In Review: Line 6 Pod Studio UX1

If you’ve clicked on this link then the chances are that you’re a musician of some kind. The fantastic thing about the Line 6 POD Studio UX1 is that it caters for every member of your typical modern band, with software offering amp simulations for electric guitarists, acoustic guitarists, bass guitarists and even vocalists. After using the device for a few weeks now, experimenting with each musical outlet it provides for the user, it is evident that Line 6’s focus with this product, much like the rest of their POD series, was on the guitarist (surprise, surprise).

Line 6 like to market their audio interfaces along with the idea that each device is so easy to record with that you can literally grab that little plastic box from its packaging and start tracking your ideas straight away. To quote the product page itself, the user can simply “Start recording immediately. Idea capture right out of the box”. Hmm. Well, after connecting the audio interface from a ‘B’ USB port (a slightly annoying feature as I don’t have many spare A/B USB cables lying around without dismantling my printer setup) to the ‘A’ port on my laptop, installing the many drivers required to recognise the device, installing the POD Farm software and then combating the inevitable ”why can’t I hear my guitar” issues, I can’t help but refute Line 6’s claims of immediate “idea capture”. Expect to spend a solid hour or two getting together your new rig, not that there’s anything wrong with spending a bit of time at setup to make sure everything is functioning correctly, however. Because the truth is, once you’ve got everything sorted for the first time, the Line 6 software and hardware both run like a dream.

[pullquote_right]The extensive range of tones that POD Farm 2.5 offers is enough in itself to justify the £100 price tag of the device.[/pullquote_right] Within a couple of hours I had cycled through wide, spacious acoustic tones with a fantastic atmospheric feel, I had experimented with modulated, delayed and flanged tones that would comfortably be at home on a Pink Floyd B-Side, and I had jammed (with surprising resemblance to the original) to the punky rhythm to Green Day’s American Idiot album. I was most blown away, however, when playing with the ‘Cliffs of Dover’ preset, a tone that so perfectly matched Eric Johnson’s Fender+Marshall driven sound on his legendary instrumental track that I had to make sure I hadn’t just left iTunes on (and I’m playing through a metal-oriented Ibanez RG370DXL).

What is missing, naturally, is exactly what you might expect from an audio interface that only sets you back a cockney ton. Some tones are flat and lifeless, and quite honestly a good half of them won’t ever get played or used. It’s no secret that if you’re looking to get the best tone possible, you won’t get it with the amp simulation that audio interface-based recording offers. The tones just don’t compare to the real thing. However, for home recording and silent practicing (for you students and bedroom guitarists not wanting a knock on the door from pissed off neighbours), the quality is most likely exactly what you’re looking for. Latency is practically zero; perfect for real-time recording. Plugging directly into the free DAW Reaper, I had no trouble exporting 2116kbps lossless audio from my device, and listening back to what I’d created, I was suitably impressed.

For the price, the Line 6 POD Studio UX1 is one of the best audio interfaces that you’ll be able to grab for this kind of money, bundled with a limitless piece of software that does its best to give you a reliable medium to express your creativity. If you’ve got a hundred quid left after Xmas, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up.

Maybe Also Consider:

If you’re willing to part with a little extra cash, the Focusrite Saffire 6 is a great choice, which retails at around £149.99 but offers a more capable and comprehensive experience.

Tech Stuff:

  • Lowest noise for recording guitar (12dB more dynamic range than similar interfaces)
  • Exclusive latency-killing ToneDirect™ monitoring
  • Up to 24-bit/96 kHz recording
  • POD Farm 2.5 plug-in (Mac® AU/RTAS®/VST® and Windows® RTAS®/VST®)
  • 18 immortal guitar amps with 24 cabs
  • 5 thumping bass amps with 5 cabs
  • 29 stunning stompboxes and studio effects (instantly increases to 64 with included FX Junkie model pack!)
  • 6 warm and colorful mic preamps
  • Ideal for use with Ableton® Live, Cubase®, Logic®, Garageband®, Pro Tools®, Cakewalk® and other pro recording platforms
  • Includes Ableton® Live Lite Line 6 Studio Edition 8-track recording software and RiffWorks™ T4 recording software for instant pro recording and idea capture right out of the box
  • USB 1.1 and 2.0 compatible
  • 1/4-inch guitar input
  • Balanced XLR input with high-quality mic preamp
  • Trim knob
  • Two 1/4-inch line inputs
  • 1/4-inch stereo monitor input
  • Two 1/4-inch analog outs
  • 1/4-inch headphone out

Check out the official Line 6 product page here:
USB Audio Interface | POD Studio UX1 | Line 6

Review by: Sam Hardy

  • Again, slamming work Sam! I have had a UX2 since they came out and then invested in the UX8 about 5 years ago. If the UX1 is anything like either of those it is slamming.

    • Cheers dude! Yeah, as far as I’m aware the UX1 and the UX2 are exactly same apart from the number of instrument inputs available. Awesome piece of kit!