The Line 6 POD GO is not just a cheaper version of the Helix. Today we check out what people think about the POD GO, compared to its much more expensive brother, The Helix. Let’s check out all the features you get for 1/3 of the price!
The Line 6 POD GO: A Powerhouse On A Budget
While the Helix sold well and continues to do so, Line 6 went back to the drawing board when designing the POD GO. Before the Helix Series, Line 6 was known to have great multi-effects units for… not a whole lot of money.
The prices changed with the Helix because the technology was much more powerful and advanced. The Helix was in direct competition with things like The Kemper, and AXE-FX.
I felt a little betrayed that my budget-friendly Line 6 products were so expensive now. But on the other hand, the Helix is a PRO piece of gear. I know a lot of guitarists in the business that switched to Helix and never looked back.
So when the Helix first came out, I was a little disappointed. It was pretty expensive, and a little out of my budget. The Helix LT Edition helped this price problem out a tiny bit, but it was still $1000 for the LT Edition. That can be steep for someone on a budget.
The HX Stomp became my only option if I wanted to stick with Line 6 and not empty my wallet completely. That is until I found the Line 6 POD GO.
The Line 6 POD GO seems to have everything that I personally need in a floor processor. But it is not going to be the answer to every guitarist’s tone journey.
So why is it so much cheaper than the Helix? Let’s take a look at all of the features, and go over some of the most important aspects of the POD GO.
Line 6 POD GO Features:
- Streamlined floor processor with more than 270 Helix and legacy amp, stomp, and cabinet models
- Lightweight, tour-grade build quality
- Designed to sound great into an amp, FRFR CAB, or PA
- Captures the tone and feel of playing through real tube amps and pedal effects
- Large color screen is easy to see from standing position, even in the dark
- Onboard expression pedal unlocks dynamic wah, volume, and rotary effects
- Snapshots feature lets you save and recall tones for each section of a song
- Supports third-party cabinet impulse responses for greater expandability
- 4 x 4 USB audio interface delivers tones directly into a recording session in 24-bit/96kHz
- Onboard effects loop and headphone output
- Dry amp output lets you monitor through a traditional rig while sending processed tones to FOH
- 256 Presets (2 setlists with 32 banks x 4 presets
- 200+ effects (Helix & Legacy combined), Up to 10 simultaneous FX (6 fixed, 4 flexible)
- 80+ Guitar/Bass Amps, 39 Cabinets, 16 Mic Models
- Custom/3rd Party IR Support, Store up to 128 IRs
The main thing to think about when it comes to the Line 6 POD GO, is that it is not a Helix. Let’s just get that out of the way. It uses a lot of the sounds from the Helix, but unlike the Helix LT, it is not just a “cheaper Helix”. There is a reason that the unit is going by the “POD” moniker, instead of the Helix/HX. But that does not mean that this is a bad unit by any stretch. In fact, it is more of a hybrid unit!
Since the POD HD500X in 2014, there have been no products released carrying the legendary POD name by Line 6. I understand why, as the company focused fire on making/designing more Helix products. But I am proud to say that the POD series is back with a vengeance!
The front of the unit even looks more like a POD than a Helix. You have a large color display, with 5 rotary knobs for parameter controls, along with 3 knobs for master/editing. This already looks like the older POD units instead of the Helix. But what is under the hood, is all that really matters.
With the POD GO app, you can control all of the parameters for each patch via phone or tablet. This is done easily, because blockchains for amps and effects are locked. So you only have a certain amount of amp and effect combos available. This may be limiting to someone that is used to editing the Helix, but if you are looking for amazing tones that get dialed in easily, the Line 6 POD GO is going to be more up your alley. I do not find it to be limiting at all, as I can get just about any tone I want out of the POD GO.
As far as tones go, you have tons of different amp models and effects. Some you will recognize from the POD series, but others you will notice are straight from the Helix! This combines all of the strengths of both the Helix and the POD series into a hybrid unit, without any filler. There are over 200 effects, and 80 amp sims pulled from both the “POD Legacy” series and the Helix/HX. You get the best of both worlds with the Line 6 POD GO.
While it only has half of the processing power of the Helix, I never noticed any lag or problems with effects-heavy patches. Don’t let the specs fool you, the Line 6 POD GO can hold its own. The Helix/HX sounds work well in tandem with the “POD Legacy” amps and effects. There is no dip in quality between the two.
The rear of the Line 6 POD GO has plenty of options, whether you want to use it to record with, or use live with an FRFR cab. It does not have the same amount of options as the Helix, or the Helix LT. It has only one input, and two outputs for stereo configuration. This is going to be more than enough for most guitarists, but you are missing the XLR I/O. To be honest with you, the Helix Floor has a little too much for me when it comes to input/output options. The Line 6 POD GO is simple, and I really like that!
