63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Before we get started, I am more "pro" than amateur. I work at a church as a pastor of Worship Arts and use this in my work. But I hesitate to say I'm only "pro", because "amateur" means you do something purely for the love of it... and I feel that way about music... So...
First... the models I've tested are far and away more realistic to my ears than other modelers I've used, which includes Logic Studio's amps (these sound almost as good btw), POD X3Live and XTPro (the HD models are noticeably better... and the fizz is GONE GONE GONE), the original POD and 2.0 (which sounded the same to me and made me happy at the time), and the ToneLab SE (which I missed for a while, but not anymore).
I made a few patches for one of my guitars based on having a Bassman 4x10 alongside the Dr. Z, and it is the coolest sound I've ever made with this guitar... easily. Better sounding, to my ears, than the real amps I've been using (maybe because I put them off stage and don't run them very loud). I ADORE the sound of this unit.
Oh, and as always... forget about all the pre-sets. They're probably all as useless as you imagine they might be.
Now the bad news. And it's significant... for some...
First off, editing is clunky like it was on the XT and X3Live. Just forget about trying to use the display. Connect to a computer... Seriously. When you start from an init patch, you only get lucky, it seems, to manage to coax it into "two amp" config...
Next, The functionality of this unit is exaggerated by it's specs. You will almost certainly NOT be able to do 8 FX at once the way you're thinking. Why? Let's say you use an XT or a X3. think about what you're used to.
You start with 8 FX
Subtract effect banks for...
1. volume pedal (you need to use an effect bank). You might be able to use an analog pedal, but I like my volume after my compressor... so I have to do it in the loop I guess...
2. FX loop (only works with an effect bank... Line6, is there any way you can make this always active in a firmware upgrade? Seems like you could.)
3. Noise Gate (used to be always available... don't worry if you mix this with the M13 as I plan to do, though, as the M13 has a great gate). I mostly use clean or just barely broken-up amps, so I might be able to skip this.
4. Wah (this is always available and active in the X3 and below).
5. Post-EQ. The X3Live had a final EQ before final output that I liked a lot. in addition to all the other FX, too. You need to dedicate an FX bank now.
SO... you might only have 3FX left. For me, put in a clean boost and tube drive (which I think sound better in this box than they did in the M13. Probably because they're "digitally part of the signal" is all I can think) and a verb for the amp. No slots left. What if you need delay and modulation? EEK! I have to re-think the way I use FX in this box. Still evaluating how that will work for me.
What if you're a guy like me who was using the X3Live (occasionally) as a one-box solution for a dual-voice guitar. (All my guitars have piezo bridges.) No dice.
I will have to use an acoustic preamp. No matter. I have one. I will probably dedicate a "null" amp to bring this signal into the unit and mix it.
In addition, there aren't as many computer-recording routing options as the X3Live, and the SUPER-sweet ability to switch between two FX chains in one patch (instead of switching programs) is gone. As far back as my old Vox ToneLab SE, I could literally switch channels from one amp/cab to another in the same FX chain. You could do something similar on the X3Live. Not here. Also... Line 6, why on earth can't you make the Midi in and out work as a USB Midi interface with this unit? How complicated can that really be?
In short... the X3Live has significantly... SIGNIFICANTLY more flexibility imho than this unit, for many of us at least, and ought not to have been discontinued imho. For some of you, it's still a viable option.
You also still might need your other FX!
I thought it might be possible that this unit, even if I needed to use my AG Stomp for my acoustic side again (which I'm happy to do) would bump my M13 off the stage. It did not at first, but after a while, I did indeed get rid of the M13, and don't miss it.. That said, I think from what I'm hearing that some of the FX (especially the dirt pedals) work FAR better inside this box than they do in the M13 when you connect it to a POD or amp.
