Line 6 POD HD500

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Facebones, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Facebones

    Facebones SS.org Regular

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    Alright, I'm a bit new here, and I was told to contribute more, so what better way than to write a review! So here we go.


    I bought the Line 6 POD HD500 a few months back. The idea behind this was to replace all the amps I had accumulated and kept getting tired of. Every amp I got was better than the last, but left me wanting. So I thought to myself: self, you need a way to have a bunch of amps, so if one doesn't sound like you want, you can move to the next. Introducing, the POD HD500.

    Ease of Use: 4 (4.5)

    I can't give this a 5, even though I wanted to. It's fairly easy to get started on this, go to the spot with the amp, start changing. Unfortunately, it can be difficult at first to figure out the dual amp function; I stumbled upon it with a combination of frustration and luck, but once figured out, it's simple enough. Using the knobs alone on this is not the best way to get around; I recommend hooking it up to your computer!! That's right. It's so much more simple on the computer you'll never want to mess with the knobs again (well, maybe a little). Once connected to the computer with Line 6 Edit, everything is laid out plainly and is fairly easy to comprehend. The only problem I have is the dual amp function, I still have to use the pedal itself to get two amps up (there may be a way otherwise; I haven't found it), but after that you can use the computer for both amps, and it makes it much easier.

    Features: 5

    This deserves a higher number. Just looking at the specs for it show you that it has enough features to confuse and bewilder you in no time. Many of the effects aren't what I would use, but everyone is different, and it most certainly will keep you entertained. It has every output and input you should need (for most of us) and more than likely more than you will use. But that's good, the more options the better. Plenty of amps, cabinets, mics, etc to find the tone you want. The only thing that perturbs me is that with all the features they give you, you get a tiny paper manual that really isn't all that helpful. You can either figure out the POD yourself (which would take a good few months at least) or you can download the actual manual off of Line 6's website. I wouldn't try printing it at home though, you'll likely go through 50+ pages by time it's done. Also I like the expression pedal on the HD500, but it seems a little hard for me to control, but that's probably more attributed to my lack of experience with expression pedals than anything else. The only thing that I don't like is that due to the processing power of the POD HD500 it can only have about one or two other effects when dual amps are being used. It is a little annoying, and doesn't bother me, but it could bother you. The tap tempo isn't particularly useful to me, and neither is the looper.

    Reliability: 4

    I give this a 4 for one reason only. One of the plastic buttons on mine is a little loose, not the knobs, the buttons next to the screen. They still work fine, but something tells me they aren't supposed to wiggle. As long as it doesn't affect the function, I'm not going to whine about it, but I do worry that it may one day cease to work. Reliability to me is being able to have no worries that it will stay together without incident. Although on the other hand, the unit itself feels very sturdy and I wouldn't worry about using it on stage, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of it dropping. The thought brings about images of plastic knobs breaking off and making it useless. Overall sturdy but doesn't have the "indestructible" feel to it that most of us would enjoy. (Rest assured the stomp buttons feel quite capable of handling your pounding foot, but I still wouldn't push it to the limit; that means curb stomping the hell outta it while all excited might not be the best idea.)

    Value: 5

    You can't argue the value of this product. Your getting a ton of amps, pre-amps, effects, cabs, mics, etc. for the price of one amp, easily! Every time I'm dissatisfied with one sound, I can move on to the next, or modifiy my existing one, without needing a whole new amp, guitar, or pedal. Being able to get updates on it just puts icing on the cake. Using it via your computer.. fantastic! They even offer a demo recording program for free from another website to use with your HD500 (although I've yet to get it to work, as I am not literate in the field of recording software..)

    Customer Support: N/A

    I have not yet had to use it, so I can't very well comment, but I have heard a few good things and a few bad things about their CS so it might be a half and half thing.

