Line 6 POD
The Line 6 POD guitar amp modeller changed the way musicians and engineers looked at pulling guitar sounds. The idea of being able to re-create the sounds of all the classic amps was enormously appealing and was immediately embraced as the answer to many a guitarist’s dreams — right from the start guitarists liked the sounds and feel of playing through the POD.
Bright red and kidney shaped with an LED screen in the middle surrounded by 10 control knobs, compared to the stomp boxes and guitar multi-FX units of the time, the POD looked like something from the future. Selecting sounds by choosing an amp model, tweaking it and adding effects was intuitive and rewarding. The switchable speaker-sound simulator made it more realistic for recording.
For live shows, convenience goes a long way and lugging an esoteric guitar amp around has always been inconvenient and risky. The POD could be plugged directly into the PA and heard through the monitor system so the amp could stay at home. If an amp was used on stage it didn’t have to be cranked to get the right tone and the POD’s 32 user memories ensured consistent sounds that saved time at soundchecks.
The Line 6 POD was a natural in the studio — minimising the time it took to pull a sound and opening up a world of tone many studios simply didn’t have in their sonic arsenal. In its initial Issue 6 review AT’s Trevor Cronin suggested every studio should have one so they would always have good guitar sounds at hand. If bands brought their own POD to the studio the getting-a-guitar-sound problem went away and everyone could focus on their performance. The POD spawned the re-amping phenomenon, where you record clean and play the take back into the POD for infinite tweaking. At home with a pair of headphones the POD allowed you to rehearse as if you had an amp screaming — roaring guitars in a suburban bedroom.
HOW IT CHANGED THE GAME:
The POD gave the world its first practical glimpse at how physical modelling can change the world. Prior to the POD, modelling was mostly the preserve of keyboards, with Nord, Yamaha and the like more accurately recreating arcane synths you couldn’t afford, or wind instruments that didn’t ever genuinely replace anything. Did the POD precisely emulate some of the most coveted guitar amps of history? Who cares. It was close enough. Even close enough for many of the pros who owned the amps to opt for the convenience, the flexibility and the reproducibility of the Line6 POD. — Mark Woods