The new Pod has arrived, after three long years of waiting — ever since the launch of the Pod X3, which provided the same models as its big brother, the Pod XT, and thus disappointed most guitar players. This time, Line 6 engineers have been really busy developing new models to be hosted in three new pedalboards. We tested the flagship of the range: the Pod HD 500.
The Pod HD 500 is the flagship effects pedal from Line 6. Getting started is as easy as plugging in a guitar and headphones to start picking away at a preset amp model. Tweaking the internal processing of the pedal has a learning curve if you haven't used a Line 6 pedal before. I suggest using the downloadable software application to really go deep in the editing, but some people will always prefer twisting knobs.
This pedal has many improvements over the previous generation of POD X3s. The hardware has been upgraded to metal rather than plastic. This gives the pedal more of a rugged feel compared to the old plastic pedal which seemed like it wasn't made to last for very many years.
The internal DSP chips are capable of significantly more processing, which means that the amp sim models sound more realistic. There is also more storage, so there is tons of room for user presets.
I use a Variax 700 guitar with the HD 500. This allows for even more control because I can assign a specific guitar effects model to a particular user preset. Then with only click of a button, the entire signal chain can be changed. I can change between a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall JCM800 to a Fender Telecaster through a Fender Bassman, to a Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar all by stepping on a footswitch. This can make for a huge range of possible sounds with only two pieces of gear at a gig.
The Pod HD 500 is another step forward in amp simulation. There are a wide range of amps included from clean to overdrive to extreme distortion. To me, there are still a few amps 'missing' from the X3 that I hope Line 6 includes as a firmware update to the HD line (Matchless, Orange, Budda). All in all, this effects pedal is capable of some very realistic amp sounds. Unless you are willing to pay for an Axe-Fx, this pedal is the best bang-for-your-buck.
The HD500 is the top of the line unit in the POD HD series. You can tell since it has the most buttons and the biggest screen. The big screen adds tons of usability to this unit. The small screens on the other models make it hard for you to do complex editing on the unit. You must use the pc editor to do complex patches. With this unit you can edit as much as you want on the unit. The unit comes with the same amount of amp models that the other units have and they all sound the same. The other big difference between this model and the 300 and 400 is that you can have twice the effects on a single patch this is why there are 8 effects switches on the face of the unit instead of 4. In amp mode each of these switches acts like if it was a stomp box effects pedal. This unit just as more user interface features which make it worth the extra cost. Comparing this model to an X3 live what you are dealing with is quality vs quantity. The X3 units have over 80 amp models while this one only has 16 from the factory. The 16 in this amp are the most used models in any of the line 6 units and they are modeled in much more detail than before. An X3 unit can sound as good as this but it will take much more fine tweaking to get the sound perfect.
This unit is much more usable than the 300 and 400. This is all due to the larger screen the unit has. The unit has a large screen like on the older POD units so you can see all that is going on in your patches. Unlike the 300 and the 400 it is very easy to edit a patch in the unit itself. You do not need to use the computer based editor on this unit. The funtionality added by the large screen makes this version very easy to use. The 500 has the same buttons on the face of it as the 400 but with twice as many effects buttons. The 500 lets you run 8 effects on a patch instead of 4 so you need to have 8 switches on the face for when you are in amp mode. This unit has all the same outputs as the other ones so you can connect it to anything. It has a large expression pedal that can be programmed to use with many effects. The bar on this model is smaller to it may be possible to hit the amp eq knobs with your foot while switching on the FS3 or FS4 knob. On the 400 and 300 the bar goes all the way across the amp to prevent this.
All the HD units in theory should sound the same but with the 500s better user interface it is much easier to dial in a great sound. You can do find tweaking on the unit and this makes it much easier for you to get the perfect sound quickly. With this unit you will not have to connect it to your computer to do any fine tweaking it can all be done on the amp itself. The majority of the amp models are based on classic blues amps. So if you are a blues or country player this amp has everything you want. If you are a high gain player it has some classic high gain amps like the JCM 800 and the Mesa Dual Rectifier but the number of high gain amps is a lot less than the number of cleaner blues amps. If you are looking for a large number of amps I suggest you try out the X3 pods instead since they come with like 80 amps on them and a lot more high gain amps.
If you are wanting to get a POD HD unit this is the best one. It has all the best features from the other units all in one. It has a large screen that enables editing on the unit without the use of a computer and it has the ability to switch easily between patches in a live setting. The amp models sound great and its a good rugged unit that can stand up to live situations. If you are looking for a POD HD I suggest you try and get this one first.
The Line 6 POD HD500 is the flagship model of the new HD series; the latest incarnation of the company's popular Pod modeling units.
