Hey guys, it’s Brian here from World Music Supply again, here to bring you your regular does of guitar and gear reviews. In today’s blog I got the chance to review the Line 6 POD HD500 Pedalboard, which is a floor version of Line 6’s POD HD. POD revolutionized the recording industry a few years back, taking the power of an entire arsenal of guitar amps, cabinets, and pedals and shoved it all in a little red kidney bean. Flash forward to the POD HD, when technology finally got to a point where they could take all the things that made the first POD so great, and make it even better. They did more then map the sound of each amplifier; instead, they actually digitally replicated every aspect of the amplifier, from simple things like cabinet noise to more complex ideas like how a tube amp sags at higher volume.
The Line 6 POD HD500 is the top of the line floor unit available right now for Line 6. With the ability to have two separate rigs running in parallel, run a microphone through the foot pedal, and even control almost any other current line 6 products directly from the HD500. I conducted my test of the HD 500 with a few simple pieces of gear, I tested it with my standard test rig, a Fender Fat Strat, and a Randall RT503H, running straight through a P.A cabinet, as well as a purely Line 6 rig, so I could test the effectiveness of the hyper connectivity of the HD500. Set up was easy, you just plug in, and play. There are tons of presets ready to go, and no matter what you play, there are atleast one or two that will suit your needs, I mean there are even a few really convincing synth presets.
Playing through a few of the standard presets it becomes readily apparent that these models are as close to the real thing as possible, this impression was readily apparent when it transformed the standard tones of the Randall with its gritty rock and roll attitude into a near perfect imitation of a Bassman, changing the settings on the HD500 readily transformed the amp from what it really was, into a great imitation of what I wanted it to be. Whether that be a Marshall, a VOX, or any of the 16 powerful amp models that are inside the HD500, through a standard guitar amp, they all sound as close to the real thing as possible. The actual best way to use this board in conjunction with a standard guitar and amp is to use the pedal board as well…just a normal pedal board.
The number of effects within the HD500 is immense, all of them are either fantastic imitations of famous boxes, like tube screamers, octavers, and the like, or original effects designed by Line 6, usually taken from either their tone core pedals, or created just for the POD HD. Using the HD500 as a pedal board is a fantastic use of both your favorite amps, and of the massive amount of power within the HD500.
A better use of the amplifier models within the HD500, is to run it into a standard P.A. as suddenly, the models sound perfect, the bassman rather than sounding a lot like a bassman, sounds, and more importantly, feels like a bassman. The Marshall, sounds and feels like a Marshall, with the volume control sensitive gain stage, the push and pull of the power tubs and the range of screaming tones, to the softer subtler sounds when you roll back the volume. These models do so much more justice to their namesake when they are run through something transparent like a P.A or mixer.
last in the test, was to run it with pure Line 6 power. This meant that I was now playing a Variax guitar, and running the pedal board out to a DT50 amplifier. This setup worked far better than the last two, with the cool part about it all being, that the DT50 can be programmed along with the HD500. Suddenly you can press a button and change how the actual digital models in the DT50 respond to the digital models of the HD500, working in unison to replicate the feel and sound of each model. Alongside this however, there is the Variax, which can also be controlled via the HD500, which allows you to control the models within the guitar, so with the push of a button, you can change not only your amplifiers, and your pedals, but also your guitar. You can go from a spanky 1968 Tele tone running through a Fender Bassman, with a simple slapback delay and some room reverb, to with the click of a button, suddenly you really are playing a 1952 Les Paul Gold top through a raging Marshall, to a Guild 12 string in a big cathedral, even a Danelectro Coral sitar playing through a weird 70s style synthesizer effect.
The long and short of it is, Line 6 made the POD, they then made amplifiers which worked like, or in unison with the POD, and now with introduction of the POD HD Live series of floor processors, and their extensive line of Tube and Modeling hybrids you can replace amounts of gear that would fill up anything from the spare room of your house, to the better half of a recording studio, with one or two amps, a floor board, and a guitar or two, and because of that, the heart of this modern arsenal of electronics, the POD HD500 earns itself easily a 10 out of 10.