My favorite patches so far that I've made (which use the Bassman model and the UNBELIEVABLE Dr. Z model... far and AWAY my favorite amp model EVAH!) don't leave any room for modulation or other special FX. (I'm not a "switch whole patches on the fly" guy. I turn FX off and on.) But after a bit of tweaking and patch-making, I discovered that for my sounds, I didn't need dual amp chains that often, so I have all my flexibility back...
So am I complaining about these limitations? No. Because the sound of this unit is so extraordinary. I'd take off a full star for this shortcoming, but the fact is the unit sounds good enough that I can't do it.
There will, at some point, I hope, be a next-generation of this technology which will possibly address some of the usability shortcomings, but I have to say, for this price, I am totally satisfied with the sound!
In the meantime, am I willing to trade the flexibility of my former rig for the sound of this one? Heck yes, it sounds that good. I even love the models of amps I know I'll never use for the first time ever.... And after a few months of experimenting, I was able to make patches that completely worked for my two-voice guitar stuff... with NO additional outboard gear if I didn't want. So I've simplified to where I wanted to, and no longer feel like I'm really compromising anything.
So... started with a rig consisting of the HD500, and sometimes an M13, and an acoustic preamp (currently a Yamaha AG-Stomp) mixed in with the HD signal through the aux input. I've now gotten to the point where I can do everything I want, if I need, without the additional pedals, and I sold the M13. I kept a few analog pedals and such that I just like, but rarely take them out of the house anymore.
I'm only nit-picking so that you will know all the trade-offs. For what I have been fantasizing about, basically an M13 in form and function with a handful of amp models shoved in the box, this is as close as we're probably going to come. And, did I mention... the SOUND! It's seriously great!
UPDATE! I have learned that I will indeed have no problem replacing my M13 as well, and sold it off. I thought I'd miss it, but I don't.
UPDATE! As of February 2012, I have supplemented this product with a black James Tyler Variax JTV59 (Korean), and it's a marriage made in heaven! If you are going to go with this product, and if you are looking for a new guitar, check out the new Variaxes. Totally amazing.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
My advice to anyone trying this unit out in a store. Disable all the effects and just play with the amp sims alone.
It's not that the effects are bad in this unit, they're very good quality wise, though perhaps not as in depth as you'd get on a Boss unit. But all the presets have been made for the synth at heart guitarists, and they mask the real star of this unit, it's amp sims.
The amp sims themselves are all decent speaking as more of an amp purist who normally hates sims. The thing it bear in mind with all amp sims is that firstly they're their own thing, use them as a new stomp box or effect and enjoy them as that rather than expecting them to replace real high end tube guitar amps. And secondly they're simulations for how one amp sounds when cued up a certain way in a recording studio with a specific engineer, desk etc. This means they may not be your sound, I think they're a cool sound and versatile enough, but you may feel differently. They're obviously not going to be quite as versatile as their real world counterparts as a result of this, it's like electronic drums, sometimes you just want something that sounds badly tracked, or just tracked a different way. This sounds like an amp tracked very nicely in a modern way, whether that's a sound you'll want to hear in a couple of years, who knows, right now it's good and state of the art.
The sims in the Pod HD really are pretty impressive as far as amp sims go though, especially the Marshall. It's great to dial back the volume on the guitar and get it into that crunchy territory rather than the usual fuzz like digital distortion/clean mix. These sims are much closer to reacting the same way a real tube amp reacts and crucially once you disable the gates and the rest of the bumpf are a real blast to play, it's actually fun. There's much less latency than in previous Pod models such as the X3, so if you're sensitive to that you'll enjoy the HD a lot more.
The downsides to the Pod HD500 are as follows.
1) The DSP limit is soon reached, especially if you use the Dual Amp sim setup. This is a hardware limit.
2) Setting up patches is best done via USB rather than in the tiny monochrome LCD and fiddly interface.
3) The aforementioned LCD is quite faint when lit up. It really should be much higher contrast, I could see this being a problem on stage.
4) The preset patches need to all be binned.
