POD HD500 review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (30 votes)
Line 6: POD HD500

Sound — 9
When first plugging into the HD500, one is immediately struck by how easy the POD is to navigate. The 100+ M-class FX include 19 delays, 17 distortions, 23 modulations, 12 compressors and EQ's, 26 filters and 12 reverbs. In addition to those, the HD500 provides looping, harmonizing and pitch shifting. It also has 512 writable preset locations and the factory presets, unlike many units, are actually quite usable for the amateur or professional alike. The simplicity and flexibility of the HD500 is pretty stunning. The instantly routable signal chain and MIDI system combined with it's rig storage feature is an impressive demonstration of it's formidable memory. These features and others make it extremely user friendly.

Overall Impression — 9
All in all, Line 6 has done it yet again with a great little electric guitar multi-effects processor. The price of the HD500 is reasonable considering what it offers. With an MSRP of $699.99, the HD500 is a little pricey relative to similar items. However, it is equipped with a few more bells and whistles. While amplifier modeling will continue to be a hotly debated topic, the tones are rich and the effects are dynamic, fun and impressive. Expecting it to make your Peavey solid state sound exactly like a Fender Twin Reverb is probably an ill-conceived excavation into the impossible anyway. However, I must admit that it's interesting to listen to how close they do actually get. That being said, I think it's fair to say that most would agree that there is no replacement for the real thing! I recommend the Line 6 POD HD500 above it's peers because of it's quality, simplicity, flexibility and durability. Enjoy! By Josh Hiken

Reliability & Durability — 7
That being said, consensus definitively depicts the HD500 as more suited to the studio than for live use. This is something that Line 6 has arguably struggled with throughout it's illustrious tenure as a leading and innovative manufacturer. Within the laboratory setting of a studio recording session, it really shines. Live, the tones seem slightly less than the the warm, crisp and full-bodied sounds that Line 6 boasts them to be. However, it is superior to many of it's competitors in this arena.

Ease of Use — 9
The Line 6 POD HD500 is a multi-effects processor and amp modeler designed for the electric guitar. Line 6 has been dazzling players for over a decade with their pristine approach to amplifier modeling and effects functionality. The HD500 conforms to and in fact, surpasses that tradition, in many respects. However, the debate as to whether an effects unit can truly achieve an accurate recreation of some of the worlds most beloved amplifiers rages on. Line 6 boasts that they have accomplished just that by including 16 of the most vehemently adored amps such as the Fender Twin Reverb, Marshall JCM-800, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Fender Bassman among others. While it may be impossible to perfectly mimic the character of these iconic amps, Line 6 displays impressive feats of wizardry for getting as close as they do. Therefore, it becomes an almost moot point as the quality of the effects and tones are so high that unless one is really expecting a true replica, they will be very pleasantly surprised by the variety, functionality and user friendly capabilities of this little unit.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    How would this fare to a Vox Tonelab SE?? I understand the price differences, but does this trump the vox in most aspects?
    The HD500 is perfectly suited for players who have to cover several different styles. I play in four bands with radically different repertoires, and things have been a lot easier since I began using the HD500. That said, I find that my tones are usually "just-about-there", especially since the lead guitarist in one band is playing through a for-real Fender tube amp (I run my unit thru a ZT Club). I'm not particularly fond of the compressors---wish there was a little more detailed control of attack and ratio, and the distortions seem to digital-ize when I'm playing at volume. Of course, that may be as much a consequence of the amp's solid-state pedigree. with respect to convenience and flexibility, though, it gets two thumbs up from me. The ability to move the effects blocks around in the chain (an upgrade from the HD300 and -400) is extremely helpful, and the durable build of the unit is a plus as well.
    I guess it's a nice FX unit for guys who play covers in a bar or do lots of progressive stuff. With all due respect, for someone who wants to play metal at a large venue, I don't think this thing will be of any use, but who knows. I know amp modelling has come a long way, but why emulate if you can get your hands on the real stuff? Again, players on a budget (which are many) might find this terrific but if you can shell out that extra, it's better to go with a real amp!