Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Leeds, UK - San Antonio, TX
my POD XT review
There seems to be a lot of talk on various forums at the moment over the new PODxt.
Well I have been looking for a new amp for a while as all i have is an old marshall valvestate 80 watts. Now I tried the POD 2.0 a while back and couldn't really get to grips with it. The sounds were good, but didn't blow me away.
So i got thinking that "right i need, no not need MUST have an all valve mesa/boogie" to get a good tone. After looking into mesa's etc and the prices I was considering the Nomad. 3 channel very versatile on paper etc combo amp.
So..I went into my nearest sound control to demo one, and was really depressed and dissatisfied. The tone was pretty poor, and I had the thing really loud. Even at 50 watts with the master on 4.5 was drowning out everything and i mean everything in the huge music store. And yet the tone still sounded buzzy, not nice and smooth and biting like i hear on recordings, gigs etc.
Now it could have been that the valves needed chagning. I sdont know the other thing is that cause I've never had a real valve amp before I know **** all about them. But I tried out this nomad in eevry way possible short of cranking it up to 10, and couldn't get a decent tone. I also tried the new F series and the same thing, really crappy sound. THis time it was dark and hollow.
So I plugged into a recto-verb single rectifier combo, and that was the only mesa i tried that sounded good. And even that wasn't how i imagined it would be!
I was very disheartened. Realizing that I would only be able to use these $2000+ amps at gigs. Then a week later my friend calls me up saying he's got this new PODxt thing. So interested I go round to hear it, and was completely and utterly blown away. So much i went out and bought one the next day, and the shortboard controller. I know some people might dissagree but I think that the models are a big big improvement over the pod 2.0 ones. And the new features are absolutley amazing. The fender blackface model with the modelled tube scraemer 808 stompbox sounds so real it is untrue. Infact my flat mate has a fender valve amp and a tube screamer pedal so we set them up side by side and A/B'd them. And it the sound difference was so marginal i think EJ would be pushed to tell.
However notice i said "sound" difference. The modelling amps, esp well mostly the podxt "sounds" very very much like the real things, however the key element to playing a real valve amp is that glassy barking roar that you dont hear but "feel" coming through the speakers. Its something thats difficult to explain in words but everyone thats ever played through a good valve amp will know. And I think this is the big thing. Although they sound real they dont feel real.
For me personally, i'll live without the feel, as long as the sounds are amazing. Cause i've never had either before anyway. And the price diference and practicality of a full blown mesa at the moment for me is just very unrealistic.
Some models are better than others, and the ones which aren't as good really just need some tweaking. Choosing the right cab setup is a must as well. I think that there is so much in the pods that there are bad combinations that could put people off. I think thats what happened to me the first time i tried a pod 2.0. But now i've had time to tinker and get to grips with the xt i'm very very happy indeed. I now have a great sounding rig for practising live use and recording, for $1400 cheaper than buying some "lovely" mesa that wont even get cooking until its wound up.
I'm not saying that this will be my choise forwever, when i can afford it i'm sure there is nothing like a real tripple rec' raging away. but until that point i'm happy with the moddeling stuff.
btw, if anyone is interested i've made some pretty good petrucci patches for DT stuff.