5) There's a slight midrange scoop and EQ curve that makes the sound slightly less punchy than you'd expect when recording. It would be nice if Line6 could make the sound a little more flat/neutral when going Line In. It sounds fine when through a nice amp though.
6) No the fizz is not all gone... but it is significantly reduced. Not all the amp sims seem to have that nice roll off that the Park and other Marshall amp sims have. Certain ones seem to have had more love lavished on them. The Gibson and Marshall amps in particular stand out head and shoulders above the others, which while good seem to veer more into the digital area, especially the higher gain amps (dialing back just gives you that primitive digital clip mix sound).
7) If you're into noise guitar then you'd sooner go with a Boss unit. The "M" effects in the Pod are good, but they're workhorse standard effects, not stuff you can really get into the detail with and change to create radically diverse sounds. They're just not as in depth.
8) While it has plenty of different reverbs, it lacks a really good deep and wide lush version, everything feels a little clipped and scooped.
The upsides are :
1) The amp sims, especially the Marshalls are among the best out there in terms of playability. Just remember to kill the other effects and add them back in as you need them when building patches or testing the unit.
2) The interface it much better than previous units from Line 6 (though it is still fiddly).
3) The fizz is much reduced, the sound really is much higher fidelity than previous floor units.
4) This is a solidly built unit, the previous Pod floor units were not, this is now back to being Metal with reduced plastic usage, this looks like it can take a beating.
5) If you hook it up to a computer then the Pod HD500 Editing software is pretty slick. It still lacks drag & drop of effects in the chain, but so far it makes setting up of patches very very quick and easy.
6) The quality of the "M" effects are great for a Line 6 product.
7) You finally have a good range of distortions and tones, from clean through crunch, through blues and through to heavy metal and even glitch tones. Most units excel only in one area, this is solid in them all.
7) It's fun to play.
Overall the positives far outweigh the negatives for me as I find it's rejuvenated me musically and satiated a need to explore new sounds.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2010
I've had my POD HD500 for less than a week, so I'm still forming an opinion of the unit. First, the good news: HD modeling sounds good, much better than previous iterations of Line 6 technology. The output is more responsive to your playing and the amps themselves sound great. The effects are also good (same as the M13), and there's a good variety of them, enough for classic guitar pedalboard emulation as well as more exotic effects.
Using two amp simulations side by side is also very effective--it's great to have a cleaner amp on one side and a dirtier amp panned hard to the other. Gives a great stereo image if you're playing in stereo. You lose the ability to add more FX models when you use two amps, as there's a limited amount of DSP power onboard and running two amp models uses a good deal of it. However, I've found there's still enough for basic things like a delay and reverb (although not some of the more complex reverb models) along with an overdrive pedal or two--so not bad, all in all.
The presets are a mixed bag, but some of them are good in their own right and make good jumping off points for your own editing. Which gets me to the less-good side of the equation. Thus far, I find the onboard editing pretty cumbersome and non-intuitive. I'm sure using it more would improve this, but the point of an interface is to be intuitive and easy to use. Instead, it's rather arcane. Using the free software editor is better, but it too has a cumbersome interface, much worse than previous efforts like GearBox or POD Farm. Double-clicking on an effect doesn't select it for editing, you can't drag and drop amps and FX models on your virtual pedalboard. Instead, you use old-fashioned menus to enter parameters and the arrow keys to move FX models around after you click on them to select one. That sounds like a minor issue, but it's a step backward--feels like you're using an app from like 2000. Also, I've had lost USB connectivity while using the app, and weird, buggy behavior that requires reseting the unit to get things back to normal. I hope this is fixed soon with new drivers and an updated editing app. The software right now is less than stable (in my experience) and there's lots of room for improvement that I hope Line 6 delivers.
