Line 6 POD Studio GX – Review

by Kyle B.
Line 6 POD Studio GX
Retail Price: $99.99
Available for purchase:
Sweetwater.com, Amazon.com, MusiciansFriend.com, zZounds.com, GuitarCenter.com

It’s not beautiful. It’s not magical. But, at the end of the day, the Line 6 POD Studio GX does one thing and it does it well: it introduces your electric guitar to the world of digital signal processing.

The GX is a single-input audio interface that accepts a 1/4 inch guitar input and features an 1/8 inch headphone output. It connects to your Mac or PC computer via USB 2.0 and is USB bus powered. It has one LED light that indicates that it is receiving power and communicates no other information. The unit has one giant volume knob, and no other controls. That’s all you really need, right?

Included with the POD Studio GX is all the software you need to play and record within minutes. What makes this product so appealing is the inclusion of Line 6’s POD Farm 2.5, which would cost $99.00 if purchased separately. Keep in mind the GX retails for only $99.99, which makes this bundle a great deal. You will also receive a copy of Steinberg’s DAW, Cubase LE 8.

The POD Farm software is inspiring. You can use the POD Farm application standalone, or as a plug-in in the DAW of your choice. It offers a wide variety of amplifiers, preamps, and effects, and great malleability with the available parameters. As a guitar or bass player, you will be able to create almost any sort of tone imaginable. While some of the tones are more convincing than others, there are several solid options that give the original analog versions a run for their money.

Plus, playing with POD Farm is just plain fun. Unlike other amp modelers (and even some of Line 6’s earlier software), the user interface is genius. The skeuomorphic designs of the amps and pedals, plus the bird’s-eye view of the signal flow, puts any plug-and-play guitar player at ease. I don’t think the manual is needed with this one.

Purists like to feel the amp and turn its knobs with their hands. Nothing beats a hands-on experience…until you have a Deluxe Reverb and AC30 plus your complete pedalboard in an eight-pound laptop. I’ve already run through three songs while the purist is still setting up his gear! Plus, tactile knobs and foot switches can easily be configured with POD Farm via a MIDI controller if need be.

In terms of build quality the Line 6 POD Studio GX is about what you would expect for an entry-level USB interface. It’s made of plastic and is lightweight.

In summary, if you have never plugged your guitar into a computer before, the GX is a good option. You won’t feel overwhelmed by either the hardware or the software. If you are more seasoned, buy the GX to experience POD Farm 2, which will probably find its way into one of your projects sooner or later.

If you need more than one instrument input, consider the UX1 ($149.99 retail) which has one instrument input, one microphone input, and two line inputs, or the UX2 ($199.99 retail), which has two instrument inputs, two mic inputs, and two line inputs.

Pros:
-POD Farm 2.5 software included
-Intuitive
-Low latency
-Simple DAW integration
-Affordable
-Compact
-Windows & OS X compatible

Cons:
-One input
-One output
-Lightweight
-Some models are unconvincing