Build a Pedal Board...or go with Line6 XT Live??

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by spyeman, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. spyeman

    spyeman Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    My band wants me to get some more effects. The only thing I use is an RC booster for a nice clean boost, sometimes a little gain too. I'm trying to figure out whether to create a pedal board, which, including all the bells and whistles and pedals, looks like it would cost quite a lot. My rhythm player has the Line 6XT live board, and I must say, it's pretty damn impressive, and --- simple! All there and done for you, and I guess you can go to the Line 6 website and download all types of tones, etc.

    Now, what are the pro's and con's on each of these? The pedal board looks pretty expensive, I gotta figure out how to do it, and then get all the pedals......the fun part must be, obviously, trying all of the different pedals and seeing what really works for you.

    The Line6 has all the effects you will ever need, it sounds pretty damn good, (this guy has a nice tube rig, as do I), and it's all packaged and ready to go. Looks like you could snag a used one for just over $300.

    What's the downside of the Line6 XT Live? Is is simply that it won't sound quite (close, but not perfect) as good as individual pedals, that you are stuck with the Line6 and can't switch out and try new pedals? Or is it even heresy to bring up such a subject on this board?

    Comment really appreciated, I'm gonna go one way or the other, right now it seems the Line6 is the simplest way to go, we gig once/twice a month, also seems an easy piece of equipment to move around. Thanks
  2. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2006
    Freeland, MD
    I won't deny the bang for the buck you can get from a POD XT Live. I had one for a while, and if has some really great sounds.

    There are a few things that forced me to move to pedals through a real amp, though.

    1) The amp sounds aren't real. They are modeled. As such, they don't have the interaction that you get from a real tube amp. They sound "similar" but they are a different animal altogether.

    2) Presets are great, but they require programming. Yes, there are a bunch of effects to select from, but it requires experimentation and adjustment. This is fine in the studio, but not so much in a live situation, unless you have programmed them in before the show. You can kick in an echo or other effect easily, but the settings are not easy to change on the fly. Changing everything thru a little LCD screen and 2 knobs isn't fun under pressure. Yes, you can hook up a computer and make changes more easily, but then you need to lug a computer with you. I prefer tweaking the knobs on the individual device, as it is much more intuitive.

    3) Separate amp and effects means you can find the best possible combination for your sound. All in one, whether POD or other modeler, means you have to live with their voices and signal chain.

    I haven't given up on the POD stuff, as I still have my POD XT Pro in the studio, but for band stuff I much prefer an amp and pedals. When I was playing with the XT Live, I wound up using only one preset with different combinations of pedals, but for that I could use a single amp and effects.

    If it is only about the money, I agree that you can do a lot with the XT Live and a relatively inexpensive keyboard amp. Just expect to have to work at it to get the sounds you are looking for.

    I hope this helps.

  3. Bricks

    Bricks Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    A few years ago I bought a PodXt (currently updated to version 3) with a MIDI floorboard

    Since then I got:
    A Peavey Classic 100
    A really good preamp
    Apogee Converters
    Good monitors/acoustic treatment
    and I'm starting to build a pedalboard now.

    Now I use my POD for bedroom playing at 2am, and even then its nearly intolerable.

    The POD was a great learning tool.. and many of the stompboxes I'm buying/building were ones I learned about through the POD..
    So if you want to explore lots of FX.. hell yeah, the POD is great. If you want pristine studio tone, get an analogue setup, and run it through high quality A->D converters.. Then again.. in a live setup, the POD's tone is probably going to do just fine.
    If I start playing live gigs regularly, I'm not sure if I'll use my pedals and an amp.. I think most venues blow in terms of sound, so I'd probably just use the pod for convenience.

    Depending on how many effects you get and if you go with boutique stuff, the POD could save you some serious cash

    I once heard a wise man say "You can't polish a turd, but you can dress it up like a hot dog and hide it in the corner"

    The POD isnt exactly turd-bad.. but in a live, ****** club, the acoustics might just be your hotdog bun.
  4. Secret Ingredient

    Secret Ingredient Member

    Jul 12, 2006
    Reading this post because I too have an interest in the pod xt live. If I understand correctly, it's possible to just use the effects without any amp or speaker modeling. It has echo, tube screamer, etc. I think you can just kick in those effects without all the other tone sucking junk. Is this correct?
  5. spyeman

    spyeman Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    If you do an advanced search on the Effects, Pedals and Strings and Things under Line 6 or Line6, you will find a thread started I believe by Scott Peterson that has 300 posts or so on the Pod XTlive (i just went through it) and it has TONS of info. These guys went as far as to use the POD XT live as their main rig, I really just want if for a simple pedalboard that has all the effects with easy access. It's worth the read, it's made my decision that I will buy one, not just for the effects, but also for the amp models and patches you can create. A really key piece to the puzzle was that they put a buffer/VHT Tube Valveulator in front of the XTLive which gave the guitar and your fingers more of a "feel" of playing a tube amp and not just a modeled sound. Very interesting........
  6. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    Springfield, IL
    It is a valid piece of equipment that will get you most everything you're looking for in effects. The downfall for me was the alien background noise in most of the amp models, but just the effects are quite nice and EASY to use. Sounds like it is perfect for your needs.
  7. Enjoyer

    Enjoyer Member

    Dec 16, 2005
  8. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2006
    NYC Metro
    go the pedalboard route. it might be a bit more expensive but there is no comparison tonewise.
  9. that_brianm_guy

    that_brianm_guy Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2002
    baltimore, md
    You say your band wants you to get more effects... well, why? :)
    Just because the other player does?

