Anderton's Music: highly recommended. UX2: great
I recently went shopping for some home-recording equipment, and thought I'd share my experience and give credit where it's due. Online merchants note - a little bit of friendly customer service goes a long way.
After a bit of research into suitable kit, I fired off a couple of emails to prominent sellers to ask them whether or not they thought my selections would be a good choice. Predictably, I got no response whatsoever (seems to be par for the course with many ecommerce sites. Sigh).
I'd pretty much settled on Line 6's Toneport series, as this seemed about as hassle-free as it was likely to get. Here's their UX2 model:
Looks pretty nifty, doesn't it? The idea is, you can just plug a guitar or bass and a mic in, one USB cable and you're good to go. Anyway, I added a UX2 and the other bits I'd chosen into a few shopping carts to see what the totals came to, and to get an idea of the sites themselves. I had a few problems with the checkout at one site, Andertons Music, so I sent them an email just to let them know.
I admit to some surprise when I got a pretty quick response offering to help, and so I replied back with my original 'is this kit any good for what I want to use it for?' question. Again I got a quick response (either same day or next day, I don't remember which).
The way I see this this type of customer service is that it's probably a good indicator of what level of service you're likely to get if you had any problems, so I'm always impressed with responsiveness. I buy a lot of stuff online, and there's always the potential for things to go wrong; it's a nightmare if you're stuck with a a company that won't help. So, Anderton's it was for my purchase!
The order went through fine, they packaged all the stuff up nicely, and put it in the post the same day (as they said they would, more points there!). So, shiny recording toys for me to play with.
The footnote to this story is that after about 2 or 3 weeks the headphone socket on the UX2 started acting up. I emailed Anderton's and they arranged a replacement with no questions asked. They collected the faulty unit so I didn't even have to post anything.
And the UX2? It's great. It comes with bundled effects software which I half expected to be mediocre but is great (lots of preset sounds which require only minimal tweaking to sound good). No technical problems that I've seen, and it's about as convenient as it gets with one USB cable to plug in for it to be ready to make sounds or for recording. It even works well through a laptop which makes it pretty portable, although i'm using it just like a PC component at the moment.
It's plastic-y and lightweight which is a shame (stable enough rubber feet though) as I prefer music equipment to be built like my snarling dog wah: if you give it a good kick, your foot is likely to come off significantly worse. Or even come off entirely. Still, that's a minor gripe compared to what you do get with the UX2, which is a very nice piece of kit indeed.