speaker simulator can really help make a guitar cut through the other guitars in the song. Alone, yes the pod and simulated guitars can sound thin and uninspiring, but they can be good tools for blending in the mix with the big amp'd guitars.
Where I think the pod especially shines is when my car is parked on a steep hill and I want just alittle more security in my car not rolling down the hill, you just can't beat a pod for that, just stick it under one if the rear tires, its so amazing!thumbsup
Old 4th September 2007
  #19
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lord_bunny's Avatar
 

[quote=84K;1477095]Bull****

quote]

Tell us how you really feel! I apologize for inspiring so much rage. I think some applications perhaps the pod may sqeeze in.... but for me the hardware pod's don't impart the same things my deluxe reverb does. I do a lot of clean tones or modulated tones, but very few distorted ones, and maybe this is not the best use of a pod. I have been suprised by Guitar Rig II... and I love Line 6 stomp boxes and the Pro Tools Plugs.
Old 4th September 2007
  #20
Gear Nut
 
tclash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
Where I think the pod especially shines is when my car is parked on a steep hill and I want just alittle more security in my car not rolling down the hill, you just can't beat a pod for that, just stick it under one if the rear tires, its so amazing!thumbsup
Yeah, but sad to say that a real amp would work a lot better even for that purpose.
Old 4th September 2007
  #21
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

pod = :(
no pods allowed here.
Old 4th September 2007
  #22
Moderator
 
Oroz's Avatar
 

I think that a POD (I own a POD Pro) is a good production tool. I like to record the main guitars of a song with real amps and more often than not complement them with a POD guitar.

A couple of months ago we did a gig (a Metallica's Tribute Band) and we recieved very good comments about the guitars sound. A fellow guitar player (a pretty good one BTW) actually call me the next the day to ask me how did we achieved that sound? Answer: POD directly to the PA (both guitars).

I don't think there is a substitute for a good amp but the POD has its uses.
Old 4th September 2007
  #23
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Kyle S's Avatar
 

i have a v-amp2 i use for bedroom bull**** and and ive tried to track a friends GT8 and got the same problem. its as if the signal to noise ratio is way high, but its not really. you hear the gtr fine on its own at first, then you try to mix it. you try to eq it but anything you cut sounds weird and forget boosting, itll be noise. the signal can be loud as hell and just get ran over by other channels with half as many rms going on. its like theres no substance.

i agree 100% if the pod is anything like those two.
Old 5th September 2007
  #24
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mixerguy's Avatar
I TOTALLY agree with what Bob Clearmountain says.

and if any of you pod lovers on Gearslutz disagree.... let us hear your awesome mixes that use pods (and no amps) and let us compare them to the work of Bob Clearmountain!!!

heh
Old 5th September 2007
  #25
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
if any of you pod lovers on Gearslutz disagree.... let us hear your awesome mixes that use pods (and no amps) and let us compare them to the work of Bob Clearmountain!!!

heh
You can check out Weezers "Hashpipe".
Old 5th September 2007
  #26
JES
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I know this is gearslutz and all, and defending the Pod is a little like defending a Mackie pre against a Great River or something. BUUUUUT,

leaving aside my own mixing talents or lack thereof, I know of at least two bands that have used the Pod on records and sounded good doing it: XTC and Jesu. One's all quirky pop and the other's wall-of-sound guitar heaviness. Jesu has not, to my knowledge, lost credibility with their metalhead audience for using the Pod, and you're talking about a fan base that cares about and pays attention to guitar sounds.

My $.02 is that it's a flexible tool that can sound good in the right hands.

When I record with mine, I use no effects, run mono, and tend to use a little less overdrive than I think I need. Sure, tracking in a live room with a real Marshall might be more satisfying in some ways, but I don't think it's the weakspot of my recordings by a longshot.

Best,
--JES
Old 5th September 2007
  #27
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JES View Post
I know this is gearslutz and all, and defending the Pod is a little like defending a Mackie pre against a Great River or something. BUUUUUT,

.... (snip).....

My $.02 is that it's a flexible tool that can sound good in the right hands.

When I record with mine, I use no effects, run mono, and tend to use a little less overdrive than I think I need. Sure, tracking in a live room with a real Marshall might be more satisfying in some ways, but I don't think it's the weakspot of my recordings by a longshot.

Best,
--JES
I have never been handed a Pod created guitar track that has been nothing less than TERRIBLE.

and so - I disagree - Pods can NOT sound good for guitar (without an amp) in my experience.

and - you don't need a Marshall.... as an example - Zepplin used tiny small amps for all the early work!!! sounded kick a$$!
Old 5th September 2007
  #28
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octatonic's Avatar
I generally agree with this position, however there is a way around it.
I own a lot of vintage amps, fwiw- but I do use the Pod Pro XT.

I've done a lot of recordings in the last 4 years with a Pod Pro XT where I am using the AES EBU IO and bypassing the Pod's converters, which is where I think the core of the problem is.

The signal is Guitar - Vipre DI - Protools/Logic TDM with the Pod Pro XT run as an insert effect.
It sounds several orders of magnitude better than using the Pod's converters.

Pod tracks still don't stack as well as amp tones, when layering- but for some effected sounds it can be great.
I certainly wouldn't do an entire album with it by choice though.
The 'Engl Powerball' model is excellent for modern rock tones- much better than the treadplate model.

Pro XT owners should give it a try.
Old 5th September 2007
  #29
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BLueROom's Avatar
 

the rule in my studio (unwritten ) is real for main guitar tracks and if you really want to, PODs for layering only. I find the ONLY way they work is to keep the gain to a minimum and run it thru a tube pre to impart some real tone. I have used Amplitube 2 and gotten good results tho.

aight,
Old 5th September 2007
  #30
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
OK. Let me first say that I hate PODs, amp simulators, fuzz boxes, and in general, anything that's not a vacuum tube. But I don't hate them because they're evil, or even because they're made by communists. I hate them because I don't know how to work them.

I've spent 30 years playing through tube amps, and I know what I'm listening for when I play through them. It's that little `ti sound on the front end of the note. It's how I can tell the condition of my pick by the sound coming out of the speaker. It's the way the note kind of munges a bit when I dig into the frets a little more, and how the note jumps out when I "spank the plank". Great tube amps do this. My tube amps do this. Even crappy tube amps do this. Simulators, Pods, transistor amps, and fuzz boxes don't do this. I've never played one that did. I'm sure other people get what they want from them, but I don't. And I won't be using them.

Now, I'm sure there are plenty of studio guys who have spent the time it takes to get what they want out of the PODs. That's great for them, their backs, and their producers. I'm sure it's a lot less hassle than figuring out how to remove the original equipment multi-section caps from your chassis because they were soldered in place, and the chassis is now acting as a giant heat sink so you can't warm them up enough to melt the solder. (butane soldering iron and Dremel)

On the other hand, I imagine there are other people who haven't figured out how to get great sounds out of them, who are using them because they're too cheap to get a real amp, and are also too lazy to get the best sounds out of them. I doubt these people would be all that impressed with my amps, either.

I recommend taking a look at the first EVH interview in Guitar Player. In it, he's talking about how the band was just starting to hit it big, and how his parents didn't think it was going to last, but he's going to have fun while it does. And then he proceeds to go on and on and on about the kit of parts that he takes on tour with him to keep his guitars running the way he likes. And that passion for tone and feel is the one thing that really distinguished him from everyone else around him.
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