When using the hardware, I find the Looper and Tap Tempo buttons too close to the expression pedal. If you're not wearing skinny shoes, you can hit the other buttons when trying to use those two buttons, resulting in unwanted patch changes or moves on the expression pedal when I'm trying to tap in a new tempo while playing, for instance. Also, there's no power button. You have to unplug the unit to turn it off, which is a poor design decision in my opinion.
I haven't played live with the HD500 yet--I'm still building my basic patches and am nowhere near ready to depend on it in a live context. But from what I've heard so far, I expect to hold up sound-wise when I do. I've used modelers live before and know how they sound different between headphones and monitors to going through an actual PA. I think this one's going to sound rich and chunky enough to cut it, although time will tell (will update this with more info when I have feedback to share).
All in all, the HD500 is a nice step forward, and delivers great value for the price. The hardware has a few design issues I take exception with, but I hope the software updates will make patch editing a smoother, faster, more elegant process as the raw power in the box is really excellent.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2012
This unit is just way better than most review it.
Thinking this is a plug in and play and select a "sounds-like" preset is something only a rank beginner would attempt. Apart from all generic factory sample presets being terrible ON ANYTHING! There is no way to make a preset to sound great on everyone's rig as all guitar and amp chemistry is infinitely different. Judging this unit by selecting a canned preset or one someone has offered on the download site is a waste of time. Anyone judging this unit by merely playing one the factory samples is extremely lacking in common sense and the basic issue that everyone's guitar, amp and touch are going to be extremely varied.
You simply have to learn to use this unit, how it works, what it does and there are various tricks one learns in constructing preset tones.
There is perhaps a 2 month learning curve on this unit and you need to read everything manual wise you can find. Some experienced players have created tone guides for the user to understand the unit's capability and format.
There is a forum on the LINE 6 website of users and user uploaded presets, again, they are starting points, adjust them and alter them to suit your needs.
Software updates are being supplied by LINE 6 on their website for all product owners and a software "MONKEY" that checks your unit for any new available updates and downloads them for you. Easy to use, plug in the supplied USB cable, it checks for updates as well as pulling in your units presets, or send them back into the unit after adjusting. Storing presets on your PC affords infinite library of settings despite the HD500 has hundreds of slots and BEST OF ALL>>you can over write and erase every factory sample! Name your group or setlist of various preset tones and arrange play lists in any manner you wish. Easy to select from the PC editor or POD panel switches. Just so much to this unit it is impossible to detail but a fraction of features much less explain them.
The PC editor software is great and makes programming very easy, you simply need to use it if you expect to do anything worthwhile with the POD. That being said DO NOT LISTEN to bad comments on this product. It is a mad scientist lab of really cool features you can do. The HD500 has the extra benefit of having to amp chains and dual amp models. The AMP models are extraordinary from clean to uber gain. They just added a new Bass amp model and Marshall Plexi's in addition to constantly tweaking any bugs. Seldom can one buy a unit that offers updates.
The key to using the POD is the use of EQs in various positions, you will have to do some study on what has been developed by advanced users to get this.
One hears constant complaints about the effects, well it's like this, some of the models are pedals I never liked much to begin with. I would say of the some 100 effects, perhaps half that are musically useable. Again secret is using EQ, place an EQ after the Metal Zone pedal model and adjust in a killer version of that pedal verses the overt buzz of just turning on the effect and not adjusting it. AMP, delay, reverb, and other defaults are close to what you might use. We are asking Line 6 to reset these for the user's needs among other tweaks.
Another big thing with the new PODs are they are only as good as what you are piping them into. I use a full range stereo 2 channel power amp on my POD into a 4x12 cab and it is just amazing.
DO not expect a shoe box amp to sound like a uber gained Bogner or ENGL amp stack.
The Amp models are just amazing, concentrate on the amp tone and add the proper EQ (not really needing much adjustment, just having one on alters the quality of the tones).
Wahs are simply great, each has its uses to different amps, next put on a noise gate set loose, add a couple before amp effects here if you like, select the amp model, front panel param tweaks as well as power amp and camp cab tweaks. Toss an EQ after the amp, a delay model and a reverb at the end. Listen to each effect and tweak it to get it tuned to your rig.
