Submitted July 21, 2020 by R L in SF Bay Area, CA
"Finally, a Helix for the Rest of Us"
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See the long-winded, opinionated review below.
I’ve been around the block a few times with Line 6. My first introduction was the Spider 112, followed by (in no particular order), Flextone HD, Flextone IIIXL, Alchemist 112 (more Line 6 than Bogner), Verbzilla, DL4, POD xt Live, POD HD 500, and the cute as a bug Pocket POD (2 of them).So the “Line 6 Sound” is familiar to me. I’ve had a like/dislike relationship with most of the stuff I’ve had over the years, and I’ve enjoyed the amps more than the processors. In addition to the Line 6 stuff previously mentioned, I’ve had countless processors by BOSS (nearly all the floor-based stuff) and Digitech back in the dark ages. I’ve always used them for direct recording, but I could never get a truly satisfying guitar tone going direct with any of them. Close, but no cigar. Until now.The thing about modeling, and this is true of everything out there, including the $$$$$ top-of-the-line modelers, you really have no idea how accurate anything is. I’ve been in countless music shops in the last 40 years and I’ve never even stood next to a Dumble Overdrive Special, let alone played through one. If someone claimed to have created a perfect model of Jimmy Page’s Supro Coronado, would you know? I wouldn’t and I’m betting even James Patrick wouldn’t, either.So what you’re left with is whether or not the models sound good to you. To my ear and for what I bought it for, the POD Go sounds great. Not only that, but through a good pair of cans, the models feel good under the fingers.
When Line 6 released the first Helix, I knew it was going to be a big leap forward. Although I was interested, my option anxiety wouldn’t allow me to go there. For me, POD Go nudges right up against the line. Helix DNA, with no parallel signal routing and a maximum of four effects at a time keeps this on the sane end of the spectrum for me. Even so, there are a crazy number of effects and trying every possible combination would take years.There are 9 slots altogether, plus a mono/stereo effects loop. There will ALWAYS be a volume pedal, wah pedal, amp, cabinet and EQ in the chain. All of these can be turned on or off, and they can be placed anywhere in the chain. The one thing that wasn’t clear to me before I bought this was whether or not effects were restricted to one TYPE of effect per block. The answer is, you could have 4 different distortions, or flangers, or delays, or reverbs, or 4 of the same anything in your effect chain. There is a limit to the DSP, so you might hit the wall if you try to stack too many complex, processor-hungry delays/reverbs in a chain. But as you near the limit, POD Go will start to grey-out any effect that will exceed the limit.
Ease of Use
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a multi-effects processor for beginners. But for anyone familiar with using effects, and multi-effects in particular, the learning curve is fairly gentle and the manual is mostly intelligible. For me, without POD Go Edit, I wouldn’t like this nearly as much. The machine is navigable from the controls on the unit, but with the software, editing is completely painless. IMO, POD Go Edit is essential for editing, firmware updates (gotta update right out of the box), and for downloading/sharing patches on the Line 6 CustomTone page. 23 pages of user-created patches, at last count.
The case is heavy-gauge steel, the treadle feels good under the foot, and the good-sized display is clear, bright and colorful. The 5 encoder knobs below the display feel a little flimsy, but every thing else is of very good quality.
For the quality and variety of tones this thing can produce, it’s worth every penny of the $449.99 I paid for it.
Everything I’ve ever owned by Line 6 has functioned flawlessly as long as I had it. I’ve never once spoken to them about anything. That's a ringing endorsement, if you ask me.
Retired recording and gigging musician
Old School hard rock, metal and progressive. Epic cinematic melodic rock.
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