Let's take a good look at the newest bass guitar amp, cab and mic modeler from Line 6.
When musician's hear the word "POD" what typically comes to mind? Likely, the little red kidney-bean shaped amp simulator from Line 6, right? Well, the POD has grown up, and, it's had a family, the latest being the XT series.
Shortly after the POD first came out, they also released Bass POD's and the rack-mountable "Pro" POD's. Now they have updated and improved the POD line across the board with the release of the POD XT series with new POD's and Bass POD's as well as new XT Pro rackmountables for both lines.
The Bass POD XT Pro, much like it's sibling, the regular red "guitar" POD XT, it has been completely reworked from the ground up. It started with rebuilding all the amp and cabinet models, re-doing the effect models, adding microphone models and end ended with redesigning the routing and I/O options.
Bass POD XT Pro
The Bass POD XT Pro comes with 24 classic and current amp simulation models, 22 cabinet and 4 mic models. 64 preset memory spaces, flexible routing options and over 50 stompbox, synth and studio effects. Like the POD XT Pro it also comes with USB, Full MIDI support and a built in tuner.
Amp Models: Acoustic 360, Aguilar DB750, Alembic F-2B, Ampeg B-15A and SVT, Eden Traveller WT-300, Fender Bassman and Dual Showman, Gallien Kruger 800RB, Hiwatt DR-103 and 200 DR, Marshall Major and Plexi Super Bass, Mesa Boogie 400+, Polytone Mini-Brute, Sunn Coliseum, SWR SM-500, Vox AC10, plus Line 6 originals Tube Preamp, Sub Dub and six more!
Cabinet models: Acoustic 360 1x18, Ampeg 1x15 & 8x10, Ashdown 2x10, Eden 4x10, Euphonics 1x12, Fender 2x15 & 4x10, Hartke 4x10, Hiwatt 4x12, Marshall 4x12 & 4x15, Mesa Boogie 1x18 & 2x15, Sunn 1x18+12, SWR 1x15, Vox 2x15
What's it Made of?
The POD XT Pro line is a sturdy metal-chassis in a standard 19" rack mount format 2u in height. The Bass POD XT Pro is black, matching the color scheme of the lower priced desktop model. The chassis is a solid unit that can easily take some abuse such as is common on the road.
Other than the color, it's very similar to the standard POD XT. The interface is the same, buttons and knobs in all the same places which makes it an easy unit to get used to if you already are used to the standard POD.
The rear of the unit is all the ins and outs of the unit itself for easy and unobtrusive connections to your recording rig or your live performance rack. One thing that stood out to me is that while it looks a lot like the standard POD, the routing options and other features are not just regurgitated from it. The people at Line 6 did step back and look at it as a bass device, not "another POD" it has routing options that a bass player would appreciate far more than a guitar player, most notably to me is the ability to run mono wet and dry signals separated for easy double-tracking during sessions.
Sound Quality and Usability
Alright, now down to the important stuff, the quality of the sound...
As expected, the Bass POD XT Pro holds the Line 6 standard in terms of sound quality. The models are very nice and the range of sounds possible vary greatly providing models and options that will appeal to most any bass player in even the most outrageous situations. In addition to all the amp, cab and mic modelling, don't forget there are also 50 stomp box effects, and speaking for the effects I have worked with, are quite nice. They have a good collection of stomp box models based on existing stomp boxes, those being Urei LA-2 compressor, Mu-Tron III, Arbiter Fuzz Face, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, Ibanez Tube Screamer, ProCo Rat, Tycobrahe Octavia, MXR Dyna, Boss CS-1 Compressor, ADA Flanger, MXR Phase 90, Boss CE-1 Chorus, Uni-Vibe, Vibratone Rotary Speaker, Opto and Bias Tremolo, Boss DM-2 Analog Delay, Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, Maestro EP-1 Echoplex and the Roland RE-101 Space Echo. In addition, and as expected, Line 6 has also added some of their own design effects including Bass Overdrive, Bronze Master, Deluxe Chorus, Deluxe Flanger, Spring, Plate, Room & Chamber Reverb, Sub-Octave, Wah Pedal and a Volume Pedal. So you can see that the arsenal of effects is pretty complete as well as the standard amping and cab models.
The application Line 6 Edit is software editor/librarian for many Line 6 products that works as well with the Bass PODxt/Pro as it does the guitar counterparts. The USB connector on the Bass PODxt Pro means you don't even need a MIDI interface for your computer. It gives a very intuitive computer software based interface to the unit. It supplies quality visual representation to the adjustments that are being made to the sound.
The problem this presents, as I mentioned in the previous POD XT review, is that between the software and hardware adjustments, the knobs on the unit do not always represent the actual settings of the POD itself, as they do not turn with the software adjustments. So, a quick turn of a knob on the face could result in unexpected, sudden changes in the sound as it gets synced with the software.
My Final Thoughts
Holding with the POD's tradition of quality modeling, the Bass POD XT Pro comes through. The newly designed models are very good, the amp, cab and effects are all much better than the previous Bass POD, it is readily apparant that they have been completely redesigned from the ground up, as was the case with all the POD XT series modelers. They cover a very wide range of sounds, the effects are high quality and, with the help of the computer-based program Line 6 Edit, it has a user interface that is very easy to navigate and visualize your settings.
The main problem I have with the Bass models of the POD are that they seem to be kind of treated like second class citizens in the POD community. The Line 6 Monkey application, which happily keeps my POD constantly updated with the latest firmware and model presets, does not work with the Bass POD line. Also, there are great add on model packs for the other POD's, adding new amps, cab's, effects and such to the unit, whereas the Bass POD line has no such addons available to them. However, I was informed by Line 6 that Edit does include the Bass POD XT in it's list of available supported unit simply because they have no updates for the Bass POD XT, and, once there are updates for it, the Monkey will work with the unit, which is good to know.
All that said, I don't know what I would do with any extra models anyway, as the Bass POD XT covers all the sounds I want as it is, and does it quite well. The issue with me is just the apparant lack of commitment shown by neglecting to offer these types of features to Bass POD users.
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