Line6 Sonic Port VX

Audio Interface For Apple iOS devices, Mac & PC

  • 1 x 6.35mm guitar input (buffered)
  • 1 x 3.5mm line (stereo)
  • Internal 3-way microphone ( mono and stereo)
  • 1 x 3.5mm headphone output
  • Stereo 6.35 mm line out (balanced)
  • When using a mini-USB cable iPhone / iPad is loaded during use
  • Latency-free signal monitoring
  • Table stand (included)

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Interface or microphone?

Mr Transistor, 22.02.2015
The Sonic Port VX is an audio interface designed for iOS, Mac and Win computers.

The building construction is good although not exceptionally solid. The unit enclosure appears made of plastic.

With the unit, Line6 supplies an USB cable to connect the VX to a desktop/laptop computer. This is a standard USB cable like the one used by many cell phones.

For a connection to iOS devices, the VX is supplied with a cable that has a Lightning connector on one side (for a connection to an iPad Air, for instance) and a proprietary connector on the other. This is a very unfortunate choice.

The cable is roughly 1 meter long. For desktop applications, it's acceptable. For any other application, is too short. It cannot be used in applications where the singer is not close the iOS device. Like for instance if the person operating on an iPad is not close to the singer.

As far as I know, line6 does not offer extension cables or longer cables. Having a custom-made longer cable is also out of the question as the proprietary connector is not something I have seen before.

Moreover, if the cable gets damaged, the only supplier of a replacement cable is line6. Providing replacement cables are available as spare parts of course.

In a nutshell, you are stuck with what you get - and what you get is not good.

The microphones are nice. They deliver the necessary clarity required for reasonably good recordings. There is a switch on one of the sides to select between single mono microphone (more suited for voice recording) and stereo microphone (suitable for example for field recording). A gain control thumbwheel allows the user to set the gain for the microphones.

On the side opposite to the computer connectors, the VX offers 2 jack TRS/balanced outputs (L, R), a headphone out, an aux in and a guitar input.

Everything works as expected. Well almost...

For reasons that entirely escape me, the guitar input is without gain control. The microphone gain control has no effect on the guitar input. In other words, regardless if you connect a vintage Stratocaster with a limited output or an active bass with active electronics, the VX behaves exactly in the same way. The first will produce a low level recording, the second a very loud track (possibly clipping).

The lack of guitar input gain control is a severe limitation that really surprised me. Especially considering that line6 has a vast experience in guitar processing.

With the VX, the customer receives the free download of the line6 Mobile Pod App. For a guitar player that needs an application for practicing, it is a reasonably good app. Don't expect anything too sophisticated though. Plenty of amplifiers, but there are only two type of reverb (room and spring), no pitch processing, no phaser, compressor with only one knob, no auto-wah.

If you are an acoustic guitar player, a bass player or a keyboard player, sadly you are out of luck - line6 doesn't consider you in its priorities. At least for the Mobile Pod App.

It's a shame because as a basic idea, it is an App that could serve other musicians that are not guitar player - guitar players preferably with a rock inclination.

Overall, I have the impression that the VX was designed as a mobile USB/iOS microphone with added stereo output interface. I think this is the area where the VX works at its best. The guitar input looks an afterthought that had to be added because the marketing department asked for it.

I recommend the Sonic Port VX to musicians that feel that the lack of gain control on the guitar input is an acceptable limitation and the short (and odd) cable is something they can live with. For everyone else, I recommend you look elsewhere.
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Total
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Do not lose the cable!

01.04.2017
While the interface and the microphone quality is really good, the proprietary lightning cable is a very-very poor choice from Line 6, especially as it's impossible to find replacements.

I must have misplaced mine while moving house and now I have a 149 EUR audio interface that I can not use as I can't buy a replacement cable.
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Guitarist Line 6 Sonic Port VX
Line 6 Sonic Port VX
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MusicRadar.com Line 6 Sonic Port VX
Line 6 Sonic Port VX
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