    The other guitarist in my band has an XT, and we keep our parts complimentary in terms of both notes and tones.. if he's playing an arpeggiated flange delay part, I'm probably chunking dirty barre chords.... or I'll be playing a flanger/phaser part behind his solo, or whatever.

    One thing I usually don't like is two guitars with heavily processed tones - the delays aren't perfectly in synch, or the choruses wobble against each other.. things sound out of tune.

    FWIW, I'm a pedalboaard player. I like being able to find the exact chorus, or flanger, or OD that I want for a certain tone.

    All that aside - figure out what you need and why. Maybe you can vary your tone right from the guitar via the pickup selector, or use more/less gain on the amp.. ask what your bandmates want to hear, before you spend the $$ on the XT and time editing all the patched.. only to discover that at practice it sounds nothing like at home.
  10. spyeman

    spyeman Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Damn, you are making this hard..........many of the comments I have read in other threads make the XTLive sound perfect, that the effects are just as good as many pedals, not much tone suck, there are posts above saying just the opposite. To answer the immediate above, we are doing some songs where we need wah, chorus, etc....and I have none of those, so looking for the easiest/cheapest way, and building a pedal board from scratch seems harder and more expensive than the XTLive. However, I am totally concerned with tone, and if a pedalboard sounds better than the XTLive, well, now you've thrown me into chaos again lol. However, my rhythm player has one, and I must say, he has no issues with it and I don't think it sounds bad at all, in fact it sounds pretty darn good. So, I think I'm still on the XTLive train..............thanks for your inputs.....
  11. POD Buster

    POD Buster Member

    Mar 4, 2006
    Meridian, ID
    My name says it all. :rotflmao
    I would rather have the ability to change settings on the fly then spend alot of time programming a POD. When playing live there are too many variables that cannot be anticipated ahead of time. Also there so many new pedals coming out that I cannot help myself from trying new sounds.
  12. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I had THREE POD xt's and kept selling them. They were very affordable and flexible, and can sound pretty good. But here's why I ditched mine:
    • I only need a few sounds: clean, overdrive, and distortion. I don't need 64 amps or whatever to get those.
    • I could never get the POD to FEEL right. Not like good pedals and a tube amp.
    • The only effect I ever use is delay and if you want to count it, a tuner.
    • Big thing: I spent HOURS playing with the POD and barely played music anymore.
    So if you gave me $400 and said "I want a crazy effects board", I'd just go buy a crapload of cheap Danelectro effects and those Digitech distortion and overdrive pedals. Then you'd have a crazy effects board. And if/when you decide you need to upgrade to nicer stuff, just replace each effect with a quality one down the road.
  13. that_brianm_guy

    that_brianm_guy Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2002
    baltimore, md
    Well, to continue to play devil's advocate....

    you don't need an actual board - just a few pedals. You mentioned chorus and wah...

    A used chorus can be had rather inexpensively - Boss, for example, or Ibanez, or Danelectro, or Digitech. The Arion SCZs are dirt cheap, so are the new Dano Fab pedals - $10!

    As for wahs, in my experience... they're as unique and specific to the player as the guitar is. You might love a Vox 847, you might hate it. You might like a Dunlop, or a Fulltone, or a Teese.

    Again, start used, and go from there.

    And if you don't know what sounds you like.. dialing in an XT will be hard. Never mind trying to dial it in live.

    By way of example, I used to use a multieffects unit - and one time, we were playing a small amphitheater. The stage was concrete, the "shell" at the back of the stage was concrete.. and the "seats" facing the stage were concrete. Every little bit of sound just bounced all over the place, and came back in a big wash.

    I bypassed the multieffects, and used a dirtbox and a wah.

    Yeah, I had a dirtbox as well - an old blackbox marshall Bluesbreaker pedal. No matter what, I couldn't get that multieffects unit to sound the same as the pedal.

    And it's much easier and cheaper to drop in a new chorus pedal, or fuzz box, than replacing an XT.

    lastly, you can pick up a used Boss for $40, and a used Vox 847 for under $75. that's well under the $300 you mentioned for the XT.
  14. VinceM

    VinceM Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    Metro Detroit
    spyeman - if you're just looking to get into some effects, and not so much the amp modeling, check out the Yamaha MagicStomp. They're blowing them out at Musician's Friend for 79.99. IMO, the quality of the effects are much better than on the PODxt, which I also have. The only drawback is there is no expression pedal, so you would have to get a separate wah.

