The Line 6 POD X3 and Boss GT-8 are two multi-effects processors that have been discontinued for a while, however both hold value today. Although unavailable for purchasing new, both can be found used for almost nothing.
The X3 has great latency and can be heard on number one records. The GT-8 is still used by studio musicians that I know of to this day.
Both the GT-8 and X3 can be connected directly. Because they can recreate an amplifier and cabinet, you can plug directly into the PA system or use a line out for recording.
You can go as far back as the Boss GT-5 (the predecessor to the GT-3 and the first release in the GT series.) In online communities, many people argue that the GT-5 actually sounded better than newer releases.
The reason the GT-8 sounds good is because it contains analog circuitry. It has the same circuitry built-in as an Ibanez tube screamer pedal. Other multi-effects units emulate this circuit digitally.
POD X3 Live
The X3 contains a â€œdirect out,â€ an XLR output that sends the same signal a microphone would provide from an on-stage cabinet. In addition to using this feed, the X3 can be connected to an on-stage amplifier using the â€œlive outâ€.
For an outdated release, the X3 is still surprisingly modern. It has a USB port, which can be connected to the Line 6 GearBox software. GearBox has a great user interface for creating and editing patches.
For creating patches, Lincoln Brewsterâ€™s X3â€™tone is a favorite in online communities. Lincoln Brewster is a studio engineer by trade, so it could be worth investigating his patches. Although there are people that have done a complete analysis of his patches, I find the most significant part of his signal chain is the EQ block, particularly a boost in the 3kHz range. His patches can be found on his website.
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