Line 6 Mobile In & Mobile POD – Meat & Potatoes: No Gravy Needed

I remember the first effects pedal I ever bought when I was an angry teenager at 15 years old – The Zoom 3030.  I didn’t really need such a large box of tricks, and a Zoom 505 would have likely done the job well enough.  However a friend of mine (who was also a better guitarist than me) had the 505, and so felt getting a bigger FX pedal would make me a better player… Well FX pedals do have an instant talent switch, don’t they!?

Roll forward 15 years and there’s far more processing power available in my iPhone and iPad than in pedals even from a few years ago, as well as many tens of millions of users of iPhones and iPads globally.  So it’s a sensible way forward for any amp modeling and FX software company to design an interface and iPhone/iPad App that can give guitarists the amp and FX tones they crave for, any time and in any place they can hook up their iPhone/iPad…

What Is It?

Line 6 Mobile In is an audio interface designed for iPad, iPad 2 and iPhone 4 (But it does work on my iPhone 4S too) and will work with any CoreAudio App, including Line 6’s free Mobile POD App.  The idea is that you can use the guitar input (and the included guitar cable) or use the stereo line input for any other instrument with a line output (keyboard perhaps).  The effects seem similar to those found in POD Farm, although the full compliment of actual FX models isn’t there, the ones that are included are enough to satisfy most requirements.

Here’s a list of the included amps and FX, and as you can see there are lots to choose from.  My personal favourite amps when using Mobile In are the Dual Rectifier, and the Soldano SLO:

32 Guitar Amplifiers based on*

  • 1964 Fender® Deluxe Reverb®
  • 1959 Fender® Bassman®
  • 1960 Tweed Fender® Champ®
  • 1965 Blackface Fender® Twin Reverb®
  • 1968 Marshall® Plexi (100 watt)
  • Marshall® JTM-45 meets Budda® Twinmaster
  • Budda® Twinmaster head
  • 1960 Vox® AC15
  • 1960 Vox® AC30 (non-Top Boost)
  • 1985 Mesa/Boogie® Mark IIc+ (Clean Channel)
  • 1985 Mesa/Boogie® Mark IIc+ (Drive Channel)
  • 1995 Mesa/Boogie® Dual Rectifier® Head
  • Dumble® Overdrive Special (Clean Channel)
  • Dumble® Overdrive Special (Drive Channel)
  • 1989 Soldano SLO Super Lead Overdrive
  • 1987 Roland® JC-120 Jazz Chorus
  • Line 6 Insane

16 Guitar Cabinets based on*

  • 1960 Fender® Tweed Champ®
  • 1952 Fender® Tweed Deluxe Reverb®
  • 1964 Fender® Deluxe Reverb®
  • 1965 Fender® Blackface Twin Reverb®
  • 1959 Fender® Bassman®
  • 1960 Vox® AC15
  • 1967 Vox® AC30
  • 1995 Matchless Chieftain
  • 1996 Marshall® (Celestion® Vintage 30s)
  • 1978 Marshall® (stock 70s)
  • 1968 Marshall® Basketweave (Celestion® Greenbacks)
  • Line 6 4×12
  • Line 6 1×12
  • Line 6 2×12
  • Line 6 4×10

16 Stompbox and Rack Effects

  • Compressor
  • Tremolo
  • Chorus 1
  • Chorus 2
  • Flanger 1
  • Flanger 2
  • Rotary
  • Delay
  • Auto Swell
  • Room Reverb
  • Spring Reverb
  • 4 Band EQ
  • Wah
  • Volume Pedal
  • A.I.R.
  • Tuner

So what’s the point of showing you lists of specs?  Well it was in part to show you what it can do, and that there are some interesting FX that could be used for instruments other than guitar.

Meat & Potatoes

What I found helpful when using Mobile POD with my Mobile In, was the sheer range of presets available to me… No less than 10,000 including those found on CustomTome.com (which you can access from within the Mobile POD App)..  As yet I’ve probably only tried out around 200 or so, but there’s so many great sounding options to not only get you started, but to use going forwards.  The preset library is very easy to find and load presets, and includes a very helpful search function for if you want to search for a preset.  For example searching for ‘AC/DC’ on CustomTone.com shows you a good selection of AC/DC style presets which you can then try out.  See the image below

Editing and saving custom tones is very simple to do.  Just click the effects pedals, amp or cab at the bottom of the screen, and it will load that into the editor at the top of the screen where you can adjust settings.  To change the specific amp, cab or FX pedal: Select it and in the editor at the top of the screen click the circling arrows on the right and then select the replacement.  If you want to add an FX pedal in an empty slot, click the + sign over the empty FX slot and select the new FX pedal.  A neat feature is that you can even email your presets to your friends from within the Mobile POD App.

I found having the tuner built in was great, although I suppose it’s an expected feature these days even in iPhone/iPad Apps…  But had it not been there I’d have missed it.

On an iPhone screen selecting the effects pedals to edit them occasionally needs a couple of attempts to click in the right place, whereas this doesn’t happen on an iPad screen for me.  I guess it’s just how much information is on the screen which means on the iPhone’s smaller screen it a little more condensed which is to be expected, and I wouldn’t want to show any less info on the screen.  This doesn’t seem to be a big issue, but perhaps a future version of the App will have a way to zoom in on the FX pedals so you can select them easier.

The question of: ‘How good are the amp simulations and FX?’ Need not be asked here.  Line 6 were the pioneers of amp modeling back in the 1990’s, and they wouldn’t put their name to any product that didn’t do a great job of simulating some great amps and FX.  Mobile POD is no exception to that rule, and while the amp models aren’t as advanced as Line 6’s latest POD HD amp models, they are still great sounding.

There’s only a couple of features I would have liked to see: A media player and audio recorder.  It would be great to have access to the iTunes library of music on your iPhone/iPad from within the Mobile POD App as this would make it so easy to jam along to songs or backing tracks (although it is possible to play audio while in Mobile POD, it’s not easy to do, and isn’t controlled within the Mobile POD App currently).  Then adding onto that, having the ability to record a simple audio track and be able to save and export that would be great for capturing those spare of the moment riffs and songs.

Conclusions:

The Mobile In interface is well built, fits my iPhone even with a case on, and does what it’s supposed to do very well.  I don’t see it as a total replacement for other pedals or PODs, but it’s handy to have for being so portable, easy to use, and sounds great.  Sure I’d like to be able to play songs to jam to from within the App (and not have to go out of the App to do it) but it is still possible already with a bit of faffing.

If you’re in the market for an iPhone 4 or iPad/iPad 2 audio interface and amp/FX sim, then Mobile In and Mobile POD are well worth a look.

Pros: Sounds great, easy to use, for guitar and other instruments, lots of presets, ability to email presets within Mobile POD App.

Cons: No charging possible while using Mobile In, no iTunes controls within Mobile POD App.

Rowbi’s Verdict: A Strong Contender 7/10

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