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If you are looking for instant gratification with Pod Go...


voxman55
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I've been reading a lot of posts both here and on other forums that suggest some folk are expecting to plug in Pod Go and that it will sound incredible right off the bat but are bitterly disappointed when it doesn't and then considering returning it or other gear that they bought to use with it.  The expectation  probably isn't helped by both the marketing and some of the videos suggesting you can take Pod Go straight to a rehearsal or a gig straight out the box.   Of course you can, but I'd suggest it's unlikely you're going to be completely happy with it. 

 

But regardless that it's called Pod Go, be under no illusion - to get the best from it, this is NOT a plug and play  mfx unit.  There is a lot going on under the hood and even if you are used to modeling gear it will take you a while to get your head around it.  Everyone's ears, guitars, music styles, gear, headphones etc are all entirely different. So whilst there might be those whose minds have been blown from the moment they plug in, for most of us mere mortals Pod Go needs some study (yes - RTFM! lol) and some time to figure out how to use it.  But with just a little perseverance your time invested will reap wonders.  I was the same - when I first switched on Pod Go I was decidedly underwhelmed and thought I'd made a big mistake as I couldn't get anywhere near the tone and feel of my Vox Tonelab SE (or LE).  

 

Firstly, don't be put off by the factory patches - these are there to give you ideas as to what Pod Go can do and were put together with very specific gear.  But aside from a handful of 'promising' ones (and it's the same with all mfx units) these probably won't sound great straight out of the box because your gear will be different to what Line 6 used to design the patches.  So, you're likely better off learning to build a patch from scratch first - & there's loads of videos to help you with this on You-tube.  

 

There are three big themes that can make the world of difference to hearing a dull lifeless patch, and your mind being blown! 

 

1. Learning about EQ - not just the settings, but the different types of EQ, and where you put the EQ block.  Move the EQ to the end of the signal chain and hear the difference!  That's not to say it's always best there but it will demonstrate the point. I can't stress enough how important EQ is. When you hear differences on Youtube between two MFX units being compared, the vast majority of the differences you hear is not due to the basic amp and FX modeling - it's to do with EQ and FX chain order.  And a flaw of these videos is that they try to set the 'same' amp model up in the same way eg 12 noon. But it's nonsense because the real life JCM800 and 4x12 greenback cab used by manufacturers to create the digital model will be completely different to each other and so the sweet spots and EQ will be different too. 

2. FX order as above, but ditto reverbs and delays.  placing a spring reverb in-between the amp and cab can make a huge difference. 

3. Adjusting the dB settings on eg, cabs, EQ, the main Pod Go out etc - the difference can be staggering

 

And that's before you start thinking about fx loops and 4 cable method, and differences between single coil & humbuckers, and getting to know which delays, reverbs and other effects you prefer etc. So is it any wonder the factory settings aren't going to be a good fit for most people without at least some tweaking.  

 

But once you've got your head around those building blocks then you will really start to enjoy your Pod Go. However if you don't have the prior experience or patience or willingness to invest some time and just want a plug 'n play mfx, then my advice is do not buy ANY of the new style modeling mfx units (be it Mooer, Line 6, Zoom, Boss etc) because the same principles will still apply to all of them.  Stick with a conventional amp and pedalboard or an FX only unit such as the Helix FX, or an older tech unit like the Vox Tonelab LE etc. MFX  like the Pod Go are not for everyone.  They are simply tools to use.  But for those who might think the Pod Go (and other similar pedals) sound like pooh, the reality is that they haven't set it up right because it is absolutely capable of sounding and feeling really good - maybe not exactly the same as a real tube amp, but very close.   

 

What would  I know? Well. I'm nothing special, I'm not a sound engineer or studio buff, I'm no guitar virtuoso and just a (hopefully) decent amateur 'meat & potato's' player who plays a fairly wide range of styles (classic rock, blues, jazz, country, funk, acoustic, bottle neck etc - jack of all trades, master of none). But I've been playing & gigging now (mainly smaller venues but in my youth did the university circuit and played at the odd better known venue) ) for the best part of 50 years.  The first half was using what now would be considered vintage amps including Vox AC30, Fender blackface/Silverface 2x12 dual reverbs, Selmer Zodiac MkII, Marshall JTM45, JCM800, 50/100w Plexis,  18w '1958' mini-bluesbreaker , Sound City, Orange etc with stomp pedals and even some solid-state amp (JC120, HH 100w). Most of the second half was using digital gear including Line 6 Flextone II Plus Boss GT3/5/6/10, Yamaha GW33, Zoom G5, G5n, Vox Valvetronix AD120VTX etc, & (borrowed/used) Line 6 Vetta II, H&K Zentera, Boss GT100.  So I think it's fair to say I have a reasonable breadth of experience with both traditional & modeling gear - and so when I say that the Pod Go is a stonking bit of kit, capable of some great tones, I hope it puts into perspective that I'm not inexperienced as to what good tone sounds like.  

 

So if you've just bought a Pod Go and are thinking it's not very good and want to return it - do yourself a favour and don't dump it too quickly.  Watch videos on setting it up, experiment with the 3 biggies above, and build a patch or two from scratch first.  And even though I'm pretty experienced with modeling gear, it was (and still is) a learning curve for me too.  It's not perfect, but then nothing ever is - but it's a really, really good mfx unit and the modeling quality, particularly at this price point, is genuinely very, very good indeed.  

 

I'm having a lot of fun with it, and looking forward to gigging with it.  There's a few bugs, but I'm confident Line 6 will sort it. Only thing I don't like is the PSU -  the cable is too short, too thin, and it needs something a bit more robust for gigging so I'll have to get myself a back-up once gigging is back on the menu. 

