The Line 6 HX Stomp, HX Stomp XL, and POD Go are powerful tools for modern guitarists (and other instrumentalists!), however there are a few accessories that I feel greatly expand the capabilities of the device. It is entirely possible to use these smaller modeling units as your entire rig and in this guide, I'll go over a few of my favorite pieces that make it possible. I've written each section to provide a few different options at different price points so no matter your budget, you can find exactly what you need to accomplish your goals.
The POD Go uses much of the same software as the original Stomp and XL. At the most affordable of the three, it even has an expression, 6 programmable foot switches and a dedicated tap tempo / tuner switch. It lacks certain effects models from the HX series, is unable to rearrange the order of effects blocks, and cannot process more than one audio path. If you're someone who just needs basic guitar tones, this will be plenty. If you're looking to get creative with effects and parallel processing (very important for acoustic instruments), you might want to consider one of the HX units.
The HX Stomp is the most affordable option to get into the Helix architecture. It offers all of the incredible sounding effects and amp models as the full Helix units, but at the expense of control. It obviously only has three onboard switches. In my opinion, the original HX Stomp is best suited to be used on a pedalboard with other external pedals. It is truly the Swiss army knife of tone and is able to cover anything your existing pedalboard is currently lacking.
If you're looking for a true all-in-one rig with the full effects library of the larger Helix units at a fraction of the cost, this is the one you'll want to go with. The Stomp XL (though it's still limited in DSP compared to the larger Helix LT, Floor, and Rack models), is absolutely capable of being the only piece of gear you need to bring to a gig. In addition to having twice as many onboard switches at the original Stomp, the XL can actually program one extra snapshot per preset, which is a huge deal when you're designing presets intended to be used without help from external pedals. Even still, you may want to consider an external footswitch controller or expression pedal - more on that later in this guide.
First off, if you're entirely new to the Line 6 ecosystem and are confused by the different compact modeling units they offer, you're not alone. The HX Stomp, Stomp XL, and POD Go all offer similar features and I wanted to first sum up the key differences that might determine which device you decide to go with.
Line 6 POD Go - $499
HX Stomp - $599
HX Stomp XL - $749
Single Footswitch - $20
Double Footswitch - $25
You can buy single footswitches from a ton of manufacturers. Going with a single switch allows you to still connect an expression pedal. Chances are, the switch you buy will also be compatible with any other standalone pedals that have an external tap tempo input. You'll also want to use a TRS-Y cable. This is a cable that takes a TRS jack (from the Stomp or Pod Go) and splits it into two TS jacks (to go to the expression or footswitch).
Same as the single footswitch, you'll want to look for a generic momentary, normally open switch. If the dual footswitch you end up getting has two input jacks, you'll want to use a TRS-Y cable. If it only has a single jack, use a standard TRS cable. Most people that use a double footswitch tend to like to use it to scroll through snapshots or presets, though you can set it up as additional stompswitches too.
MIDI Controller - $150
A simple MIDI controller is also a great way to add additional control to any of the Line 6 modelers. These are typically more expensive, however they do make use of the MIDI port and as such, can be used in combination with the products listed to the left for a total of up to 5 external switches. The Jet Micro I think is the best choice for someone who needs additional control without the headache of having to learn how to use MIDI. It's specifically designed to work with the HX Stomp and comes pre-programmed. For anyone that would like a screen and more universal compatibility with other pedals, consider something like the Morningstar MC3.
All three of the modelers mentioned above have the ability to attach up to two external analog footswitches to get some additional control over the unit. You could assign these switches to control additional footswitch assignments or navigate snapshots, presets, and even banks. If you want to use an expression pedal, you'll only be able to use one external footswitch. A number of manufacturers make compatible pedals - you'll want to insure that the pedal you buy features a momentary, normally open switch. The pedals I've linked below are all compatible. If you want even more external switches, maybe consider a simple midi-based pedal. These can be used alongside analog switches and expression pedals.
