Hands-On Review:Line 6 Floor POD
The modeling brain of the POD 2.0 simplified for the floor
By Graham Teller
Line 6’s Floor POD makes it easier than ever to use the amazing POD amp models and adds the world’s easiest effects control interface. The amp and cab models and studio direct modes are identical to those on the POD 2.0 and the Floor POD’s dead-simple effects controls are very similar to those on the Line 6 Spider amps. The incorporated expression pedal has dual volume and wah functions and there are 64 editable presets with instant foot-button access. The Floor POD is a whole lot of stereo processing power at your feet for a really sweet price.
By now it’s no secret that Line 6’s modeling technology rules. The Line 6 POD quickly progressed from being a dazzling geeky wonderbox to being the guitar backbone of countless studios. From basement home studios to 128-track professional setups, the POD’s amazingly accurate models of dozens of classic amps have proved easier to work with than the real things. Line 6 responded to the POD’s instant popularity with the heavy-hitting POD Pro rackmount units.
Soon PODs began to show up in live performances as well, many players choosing to skip the amp altogether and go straight into the P.A. The PODXT Live addressed the needs of the live performer with easy floor-button access to presets and an expression pedal. Now Line 6 has introduced the Floor POD, a very cool, incredibly usable little modeler/effects unit that you don’t have to be a star to afford or an engineer to operate.
The Floor POD’s 12 amp models are so expertly crafted I can’t tell the sound of many of them from the real thing. Access to them couldn’t be easier. You simply turn the amp model knob through each of the six labeled amp types. An LED for each model lights first red then green as you advance through the two models per type.
The coolest thing about the POD models is that they not only sound like the modeled amp in question—whether it be a giant British stack or a compact black face or a modern high-gain monster—but they also respond the way that type of amp would respond. Crank the gain knob and you’ll be amazed by the thick, rich distortions of the Treadplate and Insane models, the Wylde roar of the Hi Gain models, and the gut punch of the Classic models. Class A and Clean models deliver crisp, round clarity.
All of the models are superlative in their preservation of the original guitar’s tone. My Les Paul’s humbuckers ring through loud and true while the astringent bite of my single-coil guitar is never muddied by the Floor POD’s models.
Line 6 calls them Smart Effects for a very good reason. In other gear, the typical effects setup lets you select an effect, then turn two or three other knobs to control its function. While this gives you plenty of control, relatively few configurations of the knobs actually produce usable, musical sounds. Line 6 has gotten rid of all the non-useful sounds to create a much easier user interface.
The Smart Effects are set up three per knob; flange/chorus, phaser, and trem on one knob; delay, sweep echo, and reverb on the other (plus a tap tempo button). As you turn the knob into the sweep area of one effect the effect gets more intense until you suddenly move along into the low-intensity area of the next effect. Line 6 engineers have preselected the most musical means of making the effects more intense, so all you have to do is turn one knob. Turn the knob all the way counterclockwise to disable the effect.
Since both knobs can be activated at the same time, there are 9 combinations of types of effects possible and hundreds of possible combinations when you factor in the varying intensities of the effects. Two knobs, hundreds of possibilities—now that’s player friendly.
For such a simple layout, the Floor POD really has a lot to offer in the way of performance and recording amenities. First on my list is a super-accurate tuner that works with the LEDs around the amp model knob. A channel volume control lets you save the volume setting as part of your preset while a headphone out and CD/MP3 input make the Floor POD the ultimate headphone amp.
Drive, bass, and treble knobs do double duty as compressor, mid, and presence controls respectively. A mini master volume control on the side lets you set the output for the whole unit. Left and right 1/4" outs with a direct/amp switch make it a breeze to connect to two amps or direct to the board. One of the three large foot buttons activates the bypass and toggles between the functions of all three buttons—scrolling up and down through the presets or turning the distortion, mod, or delay effects on and off.
With Floor POD, Line 6 has thought of everything. And they’ve made everything incredibly affordable. For a floor-based multi-effects processor and modeler, the Floor POD ranks first in my book for its winning combination of value, flexibility, and sound quality.
Features & Specs:
- 12 amp models
- 64 editable presets
- Chromatic tuner
- 3 large foot buttons
- Patch select or on/off foot button modes
- Mod Smart Effects knob
- Delay/verb Smart Effects knob
- Wah/volume pedal
- Drive/compressor knob
- Bass/mid knob
- Treble/presence knob
- Channel volume
- Master volume
- Left and right 1/4" outputs
- CD/MP3 input
- Headphones out
- Tap tempo
- Direct/amp switch
- Included power adapter