    I've heard the Boss units are good for effects also (me-50 or the gt-6/8), but are more expensive (I have no experience with them, though).

  15. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

    Jul 5, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I would highly recommend the Boss ME-50 for your needs.

    1) no amp modelling. IMO, amp modelling is huge in terms of sucking away all the "feel" from your playing, and making it that much harder for you to cut through the mix.

    2) No digital menu, just knobs. Tweak on the fly? Bend down and twist a knob!

    3) cheaper than all those boards (POD, GT-8, Vox Tonelab SE, etc).

    Not to mention it's Boss, so it'll last forever, and it's got some great sounds tucked away in there (though, like almost any MFX unit, you'll have to dial it in).

  16. ned911

    ned911 Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I just built a new rack using my Pod XT Pro as the FX box only. Major tone suckage that didn't become evident until I got to rehearsal and played at volume. Just using my pedalboard added clarity back into my amp and made a major improvement in the overall sound.

    I may check out the ME-50 though as it looks interesting.
  17. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    After trying a PODxt and BOSS multieffects units in the past-

    I'd go with either pedals or a BOSS or Korg multieffects- with knobs- like the ME50 above. You'll probably NEVER stop tweaking the POD at home, and then live, it all goes out the window.

    Also, there are some good dual pedals that give you 2 flavors of modulation in a small footprint, like trem/vibe, dual chorus, dual phase, dual trem, etc..

    Another really cool and well-reviewed new piece is the Carl Martin Quattro analog multieffects unit. I'd want to add a few things around that though...

    Best of luck!
  18. Sid

    Sid Member

    May 14, 2006
    Jersey City


    I spent the last 4 years trying every multi effects pedal aint worth it...thats all i can say...

    if u have EVER thought of your will be horrified by multi effectors:NUTS
  19. JimmyD

    JimmyD Member

    May 19, 2004
    I played around with a Boss GT-8 for a couple of months and it was a complete waste of time, other then being educational. I will be staying with individual pedals as the final tone is so more happening. It will be years before I try a multiFX unit again.

  20. 57stratman

    57stratman Member

    Sep 20, 2006
    Hi all,
    I have to jump in here in defense of using the XTL in a live situation. I really like this product and the tones it can give me. I use it direct mode to PA and monitor myself through a Mackie SRM350 powered monitor. I've been playing for over 40 years now, had all kinds of amp and guitars in the past, and play in a worship band on Wednesday nights and Sundays. Afer having about a year now, I'm just starting to scratch the surface of what the XTL can do for me. I can go from a slightly overdriven Vox AC30 with delay to clean Fender Twin with chorus or vibrato to Marshall with the touch of a single footswitch. I also use a Variax 500 so with one touch of the XTL I can also jump from an acoustic (6 or 12) to Rickenbacker 12 string through a clean Hiwatt to a overdriven Les Paul through a Matchless DC30, the list goes on and on, again with only 1 touch of the XTL. One other nice thing for me is that all my settings are repeatable from one day to the next, and setup is about 30 seconds total.

    The XTL is not a perfect tone product, but what is? Tone is really subjective to the creator. Don't get me wrong, I really like tube amps. Nothing I've heard can duplicate the tonality and feel of a good tube amp really working in the sweet spot for the player. I can only speak for myself, but the XTL gets me about 90-95% of the tonality I'm looking for, and most of the people we play for don't really care if my Vox or Marshall or 5150 or Cornford or Bogner or Orange or Soldano or Dual Showman or ....sound is dead-on accurate. I've learned to live with the slightly different feel and response compared to my past tube amps. As long as the general vibe is there I'm a happy camper.

    You do have to work a lot with the XTL to get good results. I've found that for me it sounds best using direct to PA, and you HAVE TO tweak your settings in a live situation with a band. It's also best for me to monitor through a FRFR (full range-flat response) system such as the Mackie, or JBL Eon or like. Trying to set up patches at home through phones and then use live is just not going to work, at least not for me. Plus, there are websites that have hundreds of user created patches to download and try out. A lot are not very good, but there are some gems out there that only need minor mods to suit your particular guitar. I also like the fact that I can update my XTL over the web through USB, keeping me current with new features, amp models, tones, etc. With the XTL I have something like 80 amp models, 50 effects, 20 cabinets to choose from. After experimenting a lot I pretty much use variations of about 4 - 5 amp models and 5 effects. The music we play in worship band is all over the map, so for me the XTL is a great alternative to lugging in 4 to 5 different amps (which i don't have) and having to deal with micing each of them up, setting up multiple pedals and the rat's nest of cables they can cause. That convenience alone is more than worth the relatively low cost of the XTL, but it's not an be all-end all box, it definitely requires much tweaking, but the rewards can be great. peace...Dan

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