The construction of the Line 6 POD GO feels really solid, while remaining small and lightweight. The chassis is steel and plastic, but it feels like it could take a real beating. The footswitches themselves are the same that Line 6 use with all of the floor units, and they have a definitive “click” to them. The expression pedal is made of aluminum, with a rubber coated grip. This feels just as solid as my poor, old HD500X…that has seen hundreds of studios and stages.
One of the best features is that you can store over 100 user cabinet IR settings in the Line 6 POD GO. This is a great feature, and I am so glad that more companies are allowing this. The cabinets that come with the POD GO are all pretty amazing on their own. But for Metal, I have several IR settings that I personally prefer, that mimic a Mesa Boogie 4X12. I have used these IRs since I got my hands on the MOOER FX unit. It’s very cool to be able to use these in conjunction with the POD and HX amp sims.
The “make it or break it” factor of the Line 6 POD GO is going to be the limited preset parameters. For some people, this going to be a hard stop. Let me explain:
When you load up a totally blank preset it auto-starts with wah, volume, effects loop, amp, cab, and EQ blocks. The other four open blocks you have are made to be used for modulation and effects. These can be delay, reverb, or any of the other 200 effects that you find in the banks. But this is the only way you can set up a new preset. You cannot re-arrange the preset options. Every “new” blank patch has the same layout.
For a lot of guitarists, this is going to be a hard pass. I understand why, and some guitarists need a little more versatility in the patch design and effects routing. But for someone like me? I love the setup, and it’s exactly how I set up a patch on the Helix anyway! This is way easier with the Line 6 POD GO!
Finally, there are two different versions of the Line 6 POD GO. There is one that is the standard unit, and the newer version that is totally wireless! The wireless version is $100 more, but it comes with the Line 6 G10 wireless adapter that plugs into your guitar’s input jack. It is set up out of the box, and ready to go wireless without any fuss!
What’s The Word Around The Web?
There have been tons of reviews for the Line 6 POD GO, and they have all been mostly positive. Very few reviewers had a problem with it’s limitations (myself included) and some even praised the new simplicity. I think it is safe to say that other reviewers are very impressed.
“One of the primary benefits of any good digital modeler, profiler is the ability to better understand how each element of your chain interacts with your gear. The POD Go takes a bit of the guesswork out by automatically placing a few components on your virtual board but leaves a lots of potential for experimentation.
In terms of DSP power, the POD Go has a little less processing power that the HX Stomp and slightly less than half the power of a full Helix Floor model. It’s missing a few of the more DSP-intensive effects in the Helix line, like the dynamic hall reverb and the recent polyphonic additions, but that doesn’t mean there are loads of very good-to-excellent sounds at your disposal.”Premier Guitar
“POD GO is for players who want the HX sound quality of the Helix LT in a simpler, lighter, less expensive modeling solution. All the Line 6 essentials are here: a color LCD display interface, amps and effects arranged visually as blocks, footswitches color-coded to the type of effect, and Snapshots that let you seamlessly switch between tones without audio dropout.
Some sacrifices to size and price must be made. With half the processing power of the LT, the Go has only four fully assignable blocks (out of 10), just one effects chain and less looping time, among other things. Sound is paramount, and while the the original POD performed well, the HX processing adds extra levels of realism in both tone and feel.”Guitar Player Magazine
Line 6 POD GO: The Bottom Line…
Look, the Line 6 POD GO is not going to be for everyone. For the guitarists that need deep editing, different I/O routings, and multi polyphonic tracking effects… it is not going to do all of that. People who are looking for a seriously in-depth experience should go for the Helix line.
But if you are looking for tones that work great live, as well as in the studio, then the POD GO might be for you. The Line 6 POD Go is made to be user-friendly and easy to set up out of the box. You can still edit patches, and create your own unique patches. The difference is the number of effects and amp sims you can use at once, and the blockchain that is set up by default.
For me, I never use huge stacks of effects, so the way the POD GO is set up works perfectly for me. I don’t really need the Helix’s 32 banks of effects per patch. In fact, having so many options limits me in the end. It can get confusing, and cause option paralysis. I would rather have the POD GO, and tweak a couple of parameters to get the tone I need.
At any rate, Line 6 has pretty much every base covered these days when it comes to amp sims and effects. No matter what your budget, there is a product out there for you!
And the Pod Go could be just what you’ve been searching for, especially with its sub-$500 price tag.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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