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Line6 Guitar Port Review

Date:September 24, 2004guitarport
Manufacturer:Line6
Author:Ned

"To a completely new musical experience for electric guitarists. With amazing tone and world-class tracks, GuitarPort is a unique combination of hardware and software tools that will connect you to your PC and your guitar like never before." - Line6.com

Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard about the Line6 GuitarPort by now. You've seen it in the ads but what exactly is this thing?

If you have been following the recording industry the last few years then you have heard of a revolutionary product called Amp Farm. If not I'll explain. Amp Farm is a software product that takes a clean digitally recorded guitar signal and applies "amp models" in order to alter the clean signal into that of a Marshall Plexi, Fender Super Reverb, etc. Think of it as a POD on steriods.

Why is Amp Farm important to the GuitarPort? The GuitarPort is nothing more than a interface device between your guitar and a PC. The real power of the GuitarPort is in the software which I believe has been adapted from Amp Farm and given some additional functionality.

Let's get down to brass tacks

If you want the details on the GuitarPort you can get them from Line6's website. What everyone really wants to know is how does this thing sound and is the Internet subscription worth it.

In short, yes. This has to be the coolest and most useful piece of guitar equipment that I have even used. Can you use the GuitarPort live? Not hardly. But for jamming at home, learning new tunes and recording it is absolutely incredible. Do you need the subscription? Not really but it helps.

What have you done for me lately?

What have I done with the GuitarPort? Been learning a ton of Stevie Ray, "Mary Had A Little Lamb" for one. I downloaded a re-recorded version done by Double Trouble with James Santiago on guitar and Malford Milligan on vocals which was re-recorded specifically for the GuitarPort. There are many others including Hendrix tunes taken from the master tracks and worked over for the GuitarPort by Eddie Kramer (Jimi's producer), along with many other artists. The cool thing is I can remove the guitar and jam along with the original Double Trouble. But wait there's more... the tone settings for the song are already setup and they are optimized for both single and double coil pickups.

Line6 is still working on the tab for many of the songs, for instance there is no Van Halen tab but... I loaded a MP3 of Jamie's Cryin and the GuitarPort software automatically detected the song and brought up the correct tones once again optimized for single or double pups. The other helpful thing was the software then identified the different sections of the song (intro first verse, 2nd verse, chorus etc.) and allows you to select sections to loop through. So to learn the solo to Jamie's Cryin I quickly selected the solo section, clicked the loop button and worked that section over and over until I nailed it - you can also slow everything down to half speed.

Final Opinion

If you haven't guessed by now I'm going nuts over this thing. Because of the site and work I don't have much time to jam with real people any more so the GuitarPort is the perfect device for my needs. It sounds incredible and with the pre-recorded backing tracks and CD/MP3 integration I get a excellant sounding guitar and backup through my headphones with a third of the equipment it used to take (bye bye mixer).

How's the customer service? The original GuitarPort I had worked perfectly but wouldn't connect to the Internet. The folks at Line6 support were answering my questions on a Sunday and quickly determined the unit was faulty. A quick run to Guitar Center and I was back in business. Support proactively followed up a week later to make sure I doing OK.

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