The following specs for the HD500 are taken directly from the Line 6 website:
16 HD Amp Models
100+ Effect Models
Up to 8 Simultaneous Effects
512 Preset Locations
1/4" Guitar Input
1/4" Aux Input
XLR Input + Microphone Preamp
Variax Digital Input (VDI)
Unbalanced 1/4" Outputs
Balanced XLR Outputs
1/4" Stereo Headphone Output
1/4" Stereo FX Send/Return
5-Pin MIDI Input + Output/Thru
Aux Expression Pedal Jack
Assignable MIDI Footswitch Controls
Metal Chassis, Pedal and Footswitches
This unit is a floorboard with foot switches and knobs, as well as a rocker pedal that works as a combination volume/expression/wah pedal.
The HD500 is not a rack mount unit.
By flipping through the stock presets I was able to find some great usable tones, as well as some over the top noisy creations that were more fun and experimental than functional in a live setup.
Getting deep into the programming aspect of this device can be time consuming and a little frustrating if you don't like tweaking and just want immediate satisfaction. But compared to other multi effects units and modelers, this one is laid out very logically and has a streamlined design that is easy to get the hang of, even for a novice tweaker.
There are so many features, connections, and routing capabilities in this unit that only a good look through the downloadable manual will give you all the information you need about this product. A stripped down "quick-start" guide is shipped with the unit and only scratches the surface of what this thing can do.
NOTE: I tested the HD500 through several tube amps, into the front end of a Dual Rectifier, through just the power amp section of the Dual Rectifier, and into a P.A. system and monitors. I had the best results with the tube power amps, and that is what I'm basing my review on, as that is how I use the unit in a live environment.
I have owned or used almost every version of the Pod since they debuted, as well as many of their modeling amplifiers and effects.
I can say with confidence that the modeling has been improved greatly in the HD series. Finally, digital is starting to catch up with analog! The amp models really sound and feel similar to the real thing. Probably the biggest difference is the feel and subtle overtones and responses that can be coaxed from the unit.
For example, rolling back the guitar's volume cleaned up the plexi model until it had just the slightest bit of dirt, but the tone stayed chimey and didn't become "jittery" like the simulations from the previous pod models would. There was no jumpy digital artifact sound, just a convincing amp like sound.
The Marshall and Park (made by Marshall) amps are my favorite and are very true to the real amps modeled. The trademark Marshall high cut and wiry, complex distortion is there and it feels and sounds great to play! I was able to nail Slash's "Sweet Child" tone, or at least 95% there, Angus' back in black, and I got a great early Pearl Jam tone.
The "Treadplate" model, which is based on Mesa Boogie's Dual Rectifier, is very faithful to the real deal, and I can switch between the two to A/B them and tweak the Line 6 until they're almost identical. It feels big and crushing, just like the Boogie.
The Fender models are gorgeous and very convincing. Beautiful clean tones can be had and I bet if someone took a blind listening test, they'd have a tough time telling the Fender Deluxe Reverb apart from the simulation!
The Divided By Thirteen and Dr. Z models get an amazing semi-clean grit sound that's amazingly touch sensitive and fun to play!
The Engl Fireball 100 model is extremely tight and has your modern metal needs covered. I was really pleased with how well this model blended when setting up a two-amp patch/sound.
I actually am considering buying an Engl now after playing this simulation!
The Vox models sound like only a Vox can, enough said! Amazing for recording semi-dirty rhythms and for layering.
Using the Bogner Uberschall model, I was able to create a sound almost identical to Jerry Cantrell's huge sound on "A Looking In View" from Alice In Chains' latest release. Big and chunky like the rectifier model, but with a sweeter midrange and an even bigger sound.
The effects in the HD500 are ported directly from the M13 and M9 units. The M series was a very popular "pedalboard in a box" type of floorboard that gave you instant access to many of the most famous effects ever, and many of Line 6's own effects from their original four Stompbox Modeler units.
I haven't even used all of the effects yet, but I can say that all of them sound better than my old Pod Pro rack units. The effects were always a bit lacking in realism in the Pod units, but the HD effects are very nice. Some simulations of certain analog stomp box effects like the script phaser don't quite nail the real thing, but that is to be expected. The chorus sounds could also be a bit more deep and lush.
The verbs and delays are great, and there are many to choose from. All effects can be tweaked endlessly to perfectly suit your tone preference.
The warmth and realism in this unit is a huge advance for Line 6, and takes modeling one step closer to blurring the line between tube and digital simulation. I still prefer a tube amp, but considering the amount of connections, great effects, and ease of setup for live and studio use, this unit is a definite must-have if you're down with digital!
they removed the buttons (plus reverb knob on the front panel), going from 78 amps (pod x3 live) to 16, they pulled bass amps, fewer firms, more true dual tone .... and it takes monitor not to over use effects if the chipset you lâche.pourquoi did not they put a powerful enough processor to calculate the whole? frankly seen the price of procs ....
on the other hand they thought inflate the price
and according to tests fanziniens unlike his is not obvious!
the only thing not clear is if one can combine several pedals (stomp)
which would be positive for the other models can not ....
I understand that those who have already purchased the resell ...
I expect good X4 HD500 with 78 simulated HD Dual tone and as many effects as you want in any order, and bass amps