I was getting most of my effects through my Johnson ME150, which is now fritzing after 8-10 sturdy years of service. After research (particularly stuff from Lincoln Brewster's website), I'm making a switch to the Line 6 Pod XT-3 Live. But I'm looking for some suggestions!
I play a modified Godin LGX hybred with separate outputs for acoustic, electric, and guitar synth channels (that's 3). I run the acoustic through a compressor, BBE, and a boss acoustic modeler, then direct to board. The synth goes to a Roland guitar synth then direct to board. The electric went to the Johnson after a BBE and compressor, then into a miced sound enclosure. (We use avioms for stage monitors.) My greatest concerns are 1) how the thing will sound direct to board, 2) how reliable it will be, & 3) where to get the tweaked patches.
I've not tried the XT 3 Live but I do have an XT Live. I've always fed it out via a combo but I reckon that if you're happy with modelling, which presumably you are as you've bought one, I reckon you should be OK straight to the board. It will have speaker emulation etc. I suspect it would sound better via a tube amp but probably would still be OK. Your congregation, I'm sure, wouldn't hear the difference.
Check out instituteofnoise.com for patches (or Line6's website). The Pod X3 has basically the same sound as the Pod XT, which I own.
If your system is good, you will have better luck getting a good sound from the direct out than trying to feed an amp. When you're setting up your patches, just make sure you're tweaking them through good, flat, full-range speakers and you should be good to go.
I have an Atomic Amp that I like to monitor with some places, but that's just for feel. The amp does not improve the sound at all.
I've heard mixed reviews on reliability of the X3, so I would recommend getting it from Sweetwater (they have a free 2 year warranty in which they do in-house repairs. I haven't had any probs with my XTL.
With E-gtr @ church I just use a Boss GT-3 multi-effects pedal directly into the soundboard - it's simple. I've use that for years now. We have those Aviom in ear monitors too so I can always hear myself. The sound techs could easily control the FOH mix because there is no sound from the stage because I skip the amp altogether. I also have a POD XT Live floor board - (which I'm using/tweaking @ home to get comfortable with) but I don't have it as dialed in as the GT-3. I'll probably switch the GT-3 out one day. However I may use the GT-3 until it breaks because its so reliable and versatile.
Our church has Floor Pods for guitars. All the line 6 products seem to be as reliable as you'd ever need.
As far as support, Holy Spirit is the best guide in all things. You could google it or start here http://line6.com/club/ but I'd just tweak with it myself while playing songs that the team does, thinking about integrating your sound into the group. Seek the Lords leading on this also thru prayer. And then put your favorites close to each other so you can quickly scroll up or down into the ones you use most often with one or two clicks. That is what I have done so that is what I can recommend.
I've been using the x3 live for 2 weeks with the teams now. It has some significant differences from my previous rig - some good, some that take getting used to. It was a great help to download the patches from Lincoln Brewster and some of the others on the line6 website. They still require a bit of tweaking to match my guitar and PA/room, but they are a great place to start from. We use the Aviom system as well, which has done a lot to allow the sound techs to do their job and mix sound. I previously ran my amp behind stage through a miced sound enclosure, but am happy with the sounds of going direct out from the x3 to the pa. (Which shocks me, being the tube guy that I am.)
I'm still in the experiment stage with the XT live and I just use the ones in the box and then tweak them right in there. I'm not very sophisticated at all. I find the ones that I like and and will use often and then begin from there. I really don't even know how to send you the patches over the 'net.
I'd be willing to help but I'm gonna need tech support to get it to you.
Have you checked out the Line 6 M13? It takes all their best stomp boxes and puts them into one unit. I first saw Jon Mayer using it, and I've been really impressed with the sound that you can get out of it. I'm actually saving some money back to pick on up and dump all the rest of my pedals.
There's a big difference between the M13 and X3-live. The biggest things I note is that the X3
1. has amp modeling and
2. it has the ability to have a full effects chain
(eg. all the effects can be put into the chain at the same time: distortion, compression, noise gate, chorus, reverb, delay, flange, pitch shift, ...)
The X3-live requires pretty much that you be willing to start working on your PHD in sound reproduction. If you are serious on getting the best tone, get the X3. BUT - be prepared to spend serious time getting that serious tone.
That said, the M13 is WAY easier to setup and use if you're just after a good set of effects pedals. You just select the four effects (or less) that you want at the moment, set the values for those pedals, and GO.
One last comment: the M13 allows you to repeat pedals; if you want to use two different digital delays and two different phasers at the same time, the M13 can handle this (albeit in a single chain). Or you could have a distortion and three different delays on one chain. [Authors note: this is not something I have ever needed, and don't think it's something I will ever likely want.]
The X3 does not have this (that I know of), but it does have a "two guitar output stream" mode, where you can setup the A channel with one complete setting (effects and amp), and the other stream with a completely different set of settings (effects and amp). With a stereo out, the results can be audiophonically stunning.
I sometimes have used crazy chains of delay when creating ebow patches, which I use often with one particular band - I have not quite been able to reproduce that kind of sound on the x3-live. I'll keep experimenting with it, though - it's been great for about everything else I've tried (in our venues, at least).
The Pod X3 is pretty nice. The big thing with pods is they sound close but not exactly like a good amp. I did some research and found that if you put an eq pedal in the effects loop of the pod and kill 6.3k lower 3.4k and boost 1.6 k and route the pedal at the back of your signal chain on the pod it sounds amazing. It kills the digital fizz and bumps the one frequency that makes a tube amp seem so transparent and and clear. For what its worth trying that may make POD owners out of a lot of amp purists.
In the auditorium where I usually play this wouldn't make enough difference because of the acoustics. But I'm really curious to hear how it sounds when recording - that's when it seems that tone shines.
I have been using the POD ( POD2.0, then the POD XT wFVB and the last 2 years POD X3)for the past 9 years. This together with the Variax 500 has single handedly lightened my gear, minimized my setup time and greatly improved tone quality and variety. I have patches setup for acoustic and electric. There hasn't been a tone I couldn't copy or model after any of the top 100 CCLI worship tunes. I use a simple in ear system to monitor but I also ( from time to time) take a signal out of the X3 through a volume pedal to the effect return on my Tech 21 Trademark 60 combo amp if I want to monitor my self through an amp (still always sending a direct signal to the board). I most often ask the sound engineer to have the channel flat on the board and I'll tweek the eq on the X3 to sound right in the room. Let me know if you have any questions about the unit , I know my way around fairly well.
Have been using the HD 500 for about a month now. Couldn't find an X3 in my area. No problems with tone. After a learning curve I have dialed in my tone that I am used to. the HD not only sounds good it responds well too. All the M13 effects are included. Eight effects at a time in any combination. You can run multiple delays or whatever else...