Boss EV-30 - $125
These Boss expression pedals are bigger than typical mini expressions, but not quite as big as an ordinary expression. They're about 1.5x the height of the Stomps. I use one of these on my large HX Stomp pedalboard. They also have more throw (larger range of motion = better control) than other designs. From the HX Stomp, plug into the EXP 2 input on the EV-30, make sure the little knob next to it is set entirely clockwise, and flip the polarity in global settings on your device.
DVP Mini - $129
The Dunlop Volume Pedal design is very versatile. You can use it as an ordinary volume pedal, an ordinary expression, or with the Stomp / PodGo. To set it up for use with a TS cable, open up the back of it and flip the small dip switch that you see. Then in global settings on your device, set the tip or ring polarity to inverted. The full size DVP is pretty massive and works fine, or you could get the mini, which sits at a similar width to the HX Stomps and would fit on a small pedalboard.
Either way, use a TRS-Y cable.
Mission Expression - $159
The Mission Pedal is large a clunky with side-mounted jacks, but it also contains a footswitch that you can engage by pressing down in the toe position like you would do to turn on a Wah pedal. It's housed in the standard Dunlop Crybaby chasis if you're familiar with that pedal. Depending on what you're using the expression for (maybe a boost or switching between wah and volume), this is a great choice. For other uses, not having your external switch separate from the expression can be limiting. You'll still use a TRS-Y cable. If you like this design and want to save some money, you can also get the EP1-L6, which does not have an internal footswitch.
Expression pedals can be used in just about an endless number of different ways with the HX Stomps and PodGo. The easiest way to get expression signal into the unit is through the EXP 1/2 inputs (the other way would be to use MIDI - something like the Morningstar MC3 could work for example). You'll want to make sure that whatever expression you select is able to output to a TS connector (the standard is to use a TRS cable, but the Stomp only works with a TS signal).
These range in price depending on what quality of cable you want to get. Generally, you're looking at anything from $10 to $25. Anything more expensive probably isn't worth it. I always say that if you're just practicing at home or are always in the same venue and don't have any grounding issues, this method is perfectly fine for going direct with the Stomp or PodGo.
If you're going to go with the TRS to XLR cables but want to make sure you're prepared in the case of a ground issue, just get an in-line ground lift. It attaches to the end of your XLR cable before you connect it to the stage snake. These are also pretty generic and shouldn't run you more than around $10-$15 a piece.
Behringer Passive DI - $30
I'm including this since it's the most affordable option when it comes to DI boxes, but this is a case that if you're going with a DI box, I would highly advise going with something better. Plug in one of these cheap DIs and record a sample that you can compare with something you had recorded without the DI box. Cheap DIs can add noise and affect the sound. I owned this model a few years ago and just never used it because it made my tone noticeably lack high end.
The HX Stomps and PodGo offer balanced TRS connections. The cheapest way to connect to an interface, external powered speaker, or stage snake before running to the front-of-house console is with a TRS to male XLR cable. You can also use a standard TRS cable, but XLR connections are a little more common. If you're frequently playing in different venues with a TRS to XLR cable, you'll definitely want to make sure that you have an in-line ground lift. Eventually, you're going to need it. Some people (myself included) decide to go out of their Stomp with a standard patch cable and then into their own DI box that is built into their pedalboard. This has the benefit of getting the ground lift on a simple switch, while also having an additional unbalanced passthrough to head to a personal onstage monitor.
Walrus Canvas - $149
The Walrus Audio Canvas is able to switch back and forth between line isolator and DI box modes, in additional to providing a pad and ground lift if needed. This is great if you don't have a DI box yet at all and need one solution that can work in either context. They also have a stereo version.
Pinstripe MISO - $159
The Pinstripe MISO was the first product designed specifically to satisfy the market's needs for a modeler DI box. It's a line isolator that uses high quality Jensen transformers to balance the signal - a feature that fits right at home amongst the other quality gear in a high-end recording studio. Does it sound better than the slightly cheaper Walrus Canvas? I can't say for sure but I've been a proud owner of the DISO+ (their stereo version) and have been very happy. You're also supporting a small business and the original creator of this design.
