POD HD500 review by Line 6

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  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (29 votes)
Line 6: POD HD500

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use — 9
The free editor software is key to user friendly, easy patch editing. The on board menu isn't bad but it's much easier on a computer. It does seem easier to coax a better sound out of this unit than it has been with the older/competitor's models as far as I'm concerned. Like most modelers there is some tweaking involved but it doesn't take nearly as long as it used to since all the models sound better right out of the gate. The new amp models are a big step forward for Line 6 as is the added flexibility you have with patch editing and control combinations. The new editor software is kind of like a combination of Gearbox, Line 6 Edit and POD Farm. It's really well laid out in my opinion and is much more accessible than using the device it self's menus.

Sound — 9
There is a lot more feel of depth and warmth to the sound on the HD series. I heard it runs about 10x the sound information at any given time compared to their previous models and it definitely shows. You can build the setup of your dreams now that you can load any pedal type in any quantity (DSP allowing of course) and in any order. The amp sims sound great. There are less of them than on the XT/X3 units but quality over quantity is certainly the case here. They've always done pretty well with the mild/medium distortion and clean stuff in my opinion but came up a bit short in the high gain department when compared to the sims real life counterparts. I like the fact I can use both pre/post distortion EQ's and noise gates now, it really helps tighten things up without a lot of additional processing like I would have to do with the older models. The only thing I wish they would have done is given the option to use multiple mic models like Guitar Rig does, but other than that every gripe I had with their previous units is solved.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't done anything live with it yet but it seems pretty sturdy. The switches do feel a little bit cheap I guess but they are really responsive and haven't failed yet. Live I would guess as long as you don't spill beer all over it or jump straight onto it you would be fine. There are plenty of different output options to fit whatever you need. I've tested them all and they work like a charm as long as you are using the proper settings. I only mark it down to an 8, which is still good but not perfect, because I haven't tested it live but I think it would hold up. I bought mine used online from a Guitar Center in IL and I don't what or how the previous owner used it for but it didn't have any cosmetic damage and everything works like it should.

Overall Impression — 9
I think it's a great step up from their previous lines. They went back to the drawing board and re-coded everything for an entirely new experience sound-wise and you can make it control exactly how you want it to with the assignable switches. For people on a budget like me I think this is a great option for anyone who needs a wide variety of sounds or just wants to dial in a few specific sounds. I'm actually pretty blown away by it. I've tried pretty much all of Line 6's gear as well as their competitor's stuff and to me this unit is a fantastic value for what you can achieve with it. I haven't tried the latest Boss pedal or the Axe FX hands on but I have literally tried every other similar product and this one is by far my favorite of the bunch. It is pretty much exactly what I wanted the jump from the XT to the X3 to be, minus the option to use multiple mic sims as I mentioned earlier.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    DONT BUY THIS "expensive" piece of S**T, i bought one (pod hd 500x) and send it back to the store. It have very bad quality cheap sound when you using it on amp. What you pay in this price is so many inputs and outputs (like mic input and many others....) solid hard case,red light around buttons and led screen. When it comes to the sound it dont worth a s**t Dont belive videos on youtube which are recorded with bunch of cables mixers and softwares. I found some videos where you can hear what it really sound like.
    You can get better sound out of ZOOM G1xn which is 5x cheaper SAVE MONEY AND BUY SOME REAL EQIUPMENT!
    The POD HD500x is designed to work with PA systems and monitor speakers. If you do plug it into an amp you need to use an effects loop to bypass the amps built in preamp. The fact that you seem to think using the four cable method is some sort of Voodoo tells me you didn't understand this and likely would never be happy with any tones you would get out of the device. Comparing the POD HD500x to the Zoom G1xn is just ludicrous.
    I have a question...Can I use this unit in any way to get the sound of an Ampeg VH-140C, as used by Gorguts, Suffocation and Dying Fetus? If so, this unit would be perfect for me, as I can fine tweak everything for my cleans, rhythms and leads and have the solid state sound. I know this is actually solid-state itself, but all the clips I've seen sound rather valvey
    You do have the option of running just the pre-amp version of every model thus taking out the modeled power amp stage. Going this route does sound a bit less "valvey" and also saves on DSP. I'm not familiar with the bands or amp you mentioned but I'd be willing to bet you could get pretty close. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you had their exact setup you would not sound exactly like them. A certain amount of any guitarists tone comes from how they play, they way they finger the frets and strum the notes. I could play on Eddie Van Halen' rig and unless I play every single note exactly as he did it wouldn't be the same.
    As a bit of a follow up to my review I should mention that I typically find one amp/effect I like in each category and stick with it. I'll pick the 1 clean amp, 1 crunch amp and 1 hi-gain amp I think sound the best and stick with them. Same with the effects pedals. Narrowing down what works/sounds best for what you do is so much better than constantly flip-flopping around. I got little to no actual playing done on the XT/X3 pedals because of this. Granted they did have so many more amp models to choose from so maybe the overwhelming selection was part of the problem. Just a tip for any new comers to Line 6 or just modeling in general, wish I had someone to give me that advice years ago!
    I love my POD HD500 but like many others are confused by the on board editing. For this reason I only edit patches using my Mac. I also bought a cheap Windows 8 tablet and use it for editing on the fly when I play live.