LINE 6 – Bass POD Pro & Floorboard
technology…! Who would have
believed just 10 or 20 years ago, that we would reach the heights of human
existence that we now enjoy – and immediately take for granted? In this day and age, we can converse with parts of the world
we’ve never visited from our cellphones and laptops while munching on a
microwaveable hotdog delicacy; while our children watch cartoons, while
sitting in the rear of our speeding minivans?
Amazing, isn’t it?
I first began getting session calls (21 years ago!) one of the most feared
questions I could be asked was; “Do
you have another amplifier?”, or, “This session really calls
for… (Insert any amplifier I didn’t own) amplifier. The producer loves
those!” My cell-phone-less,
television-less, air-condition-less, 2-door, compact, 80’s hatchback was
barely large enough to handle the metric ton of Fenders and Ampegs I
traveled with on a regular basis!
The frustration of calling a bassist friend, or local music retail
shop before Noon, and asking to borrow their prized B-15 occurred more
than once in those early days. What
I would have given for today’s technology…
obvious to me that someone at Agoura, California’s LINE 6 suffered the same, “Do you have another amplifier?”
question as I have suffered, at one time or another in their lives.
The result of the cries and aching backs of musicians the world
over have prompted great minds to invent the Bass
POD Pro, and it is one of the most important advances in music
technology I’ve experienced to date!
Bass POD Pro unit
is a rack-mountable version of the original, mean, lean, bean shaped Bass
POD. Like it’s older bother it features the same amp (16
customizable), speaker/cabinet (16 customizable), and digital bass effect
(16 customizable) modeling. It
also includes an indispensable programmable compressor (modeled after the
legendary LA-2A); and a state-of-the art Direct Input (DI - 24-bit
Digital ASE/EBU and S/PDIF Outputs with sync to external word clock)
that can be used with or without effects, and gives any instrument an
incredibly warm, and full sound! Yeah!
During the week the Bass POD Pro arrived, I had a series of
sessions to record at a couple different studios. As I was feeling particularly daring that week, I left my
usual assortment of direct boxes (Countryman, DOD, etc) at home, and just
took the POD Pro to the sessions. As
a back up (in case I either chickened-out, or didn’t know how to work
the thing!) I took my trusty
Bass POD. I don’t generally
condone taking new, untested gear to a recording situation.
But, as the sessions were being engineered by guys I’d worked
with before (who I’d introduced to Line 6 products on earlier dates), I
decided to give it a whirl. Why not?
It’s only music… my career… my blessing and pleasure…
I wasn’t disappointed in the least! The unit performed with grace, and unmatched ease of use.
You see, good readers, this is what I’m on about!
This unit is simply one of the most important tools of my trade!
Truth told... Since the unit arrived at my house I’ve sold a pair
of high-end direct boxes, after seeing what this product could do! If you haven’t yet looked into the Bass POD Pro, GO GET
ONE! Unless you happen to
have a Hummer and you really dig carrying all that gear around…
At this writing, I’m beginning to get into the Tone Transfer
capabilities of the unit, and I’ve already gotten a couple
“impossible” bass sounds from the Line 6 website!
As a result of using this product, my music room has gotten
considerably more roomy, and my back has taken the lead tenor during the
daily “hallelujah chorus” being sung on behalf of this wonderful idea!
Tone Transferring allows sounds in one Bass POD unit to
be transferred to and from any other Bass POD unit (or Bass POD Pro) via
MIDI connection. Users can search the
library by musical style or artist and access tones with the SoundDiver™
software available. The emagic™ software allows “Deep Editing” and
is accessible through Line 6’s incredible Support Switchboard or their
real-time Knowledge Base, “FAQTRAQ”!
second Line 6 unit we’ll cast our loving gaze upon is the FloorBoard foot-controller that makes using the POD family of
products, including the Bass POD and Bass POD Pro units a walk in the
park! Be sure to take a good
look at the, "That's Using
your feet" section of the Bass POD user guide.
FloorBoard has two built-in continuous pedals, and a series of “stomp
box style” buttons Effect On/Off, Wah/Volume, Effect/Channel select, and
tuner functions of all Line 6 products. Channel
Select allows switching capability between all of the channels. The
player can easily choose between individual channels in the banks within
each channel. This versatile
unit also utilizes an all-steel chassis, and gives the player plenty of stuff:
A volume pedal. A wah pedal with a Crybaby-style toe-down on/off switch so
you can kick the wah effect in and out at any time. Master Effects on/off
control of your POD’s effects. Channel switching. Plus Tuner controls.
Also, you can Save and get in/out of Manual mode from the
Floorboard as well.
FloorBoard comes equipped with a lockable RJ-45
jack and a 20-foot cable, “so you never have to worry about accidentally
kicking it loose during the gig.” Amen!
The special design of the Line 6 products lets this one cable carry all
the control signals at the same time as supplying the FloorBoard with
power from the amplifier. I am also very thankful that Line 6 shies away
from using wall warts for their product line!
