Screaming deal for guitarists from Line 6! GuitarPort Online review

For a limited time, Line 6 is offering a hardware, software, and service combination, which forms a complete system for learning, performing, and recording guitarists and bassists. The $30.00 USD price may be the deal of the year in the entire music marketplace.

I just spent the day in tonal heaven. My Line 6 GuitarPort Online bundle just arrived today – approximately one week after ordering.

So what is the Line 6 GuitarPort Online bundle, you ask? It is a combination of hardware, software, and online service, that combine into a complete guitar learning, performance, and recording system. The current price of entry to this soup-to-nuts system is less than $30.00 US!

Let’s talk about each element of the system separately. We’ll start with the hardware. Included in the box is the Line 6 TonePort DI Silver. This is a small, solidly built metal unit measures about 6″x4″x2″, sitting comfortably on your desktop. The front panel has a 1/4″ jack for plugging in your guitar, bass or other instrument, a Pad switch for lowering the gain (good for instruments with active or other high output pickups), and a volume control for the direct monitoring function. The rear panel has  USB jack for connecting to your computer, a 1/4″ stereo headphone jack, a 1/4″ DI Out jack, and a pair of 1/4″ Analog outputs. This is, in essence, a 1 in, 2 out computer audio interface, specifically tailored to be convenient for guitarists and bassists.

The software consists of GearBox and Line 6 Monkey. Monkey is a handy utility that connects to Line 6’s servers, and provides a centralized interface to check all aspects of the system for possible software and firmware updates, and simplify the upgrade process.

GearBox is where the rubber hits the road. This is a fairly full-featured ‘amp sim’, that contains models of most classic amps and FX you might care to name. These are all rendered as quite convincing emulations of the expected Marshalls, tweed and blackface Fenders, Mesas, Voxes, Soldanos, Jazz Choruses, etc. Also included are Bass amp sims like both SVT and B-15 from Ampeg, Eden, GK, etc. Also included are emulations of API, Neve, and other preamps, as well as a number of Line 6 models.

GearBox also includes all the cabinet models that one would expect to mix and match with the above amps, in configurations from 1×6 through several 4×12’s. Also included are a full array of modeled microphones such as Shure SM57, Sennheiser 421, Neumann U67, EV RE-20, AKG D112, and Telefunken U-47.

GearBox also has a full complement of stompbox effect emulations. Included in these are a gate, volume pedal, wah pedal, distortions, fuzzes, and overdrives, compressors and de-essors, equalizers, chorus, flanger, univibe, tremolo, phaser, Leslie, delays, echos, and reverbs.

GearBox can be used either as a standalone application, or as a VST plugin within a host application such as Logic, Sonar, Pro Tools, Cubase, or other DAW. In the standalone application, one could listen to their performance through headphones, or even run the main stereo output from the TonePort DI-S to a massive PA system for concert applications.

The third component of GuitarPort Online bundle is the hosted service. The $29.95 initial cost includes a three months subscription to GuitarPort Online. This is an Internet service tailored as a tool for guitar players to learn new songs and nail not only the performances, but also the tones of scads of great guitar songs. Included are patches for your GearBox, accurate Tablature of the guitar portions of the tunes, and full recordings of the tunes — in variations of complete arrangements, the complete arrangement minus the lead/main guitars (where you play these parts in real time), complete arrangement minus bass, and complete arrangement minus all guitars.These arrangements are all faithful performances of the original hits — and some, such as a number of Jimi Hendrix tunes, are from the actual master tapes from the original performers!

From Line 6’s description:

Online Guitar Lessons and Guitar Tabs

Over 400 songs in all! Our learning center brings together music theory and song lessons covering genres from blues to jazz to metal to classic rock and modern rock. GuitarPort has hundreds of completely accurate guitar tabs for songs by top artists such as All American Rejects, Allman Brothers, BB King, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Black Sabbath, Johnny Cash, Coldplay, Alice Cooper, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Al diMeola, Fall Out Boy, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, King Crimson, Kiss, Albert Lee, Linkin Park, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, Modest Mouse, Motley Crue, Muddy Waters, Pantera, Pink Floyd, P.O.D., Ramones, Rush, Joe Satriani, Scorpions, Soundgarden, System Of A Down, Joe Walsh, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and ZZ Top.

Fully-Produced Songs to Play Along With.

These aren’t just generic jam tracks or backing tracks. You can listen to the full mix or versions with the guitar parts stripped out. Choose from hundreds of fully produced songs from the most popular artists to jam with. Your sound is mixed seamlessly with the recording, so it sounds like you’re performing with the band.

Awesome Guitar Tones.

When you choose a song on GuitarPort Online, it automatically loads a recording of the song, accurate tabs for all guitar parts and the guitar tones the perfectly match the recording. Our modeling software mimics your favorite artists’ amps and stompbox and studio effects, so when you are learning and playing your favorite songs, you can sound exactly like the recording.

GuitarPort Online plugs right into GearBox, such that one navigates and operates the online portion from right within GearBox. This forms a streamlined interface for browsing the catalog of songs, tabs, and tones. Indeed, the online component can even switch patches for you on the fly!

Taken as a whole, this system provides all a guitarist or bassist might need or want to learn and perform the most important pieces in the music catalog — melodically, harmonically, and tonally. Each of the pieces also form a solid offering in their respective category. Granted, Line 6 likely is offering this bundle in order to addict people to the GuitarPort Online service, which after the three month trial period, will continue to cost you $7.99 per month. However, not long ago, one would likely expect to pay $100-$200 for an interface of this capability, and another $50-100 for such a capable amp sim program. As a bundle, this may be the best deal of the year for guitarists and bassists!

For an even more impressive value, I can inform you how to use the TonePort DI as a dongle to unlock a copy of Line 6’s POD Farm (for a limited time), which is an even more comprehensive amp sim, allowing for two complete parallel chains of FX, amps, speakers, and mics.