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June 23, 2010

Line 6 Pod Farm 2 - killer guitar sounds

Getting a good recorded guitar tone can be difficult. I should know. I have messed around quite a bit with micing my amps the last few years, and it's been very educational but also quite frustrating, to be honest. I never knew it could be so difficult!

There is, however, an easier way to get good guitar tone. All you need is a Line 6 audio interface, such as the POD Studio, and the Pod Farm software. Now, the big news is that Line 6 has recently released POD Farm 2 - a very nice upgrade to original software package.

Pod Farm 2

I am going to be honest here. For all my backing tracks and lesson recordings - I only use Pod Farm 2. The reason is because it is EXTREMELY flexible and simple to use, and it sounds VERY GOOD. I have asked many pro musicians for feedback on clips I have recorded with Pod Farm 2, and guess what? Most of them ask me what amp I was using, since the guitars sound so good. When I tell them I used Line 6 POD Farm 2, they have trouble believing it. It's like it's too good to be true, or something.

Perhaps some people are thinking that modeling technology and software for creating guitar tones is a bad thing. Perhaps they think a realistic and good guitar tone can't be had this way. Well, I would say they are wrong! The sound quality from POD Farm 2 is in my opinion stunning, if you think about how cheap this stuff is. Instead of buying dozens of boutique amps, you have all these sounds and a lot more in POD Farm 2.

So what can POD Farm 2 do then? Well, I don't know where to start. One really cool thing I want to mention right away is that you can record your guitar track with a certain model, and then later change it to something else. This is very useful. I might record a rhythm guitar with an AC30 amp model, but then later when I listen back to the finished track, I don't like how that guitar tone sounds in the mix. I just go into the Pod Farm 2 plugin in my recording software and try something else, perhaps a Fender Deluxe Reverb. Instant changes, and I don't have to re-record the track! I just love this feature. As long as you played your guitar track as you want it to be played, you can sit and experiment with amp models, effect models, cabinets, etc. The amount to which you can customize and combine all these things is mind blowing. This feature of recording once and changing sounds later is a life/time saver for me. I can never complain about not getting the right sound anymore, since the tonal options with Pod Farm 2 are endless. The only problem is it is so much fun to keep trying new guitar tones, that it becomes hard to decide!

So overall, you get an arsenal of historic amps and effects, for both bass and guitar. There are plenty of vintage and modern amps, cabs, studio-standard effects, classic stompboxes and colorful preamps. I personally have POD Farm 2 Platinum, which provides a comprehensive collection of more than 250 models. Lots of fun can be had here! I really like the Marshall amp models. They sound fat and rich. The Vox AC30 is another model I find myself using often, because it sounds so realistic (and I can't afford a real AC30...).

The POD Farm 2 interface has a carousel-style gear browser that puts every model at the front of the user interface. You can easily pick amp models and effects by dragging and dropping them into the signal flow to find the sound you want. It's so simple to rearrange the routing of the signal. Want the distortion before the phaser? Just drag and drop to rearrange, and the changes are instant. You can arrange any thing you choose the same way, whether it's an amp model, effect, preamp, or whatever.

Another cool feature is the ability to split your guitar signal and create two separate and simultaneous amp and effect signal chains. You can create a very big sound by placing (up to) 10 effects models per chain. You can do this in any order, before or after your amp and cab models. You can even add post-cabinet mic preamps! Both chains can then be controlled by the virtual A/B/Y box. Very slick indeed.

I want to share with you this backing track I created with POD Farm 2. Both the electric bass and the electric guitar were recorded with POD Farm 2. I used Ez Drummer for drums. Have a listen - would you think the guitar and bass were recorded with software modeling? I will post more examples in the future of how nice sounds can be had from POD Farm 2, including high gain stuff of course!

Have a closer look at the Line 6 POD Farm 2 over at the Line 6 site. If you already have the first version of POD Farm 2, I definitely recommend the upgrade, because the user interface is better now - more flexible and quicker to get going with.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on June 23, 2010

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