Amazing unit. Imagine dual stacked ENGLs, Bogner's, DualRec's. Marshall's or one panned L and R side. The Clean Fenders are delicious. I love this pedal and I have not fired up my tube half stack for 3 months now enjoying it.
I tend to use several pedals in front of the POD as I just cannot get the loop to sound right for me. Overdrives, clean boosts and compressor sound great in front of the unit and respond like a tube amp. I just have some quality pedals that are better than the internals. If you need the internals you can get good sounds out of them you just have to program it. Many I did not like but after graduating EQ school you can get anything to be usable.
Bottom line: This unit is well worth the money BUT do not expect it to be a plug in and play unit to mimic songs or players. You need to learn to use it and the more you learn how to use it the more impressive it becomes. BY the way the headphones on this unit are High Impedance, do yourself a favor and get a decent pair of Hi-Z phones trying to use typical low impedance phones is just not going to work well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2011
Line 6 has done a very good job with the latest HD series, the modeling is extremely competitive if not superior to anything in this price range. Particularly the Marshall and Vox models which really capture the spit and spirit of the real deal. I feel the pristine clean side of things isn't quite as inspiring though, though still perfectly usable.
What's perhaps most impressive though are some of the more avant garde effects. The inclusion of their FM4 and an excellently implemented looper will give aspiring experimental guitarists hours of trippy goodness.
On the flip side of things, some of the general effects could be much better. The drives for example for the most part lean just a bit to the harsh side of things and a bunch of modulation effects seem to have steep transitions, the trems for example which seems to move from square-ish to full on chop with little in the way of subtlety or the reverbs which have an extremely steep rolloff of the mix knob making subtle settings impossible to dial in. the rotary/univibe are another which the competitors have done a much better job.
The thing that's really irking me most of all right now is that the XLR ouputs do not sum to a mono signal when you only use a single jack. In orther words, if you plug an XLR into the left side and leave the right side empty and have any stereo effects you will only get the left side of the signal not the summed mono signal. Essentially making the XLR jacks useless for direct live usage. I'm sure they'll fix it (along with adding some features to make the XLR input actually useful), I was simply hoping by waiting nearly 3 months after the release that most of the major bugs would have been already worked out...
All that being said, its still a good buy and likely to get even better as some early bugs are worked out. For a full review of the unit and its features visit FrugalGuitarist.com
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2011
I had this unit for about 3 weeks and I just used it in a big live show with the band. I spent about a week before the show dialing in a good sound with my keyboard amp going into the XLR input. We where playing in one of the top places here in CT. State of the art sound system. I went direct out into the PA via XLR and stage volume I used that same keyboard amp. I got mixed reviews on the sound. A couple of people came up after the show and said the low bass if I palm muted was just muffled. Over all though not a bad sound. The sound guy said he missed the Warmth of a Marshall. So I sent it back.
I think it was an amazing product and if I had time before the show to tweak my buttons for 3o min with my laptop I may have fixed it. I am going back to a Marshall 1/2 stack and using my POD XT3 for practice.