Red Eye Preamp - $195
For a little more, you can double up on a few features and get something like the Red Eye preamp. It still has a 1-to-1 output ratio like a line isolator, but also includes an incredible sounding preamp (very useful with high impedance sources like acoustic instruments), a treble boost/cut, and a variable boost. This is the first and last pedal in your chain. Insert the Stomp or PodGo in the FX loop with standard patch cables. I use this model with my HX Stomp XL.
If you like the idea of having your own direct box built into your rig, an ordinary DI box will work fine, but you'll notice that the volume is significantly lower since traditional DI boxes are meant to pad down a line level signal to mic level. Your engineer will have to boost this signal later. You could also counteract this by going into global settings and selecting line level output. If you don't have a direct box yet and are buying one specifically for use with the Stomp/PodGo, maybe consider getting a line isolator instead. This is essentially the same, but it won't pad down your signal. The level that goes in is the same that comes out. Both the Walrus Canvas and the Pinstripe MISO work great for this.
Head Rush 1x12 - $359
This is the most affordable and probably the most common speaker that guitarists who like to go direct with the HX Stomp's amp simulation tend to use. It's loud enough to keep up with a drummer at rehearsal and generally has a decent sound. If you're looking for something just for home practice or for situations that don't require as much volume, maybe consider the more affordable 1x8" version.
Fishman Loudbox - $659
An acoustic amp will do the same thing that something like the Headrush does - amplify all frequencies equally. For a little bit more $, you get microphone preamps, an additional input, effects, EQ, and an additional headphone out. An acoustic amp is a great multi-purpose piece of equipment to own. This Loudbox range comes in the standard "Artist" size (linked below), the smaller Loudbox Mini, and the larger Loudbox Performer. I own the mini and it's surprisingly able to keep up as a personal monitor even around loud drummers.
Line 6 Powercab - $799
The Line 6 Powercab is able to operate as both an FRFR speaker and as a digital cabinet modeler. In FRFR mode, it acts just like any of these other speakers. In cabinet mode, it uses Helix cab models (and can even load impulse responses) so that you can offload the processing in your device, which will free up valuable DSP for more processing inside the HX Stomp, HX Stomp XL, or PodGo. You can get the standard Powercab, or spend a little extra and get a stereo version.
If you're intending to primarily use the Stomp's built in amp and cabinet simulation, you may consider investing in an FRFR speaker - which stands for full-range frequency response. This is simply a self-powered speaker that has a relatively flat response - like what you'd expect from a PA system at a gig. They're great to keep at home for practicing, to bring on stage as a personal monitor, and for a number other other non Helix related purposes - the Fishman Loudbox Mini for example is one of the most used pieces of gear out of everything I own. Here are three common products that'll compliment your HX Stomp or PodGo.
Audio Technica M40x - $99
These are pretty much the industry standard for quality and affordability when it comes to headphones. The closed-back design prevents sound from leaking out and in, which is great for silent practice and recording when live microphones are present. Every musician should own a pair. The only criticism I have is... how do I put it nicely... if you have a big head, these can be uncomfortable. They're made to have a tight fit to aid in sound isolation, so you might need to stretch them a bit. The M40x is the flat response model. For a little bit more, you might also consider the M50x version, which has slightly more low end.
Beyerdynamic DT770 - $139
These headphones are a noticeable upgrade from the M40's and are a closed-back design, which means that they do not leak sound as much as open-back headphones. I recommend getting the 80ohm version as you will be able to use it with a standard laptop or phone headphone amplifier. The HX Stomp and PodGo's headphone amp is powerful enough to drive the 250ohm version (and though it might sound a bit better), many ordinary devices with headphone outputs just can't drive them hard enough to get decent volume.
