6 Jan 2006

GuitarPort from Line6

Yay! My 73 quid ebay purchase finally arrived - a used Line6 Guitar Port. Okay, so I paid only a little less than for new - my least successful ebay bargain to date ;) Never mind, it's essentially a USB dongle and some software, so there's not much to go wrong with it when second hand.

So what is it? Basically it's a USB soundcard in a snazzy red case, with phono outputs, a headphone output, a line-in and most importantly - an input for an electric guitar (or microphone or whatever). That's not the clever bit - the clever stuff is the bundled software that processes the guitar input and makes it sound like I'm playing through a giant marshall stack with a grand's worth of effects pedals at my feet.

Really, for the money it is excellent - umpteen different amps modelled, a bunch of stomp boxes, a noisegate, a metronome and a tuner all united on a sweet computer interface that you control with just your mouse. For me with wife and tiny baby, being able to get a good sound without cranking up an amp is really cool. Headphones are fine - and if I want I can stick it through my stereo too.

Anyone considering purchasing one may have some questions like I did, about what else you need to run it an such. Well, because it's a soundcard in its own right all you really need is:
  • Computer with Win98-ME-2000-XP (I use a 1.8MHz laptop with 1Gb of RAM)
  • Guitarport Sound Engine software (included)
  • USB cable to GuitarPort (included)
  • GuitarPort (obviously :)
  • Electric guitar cable
  • Electric guitar
  • Headphones (they plug into the GuitarPort, not the computer)

That's the super-slimline basic requirements. Other than that you could run a cable from the line-out of your computer (if you have one) to the line-in of the GuitarPort; That would let you mix the computer's sound output with the modelled sound output of your guitar. Another groovy thing about it being a soundcard is that you can select it as an input in some recording software (e.g. the excellent and free Audacity) and record your rocking new sound.

Good job, Line6!

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