The PodGo has a quite different approach to how much flexibility it gives the user. I think it’s intended to be as easy as possible to use, while still providing great tones.
Instead of giving you a completely blank signal path, all PodGo presets comes with 6 “block types” which must be there (you can turn them off if you want though) and then only 4 empty blocks per preset, which you can use for whatever you want… as long as there is enough processing power left!
The 6 “must have” blocks are these: Volume pedal, Wah Pedal, amp head model, cabinet model, effects loop and an EQ pedal. You can change the type of each block (pick a different EQ pedal model, or a different amp or cab)… and you can also drag the blocks around on the signal chain to place them whereever you want. An empty preset in the PC editor looks like this:
Ok, so let’s talk some limitations already now…
The PodGo supports 4 snapshots per preset - but it cannot have two amp models at the same time… so, for my use case, it was not possible to mirror the idea of a single preset with snapshots. So I went for the traditional multi-fx approach with having different presets for my tones. Then I’ll have to “live with” a small stutter when changing tone, and maintain common parameters across presets. A bummer, but in my case OK, since this is a backup unit that I expect to program once, and then leave as it is…
It also does not support parallel processing - so I cannot do my ideal reverb/delay setup. BUT, I can easily “live with” the traditional “delay into reverb” setup, just tweaking the values slightly differently.
I also cannot have my “dual delay” setup for my solo patch, but again this is OK… I just pick the one delay I like the best and tweak from there.
My Lead preset then looks like this:
You can see I dragged things around a bit - for example, I always want my volume pedal after the amp, but before reverb/delay. That way it does not affect gain level (I use guitar volume for that)… and when I roll down volume at the end of a song, any remaining delay/reverb repeats will still ring out.
But the good part - otherwise the PodGo gives me the exact same blocks as I use on the Big Helix. And my Lead patch sounds 95% the same (only the previously described differences with delay/reverb). But the PodGo really sounds just great!
Now for the last, but (perhaps) important limitation;
When setting up my “Wet 80s clean tone” (that classic “glassy” clean 80s tone with tons of chorus, delay and reverb) I actually ran into problems. The PodGo did not have enough processing power in its CPU to do that kind of thing, using the blocks I was using on the big one.
That tone has a signal like this:
Guitar → Compressor → Fender clean amp → Chorus → Delay → Reverb → EQ → Out
So it doesn’t sound THAT complicated, right?
But I normally use a “Deluxe Comp” compressor block, a “Trinity Chorus” block, the latest “Dynamic Hall” reverb block and a “Transistor Tape delay” block. I picked those on the big Helix because those sounded the best… gave me that “expensive rack” 80s tone…
However, these specific blocks are apparently quite CPU intensive… so the PodGo could not run them at the same time! I eventually had to compromise and use a simpler compressor and a much simpler reverb block.
So just something to be aware of - it’s not just a theoretical discussion, running out of processing power. It really can happen, even with a quite standard signal chain like this one. Not a deal breaker, since it still sounds pretty great with the replacement blocks, but something to be aware of… you may have to prioritize and optimize certain tones you want to set up…