    Expressiveness/Sounds: 5

    I have to admit, at first I was worried. I knew most pedals sound like crap, so I've never been a fan of them. But I plugged this thing in, found an amp I liked, did a little this and that, and BOOM!: the sweetest lead tone I had ever had the pleasure of producing. Everything I played was so smooth, it sounded like a professional was playing through my speakers. I was flabbergasted, yes, flabbergasted, by a pedal sounding better than my own amp! Through computer speakers no less! Only the most discerning ears could possibly be disappointed. Warning: some setups involving your computer, or the speakers you use, will cause a noticeable delay between hitting the string, and the sound arriving through your speakers. It might only be 50-100 ms of delay, but it can be a hindrance (especially when playing fast passages and the sound is coming 4 to 8 notes late). I do own a pair of speakers that don't do that, so I'm not sure why the other speakers delay. Quality headphones are a sure fire way to avoid that problem (as well as keep the noise down). I don't find the speaker issue to be a fault with the HD500, so it still earns a 5/5. Also, this problem is not an issue when used through an amplifier, but the sounds you make through a computer speaker will not sound the same through your amp. I say this because it's likely you will use computer speakers to create your sound, only to go on a stage and find out it sounds different. If you plan to use an amplifier often, make your sounds while playing through it, otherwise you'll be left wondering what happened to that perfect tone you spent 30 minutes to an hour creating.

    Overall Rating: 4 (4.5)

    I love my POD HD500. I have actually been selling my amps since the acquisition of this unit. Every time I put a guitar in it, I make a new sound for it, since each guitar sounds different, it only makes sense. This will be in my arsenal for many years to come, and hopefully then some. If you can afford it, and haven't been satisfied by any amp yet, I urge you to get one of the HD Series Pedals, even if it isn't the HD500. I only wish I had gotten this before my last amp, it sounds better and cost less.

    (For those of you curious, it sounds just fine with my 7 string, no shit-tone when using that B string, provided it has adequate tension of course, flabby strings will inherently sound shitty.)

    Specs of the POD HD500 so you don't have to wander around the internet to find them:

    POD® HD500


    • 16 HD Amp Models
    • 100+ Effect Models
    • Up to 8 Simultaneous Effects
    • 512 Preset Locations
    • 48-second Looper
    • 1/4" Guitar Input
    • 1/4" Aux Input
    • XLR Input + Microphone Preamp
    • Variax Digital Input (VDI)
    • MP3/CD Input
    • Unbalanced 1/4" Outputs
    • Balanced XLR Outputs
    • 1/4" Stereo Headphone Output
    • S/PDIF Output
    • 1/4" Stereo FX Send/Return
    • 5-Pin MIDI Input + Output/Thru
    • Expression Pedal
    • Aux Expression Pedal Jack
    • Chromatic Tuner
    • Tap Tempo
    • Assignable MIDI Footswitch Controls
    • USB
    • L6 LINK™
    • Software Editor/Librarian
    • Metal Chassis, Pedal and Footswitches
     
  2. exo

    exo SS.org Regular

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    Snagged one a week ago, and after an hour of playing with the stock presets (dude...it can make my guitar sound like the organ at a baseball game, for pete's sake!), decided to check out the recto model. I've heard tons of bands get great tones with a real Recto, but have never been able to dial one in for the life of me any time I've tried one in a store. Well this thing, it was go to the patch, change the cab sim, change the mic, and BOOM!!!! pure magic.........it really was THAT easy. Stunned.............
     
  3. Facebones

    Facebones SS.org Regular

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    Glad to see you had the same ease of use I did! :shred:
     
  4. JayFrantz

    JayFrantz SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the review. I am looking at buying one next month to replace my Boss ME-20. I can get good sounds with the ME, but just not the extra that Line 6 offers with the HD500. I guess I am trying to get the TesseracT tone on a budget. Is it possible with the HD500 to get this type of tone for distortion, mods, and delays? I am sure it is, I just want to make sure before I put the money down.
     
  5. Levi79

    Levi79 SS.org Regular

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    I can't agree more with everything you said man. The only thing about it that makes me irritated is the fact that tones sound alot different recorded than they do live. At least that's what I've noticed. I have some pretty awesome tones, but when I go to record them they just sound bad. We should share patches!
     
