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Well, it's been a while since I've used an all-in-one effects/modeling board but I'm going off the deep end after demoing a setup of a friends for studio recording. I have a little effects collection that after switching to jazz, hasn't seen much light and so I've decided to **** it (My user name is shawnstrickland) for what I could, and see what I can save up for a Line 6 xt Live. I demoed a Variax 700 guitar and this pedalboard and was surprised at how versitile it was. When I go off to college I want to start honing my skills for all styles of music and dabble in studio recording for some money on the side as well as being a jazz guitarist (Because you never really leave your roots :).
I was very impressed with what it could do, and the ability to upgrade the software for the guitar and the pedalboard pretty much sold me along with what I could do with my computer setup already - just take the effect board, a variax, and my laptop to a session and I'll be ready for anything!
So, I ask you this... what are you suggestions for "Going High Tech," I understand some people would back me on this thought, and some would hang me, but I just want to know what other devices out there would do the same kind of thing... for I know there are a few. Also, I would like to know what is in the short future for this area of guitar technology (If anyone has rumors or insider hints...etc.)
Thanks!
 

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There are some fine floor mounted fx units available, I like the looks and specs of these two:

http://www.tcelectronic.com/Files/Products/G-System/index.html ($1500 or so, but no amp simulation, doh!)
and the much cheaper
http://www.voxamps.co.uk/products/tonelab/tonelab_se.htm ($500 or so)
However, I don't think these serve your current and future needs.

Also, I must admit that I haven't played either one. I have a Digitech GSP2101, which, at the time (1990-1991) was one of the top units.
http://www.tubefreak.com/2101.htm
It still rocks after 15 years. In fact Digitech are still selling the Quad4 studio fx, which is just a slightly updated version of the fx section of the GSP2101.
Digitech currently offer similar technology in floor units like these:
http://www.digitech.com/products/GNX3000/GNX3000.htm
and
http://www.digitech.com/products/gnx4.htm ($500)
or
http://www.guitarworkstation.com/overview.htm

I would not go for a floor mounted system, I would again go for a rack mounted unit, with a separate foot controller. But for your needs it may be a good solution.

The only truly new developments since 1990, have been the whole modelling thing and computer I/O. I haven't been impressed by the tones from most of the units using the former, the latter appears mandatory for you. I've tried Line6 units and I didn't like them at all. With a lot of tweaking, some people have found decent tones in there.

Top of the line in modelling is probably Boss with their COSM series. They have just launched a new top machine which exactly matches your needs, the GT-Pro:
http://www.bosscorp.co.jp/products/en/GT-Pro/index.html
It looks like good value for money ($845 without foot-controller, though) in fact it is cheaper than my GSP2101 was back in the days.

Another unit I would definitely check out is the Rocktron Prophesy
http://www.rocktron.com/products/prophesy.html ($999)
It kinda looks like the GT-Pro, performs many of the same functions.

Both of these are about twice as expensive as the PODXT Live, but well worth it. The Variax 700 seems way overpriced ($1400!?), for that kind of money you can get yourself a decent Ibanez! The V700 doesn't strike me as high tech either. How about a nice IBANEZ RGA121VLF, RG1820X or SZ720FMTG? That way, if someone invites you over for a low-tech jam session, where amps and stuff are provided for, you can just show up with a proper guitar with built-in proper tone.

Final note, I've always felt that you should spend about equal amounts on guitar, amp and effect. For both the Boss and Rocktron, I feel that in you are still missing something when you don't have a proper power-amp and cabinet or combo. When spending $800-1000 on a guitar and the same on an effects unit, you may also want to consider a nice $900 2x12 combo. The perfrect companion to either GT-Pro or Prophesy would be a Boss JC120 or Fender Twin Reverb.

Good Hunting!
 

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Studio work is all about time; that's why PODs are used in lots of sessions. I would have a power amp & cabinet for your rig (you'll need it to play out anyway), but for session work you may just be going direct the majority of the time.

The Variax sounds like a good idea, but I don't know if they've been accepted in studio-land for covering all guitar needs the way digital modeling has for covering amps.

As for specific modelers, how much footswitching do you need? I agree that a modular approach is better, at least in that it gives you more options. There is no concensus on the best modeling. Many like the newer PODs (XTs), some like the Tonelab. Some still think the Sansamp stuff sounds best (though they don't have a compact all-in-one unit). I like the Yamaha DG Stomp a lot (I thought it sounded the best a few years ago, and it has all the basics in one small footswitchable unit, but it's discontinued). Some few even prefer the also-rans like the older PODs, the V-Amp, or the J-Station. The point is, you'll need to listen to a few of these to find out what you can live with.

I'm not sure how much digital FX you need for session work beyond what's in the modeler; that will mostly be added in mixing and the engineer will hit you with a roll of Ampex if you put reverb or echo on your guitar. For that matter, I'm not sure why you'd need a laptop for that - I'd say keep it as simple as possible on the gig and do patch tweaking at home.
 
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