 

 

 

 

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Good post!  A few random thoughts of my own:   I think pro sound engineers or others with actual experience with what is being emulated with the Go will have much easier time.  For instance, I was just creating a patch for the Solo amp Crunch channel, and was playing with cabs, and it's crazy how just the cab settings affects not only the tone (FR) but even distortion characteristics of the amp...  Just changing the microphone distance, or changing the mic type, changes everything, as if you had selected a completely different cabAnd I don't think many people on earth have that type of experience with real equipment.

 

I think also the Go is so complex, you could spend months trying to learn everything it has to offer and still not come close...  So I'm thinking about not even trying, just go with an amp, find a cab, reverb, delay, etc., and experiment with it, and don't fret everything else and don't try to learn everything...  In that respect, the Go/Helix is one hell of a special type of beast.  There's so much depth...  To know everything about it you'd probably need multiple PhDs on the Helix/Go...  (one for amp models and settings, one for cab 'science' & mics, then effects, compressors, distortions, etc.)  But luckily, it's still simple to use and anyone could configure their own great sounding patches without too much trouble.

 

As for gigging...  I'd be worried.  It crashed many times on me,  refused to power on sometimes, so for now I'd be weary and wouldn't do it without a backup. But I've yet to patch it to the latest firmware, which I'm hoping should help, and I hope it won't brick the unit as there's been quite a few messages about it...!

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Spot on 're cabs. But I was trying to keep it simpler with the 3 biggies.  And you're right to start off with the basic amp and cab and e.g. a room reverb.  But an EQ is your best friend. Put it at the end of the chain and your patch will come to life. 

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My firmware update failed miserably and I had to spend maybe 1h trying to fix it.  NOT FUN.  (https://line6.com/support/topic/56809-error-while-updating-to-firmware-111-pod-go-wont-boot-up/).   Hopefully the other thread might help someone going through the same.

 

But I guess it goes to show that the reliability of the unit isn't really there.  From random locks and freezes, the unit not powering on, the firmware updates crapping out and temporarily bricking the unit until you download additional software and try the same thing multiple times, I honestly couldn't recommend the unit for any type of gigging, where you can't afford to look like a loser who's gear stops working in the middle of a show.

 

I'm hoping that now that it's been updated, it won't crash as often as it did, but I've had it for about a month, used it a couple of hours per day, and I've had maybe 4-5 crashes and 3 booting issues.  Not the end of the world, but I hope the Helix, LT, Stomp, etc., are more reliable because the POD Go sadly doesn't look very reliable...  I hope it won't crap out after a couple of months/years either...  :\

 

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3 hours ago, grdGo33 said:

My firmware update failed miserably and I had to spend maybe 1h trying to fix it.  NOT FUN.  (https://line6.com/support/topic/56809-error-while-updating-to-firmware-111-pod-go-wont-boot-up/).   Hopefully the other thread might help someone going through the same.

 

But I guess it goes to show that the reliability of the unit isn't really there.  From random locks and freezes, the unit not powering on, the firmware updates crapping out and temporarily bricking the unit until you download additional software and try the same thing multiple times, I honestly couldn't recommend the unit for any type of gigging, where you can't afford to look like a loser who's gear stops working in the middle of a show.

 

I'm hoping that now that it's been updated, it won't crash as often as it did, but I've had it for about a month, used it a couple of hours per day, and I've had maybe 4-5 crashes and 3 booting issues.  Not the end of the world, but I hope the Helix, LT, Stomp, etc., are more reliable because the POD Go sadly doesn't look very reliable...  I hope it won't crap out after a couple of months/years either...  :\

 

I hear you, although to be fair I did both upgrades with no problems at all and this has been the same for most users - so it's possible the problem might be with peoples computers rather than the upgrade software. Having said that, I hope I'm not giving it the kiss of death when the next upgrade is launched! 

 

I bought the Pod Go primarily for gigging albeit this is still going to be a way off in the UK.  But even after two firmware upgrades - 1.10 and 1.11, problems are still being reported, and I've experienced some of these myself (which I've reported & provided back-ups, and for which Line 6 said it can duplicate the problems).  I know Line 6 is working very hard to rectify these and (fingers crossed) the next firmware upgrade will finally fix these. But the reality is that these bugs should have been picked up on pre-market testing and with the best will in the world there are only so many chances Line 6 can reasonably expect from its customers.  Although I'm fervently hoping it will be a case of third time lucky,  if there should still be problems after the next update such that I can't trust it for live use, as much as I love Pod Go I may have to think seriously about returning it and either stick with my Vox Tonelab SE or buy something else that has a more solid record of stability. 

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Great post and thanks again for helping me get started and fight through the initial frustrations.  I was naïve and/or very heavily swayed by the reviews and was expecting instant gratification.  I was so close to returning the unit but glad I didn't.  For the price especially, this is a mind blowing piece of equipment.   Have I achieved tone heaven and perfect satisfaction on all levels yet (now two weeks in)?  No.  But that probably isn't possible anyway.  In terms of sound through the headphones I would say I have achieved tone heaven but I'm not there on playing through speaker.  Yet.  I can see the possibility.  Part of my issue is probably that I'm so used to the "amp in the room" sound vs the mic'ed amp through speaker sound.  

My biggest breakthrough on the Go (other than realizing I was using the wrong cable at first) was downloading some patches created by more experienced users to see how they worked and also finding some Helix patches that I liked and using the raw text file to re-create those tones in the Go.  That in particular helped me tons.  The cool thing is that the Go is so complex it will keep me busy for a very long time.  Perfect for quarantine.

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