PODxt Live vs. POD X3 Live Review

If you were wondering whether to get the older version PODxt Live or the newer POD X3 Live, hopefully my review will give you crucial information you can use to make a more informed decision.

After some careful debating, online research, and consideration I took the plunge and bought a PODxt Live. This is my review of how I bought it, what I think of it, and how I think it compares to the POD X3 Live (which is the newer more expensive version.

Line 6 has revolutionized “modeling pedals” and the ways guitarists get tones and sounds. They make many different produts, the most famous of which is the kidney bean shaped “POD” that many of us either love or hate. That has evolved into many different versions, including a rack mounted POD, and the floor version for the live stage – which are the original “Podxt Live” and the newer “Pod X3 Live”.

Here’s both versions:

Line 6 POD XT Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal Standard

Line 6 POD XT Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal Standard

Rugged steel construction. 11 channel select and effect on/off footswitches. Built-in wah/volume/tweak pedal. 84 pro-quality stompbox and studio effects. 36 amp models. 24 cab models. 4 mic models. Award-winning technology and sounds from the Vetta II amp. 128 programmable channels. Variax digital input. USB digital I/O. Line 6 Edit software for computer editing and direct digital recording.

Line 6 POD X3 Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal Standard

Line 6 POD X3 Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal Standard

Inputs & Outputs. 1/4" Instrument Input (w/ Normal/Pad Switch). XLR Microphone Input (w/ Trim Adjust). USB 2.0 for Computer Recording & Tone Editing. S/PDIF Stereo Digital Audio Output. Stereo 1/4" Line Outputs (with Amp/Line Pad Switch). Stereo XLR Balanced Line Outputs. 1/4" Stereo Effect Loop. Variax Digital Connector. 1/4" Expression Pedal Input. Midi In & Out/Thru. 1/4" Stereo Headphones Out. FBV Connector for optional Pedal Controller. 1/8" Stereo (CD/MP3) Jam Along Input. Controls. Expansive Backlit LCD Display. 8 Chrome "Amp Control" Knobs: Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Reverb, Tone Volume, Master Volume. 5 Metal Stompbox On/Off Footswitches: Amp, Stomp, Mod, Delay, Comp/Boost. Built-in Heavy-Duty Wah/Volume/Expression Pedal. Metal Tap Tempo/Tuner Footswitch. Dedicated Bank Up/Down & A/B/C/D Metal Footswitches for Preset Selection. Dedicated "Dual Tone" Control Metal Footswitch. 5 Context-Sensitive Pa

Pod XT Live and Pod X3 Live Comparison

Here are the main differences between the two units that I’ve observed:

  • XT is $399 retail, X3 is $499 retail
  • XT has 36 guitar amps, X3 has 76
  • XT has 84 stompbox and studio effects, X3 has 98
  • XT has no vocal preamps (or vocal input), X3 has 6
  • XT is USB 1.1, X3 is USB 2.0 (faster) conneciton
  • XT can do one tone at once, X3 can blend 2 patches together
  • XT has a smaller LCD display, X3’s is nearly double the size
  • XT has traditional out, X3 has S/PDIF and XLR out in addition to 1/4″ jacks

When I first decided to get the “Live” Pod I was going to get the X3 Live since it was the newest version. And if money is no object – you should as well. But I wanted to get a “gently used” one on eBay so I poured over auctions for a day and snagged up a Buy it Now auction for $265 for what I thought was the X3. Later that day I realized I hadn’t paid attention and I’d bought an POD “XT” Live. I was angry at first, but realized most of the X3’s were selling from $380-$450, so price wise I feel I had gotten a good deal. What I didn’t know was feature wise whether or not I should re-sell it and get an updated X3 or not.

What I didn’t know about Line 6 and Pod’s…

I think Line 6 has got some great products, but what they also have is a cash cow. With and “POD” product there is always “more” to buy. With my Podxt Live, the Line 6 Monkey software ( to update it ) is free, and Line 6 Edit Software ( to edit the patches using a computer ) is free as well. But Line 6 has “add-ons” that are kind of essential that cost money.

Model Packs
My Podxt Live came with 36 guitar amps and the X3 has 76. There are 2 amp packs you can buy “Metalshop” and “Collector Classics” and each is $49.95. Metalshop gives you 18 additional amps, and this pack I did purchase – and it was worth it for the Bogner and JCM-900 amp models alone. The collector classics packs has 18 additional amps as well. This means that there are 4 amps in the X3 you can’t get any other way, but you can upgrade your XT with these 2 packs and get nearly all the amps in an X3 – it’ll just run you $99 to get them. I don’t have the Collector Classics pack – I don’t know if I’ll ever have a need to get it.

Gearbox is an application that gives you an additial way to edit and store your tones, but also it has a “plugin” that allows you use your PODxt Live (or other POD’s) for digital recording on your computer. So, if you have Pro-Tools, Steinberg, Cubase, Cakewalk, or other recording software, you won’t be able to record using your POD and it’s tones without this Gearbox plugin – which is $99.

So depending on what you need to use your POD for, you might need to spend some extra $$ right out of the box!

Buy the POD XT or POD X3 Live?

Now that I own a PODxt Live, I am VERY happy with it and it gives me some of the most awesome tones! I use it for metal, pop, country, blues, and modern rock sounds. I have read reviews of the X3 live that say the footswitch buttons (on some early units) are either faulty or break easily. There have also been many reports of issues with the Variax and microphone inputs. Many units have had to be replaced, but many say that the newer versions are updated without these issues. I have heard of none of these issues with the Pod XT.