The FloorBoard is simple to use and the operations guide fits on
the Bass POD Pro and the FloorBoard have become important facets of both
my sound and function whether in the studio or on stage. At last, the ability to transparently treat my sound as it
goes to print, or PA system. I’ve
waited for this for a long time! The
EQ and effect settings are absolutely the best I’ve ever used! I simply can’t do without either unit, and I am confident
that you will find the same is true in your lives.
Check out LINE 6 at:
ToneTransfer library is
available at: http://www.line6.com/Main/The_Lup/Tone_Transfer/Tonetransfer.cfm
SPEC SHEETBass POD Pro Specifications
Bass POD Pro
Digital Outputs (ASE/EBU and S/PDIF)
with sync to external word clock. Digital Output
DI is on one channel, and an Amp Model on the other.
Mode XLR Direct Outs
1/4 inch - 10/+4 TRS outputs. These supply Amp Model on one channel, the
DI on the other.
USER PROGRAMMABLE CHANNELS
HEADPHONE & MIDI
DUAL CHANNEL OUTPUT
or Unbalanced +4/-10 TRS outputs
Unique dual outputs allow a mix of modeled bass amp sounds and direct
sound — with effects always available at the modeled output and optional
on the direct output.
Select amp and cab models and effects with A.I.R. The Line 6 innovation,
A.I.R. (Acoustically Integrated Recording outputs) simulates the
interaction of amplifiers, cabinets, speakers, microphones and the
recording room during the recording process. DI
Output Direct out available simultaneous with the modeled output.
Effects are optional via the Apply FX to DI switch
DUAL MODE OUTPUTS
Live Mode: Simultaneous feeds for on-stage amp and PA mixer. 1/4-inch
model output carries
both DI and modeled signal without
A.I.R. to the stage amp. XLR carries the Mic level DI and modeled signals
with speaker simulation to the PA.
Mode: Both XLR and 1/4 inch outputs carry the DI and modeled signal with
A.I.R. to the recording console. 1/4 inch is -10dBV; XLR is +4dBu.
Bass POD Pro has a full-time, studio quality compressor modeled from the
studio standard LA-2A
CABINET TUNING MODES
Four cabinet tuning modes let you optimize the output of Bass POD Pro to
your choice of speaker/cab configurations.
Standard Tuning - This setting is ideal for full-range systems (and is the
B Bass Boost - Try this setting with small diameter speakers
C Mid Boost - Try this setting to enhance mid presence.
D Treble Boost - Use this setting when driving bass-heavy cabs
Any or all of the sounds in Bass POD Pro can be transferred to (and from)
any other Bass POD or Bass POD Pro with a simple MIDI connection. In
addition, an expanding ToneTransfer library of sounds is available at www.line6.com. Users can search the library by musical style,
artist, etc, access tones with SoundDiver software, and add their own
tones to the library.
STOMP BOX-STYLE EFFECTS ON/OFF
On/Off gives you instant direct access to your Digital Guitar Amplifier
System's effects. Step on the sturdy steel Effect On/Off switch and the
amp instantly responds by turning that effect on or off, just like a
classic effect stomp box. The red light shows you whether an individual
effect is on (light on) or off (light off) so you can see the details of
your Channel's setup at a glance. See the User Guide on the specifics for Bass POD.
WAH and VOLUME CONTROL PEDALS
FloorBoard has two built-in continuous pedals control the Wah and Volume
effects of the Digital Guitar Amplifier. The Wah Pedal includes a toe-down
on/off switch just like a classic wah pedal, and its tone is modeled after
a vintage Voxtm wah for a very musical, expressive sound. The audio signal
from your guitar doesn't go through the FloorBoard - these are just remote
controls. That means the guitar signal always stays inside the amp and in
the digital domain, safe from the kind of hum and interference that you
can get when using traditional pedals on-stage.
The channel Select gives you seamless switching between all of your
Digital Guitar Amplifier System's Channels. You can choose between
individual channels right from the FloorBoard's stomp switches, as well as
switching between the individual Channels in those banks.
DIGITAL CHROMATIC GUITAR TUNER
Hold the Tap Tempo stomp switch for a moment, and you access a built-in
chromatic digital tuner. The Floor Board display shows you the pitch you
are tuning to, and the red lights above the six lower stomp switches show
if you are sharp or flat. The basic idea is that the lights to the left
are on if you're flat, and the lights to the right are on if you're sharp.
When you get a note in tune, the two center lights come on at the same
TWENTY-FOOT CONTROL CABLE INCLUDED
the lockable RJ-45 jack locks in to both the FloorBoard and the Digital
Guitar Amplifier System, so you never have to worry about accidentally
kicking it loose during the gig. The special design of the Line 6 products
lets this one cable carry all the control signals at the same time as
supplying the FloorBoard with power from the amplifier. So there's no
clumsy wall wart or tangle of cables to complicate your setup. The
FloorBoard is so simple to use that the entire operations guide fits on
two pages. Visit our Reference Library in the Support area for more info.
Johnson is a bassist/composer/producer in the Denver Metropolitan Area.
“BAJ” currently endorses Aguilar Amplifiers, Fodera Guitars
& Strings, Status Graphite Instruments, and Wayne Jones bass
enclosures. You can reach him via his website at:http://www.myspace.com/brentanthonyjohnson
Photo by LaDonna Pride