POD HD500 Review

manufacturer: Line 6 date: 09/08/2014 category: Guitar Effects
Line 6: POD HD500
POD HD 500 is the product which let amplifier modeling arrive at the totally new level.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Ease of Use: 8.6
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (5) pictures (2) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
POD HD500 Reviewed by: RichieJovie, on november 15, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: The HD 500 is the top Floor POD currently out. It is a relatively straightforward unit to use if you have previous knowledge of Floor multi FX pedals. I bought this to replace my Boss GT5 that had done over a decade of sterling service if not more. The basic patches are all fine and give you a general idea of what you can get out of it. I rarely use a units presets as they are never what I was looking for. This unit does come with a USB connector and an editor for using on a computer. This is far more useful than the small display on it. As I already use POD farm 2 this editor was nice and straightforward to use. Drag amps and FX to where you want them in your chain. I advise using the Editor, it is just so simple when you do. // 8

Sound: I use a variety of guitars and amps depending on the jobs I am on. This is one of the reasons for buying this unit, I wanted so variety in my set up. So far I have used the unit, straight into the desk, straight into my small Blackstar combo then mic'd as well as in the FX loop of my Cornford MK50 Stack. It sounds fine to me and allows me to have some fun FX as well mess about with real ans simulated amp tones. Guitar wise I use, Parkers, Les Pauls, Strats amongst others and it seems fine with all of those. You want to sound like your favourite artists? Go to the Custom tone site from Line 6 and download the patches, super simple. Click Click click click click... you are Steve Vai. The majority of the sounds are great although I have found you do need the noise gate on pretty much everything just to reduce any hiss. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Seems to be built like a tank, so so far durability isn't an issue. I case all my gear anyway so it is protected from the rigors of use. It will be off on a European tour shortly so I will find out just how well it stands up to a heavy touring schedule. I have used this straight into the desk and with a few tweaks here and there which are very simple to do it has been absolutely fine. I have had Line 6 gear before and never really had any issues and I'm expecting any now. fingers crossed this is the case. // 9

Overall Impression: My styles vary dependent on my employer at the time, so I can literally be going from Maiden to 60's R&B from night to night. I wanted flexibility without having to lug tons of amps and pedals about. This unit so far supplies that. I have been playing over 30 years 20 as a professional so I have owned more gear than is good for me, this I am hoping, will be a long term companion as certainly the tones are all there. The one thing I wish this did have is the boost facility that Boss used on a few units so when you get to a solo you just stomp on it and it raises the level by a few db. That would be helpful but I can get by without it. If you have the money and you want a cool unit with lots of FX and a looper, buy it.

// 9

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overall: 8.3
POD HD500 Reviewed by: KenG, on april 04, 2013
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 529

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Ease of Use: The answer to this question is more easily answered if you use the online support. The support provides the "Line 6 Monkey" app for a PC which will check your POD for current versions vs what's available & handle any updates should you allow them. No issues and my POD was quickly updated via the USB interface. Secondly editing on the POD itself seems OK but downloading the free Edit application which again uses USB is a no-brainer. Driving this puppy on a PC is a snap with a very intuitive graphic user interface. As for manuals, well they saved a few trees cause you don't really get one, but while you're downloading the free support apps Monkey & HD500 Editor, you can download PDF versions of user manuals for both the POD and the Editor. If you don't have a PC or MAC you're missing out on the support end. I'll start the tone discussion here simply by saying the provided presets are nothing but a showcase for the effects and models capabilities. If you like some of the tones though you can start with them and edit form there vs starting from scratch. // 8

Sound: 1st of all I want to state that while you can technically plug this into a normal guitar amp, and there are settings to support this, you will never get the full benefit of all the DSP modelling of the selected amplifiers by using it in this way. So I bought this intending to run it into a full range, flat response (FRFR) powered speaker system. This IMO is where the unit shines. I'm currently running it into my M-Audio Powered Studio monitors and if I ever use it live I would be investing in FRFR powered speaker system or into the PA direct. The system is quiet even if I don't use the noise gates available, even with high gain settings. There are many effects and all can be reordered in any position before or after the amp/pre-amp. All are quite tweekable, often more so then the originals they're modelled after. Again the quality of the effects are quite good but I want to emphasize that I disagree with this unit being classed as an effects unit. It is an amp modeller with effects and the amp models are quite different from one another. The amp models often allow for tweekable controls for Bias, Sag, Hum and other "old" tube amp characteristics. Any amp can be combined with any available cabinet style as well and the tonal differences are immediately apparent as are the the microhone selections and positions! These three things (amp, cab and mics) vastly alter the sounds you're hearing. There is another support forum called "custom tones" which you can share your and other user's custom presets. I'm still learning all this thing is capable of, and if you want to get the most out of it, you'll have to study and practice how to use it but I've already made a few custom tones that are very different from one another and more easily accessible with the built in pedal board than my Vox which is more limited in many respects. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Well it seems to be ruggedly constructed, and all metal. I'd think it would hold up well live but again accessing the 256 user programmable presets or 256 factory presets (altered or not) will take some practice. One of the reasons I choose this model over the desktop HD POD or rack mounted PRO version is this has all their capabilities but doesn't require an expensive addition of a foot controller, it's built in. The USB controlled Editor more than makes up for any issues you'd encounter trying to program it standalone. The XLRor TRS outputs are meant for PA, Powered monitors or FRFR speaker systems. I haven't bothered to use the headphones out, I enjoy the sound from the studio monitors too much. // 7