  6. hereticemir

    hereticemir with a Tuna sandwich

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    I just brought this little monster myself and i am lovin it. only thing that suck is i can't figure out the sitar sound yet but all and all good purchase
    :yesway:
     
  7. exo

    exo SS.org Regular

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    With regards to the OP's comments about delay/lag thru a computer: it's definitely significant. the easiest solution I've found (and I'm using Reaper, so I don't know about other programs) is to set the program up so that the HD500 is both the input and output device, and then run your speakers from the headphone out of the HD500. It'll route ALL the computer audio thru the 500, so you cna monitor yourself or play along with an mp3 or youtube vid, etc..., and it does away with the lag/latency.
     
  8. GATA4

    GATA4 Banned

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    Great review dude, thanks.

    How's the fizz on this thing?

    My PODX3 is a fizzy little fucker and it gets annoying to have to work around it (even though I do love the thang). Did they get rid of that signature L6 fizz?
     
  9. CRASHER369

    CRASHER369 SS.org Regular

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    This thing has a kickass noise gate, the fizz will dissapear :hbang:
     
  10. ohmebarnacles

    ohmebarnacles SS.org Regular

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    as amazing as the HD is, it still has some weird "line6 fizz" that especially becomes prominent when you're working on a mix, listening to your tone over and over... :wallbash:. prominent is a harsh word in a way though cause it isn't really noticeable.. prolly is a workaround around it cause Dino Cazares :hbang::hbang::hbang: stated that he recorded Fear Factory's The industrialist using “Ibanez guitars with Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups, going to Line 6 Pod HD direct into the computer” and the tones are pretty much awesome.. :bowdown::bowdown: I own an HD 400 and i get decent tones.

    Note. HD 400 was a big mistake.. difference between HD 400 and HD 500 in my country is about $150 and I didn't know that the main difference between the two is that in the 500 you can mess with the signal chain a whole lot unlike in the 400... :scream::scream::scream: dammit.
     
  11. MontaraMike

    MontaraMike F Sharp

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    Just picked up an HD 500 yesterday YAY!

    BUT I f'cked up my forearm at work (already have bad tendonitis, carpal tunnel and arthritis) and need to lay off playing for a while... no had a chance to use my noew toy! TORTURE!!!!!!!
     
  12. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    My mate had one of these, he used it as his computer's soundcard/interface for a while as well. I do a similar thang with my Pod HD Pro.

    These are good little units, if you don't want anything else in your chain they can be really effective. For the $700 or so they cost here they beat most others in terms of value for money.
     
  13. tacotiklah

    tacotiklah I am Denko (´・ω・`)

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    I picked up a B-stock HD300 (I'm not super big on effects, so that has more than enough of them for me) for $250 on MF and have been happy with it ever since. I tend to like to run it through my rig and mic that up, but I love having the XLR output so that I can run it into my interface that way, or even just use the HD300 as an interface itself. I love how on the L6 website people upload their tones and you can find some REALLY good ones that way.

    My only gripe with the computer editing software is that it doesn't fit to screen (nor can you adjust it to do so) and has no scroll bar, so I can't get down into the bottom functions to edit them (like the wah and volume)
    Everything else is easy as pie to edit and tweak to my heart's content. I found it really cool that for about a grand, I was able to score a nice amp head, a good cab, and one of these pedals. Best investment I've made yet. :yesway:
     
  14. HammyM

    HammyM Hamish

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    I bought the POD HD 500 around two weeks ago and its amazing! I've had multiple simple BOSS pedals etc. but the POD out shined everything ive had the pleasure to play with. I have already got a few decent djent tones and a good more ambient tones that sound great playing live. I've only had one band practive with it so far with it and i plugged it straight into the PA, and its AMAZING. the clarity in all tones is astounding. Can't wait to play a gig with it!!!
     

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