If you are trying to make a decision on which to buy – I would say that it pretty much depends on the money (how much you are willing to spend) and whether or not you care about the digital outputs. The two-tone blending of the X3 would be nice, but is not a “must-have” for probably 95% of guitarist out there. I think what I’ll do is probably use the XT for another 6 months or more, and then buy an X3 – and keep the XT as my backup.

In any event – you can use the links above for new retail versions of the POD XT Live and POD X3 Live, or follow these links to get a bargain on a gently used one on eBay in live auctions right now…

line 6 pod xt live

USD 76.00 (7 Bids) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-18 19:13:59

Line 6 POD XT Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal 128 Programmable Channels (*)

USD 61.00 (11 Bids) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-20 01:19:39

Line 6 POD XT Live Guitar Multi Effects Pedal 128 Programmable Channels AS IS

USD / 26.00 (11 Bids) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-18 17:45:41

Line 6 Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Guitar Effect Pedal

USD / 50.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 23:33:49

Line 6 Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Pedal & Power Supply P-04533

USD / 150.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-24 22:56:12

Line 6 Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Guitar Effect Pedal

USD / 91.00 (8 Bids) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 19:57:20

Line 6 Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Guitar Effect Pedal

USD 240.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 21:28:47

Line 6 Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Guitar Effect Pedal with power

USD / 74.80 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 16:57:12

69.283 Patches LINE 6 POD XT-XT LIVE-XT PRO & 48.328 Guitar Tablature song

USD 15.70 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-22 12:37:41


USD 275.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-22 11:29:56

Line 6 POD X3 LIVE w/ Soft Case

USD / 125.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-20 15:55:13

Line 6 POD X3 Series Patch Collection 20000+ Patches/Tones (X3,X3 LIVE, X3 Pro)

USD 8.50 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-18 12:36:03

Line 6 Pod X3 Live Guitar Processor

USD / 139.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-20 18:16:16

Line 6 POD X3 LIVE Multi-Effect Pedalboard - FREE Shipping.

USD 164.50 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 23:54:06

Line 6 Pod X3 Live Multi-Effects Guitar Effect Pedal

USD / 77.36 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 21:17:25

Reclaimed Live Edge Monkey Pod Wood For Trim And Hobby 5@18-24"x3-5x1"

USD 23.25 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 22:50:35

Line 6 Pod X3

USD 49.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-24 03:58:33

Line 6 FG5 Padded Lightweight Gig Bag Case for POD HD500 xt X3 Live hd500x

USD 68.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-20 04:48:46

Alternative, Indie, Metal, 500 Patches for Line6 POD XT Pro Live X3 Vetta CD-ROM

USD 5.97 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-24 18:19:21

USB PC Cable Cord For Line 6 Bass Pod XT Live Multi-Effects Pedal Studio X3 KB37

USD 2.95 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-24 07:51:08

10 thoughts on “PODxt Live vs. POD X3 Live Review”

  1. Nice review, thanks for putting it up.
    But you forgot to mention the actual DSP chips and cpu

    On the X3 they are improved, offering better latency and processing power.
    Infact the x3 is 5 times more powerfull, at least.
    The extra head room was used for the amp modelling algos.
    Which were taken from the latest generation of Vetta and Gearbox models.

    Btw POD FARM the vst plugin also comes free with the X3, although im pretty sure they are offering something similar for the Xt too.

    Hope your enjoying your pod, all the line 6 products are pretty decent, and i own a few of them 🙂

  2. I say it’s very simple… It’s not necessarry to spend the extra 100 if u are home recording. Get the xt, I have one 3 years old and record demos with it.

    If you are serious about recording you’ll use a real amp….

  3. thanks for the comparison. i was under the impression that the x3 live had some patches and qualities more specific to acoustic guitar. did you check those out?

  4. The Pod XT live has an acoustic patch by default, it’s ok. I didn’t know the X3 had new or different acoustic patches – I haven’t tried them.

  5. I think it’s about time I replace my old Yamaha DigiStomp. Thanks for the review, I’ll have to head over to Guitar Center and try them both out. 🙂

  6. I’ve had an XT Live for 5 years now and optioned it with all of the available expansion packs (nearly $200AU extra). It is built like a tank, sounds great and is very flexible. The options are endless (maybe too many options!) to create just about any sound you want. Hardware wise, the XTL is great but it’s the software that lets it down. Now I’m not the only one that has this problem, just go to the Line 6 forum to see the many references to XTL problems with expansion packs disappearing and USB comma failing. The XTL has an internal “ESN” chip with a unique serial number. That number is what your expansion packs are tied to. My unit “lost” it’s ESN and promptly dumped all of my expansion packs. The USB port failed at the same time so I can no longer authorise expansion packs or update firmware on the XTL. The repair is more than the unit is worth (and looking through the forums, is not an un-common fault). I picked up a used but mint condition X3 Live and comparing the units, the X3L does sound slightly better on single amp model patches. But it’s when you blend 2 amp models together, the X3L is far superior to the XTL. Add all of the extra features of the X3L and it really is a no-brainer. XTL’s can be picked up quite. Cheap now on eBay but consider this – they do have well known problems but if you don’t want to add expansion packs or rely on USB comms, they are a great budget buy. Personally, after having both, the X3L is just so much better and more flexible. Time will tell if the X3L has any issues like its predesessor, but do far, so good.

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