Overall Impression: I'm into various Blues periods, rock from the 60s on up and whatever I like the sound of. I've used Tube Amps all my life, and only recently got introduced to modern modelling. Before buying this I spent the entire Xmas holidays trialing amps (Egnater, VOX, Fender, Blackstar, Jet City etc. etc)and I found each had a good sound unique to that amp. However at my budget the smaller versions of these amps also had some limits. I finally decided that for me, good modelling will get me "close enough" to many of these characteristic sounds, at lower volume levels, than any one tube amp ever could. The best modeller IMO is the Fractal Audio and I've read good things about the Kempler as well but those units are 4-5 times the cost of this one and not being a pro, I had a choice to make. Why the HD500 and not the HD300 or HD400 you ask? The price difference between the 300 and 500 is ~$150. For that difference you can get more effects turned on at once, dual amp sims running in parallel, and more foot switch control. The only thignI wish this had was more DSP power. When trying to run to amps in parallel and run effects loops in parallel as well (some effects only in one chain some in the other) I did run into resource issues. Any two amps in parallel with a more simple effect chain seems fne however. Probably my favourite feature is the free Editor for the PC for using and the amp models for sounds that are much more distinct from one another than simple tone controls can give you. If you want a ton of different amps sounds at your command, and plan to use them, then this unit & possibly it's siblings coupled with FRFR speaker system will give you it at a fraction of the price of the top of the line modellers. If all you want need is one or two good sounds, or loathe learning to control new technology, then maybe this type of unit isn't for you. I'm a old dog but I'm still learning. // 9

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overall: 8.5
POD HD500 Reviewed by: SkinnyMusicTV, on december 07, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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 // 9

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overall: 8.8
POD HD500 Reviewed by: unclescrooge, on february 14, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: Guitar Center (used)

Ease of Use: Okay... I'm a geek and setting up and performing with this for me is easy. Granted I am almost 50, and love technology and to me hooking this HD500 up to my laptop, firing up the Line 6 HD500 Edit software and tweaking sounds until they are to my liking is something I enjoy however I can see some people losing patience with the multitude of settings and the billion and one combinations of effects, amps, cabinets, mixers, etc... That one can run through this. Since I run my software weekly I get the latest updates and that includes sound samples that I can find and download from the Line 6 site. Editing a patch can be simple if you take it in steps. Come up with a process and stick with it. The manual, especially the guide to the various amplifiers available to you is quite impressive. You only need to remember that you will rarely go through them all if you played a week of gigs in different genres. I have found four that I like, one for each genre and I stay with it. Like I said, I would definitely buy this again only this time I would get the newer version. I bought this one used from GC and it was in immaculate condition. I love this thing. I can't give it a 10 because... well because nothing is worth a 10 really. // 9

Sound: Soundwise - I love the thing. It matches my country, metal, punk, blues and jazz versatility from night to night. I love the fact that I can tweak any sound the pedal board comes up with and make it my own. The only drawback was somewhat addressed with a previous update - the sound drop off from one effect to another. It's more in-line switching from the device's preferred settings for a Variax over a plain jane guitar. Once you get this little bug resolved, or get the update, you have a great device. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have had this for over a year now. It's been on cruise ships, airplanes, on beach stages and on normal smokey bars. It's constantly performed well. The lights work and my only complaint is that my old man eyes are making it difficult to read the content in the 2. 5"x 1. 75" LCD black and white screen. Since it is a solid state device, the only thing that we've had problems with is the headphone jack when my dog stepped on a plug I had in it and bent the connector. It now has a slight short. That's not a manufacturer fault... It's my fault to letting really big dogs near my system. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a number of types of music depending on gig, mood, or who is paying me. I have been playing for more than 25 years and gone through stomp boxes, multi-effects pedals, modeling amps, and hosts of other tools that come to market trying to cut down on my footwork during a gig. The Pod HD500 goes a long way to helping me with this. I like having the ability to have two versions of a TS-9 setup. One with max gain and one with less gain but more tone. If this were stolen, I would definitely buy another but I would get the newer version. What I love about it is that I do not have to carry multiple power supplies, replacement batteries, multiple connection cables, and my favorite feature is being able to use a Park, a ENGL, a Mesa Boogie, and many other amps... And run this directly to main bypassing my own need for an on-stage amp/cabinet. I love this one more than the Boss GT100. My only wish for this is that I could move the USB connector so I can hide the cable better. // 9

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overall: 8.8
POD HD500 Reviewed by: mattbarden, on september 08, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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