I am a big fan of Line 6 and still will use them. For the price this is an amazing unit. I took a chance live with it and on some songs it was great. Others not so good. My band plays the music of Journey and for a while there it did fit. The delay and reverb was really good for that sound. If I had the money I would have both.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2011
In the interest of keeping things short, I'll be blunt: I bought this pedal instead of investing individual effects pedals. I tend to hear from my colleagues that multi-effects do a lot of stuff, but don't do any one effect very well. This may, in fact, be somewhat true. I play live and use my tremolo on one song in the set, and the HD500 does that effect competently enough to be passable, although it's not the best I've ever heard. Outside of that the delays are great, the mods are pretty cool, and the presets are actually not too bad as far as presets go. I LOVE the fact I can plug the 500 into my PC and get great, believable tone in my recordings. I also LOVE the fact it can act as audio interface for my DAW. It's an all-in-one must have for any guitar player for both stage and studio. Minor gripes aside, this thing rocks my world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
The people at Line 6 never cease to amaze, providing top of the line tone and plenty of options to give a guitarist the ability to produce ANY sound imaginable. i have had mine since November of 2011 and i could not be happier with it. With plenty of settings to choose from i have yet to even hit the brink of what this unit is capable of. The many available preset channels available allows for the user to save a plethora of custom tones. Also this unit double functions as a looper, which comes in very handy when a lead riff is needed over a rhythm. Overall this unit is WELL worth the price however thos who are only just starting out in the realm of guitar tone should consider a more simplistic device. I would also like to add that with the combination of inputs and outputs this unit really lets the user get creative, it could be used for more than just guitar.
The unit is still running just as groovy as it ever was but with only one issue at hand. i dont know if it is my pedal board to blame (i havent had much time to troubleshoot where exactly it is coming from but for some reason the unit is picking up some gnarly AM radio frequencies. this could be troublesome while trying to record clean tracks or playing live but ive actualy come to like it, even named it The Ghost of POD! haha. it could be from the unit, it could be from the cables im using, it could be from the power supply placed so close to the unit. i will update if/when i get a chance to make any progressions with it and if i am able to figure out where the ghost in the machine lies than will inform you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
As far as features for the money go, this unit has the best combination of amps, reverbs, delays, mods, filters, wahs, and everything else. Don't be afraid of the Hd series only having 22 amps to chose from (up from 16 when first released), since there are loads of different types of cabs and distortions to mix together to find the perfect sound! Plus, the shear amount of in and outs this unit comes with allows for the expansion your pedalboard. The external effects and expression pedal loops are awesome options!
Overall, the quality of Line 6 products is first rate, and this unit is no different. The unit is full metal with only plastic knobs by the screen. The save, enter, move, and 4 way pad feel a hair cheap, but overall, the construction of the board is really great and I am absolutely sure this unit will last for many years to come.
Value is why Line 6 exists in the first place! The main purpose of a multi-effects pedal is to save space on your pedalboard and to give you a ton of flexible sounds for every genre. The Pod Hd 500 is no exception, as it is simply the best value for multi-effects pedals on the planet. Other competitors like Boss don't have sounds at all like the new Hd models, and Digitech units have many different amp sounds but don't offer near the tweakability of the Hd 500. To me, the choice of pedals was clear, and I am so satisfied with this unit!
This unit is as good as it gets! I play with my church band several times a month, so building a pedalboard was not really an option for me since traveling to and from practice often made it important to have a compact unit. My trusty Floor Pod Plus has worked great for over three years, and I am sure that the Hd 500 will last for many years to come. Line 6 has created one of the best multi-effects boards ever with the Hd series, and this unit is one of the best! I Highly recommend the Hd 500!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2012
The general tone of most of the reviews thus far echo what i would also go into about this unit. To get your desired tone out of this beast its going to take a lot of time especially if you plan on using this in a studio application as well as a live setting. I have had a lot of success with using the unit for recording and getting quality sounding tones whether it be high gain or clean channels with layered effects. Im still in the process of working out the presets in order to transition this into my live setup but im sure with a little more time it will be my go to effects module for all situations.
One of my few gripes about this unit would be the lack of a power button. Unplugging the unit to turn it off worries me only because over time the input is sure to become loose and i have read where several people have had this issue on the line 6 forums. I would suggest running a separate power bar for this unit and using the switch on the power bar to turn it on and off to maybe help delay the wear and tear on the input. If youve done your research and are aware of what this device is capable of then i promise you its worth the purchase but if your more on the entry level side of effects use this unit might be a bit overwhelming in terms of basic setup so be prepared to be patient in learning exactly how it works.