Beyerdynamic DT990 - $129
The DT990 headphones are the best sounding out of the three, due in part to the open-back design. If your goal is the best possible sound out of a set of headphones and sound leakage isn't an issue, I definitely recommend getting these. Same thing as before - if you intend to use these with other consumer products, get the 80ohm version. The next step up in quality also involves a decent increase in price, but if you have the money, maybe also consider the Sennheiser HD 600 or 650.
Headphones are a great way to practice silently with the PodGo / HX Stomps, but it's important to manage your expectations. Your guitar tone in headphones will never sound as good as it can through a large speaker that can sit further away from you and move more air. With that said, know that there are two major types of headphones - closed back and open back. Open back headphones will sound better, though sound can easily leak in and out and for that reason, they're not great to use in a recording situation with live mics. If you don't have that to worry about and just want headphones to practice with, get a set of open backs. If you're thinking there will be a time where you might need headphones for recording or to use in a noisy environment, I would go with closed back headphones.
KZ ZS10 Pro - $49
The KZ ZS10 in ears are pretty incredible for under $50. They have a total of five drivers in each ear, which means that the sound is evenly dispersed and you're able to get a good sound. These are very popular and so I wanted to mention them in this guide. While they do sound good, I found that this model did not seal in my ear and there's really nothing I could do about that. I ended up keeping these as my backup set until eventually the tips started coming off inside my ear - not cool. They went in the trash sadly. You might get lucky and have a better experience, but I would definitely advise to spend a bit more and get the Shure 215 set.
Shure SE215 - $99
If you can afford to put $100 towards a set of in ears, I think this Shure 215 model is a much better buy. They are a single driver design, so the sound might not be as good at the ZS10, but the stock foam tips (comes in three sizes) are moldable and created a much better seal. They also come with a second 3 sets of grey silicon tips (yes, you get a total of 6 sets of ear tips to pick from with this model) that I got lucky and found that the medium set sealed even better. This model also comes with a carry case, which is not the case with the ZS10. I've been using this model since 2016 and have been happy with it.
Shure SE425 - $269
The Shure SE245 is their dual-driver model. They have the same great ear tip selection as the SE215 model, but with a great improvement in sound on account of the additional driver. The second driver just means that the incredibly small speakers inside the in ears are able to divide up the frequencies that each is responsible for - it's similar to adding a subwoofer to a PA system. The lows are going to sound much more accurate, just as the highs will sound more clear. For bassists, I highly recommend this set as the bare minimum if you want a good, clear sound. You might also consider their slightly more expensive three driver model - the Shure SE 535.
If you need in-ear monitors, I thought I'd share a few of the best sets on the affordable end of the spectrum. There are two things you should keep in mind when you look for a set of in-ears: 1 - the number of drivers, 2- how well they seal in your ear. When you're looking at budget models, the second point is much more important. In ears are only effective if they excel at blocking out outside noise - that's why the very best in ear sets are custom molded to your ear. Pretty much all models come with 3 different tips for different size ears. Unfortunately if they're not moldable, your ear size may fall in between the sizes they provide.
I've personally owned or have used everything on this list with my HX Stomp and HX Stomp XL. If you've found this guide helpful and are considering purchasing anything I've mentioned here - entering the retailer of your choice through one of these links above will earn me a small commission. This is a small part of my income and won't cost anything extra for you. While you're here, also be sure to check out the presets and impulse responses I have available for download for the HX Stomps and PodGo - there are free bundles as well as paid packages. Lastly - feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions about anything I've mentioned here. You can send me an email by filling out this form.
I wanted to close out this guide by giving a shoutout to Gear By Ceba. They have measured a variety of popular guitar pedals and offer a number of aftermarket parts to compliment them. From plexiglass shields to protect screens and face plates from damage to sun visors for bright outdoor stages in the sun, colorful skins to change the appearance or your unit, and even replacement parts if something breaks. I use some of their products on my HX Stomp as it has taken a beating over the years and I wanted to protect it a bit better.
Check out my blog post - building this HX Stomp-centric pedalboard from the ground up.