Don’t have a ton of cash to burn on a full scale guitar studio? Tired of having a few cheap pedals plugged into a $50 practice amp? You have a couple options: Take up the banjo, or take a look at what Line 6 has to offer with the Pod Studio GX.
The Studio GX is a small device that plugs into your computer via USB and is essentially a guitar to digital adapter. Line 6 claims the device has zero latency, and I can verify this as I have used this extensively and cannot detect any myself. And most importantly, unlike other devices such as the old LightSnakes it has no buzz.
Mentioning the Studio GX ( also sold in the past as TonePort ) would make little sense without discussing the brains behind it…Pod Farm. Pod Farm is the interface in which you choose or create your custom settings and let me tell you, this thing is the cat’s ass. Especially if you have Pod Farm 2 which adds extra features such as dual channels and more stable code ( or so I’ve noticed ).
The greatest feature of Pod Farm is the community forums at Line 6. Need to find Eddie’s “brown” or Tom Scholz of Boston’s sound? Download it from a vast library of files that you can put into Pod Farm and rock away in seconds. All without having to go to the music shop and buy another effect.
So how good is Pod Farm 2 and the Studio GX compared to the real deal? Let’s put it this way: After owning this for two days I packed up my BOSS pedals and sold them on eBay. It’s that good. That was a year ago and I haven’t looked back. To duplicate the near infinite amount of sounds in Pod Farm I would need a music budget on par with The Edge.
I cannot argue that real pedals and real soundboards might be superior, but it’s a moot point. I don’t have thousands of dollars to pump into a tube-amp and effects boards that will make me notice the subtle nuances of a modified BOSS pedal. But I can spend around $100 and get something that for all intended purposes, is awfully damn close.
The Pod Farm software runs on Mac OS X or newer Windows platforms and I must give a hearty pat on the back to Line 6 for understanding that us music types will more often than not choose the superior Mac platform ( if you love Windows then fine, just don’t tell me about your problems! ). For OS X the software is rock solid, although I occasionally had to restart the program for it to find the Studio GX. This appears to have been fixed with the latest update in version 2. It is also compatible with GarageBand which means you can record, mix and do whatever you crazy kids do! Just stay off my damn lawn.
PROS: Literally any tone you can imagine is possible. Zero latency, no noise and extremely affordable. Line 6 has also been in the effects business a long time so you can trust their experience.
CONS: Considering that the Pod Farm software drives the Studio GX hardware, you’re glued to playing next to your computer. If you run it on a laptop however, your options for portability increase. However, if that’s your goal then consider the all-in-one Line 6 Pod line.