Line 6 POD X3 Live – What I Do & Don’t Like About This Pedal

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PODX3live-largeThe POD x3 live has some legendary features, and it’s robust interface makes it incredibly useful.

Unfortunately, the lack of support from Line6 (which isn’t too bad of a thing, until this next part) combined with the fact that these POD’s fail and break all on their own, makes it a bad choice for live performance.

Not to mention a bad choice to spend your money when Line6 wants to charge you ludicrous rates to fix your unit when it breaks.

Update - 2018.12.30The POD X3 Live has been discontinued. The Sound Junky recommends checking out the latest editions to the Line 6 POD range, the POD HD500X and the POD HD PRO X.

 

PROS:
  • Easy to use interface once you learn it all.
  • Many community created tones to download online.
  • XLR Outputs (no need for a DI Box)
  • Gearbox software is robust
  • Large amount of additional effects.
CONS:
  • Line 6 Monkey software has updating bugs
  • Some high gain amp models could use improvement
  • Modelling is nothing compared to what’s included in other units like the Axe FX 2.0.
  • Can be intimidating at first because of all the options
  • High rate of manufacturer malfunction makes it unstable for live performance

 

The Interface

The Interface of the POD X3 live is setup so that you can make changes quickly. When I say quickly, I mean roadrunner quick.

 

The Top Right

This corner houses tone control knobs for adjusting:

Pod X3 Live Top Right

  • Drive
  • Bass
  • Middle
  • Treble
  • Presence
  • Reverb
  • Tone Volume

Turning any of these knobs instantly changes the current tone selected and can be saved immediately if you choose. This is great for rapidly tweaking your tones to make them just right.

 

The Top Left

This is where the action is. This is where most things you do with the POD X3 live will happen. The fully back-lit LCD screen houses all the information you need.

The screen shows what tone you have selected, and the fully-programmable loop with its changeable order. Here you can select any option, let’s say a modulation effect, and choose what you would like to do with it.

pod-x3-live-top-left

You can now go through the different effects that you would like to use, find one that you like, and then you can further tweak that effect to make it just right.

This is a process that applies for all the effects that you use. Whether it be reverb, delay, stomp boxes, compression, or the amp and cab.

Overall the LCD screen is by far the most user-friendly interface ever created in a multi-effects pedal. By no means am I saying that a complete idiot could do it right away. But if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the system, you can easily and effortlessly get the tone you are looking for.

 

The Bottom

The Lower quadrant of the board is where most of the action onstage (yes, you can use this on stage) will be happening.

As with any pedal board, there are options for which tone you would like to select (A,B,C, or D) and arrows to select your category (1-32). Wow, 32 categories and 4 options for each. That means that you can hold a whopping 128 tones on the board.

pod-x3-live-bottom

Another standard feature is of course the “tap/hold for tuner” button. This button is lit/blinking and provides a user created tempo, as well as an extremely accurate tuner that is displayed on the LCD screen.

Above the standard features, you get some of the user-friendly accessibility that the POD has to offer. You have the options to switch “on” or “off” the Compressor+Amp and cab, Delay, Modulation, and Stompbox.

If you were to double tap any of these functions you would open up a menu on the LCD to edit any of their options. If you knew exactly what you wanted to do, you could edit each option within seconds.

Last but not least, we have the dual tone options. Holding this button for a second will activate your second tone. This new option of Hybrid tones has infinitely expanded the world of multi-effects pedals.

The use of two tones at once.

That means you could have two different types of delay, or modulation, with thousands more options. You could even run a bass tone and a guitar tone at the same time, letting two different players play at the same time through one pedal.

 

My Personal Experience

Update November 23rd, 2008: So I have had one problem with this pedal since I wrote this review. I have found that is sometimes cuts out on me and I have to restart the system, and then everything is fine. It only happened twice but still, just thought I would let you know.

Update December 10th, 2008: My POD has been giving me more and more problems, and now sometimes will not even turn on. Will be updating again soon to tell you if it was just a minor problem or if it is serious.

Update December 27th, 2008: I have found out the problem. It was simply a mistake for the firmware update, and Line6 support fixed it immediately as soon as I brought the mistake to their attention.

Update Feb 3rd, 2010: After over 2 years of use, my POD x3 live started having troubles again. There seems to be a problem with the Reset switch where it continually tries to reset itself. I am working on fixing the problem. Thought you all might want to know.

Update December 22nd, 2010: I sent the unit into the manufacturer for repair. Guess what? They couldn’t even “Find anything wrong with it” and just sent it back to me. I decided that because it still “kind of” works, that I would trade it away to someone else who wanted to use it for recording (where the reliability of the unit was not really that important).

 

Wrappin’ It Up

Lets just say that this piece of motha truckin’ equipment is like an invention from god (when it works). Similar to everything else in this world, it has its issues. But with its easy to use interface, incorporation of hybrid tones, and hundreds of great sounding effects, amps, and cabs, there is almost nothing you can’t do with it.

My recommendation is that you be very wary of using this instrument. Yes, it’s a bloody awesome tool that any guitarist would be able to find a use for. But because these units can be unreliable, you would need to be careful in a live situation.

Although, for recording it might be just the perfect solution for you. Just be careful, because if it breaks, Line 6 will offer you less-than-stellar customer support to help you fix your problem.

Update - 2018.12.30The POD X3 Live has been discontinued. The Sound Junky recommends checking out the latest editions to the Line 6 POD range, the POD HD500X and the POD HD PRO X.

 

Related Article: How To Use The Looper On A Line 6 DL4 Delay Pedal

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Andrew 'The Real Musician' Muller

I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story. If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O’Neil’s home cooking and eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham. Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat McDonald’s at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy.