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February Giveaway

Line 6 POD HD500 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 49 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Ryan Sloan

    The Line 6 POD HD series changes everything. High-definition is truly the word because the POD HD500 sounds phenomenal! For this series, Line 6 has re-done all their models from the ground up - for the first time in nearly a decade!

    The HD 500 features 16 different highly sought-after amps.  We’re talking about amps from Fender, Mesa Boogie, Bogner, Diezel, Marshall, Vox, and more.  It’s your own amp museum encased in a tank-like enclosure. Add in all the models from the M13 effects stomp box and you've got one of the coolest guitar products on the market!

  • Ian Angle

    When I played through the Line 6 POD HD500 for the first time, I was blown away by the number of options that I had available to change my tone. Not only could I dial in the effects from my M13, but there were a whole slew of amp models to beef up my tone. This is an unbelievably powerful and flexible tool for any guitarist's rig.

  • from Asheville, NC May 14, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer

    Sound Men Love Me Again

    I have used big combo amps almost the entirety of my career. Often I played in bands with another guitar player or two, and a volume fight inevitably ensued. I started using line 6 gear back in '05 and have been very happy with the stuff I used most of the time. Sound men liked the fact that I did not need to crank an amp to 11 to get a good signal, but they generally didn't like the tones I got (a speaker DOES sound different, no matter how much processing a direct signal goes through)>

    I bought the HD-500 basically because I wanted to eliminate the need to carry a direct box around. I got that and SO much more.

    The factory presets are fairly good, despite what others have to say about them. I found a great Fender Deluxe preset and was able to make it sound the way I wanted with just a bit of tweaking. Some of the more high-gain presets are not very good, but they provide a good starting point for creating your own sounds.

    The real test for me is live through a sound system. I plug this thing indirect and the sounds coming out of the mains are AWESOME! I have worked with quite a few super pro sound men in recent months, and they all rave about how good my guitar sounds without an amp. They also like the total lack of onstage volume coming from my rig. The hardest thing for me to do has been to get all my preset levels the same, and that hasn't been all that difficult.

    My only complaint with the HD-500 is the power supply. I like the fact that it has an internal voltage regulator and adapters for playing in other regions of the world. The problem is with the connector. The old units have an L-shape connector and this one is straight. That makes the connector easy to step on and break. I have already done this once and had to order a new power supply. Perhaps Line 6 could change that one thing. Everything else about the HD-500 is near perfect!

  • from Marweutte, MI April 24, 2013Music Background:
    Audio engineer and hobbyist

    Amazing! Especially if you take time to get to know it!

    Such a great product! I was able to set up every single sound I wanted within the first day. It's so easy to switch between different presets. It feels limitless what you can do with this thing. The only thing better would be owning all the amps and pedals that this emulates! Plus when you dig deep into it and understand all the subtle things with the settings you can really make it your own!

  • from March 19, 2013

    All in one

    Best All in one product for home training and recording.
    I have all connected with the pod. PA, headfones, guitar, mic, computer.
    All with quality connections.

  • from Dallas, TX March 17, 2013Music Background:
    Home Recording and Production, Live music, Hobbyist

    Blown Away!

    I've owned the pod for about a week now, and I am absolutely blown away by how good this thing sounds as well as the level of control I have over everything. It honestly sounds like I went out and payed thousands of dollars for a room full of amps and effects pedals. I thought I was going to need a new set of pickups in my used strat, but the pod has really brought it to life - I'm getting tones from my strat that I didn't think were possible. And with my Epi with the Dimarzio in the bridge, metal sounds unbelievable. I really like how extensively I can configure and control effects and amps, with the ability to assign them to individual foot switches, or even multiple pedals to one switch, to turn them on and off at will, and in combinations, and then easily switch to a whole new preset with no latency. I also like how I can configure the expression pedal to control not only volume and wah, but nearly any parameter of any effects pedal or amp.

    If you want to own literally thousands of dollars in professional equipment -and big names like Soldano, Hiwatt, Mesa, Fender etc - but don't wanna pay the price for the huge array of hardware, you must own the pod hd500.

  • from São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil February 14, 2013Music Background:
    pro musician

    Caccia

    I set up a home studio to produce my songs depending on less than professional studios. I use Pro Tools and the POD 500 manages to transform my guitars and bass giving the necessary arrangements without amplifier tones, directly on Digidesign's console. The result is amazing! I recorded my last two CDs this way and go to external Studio just to record the vocals and return to the mixing and mastering.

  • from Orlando FL. February 3, 2013Music Background:
    student 2 1/2 yrs

    SICK!

    amp modeling is AMAZING!!! look no further for a multi fx pedal this is it and its very easy to use.

  • from Beckley, WV November 30, 2012Music Background:
    Praise and Worship Leader

    Line 6 POD HD500 Rocks!

    I love this pedal. It does everything that anyone would ever need to be able to do. The only thing I wish is that I was a better guitarist.

  • from Utah November 29, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Exciting

    I'd read a LOT of reviews before purchasing this item. I heard a lot of negative things said, and I for the life of me can't understand how someone can't love this unit. The amp and effect sounds are simply put, magical. They have that spark, that something that makes an effect more than just an effect. It makes it an extension of expression. Just like the amp models as well, very musical, very versatile. TONS of creative freedom and possibilities. I think those that do give it a bad review are simply playing the presets and expecting things to sound awesome. I'm here to tell you, that wont be the case. Everyone has a different setup. Tweak a bit and you'll find what you like. The presets just show you possibilities.

    But, the thing I love most here is that Line 6, on their website has a centralized location to upload Patches you create. You can then download them. It's a nice archive that is easily searchable. It has over 4500 patches to date. A lot of user created tones are TONS better than the factory patches.

    The computer editor is the only way I'll ever be editing a patch on this thing. Very easy.

    I also plan on picking up the GT-100 and comparing the two. But given how much I like this unit, I think it's got tough competition. I've been able to program in any sound I want from this thing. From singing leads to chick'n pick'n patches, spacious reverbs to whacked out synth and filter sounds. Even crackly 8 bit sounds.

    I don't do any live work, but I do record and this will be the perfect companion for recording. Very glad I picked this unit up.

  • from Painesville, OH November 17, 2012Music Background:
    hobbyist

    awesome capabilities

    Easy to use. Offers a huge range of tones and user settings. Great sounds. Everything in one package.

  • from Killeen, tx October 8, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, not pro, but more than a hobby.

    HD500

    Blown away by the customer service. My board stopped responding with the expression pedal, I called my rep Robert Johnson, he had me a shipping label to send the board back, and another one in the mail the same day.

  • from Portsmouth,Va.USA September 29, 2012Music Background:
    Pro musician, recording enthusiast

    Line 6 HD 500 Multi Effects

    I've tried other effects from stomp boxes to Quadraverb and the HD 500 surpasses them all. There is absolutley no coloration of my amps sound when using just the stop box feature and the downloaded patches of various artist are so lifelike it's hard to belive. The learning curve is relatively short compared to other multi-effects. It's rugged and good looking. It's laid out well so that it is easy to use on stage. All in all the HD 500 is worth every penny I spent.

  • from Indiana July 13, 2012Music Background:
    Musician

    Even better than I expected

    I did my homework before I purchased the HD500, so I had high expectations. What I didn't expect was how easy it is to use. Moving patches from one bank to another, customizing sounds: it's much more intuitive than I had thought it would be. I've finally found the pedal that gives me the sound I want without having to earn a degree to use it. The editing software is out of this world. The And the looper? That's the icing on this very delicious cake. Absolutely excellent product.

  • from United States June 25, 2012Music Background:
    Tons and tons

    Ridiculously Good!

    Having gone through a number of FX/AMP sim solutions (Boss/Roland, Guitar Rig, etc) and coming up wanting I was getting a little desperate. Owning a $1500 boutique amp was out of my price range and my desire to have multiple sounds would mean paying that kind of money several times.

    So behold the Line 6 POD HD500! I owned a table top pod but sold it, so I had some experience with Line 6 products. However this did not at all prepare me for the awesomeness that the HD500 provides.

    Starting with the Amp modeling I can say it is extremely 'playable', I say this as a unique complement as most FX pedals lack any real dynamics. As someone who spent most of his life as a keyboard player I can liken it to when keyboards started to come out with velocity sensitive keys. Also, the authenticity of the Amp sims is beyond realistic.

    Moving onto the FX, I do like to play with a lot of weird FX in my music (as well as tradition blues and rock), and in my research I read a lot about how the HD500 was lacking in this area. I honestly don't know what those reviewers were smoking because the unit has amazing FX with a wide variety of combinations and variations. The computer editor is easy to use and there are tons of patches out there if programming is not your thing. The only disappointment I have was that the lower row of foot switches is not assignable to FXs and is used to control the looper and patches.

    Navigating patches is easy and intuitive. The construction is solid and sturdy, the foot switches are responsive and the expression pedal is decent (I think I would of preferred a little more throw on it). I do really like the FX button under the expression pedal. It has a very interactive feel.

    As for the buying experience; I buy a lot of gear from a lot of places. I am addicted to the "daily internet deals" and do tend to do a lot of impulse buys. With that said, I enjoy buying from Sweetwater more than any other retailer and even more and more of late, I have been seeking to buy from them before others. The 3 payment deal is VERY convenient and my sales rep is VERY accommodating to the way I like to buy my gear. I can say if you see something for sale elsewhere give your Sweetwater rep a call cause he/she will probably match it.

    In summary, this is a solid unit that sound absolutely incredible at a very reasonable price point. Anything less pricey than this will not even come close to it in terms of sonic quality. And if you are going to buy it, buy it from Sweetwater.

  • from Columbus, GA March 13, 2012Music Background:
    Self-taught

    Groovy is what this thing is....

    I would write a detailed review... but I cannot stop playing through my new Sweetwater POD 500 (with the Line 6 DT 25) right now.

    So, that is my review. I hope you get my point. This thing is.... my newest best friend.

  • from Joplin, MO USA March 9, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-Pro

    Tweak it!

    I recently bought the Line 6 HD500 out of a desire to trim down my rig somewhat and prioritize as far as what I needed and what I didn't, and to give myself a bit more flexibility with tone shaping. After quite a bit of tweaking of the settings and exploring the available options, I am completely satisfied that it was a fantastic purchase. The sound quality is quite good, and amazing if you take the time to customize your settings a bit. I think that is paramount. I read several reviews on the HD500 before buying, and I think that some of the negative reviews are a result of expecting to just plug in and wail. While that is possible with some of the presets, you'll benefit a great deal from reading the online ADVANCED manual. My HD500 came with its default settings tailored to direct out to a mixer or PC. Had to get into output settings and put it to "Stack Power Amp" since I was going to be playing it through my half-stack, skipping the preamp of my amplifier and using the HD as the preamp. This will make a HUGE difference in what you hear. I know for many of you this seems obvious, but from some of the reviews I've read other places, I think a lot of people are not aware of the degree of flexibility available in this device - and as a result aren't realizing that to get the best sound for YOUR SETUP you will have to customize a few settings. I read a professional reviewer bemoaning the fact that the presets on the HD500 were all overblown and didn't sound good on his system. I was amazed that a professional reviewer was ignoring the fact that on MOST multieffects units the presets are for the most part meant as an EXAMPLE of what you can do yourself. The key is doing it yourself. Of course the people at Line 6 aren't going to have your Pod all set up for your specific genre/rig/preference when it comes out of the factory! Tweaking should be expected (and in my case, relished)... that being said however, I have owned many multi units over the years and the HD500 is the FIRST one to feature any presets I found "usable" for my own purposes. Yes, most of my sounds are custom-written, but there were a couple of factory presets that I simply pulled over to my user set list mostly unchanged.

    Also, to the guy below wondering about swapping presets.... I may have misunderstood your question, but if I didn't misunderstand then yes there is a way you can do that. When you save your preset, it allows you to use the knobs to select between a destination set list and patch number. Just spin to where you want it to save then hit save and you're all set!

  • from Lima, Peru March 8, 2012Music Background:
    guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer

    I didn't trust amp modelling

    Super machine. I'm a professional guitarist/singer who bought the unit for working on some specific gigs.
    I love the modelling amps specially the Bogner, Engl, Mesa and Fenders...I almost forgot the tube feel of my Marshall combo and play with the POD all the time. Other things I like from a pedalboard are delays, wahs and dynamics..and the HD500 has all what I need.
    Solid construction and almost all the imaginable INs and OUTs...just one thing, it would be nice if in future software versions Line 6 incorporates the ability to use two independent stereo OUTs one for the amplifier onstage (1/4 jacks) and the other (with cab simulation) for the PA (XLR jacks)...both at the same time...it would be simpler to have a good live sound for a working musician like me.

  • from Perth, Australia December 24, 2011Music Background:
    Semi Pro Musician

    a fantastic piece of equipment

    i researched this thing before i bought it, watched youtube vids etc... i couldnt wait to get it and i was not disappointed at all. i already had a Yamaha multi effects unit which was very old (17yrs) and i just couldnt believe how this thing changed my sound. with the greatest of ease i got such amazing sounds i never thought would be possible. the only thing i would love to see, and i hope im not speaking out of turn thru not having read the manual properly or whatever....is it does need a "swap" function for patch locations... that would make life easier.... but wow guys, you really nailed this thing

  • from October 9, 2011

    HD500 Ulitimate Tone Machine for the Rest of Us

    I got this unit about a year ago. I have not been a Line 6 fan in the past but after being impressed with the M13 effects unit I thought it was time to give their amp modelling another shot, especially after learning they had started from scratch with the HD series.
    I was not disappointed. I have tried modellers by various companies in the past but have always been disappointed and gone back to lugging around heavy tube amps. Not anymore!! I got rid of my Mesa Boogie Mark V back in the spring and haven't looked back since. I play the HD500 through a Bose L1 Model II personal PA which I also use for my vocals. If you are just playing guitar I would recommend the L1 compact by Bose, it's lighter and easier to set up than the model II (which is still pretty easy) and it's about 1/3 the price. The other guitar player in my band just got rid of his previous set up and moved to the HD500 and compact. I have read some reviews where guys say the compact can't cut it in live bar venues, I'm here to tell you it can and it can do it easily.
    Not everyone can afford an Axe FX Ultra plus floor board, now you don't have to, the HD500 rises to the occasion to give you all the tones you could possibly want. I absolutely love messing around and creating patches. You may have to spend a little time setting up all the parameters to work with your rig, this is why I suggest the Bose, I think it just gives you a head start.
    You may not see all the amps that you hoped for modelled in this unit (YET!!!) but everything you need to get great tones is in this unit and there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat. Use you ears and experiment, it's fun and rewarding.

  • from iowa October 2, 2011Music Background:
    semi-pro

    the answer to your tone problems

    I like many have spent thousands of dollars on amps and pedals and pickups trying to find my sound. I've owned peavey amps and many others. I even owned a spideriv and was not impressed do to the fact the tone sounded scratchy and the gain was thin at high volume levels. And it had no fx loop. I've always liked my metal muff so I bought a bugera 1960 due to the reviews of this amp and how good the cleans were. I missed the flexability of the spideriv so I bought the hd500. It took awhile to learn how to dial in tones but when you run the pod through the fx loop its a whole different beast. My bugera 1960 doesn't have a master volume but the pod does. The 1960 isn't high gain. The pod is high gain. I've since been using the pod at practice and gigs for about 3 months now. I'm getting some of the fullest tones with the thickest distortion I've ever played with. We recently did a show and another band was running a 6505+ and a duel rec. And my tone sounded fuller with a better low end than the amps they were using. Its all in the pods output adjustments. Untill you get the outputs adjusted right the pod is a hard beast to tame. I use the stack front setting even though I run through my amps fx loop and I use the direct switch setting on the top even though I'm running into the amp. Basically there's no right or wrong way to use it. Just do what sounds good to your ears. Its really a awesome piece of gear and every firmware upgrade gets better and better. If you do buy one upgrade the firmware immediately or you'll be dissapointed. Trust me this thing is awesome and can do about anything. If you always dreamed of owning a professional switching system but never had the money the podhd500 is the answer.

  • from ARKANSAS September 30, 2011Music Background:
    hobbyist amatuer recordig tech

    completely mindblowing

    pod hd 500 is about the best processor i have ever used the presets are great i haven't found any that are not totally useful to expand any musicians horizons i'm blown away

  • from Port Saint Lucie, FL September 20, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer, amp repair Tech....

    Playing out Live and Studio work is painless and great sounding

    I play out over a 100 shows a year, and run Void Studio.. This unit makes it all easy. No more carrying amps to gigs I run str8 into PA. After setting sounds through the PA we use it makes my sound right no matter where we play.. Even on those days when Pressure and humidity effect your sound this unit sings clear.. I had a issue with solos not being loud enough and not wanting to have to hit multi buttons, so I set a eq effect with turn on by my wah toe switch along with wah. I almost always use a wah for solos to get the tone I want for that song.. This fixed my problem, it boost signal and turns on wah,, awesome... So instead of taking an amp and sitting it behind the stage with a mike I just use my monitors so I really hear what the crowd hears.. This unit is a problem solving tone powerhouse.. Not to mention recording in the studio, or that I have barely started to tap into the sounds etc... Oh make your own sound presets, theirs are good for hearing what it has in it but not many of them are useable in a real situation..

  • from Eugene, OR September 2, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Church Musician

    Very Versatile...

    There is allot you can do with this device... I have had mine for 4 months now and I have barely scratched the surface of things that can be done and sounds that are possible from this.

    I am still discovering new things about it 4 months later after purchasing it. I use it mainly in church and run my Acoustic and Electric guitars through it. Before I purchased this I checked out allot of youtube videos and knew it could do more than I needed. My only thing about it was verifying that I could run acoustic thru it (which you can...) Use no amp and you could add effects to the chain along with EQ... I have got compliments on my guitar sound with this device... I would recommend it for somebody looking for allot of features, and seemingly unlimited sound possibilities.

  • from Colorado August 17, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    pod hd 500

    This thing delivers on everything it promises and then keeps giving you more!!! This is the only multi fx unit I have used that is just as good as if not better than having a bunch of fx stompbox pedals. Fully customizable, and easy. I set it up just like my regular pedalboard and replaced everything, and that's just one of the available 4 easy access presets!!! This IS the pedal board replacement!!!

  • from WV, USA July 28, 2011

    Very impressed

    I was hesitant at first that they had removed some of my previous favorite amp models from the X3 series, but I was so happy with the new models and was able to dial the exact sound I wanted in anyway. The HD modeling is a huge step and the playing dynamics were exceptional.

  • from Moriah Center, NY June 6, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Semi-Pro Musician

    Amazing! Still learning

    Amp models are amazing! Effect models are amazing... I agree with all the other reviews... The presets stink... Not worth even trying... Just go to a blank preset and pick and amp! It sounds so good! I'm still learning it... I've created my sounds via the HD500 edit software... Seems easier than on the unit itself... However, it doesn't ship with a manual (which stinks in my opinion) How do they expect you to know what to do? It's easy enough to get though... Just go to line6.com and download it... My guess is they saved a ton of money in printing costs... But with that said, other than that this thing is great! Switches and housing are much better than the discontinued X3 live... Love this thing! Get one... you won't be sorry...

  • from Boston, MA May 10, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist, hasbeen

    Made me fall in love with playing again.

    I've never used it in a live situation as I don't play out and actually don't have many friends. I used to play out back in High School and a little while after, but that was a long time ago.

    2 years ago we had a baby, and being able to crank my amp, and getting all my effect pedals out and setting them up just sort of became more of a chore. Being able to plug directly into this unit and record this way, with such a world of guitar effects and amp models to choose from has literally changed my life. I'm playing more and generally have a better outlook on who I am. A lot of myself is connected to what I do with music, and not having been able to do that for so long, I didn't realize how much I was affected by it. This HD500 is a Godsend. I really only went into the guitar store looking for an amp with a headphone jack (none of the best ones have that feature) and I ended up finding myself again. Thank you Line 6.

  • from Vina del Mar, Chile! May 1, 2011Music Background:
    Guitarist, Home Studio Production

    POD HD500

    As a guitar player who has record albums and uses a home studio now, I've been searching for a digital guitar tone for years, specially because the amplifiers are too expensive, and when I got my POD HD500, I came up with the tone I was looking for in like 1 or 2 hours after I start trying it at home!! since then I've been navigating through all the different amps and all the other features, and I must say it's been a really gratifying experience. Now I can record directly to my DAW and get a very organic, clean, natural almost microphoned sound! I sent an audio sample of the guitar tone to a friend, just RAW recording, and he thought I had recorded that with a microphone directly from an amplifier, THAT'S HOW NATURAL IT SOUNDED, and he studies music and music production, so HE KNOWS about SOUND QUALITY, he was amazed by the sound. This may vary from one user to another, and that maybe because of the EQ he uses, or maybe they just don't know how to make real sounds. But as far as I'm concerned, this POD is the most ORGANIC-NATURAL-CLEAN sounding one. THANKS to line 6 for putting a smile on my face, it's been years and years of tone searching, and now I'm finally HAPPY! recommended 11 out of 10!!

  • from Fort Wayne, IN February 6, 2011Music Background:
    hobbyist

    pod hd500 rocks!

    This product is amazing. The amp emulations are spot on. It sounds great in front of my fender super-reverb but even better through the tech 21 sound engine my sweetwater rep recommended. The m-effects sound better than my line6 m13, especially the uni-vibe, and virtually all of the compressor and distortion effects. It's very easy to customize. I especially like the ability to assign virtually any parameter, including amp gain level, to the expression pedal.

    Most of the presets include with the product, and those on the customtone.com website are worthless (with a few exceptions). You really have to just take some time to try out all of the preamps with various effects and find what you like and dont like.

  • from San Antonio, TX January 21, 2011Music Background:
    Recording, guitar, semi-pro

    Fantastic Unit (forget the presets)

    I love this thing. I bought it to replace an older amp emulation unit and midi foot switch, and I couldn't be happier. Let me just say that the presets are awful. Ignore them and go right to an empty set list and start with just an amp. You'll be surprised. Then just throw on a compressor at the front and look out! Very flexible...especially with existing pedals. My only gripe is that some of the effects and amps will zap the DSP fast. It's a little underpowered for some applications. Other than that...you can't go wrong with this! Is this like a real amp? No. But it's the closest thing I've seen yet. It does seem to respond to dynamics a little more.

  • from saint charles, IL 60174 October 9, 2010Music Background:
    Professional Session Guitarist, Private Guitar Instructor.

    This is it.

    First off. You cannot judge this unit by walking into a store and browsing through the presets. Just like every other product of this kind the presets do not do it any justice.
    I have spent a few hours with this unit using the Line 6 POD HD500 Edit and have already nailed the sound I was looking for and started recording with it. The effects are an amazing improvement over the X3 and the amp models and for lack of a better term more "present" and "in your face". I've tried every unit out there but this hands down beats them all in terms of quality, flexibility, durability and sound. I love it!

  • from San Diego, CA August 19, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-pro Musician

    HD500

    I was going to give it a 4 star rating...but then I did a gig with my old board (GT-8). I realized how great the HD500 sounds. You MUST spend time getting it to do what you want. But there is no shortage of videos and blogs to help. There is a place where peeps share the tones they have created, so you dont have to be a programmer. Amp sounds are sooo good! So real. No fizzy overdrives and distortions. Just legit great sounding patches. I play rock, country, jazz, pop, funk, whatever (tho no metal).
    I am so glad I got this unit. If you have looked at the reviews you know it's good. Highly recommend this!

  • from Ft Worth TX March 27, 2012Music Background:
    Semi Pro Musician

    POD HD500

    Bought this as a practice and home recording tool. I was so impressed with the sounds it could produce I ended up picking up a Tech 21 Power Engine and carrying it to rehersal. We ended up playing with it long after rehersal was over.. Sounds great and lots of fun...

  • from Peoria, Il March 16, 2012Music Background:
    Weekend musician

    Powerful Pedalboard

    I am very pleased with the HD500 I bought from Sweetwater. I use it with a James Tyler Variax in a cover band and I am able to sound like just about anybody under the sun. I love the layout of the box and how pedals and footswitches can be assigned to my liking. I have owned a POD X3 and XT before this, so I was able to catch onto the programming pretty easily, but I would suggest having a laptop close by for a while for tweaks to get the most out of the box. I still set up a laptop even at gigs to do minor changes. Our other picker in the band has one too, and we trade sounds we like. the community has many good tones you can grab off the web as well. Very punchy tone--my bandmates constantly comment on how good the box sounds. I run direct through a PA. Not a full 5 stars (yet)...I am hopeful that Line6 provides a software update that adds a better volume swell feature and better pitch bend feature. The options are there but could be better in my opinion. This box is an incredible value when compared to the other fancy processors available.

  • from Columbia, MO October 29, 2011Music Background:
    Gigging Musician

    Ignore the presets...trust me on this

    I've owned some terrific tube amps over the last 40 years most recently a THD Bivalve. I've also been an avid user of guitar multi-effects going back to the 90s with an ART SGX 2000, various Digitech pedals, and over the last 10 years Vox Tonelab. I am fully aware that, in 99% of modeling units, the factory presets are overdone and that you have to commit to deep-diving to find the good stuff.

    That said, in the first 24 hours of ownership of the HD500, I could not possibly have hated this pedal more. The presets are, by far, the worst I've ever heard...I couldn't even find a "jumping off" place to begin to build a tone that didn't just make me sick. I was boxing this thing up do return to Sweetwater when I stumbled across the answer. First I went into the mixer and discovered the pans are defaulted to hard-right and hard-left. When I returned the pans to center, the change was instantaneous and very satisfying...I then went to the Dr Z model with a little Tube Screamer in front, dynamic delay and reverb in the back and the tone came on like a ton of bricks. This is by far the most dynamic, satisfying tone I've ever had...worth the price for this one patch alone. I never knew my guitar could sound this good with the volume at 4...then, just like a great tube amp, it doesn't get significantly louder as you increase as you roll the volume up on the guitar...just more bloom and sustain.

    I now strongly recommend this pedal but, trust me on the presets...don't even bother to listen to 'em. Fix the pan settings on the mixer and start with Dr Z, then the Marshall 800 and Vox AC30 clones...remember that, with effects, less is very definitely more and you'll be in tone heaven in no time.

  • from Seattle, WA September 16, 2011Music Background:
    I have been playing music for over 28 years, recording musician

    Line 6 HD500

    My review probably echoes many of the others here, but I had to put in my two cents. First off, I think it is a bit pricey - I bought mine through a discount club, so at nearly 30% discount, it was not so hard on the wallet; but I can see how the price could drive away many of those "on the fence" of buying it. Price aside, I played through many of the competitor's multi-effect boxes and found the sound of this one far superior to comparably priced and touted products on the market. Functionally, it is a bit cumbersome to navigate through all of the functions; I watched a few YouTube vids and downloaded the edit software and all of that and it helped quite a bit, but it is not as easy to create and manage effects ("user-friendly") as I would like it to be. But, once you understand how it works and the edit functions, it gets much easier to program and use, but takes some time messing around with it on a technical level - this took quite some time for me, but I not much of a tech-head.
    Things I really like / love about this product:
    First: the sound! The effects and amp mods are great. I was able to get a lot of really great sounds out of this. For those of you who are running the box through a guitar amp, consider turning the amp mods to their "pre-amp" state only - that way your amp can still shine through - this may be the cause of some people;s reviews of sounding muddy in some situations. I run it through a very simple low-watt class A amp, and it sounds amazing.
    Second: I really like that you can add and assign a second expression pedal to sit next to the box; this adds more functionality and versatility to the unit - again, it takes time to undrstand the assigning /editing, but once you get it, it is pretty darn cool.
    Next: LOOPER!! This function blew me away. I had played with some looper machines that cost $200 or more and , although the looper on the HD500 isn't as long or as many fnctions as a "stand alone" looper box, 24 seconds of real-time loop (48 of 1/2 time) is awesome. This function opened up many more doors of creativity for me - instantly.
    Finally, the unit appears well made, strong and sturdy, and looks cool, too.
    So, other than the cumbersome learning curve of editing and programming (which is necessary for a unit that has this many functions), I would have given this a 10 of 10; not sure how they would / could makeit more user-friendly, but that would probably open this product up to more consumers. Other than that - this thing is awesome!! I am so glad I bought it and would recommend it to any of my (even most-discerning) friends.

  • from Phoenix May 28, 2011Music Background:
    Pro level guitar player, Electrical Engineer

    Maximum Control and Value with the DT50 Amp.

    I am very impressed with the way this pedal interacts with my DT50 amplifier. It provides the front pre-amp plus relay control for topology change of the amp's tubes. My favorite patches are the Fender Tweed & Black Face, Mesa Rectifier, ENGL Powerball, and Bogner.
    When combining Mesa Rectifier (Treadplate) with topology 1, I can get a very useful sound reminiscent of the good old Mesa Boogie MK1.
    On the minus side, the factory patches are less than desirable, (some must be a technical joke), and this makes the unit extremely difficult to tame. You will need to dig deep into the manual to get away from this complicated mess, and create simple MONO patches for the DT50. Also, I own a Line 6 POD X3 Live, and IMO, the POD X3 it is far superior for direct recording than the HD500.

  • from Ohio January 15, 2011Music Background:
    Plays for Fun. Recording Engineer

    Love It

    This is an awesome unit. Finally found the tone I was looking for and then some. IMO this unit is possibly one of the best effects units I have ever used.

    Positives
    The Amp model are outstanding.
    Line 6 website for Shareing patches is awesome (down load over 50 keepers).
    The programing software is intuitive and works great.
    Did I all ready say it sounds great!

    Negitives. There are few but here we go.

    The preset did nothing for me big disapointment there, however the Line 6 website saved the day.
    The lack of a power switch. You have to plug it in everytime you go to use it, if it is not on a power strip.
    This last one is strange and may not be the unit, I had some weird issues with a couple of braided cable I use in my setup. They work fine for everything else but when I plug them in to the guitar input port the rig squill and crackles badly. I've have a cable tester and both cables tested fine. They also work fine as an output to the amp. I have plenty of cables so I just used a different one and have not had an issue since.

    Final thoughs. If I would have gone to the music store and tried this unit out on the floor, I would not have gotten it, because the preset did nothing for me. Once I download some of the patchs from Line 6 I fell in love with it.

  • from NJ January 10, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Best all around multi-effects/amp modeler

    The amp models are fabulous. Ability to put 2 of them in parallel make it even better tonally. I haven't owned or even played most of the amps modeled, so I won't try to make the case that they nail the originals verbatim. However, more important to me is the fact that they are warm and very responsive. Rolling back your volume varying your pick strength and all stylistic nuances seem to come through like a real tube amp. I really love the Dr Z route 66 model, so warm, responsive, full bodied, yet with lots of clarity
    Most of the effects sound good. I say most, as some of the effects it models, I don't care much for the originals, so why should I love a modeled version? I would say, that I probably like the delay effects in the TC Electronic Nova System a bit more, but in all fairness I owned the TC for quite some time, and I haven't spent as much time tweaking the POD delays. Anyhow, the Pods sound fine to me. The number of effects, the ability to use them in any order and combination, and their overall good quality, makes this unit all the more versatile.

    I love the ability to put the effects in any order and the ability to have more than one of the same effect type in the same preset. Most other multi-effect units let you choose one delay, one reverb, one modulation, ect. Not that I'd typically use more than one of the same type at the same time, but for organization, I might like to have my basic amp sound and the ability to turn on and off say a tremolo, a phaser, and a chorus within one preset, instead of needing three.
    I'm actually glad that presets don't have a A/B channel option, as it is much easier to have a separate preset when changing amps.
    Noise supressor is awesome, simply select it and 90% of the time you don't even need to adjust anything and nothing cuts out.

    Having used it live, I'm glad I purchased it. It changes presets with no annoying click or cutting out, though I wish the delays trails would spill over when changing presets, though they do spill over when turning on and off with out leaving the preset. The lack of preset spill-over doesn't leave a very noticable "I just turned my delay off" sound.

    I love the ability to assign the footswitches to control anything I want, in any order, per preset. I love having the tap tempo on the bottom row, as it's the only button that I need to hit multiple times in a row. It is a tad close to the volume pedal, but you get used to it after a few uses. Don't get why so many others put the tap tempo in the back row. For me, I use a lot of delays and I'm constantly tapping on it with the song tempos and like to keep my heal down when doing multiple taps, as I would lose my balance a bit standing on one foot.

    It's fairly easy to tweak on the fly live, if you've spent some time getting comfortable with how to use it. Balancing preset volumes or stompbox distortion volumes with each other and clean has always been something that I've needed to tweak during sound checks all the years I've been playing, as each basic tone, will cut differently through a mix then it does when balancing when only you are playing. To do a quick adjustment of this on the POD, you spin the volume knob, look at the screen (which shows a notch where your saved volume is) and turn it a tad more or less as needed, then hit save twice, done. Maybe two seconds longer than it would take to spin the volume knob on a real distortion stomp box. Note though, that while you might only use a few different basic amp sounds live, if you have them copied to several locations so you can combine them various combinations of delays and mod effects, for example, you'll need to make those last minute tweaks on many presets. Thus, the more presets you use in one concert, the harder it will be to do last minute tweaking. I generally find that 4 presets is more than I need access to in a concert. You could always, run an analog distortion pedal in the effects loop to use as your main distortion, which would cut down on live tweaking, as any adjustment that you make to the external stomp box would affect every preset that uses it. If using two amps in a preset, you'll have to hit a couple more buttons to adjust volume, as the volume knob will adjust the volume of just one amp at a time, affecting to balance of your two amps in parallel, not just the overall volume of the preset. I was still able to tweak this fast enough.
    The one thing I don't like that no modeler can ever achieve, is that if you use it direct, you don't have a real amp blasting behind you. In addition, if the PA colors your tone in a negative way, it colors 100% of your tone, as opposed to only a percentage of your tone, as much of the guitars volume in a concert that reaches the audience comes straight from the guitarists amp.

    As far as how it sounds through a guitar amp, I like the ability to turn on and off the cab simulation, as well as the ability to use only the preamps of the amp models ( not the power amp), and then plug the Pod into the effects return jack, bypassing your amp's preamp and just using its power amp. However, don't expect what sounds good when playing direct to sound as good through your amp, or expect what sounds great through your amp to sound great when going
    direct. Make separate sounds for use with and amp and for use direct.

    The 48 second looper is a great feature for practicing, as well as the ability to put your guitar down and walk in front of the stage to hear what you sound like there. It's also useful when tweaking your tone at home at lower volumes, as hearing your electric guitar resonate (it's unplugged sound) combines with what you are hearing from any piece of equipment. Hit the looper and instantly know what your tone sounds like without its unplugged sound coloring what you hear (as it would sound once recorded or from a distance from your guitar)

    Only issue is that there is a limited amount of DSP. If you like to use two amps in parallel, you might run out of DSP if you try and have 8 different effects in a preset. Some effects use up more DSP then others. While you might not think you'd use 8, remember that a noise supressor counts as one, (and a noise suppression works best with a compressor in front of it) that's two. Activate the volume pedal, that's three. Add something to boost the volume, and that's 4. EQ that's 5. Try to add a reverb, a delay, and a mod and there's a chance you'll run out of DSP. However, as the amps take up the most DSP, when using only one, you won't run out of DSP. Keep in mind that you'll know whether you pass the DSP limit when trying to add effects to your preset as it will say so; it's not something that's going to happen to you by surprise
    I also wish the POD had a basic clean volume boost effect. However, you can easily set up a compressor to do a basic volume boost without compressing that much should you not desire it.

    The key to this unit is a little patience and putting some time into tweaking. A lot of people complain that there is a learning curve to these multi-effect device, However their would be the same or even steeper learning curve if you owned all 16 amps and 100 effect pedals and were trying to figure out the best combinations. I've owned a Vox Tonelab SE (the big blue one) and a TC electronic nova system, and this is better than both in almost every way. It manages to feel large and sturdy, with the footswitches being spaced well, but small and light when transporting. There's no other multieffects device or amp modeler that can compete with this thing. Best option out there for someone that desires or needs to play direct.

  • from Du Bois, PA October 10, 2010Music Background:
    Worship Arts Pastor, Songwriter, Guitarist, etc.

    POD HD 500: Amp Sims to die for... but not the flexibility of the X3Live... for some...

    Got mine from Sweetwater this afternoon. Candy in the box is always cool, btw. Thanks for that.

    Before we get started, I am more "pro" than amateur. I work at a church as a pastor of Worship Arts and use this in my work. But I hesitate to say I'm only "pro", because "amateur" means you do something purely for the love of it... and I feel that way about music... So...

    First... the models I've tested are far and away more realistic to my ears than other modelers I've used, which includes Logic Studio's amps (these sound almost as good btw), POD X3Live and XTPro (the HD models are noticeably better... and the fizz is GONE GONE GONE), the original POD and 2.0 (which sounded the same to me and made me happy at the time), and the ToneLab SE (which I missed for a while, but not anymore).

    I made a few patches for one of my guitars based on having a Bassman 4x10 alongside the Dr. Z, and it is the coolest sound I've ever made with this guitar... easily. Better sounding, to my ears, than the real amps I've been using (maybe because I put them off stage and don't run them very loud). I ADORE the sound of this unit.

    Oh, and as always... forget about all the pre-sets. They're probably all as useless as you imagine they might be.

    Now the bad news. And it's significant... for some...

    First off, editing is clunky like it was on the XT and X3Live. Just forget about trying to use the display. Connect to a computer... Seriously. When you start from an init patch, you only get lucky, it seems, to manage to coax it into "two amp" config...

    Next, The functionality of this unit is exaggerated by it's specs. You will almost certainly NOT be able to do 8 FX at once the way you're thinking. Why? Let's say you use an XT or a X3. think about what you're used to.

    You start with 8 FX

    Subtract effect banks for...
    1. volume pedal (you need to use an effect bank). You might be able to use an analog pedal, but I like my volume after my compressor... so I have to do it in the loop I guess...
    2. FX loop (only works with an effect bank... Line6, is there any way you can make this always active in a firmware upgrade? Seems like you could.)
    3. Noise Gate (used to be always available... don't worry if you mix this with the M13 as I plan to do, though, as the M13 has a great gate). I mostly use clean or just barely broken-up amps, so I might be able to skip this.
    4. Wah (this is always available and active in the X3 and below).
    5. Post-EQ. The X3Live had a final EQ before final output that I liked a lot. in addition to all the other FX, too. You need to dedicate an FX bank now.

    SO... you might only have 3FX left. For me, put in a clean boost and tube drive (which I think sound better in this box than they did in the M13. Probably because they're "digitally part of the signal" is all I can think) and a verb for the amp. No slots left. What if you need delay and modulation? EEK! I have to re-think the way I use FX in this box. Still evaluating how that will work for me.

    What if you're a guy like me who was using the X3Live (occasionally) as a one-box solution for a dual-voice guitar. (All my guitars have piezo bridges.) No dice.

    I will have to use an acoustic preamp. No matter. I have one. I will probably dedicate a "null" amp to bring this signal into the unit and mix it.

    In addition, there aren't as many computer-recording routing options as the X3Live, and the SUPER-sweet ability to switch between two FX chains in one patch (instead of switching programs) is gone. As far back as my old Vox ToneLab SE, I could literally switch channels from one amp/cab to another in the same FX chain. You could do something similar on the X3Live. Not here. Also... Line 6, why on earth can't you make the Midi in and out work as a USB Midi interface with this unit? How complicated can that really be?

    In short... the X3Live has significantly... SIGNIFICANTLY more flexibility imho than this unit, for many of us at least, and ought not to have been discontinued imho. For some of you, it's still a viable option.

    You also still might need your other FX!

    I thought it might be possible that this unit, even if I needed to use my AG Stomp for my acoustic side again (which I'm happy to do) would bump my M13 off the stage. Maybe not. At least not all the time. That said, I think from what I'm hearing that some of the FX (especially the dirt pedals) work FAR better inside this box than they do in the M13 when you connect it to a POD or amp.

    My favorite patches so far that I've made (which use the Bassman model and the UNBELIEVABLE Dr. Z model... far and AWAY my favorite amp model EVAH!) don't leave any room for modulation or other special FX. (I'm not a "switch whole patches on the fly" guy. I turn FX off and on.) So I need my M13 after all. And the way I use my M13, having four FX processors with 3 FX available at any time is something I don't think I can live without anyway...

    My rig is not getting any simpler, though... and that is a minor disappointment. The X3Live was a one-box solution for the two-voice guitar I do... Am I complaining? No. Because the sound of this unit is so extraordinary.

    There will, at some point, I hope, be a next-generation of this technology which will possibly address some of the usability shortcomings, but I have to say, for this price, I am totally satisfied with the sound, and have the other gear to add to it to make it totally work for me... BIG TIME!

    In the meantime, am I willing to trade the flexibility of my former rig for the sound of this one? Heck yes, it sounds that good. I even love the models of amps I know I'll never use for the first time ever....

    So... I will likely have a rig consisting of the HD500, and sometimes an M13 (I'm SERIOUSLY thinking of down-sizing that to an M9, but probably won't bother), and an acoustic preamp (currently a Yamaha AG-Stomp) mixed in with the HD signal through the mp3 input or using ONE of the FX to route it through the aux input.

    Am I disappointed? Not really. I'm only nit-picking so that you will know all the trade-offs. For what I have been fantasizing about, basically an M13 in form and function with a handful of amp models shoved in the box, this is as close as we're probably going to come. And, did I mention... the SOUND! It's seriously great!

  • from Austin, MN January 1, 2013Music Background:
    guitar hobbyist

    A fresh start..

    First of all I have used Line6 products since the original bean pod. If you are a user of the previous generations of gear don't expect a easy transition. You will be starting all over and thats it, you can't even just copy the previous patches manually ( allot of the amps have changed and the parameters for the effects are dramatically different..( for instanced for a certain sound you may have used a dual rectifier on your old setup but now you can achieve a closer resemblance to it using bogner or engl..) The sound quality is allot better (no more fuzz). You can do allot more tricks with it when using a variax guitar. The size of it is a bit ridiculous (could be allot smaller). I purchased with the JTV59 and DT25 (ala Dream rig) I do not recommend the DT25. To get the full value of the variax and HD500 go with some sort of full range system (like studio monitors). The DT25 cannot at all do acoustic sounds and sounds very muddled to me even on clean settings.. Speaking of clean tones the HD500 does a much better job emulating Cleaner amps much more lively or sparkly. You can use it like most multi effects boards as is or you can dive in deeper and use the Edit program and mess with all sorts of parameters (like amp sag,decays it varies with different set ups).. a good upgrade overall....

  • from Bali, Indonesia October 18, 2012Music Background:
    musician, producer

    almost to a point where it's perfect

    This is perfect for live, and recording. I run this direct to my interface, or to my mixer, never to my amp or any amp. The FX are good sounding, the best sounding whammy emulation and response I've heard. Make sure you update your firmware every now and then because line6 gives out new fx or amps every now and then. I give this a 4 star because, I wish it had a master EQ, so I could adjust the EQ to match the acoustics from stage to stage, and it NEEDS MORE DSP..but other than that, this unit is highly recommended by me.

  • from Clearwater, FL USA June 22, 2012Music Background:
    Session Guitarist

    Great Amp Emulator

    So far I don't have any complaints for this item, there is one minor thing that I wish could change. The only minor issue I have come across has to do with the looping function and the tuner function. It would be nice if you could make a loop then they pedal would allow you to tune the guitar while playing the loop. Currently, once you have a loop playing and if you try to tune the guitar, you will end up erasing the entire loop. Both other wise its great.

  • from Prescott, AZ May 17, 2012Music Background:
    Jazz performer, composer, publisher, student and teacher of the guitar.

    Early report on the Line 6 POD HD500

    I have yet to fully explore this piece of gear, but the concept of a room-full of effects and amps in one clean, quiet, floor-mounted processor is quite empowering. If you're a gear-freak and love to twiddle, you'll be very happy for hours.

    Let me begin by saying that I'm a jazz guitarist, not a rocker. So the myriad of distortion effects that appear in all the presets aren't for me. Nor are spacey nutso sound effects that obscure the instrument. That stuff might be great for texturing a recording, but they are way too much for a jazz performance.

    What IS useful is the ability to assemble a virtual signal chain of delays, choruses and reverbs through that great jazz go-to amp - the Blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb. My presets are likely to be configured around this amp, as I have little need for a Marshal stack in my world.

    As with many of these devices, the tiny LED screen is barely usable. In fact, I refuse to learn this interface - it's just too clunky. What SAVES the unit is the availability of the LINE 6 POD HD 500 Edit program which runs on a mac or a PC. This interface makes configuring your presets much easier to understand and do.

    Fit and finish are very good. The unit appears robust and sturdy. I haven't dropped it yet, but I hope for a good outcome. In operation, the HD500 is very quiet. That's nice.

    The buttons are silent in operation but take a bit of getting used to. In the old Digitech RP1, you could press a switch to access a preset. If you pressed the same switch again, you'd go back to the PREVIOUS preset, which I found very useful for phrase editing in performance. You won't find this feature on the HD500, which is a shame, but not a deal-breaker.

    When you use banks of presets, you get only four presets per bank. That is because all the other buttons are taken up with other functions. So learning to switch from bank to bank will be essential for the evolved user. However, you get this stuff wrong at your peril. Select the wrong bank/preset on stage and you don't get to take it back. Be ready for moments of comedy - at least among your band-mates. it won't be funny for you.

    The View button allows you to view the Bank number and Preset (A-D) as LARGE CHARACTERS. This is nice for a near-sided old guy whose eyes are six feet away from the unit. Time will tell, however, whether this level of illumination will work in stage lighting conditions. More contrast would be desirable. It would have been better to make the LED black on a red or amber background, for example. Another way would be to have a dedicated BIG red LED in a separate display on the unit.

    In my opinion having access to only 48 seconds of looping isn't enough. It would be better to add more memory to increase looping time (I'd like 5-10 minutes, please), or to do away with this feature entirely.

    Does anyone else hate wall-wart power supplies as much as I do? Why won't the manufacturers LISTEN? A wall-wart GUARANTEES clutter at the power strip and almost guarantees a missing component. THAT means you have to buy two wall-warts because sooner or later you'll lose one. It would NOT have been difficult to engineer the power supply into the unit and save us all a hassle. Grumble....

    The documentation on any such device is VITAL, and I'm pleased to say that the documentation on the Line 6 POD HD500 is very good. Download the complete User's Guide - the "Pilot's" guide works, but isn't intended to be complete.

    That you have to buy an after-market case for the HD500 is a concern. I strongly urge you to get a case for this unit. That way you can keep track of the Pilot's guide, the wall wart and your fire-wire cable.

    Conclusion: For the cost of several good-quality stomp-boxes you can have a room-full of gear in one box. Prepare yourself to learn how to configure it, which means get the edit program from the Line 6 web-site. The tiny LED display and the wall-wart power supply represent a MISSED OPPORTUNITY, as is the lack of a factory-supplied case. But if the sound is your only criterion you'll be happy. It sounds good, and it's quiet.

    Again, I have only scratched the surface, but in a few more hours/days of experimentation, this unit will go on the gig with me. I expect good results and hope for a long service life. Good job, Line 6. Not perfect but very, very god.

  • from Livonia, MI January 2, 2012Music Background:
    Church Musician, Guitar/Bass Rock Hobbyist

    Lots of options...

    I bought the Pod HD500 a few weeks ago and am still getting the hang of the intricate complexity of the unit.

    Let me start by saying that I used the Pod XT Live for several years due to the fact that it suits my needs as a musician. I always found it a bit lacking in regards to overall heavy deep distortion sound and crisp piercing cleans, but still liked it as a product.

    The HD500 is definitely an upgrade from the XT Live. It is so much more customizable and there is a great improvement on tone quality from older POD products.

    I will have to spend hours and hours more time tweaking and setting up the channels just the way I want it, but it will be worth the time. It's hard to find a great tone right out of the box, but it is definitely useable instantly. To get that perfect tone that you want you will have to spend some time customizing.

    I am highly satisfied so far with this product and am impressed with the overall quality of the unit.

  • from Norwalk, CT October 18, 2011Music Background:
    Guitarist, songwriter, recording engineer

    Impressive

    I will start by saying that the HD500 is NOT perfect. But I will continue by saying this thing is an impressive piece of equipment.

    DISCLAIMER: I have yet to play my electric guitar through this thing... So I have zero experience with the amp modeling capabilities, which comprise a good chunk of this device's overall allure for many guitarists. I have played my acoustic through it for hours and hours, and love it! My core requirements were a flexible, controllable, portable, quality, floor-based multi-effects unit.

    PROS:
    Effect quality and quantity is good, covering a wide range of popular (and even some not so popular) effects. I haven't had a need yet to exceed the 8-effect limit. My focus is mainly on time-based and dynamic-based effects, rather than pitchy stuff, so I find the delay options adequate, as well as the reverbs and little bit of phasers and trems that I use. The looper is great, but a little limited - see my note in the "cons" below.

    The UI on the device itself is above average, as I have grown to despise programming units like this using a few knobs and a screen the size of a business card. But I do 99.9% of my programming the HD500 on my PC. What a great experience! The app used to manage effects & params is, like the HD500 itself, not perfect, but still very capable and allows me to get the job done with little effort. The routing capabilities are impressive too, being able to place pretty much any effect pretty much anywhere in the chain and run parallel chains, too.

    The I/O options are plentiful. Besides the digital outs and aux in, of which both have found themselves useful at one time or another... I've found the Mic input to be a valuable feature. To the point that I can use the HD500 to handle my guitar and my vocal simultaneously... I have one program where I use the top row of switches to control effects on the vocal mic, and the bottom row of switches to control effects on my guitar. I maintain channel separation into the mixer so I can control the levels independently.... nice option to have. I wish there was more than one expression pedal input, but you can't please all the people all the time.

    The controls are high quality and VERY configurable. This is of HUGE importance to me. I should be able to assign switches and pedals to just about anything on the device, and with the HD500 that is pretty much the case. Using expression pedal(s) to control effect parameter values, or blend between signal paths - this is a no-brainer to me and the HD500 does it very well.

    Finally I should make mention of the construction. This thing is as well built as any device I've had, except maybe my Erie Ball volume pedal. It's all metal, and can take an average beating, though I wouldn't want to try dropping down a stairwell or anything.

    CONS:
    Above I spoke about all the different aspects of the unit. As far as I am concerned, the only major drawbacks exist in the software.

    I mentioned above that I wished there was a 2nd external expression pedal input (there's an exp pedal on the board and one ext pedal input). Maybe I could use some sort of MIDI device for this; I haven't looked into it. I really like tweaking effect params on the fly.

    The looper needs some work. It's either ON (full volume) or OFF (no volume).... there's no means of controlling the volume via expression pedal. Personally, I feel that with all the effect routing capabilities of the HD500, one ought to be able to position the looper anywhere in the signal path... in which case one could place a volume pedal after it and control the volume. Think about this- using parallel signal paths, the upper path is the looper and the lower path is the main signal. Put an expression pedal on either side, and you could 1) send input to the looper by pressing exp pedal #1, and 2) control the output volume of the looper using exp pedal #2. But I digress. Just seems like this should have been an included feature and didn;t make the go-live deadline.

    There's no global tap tempo capability- meaning, you can't tap 90bpm, switch to a different program and maintain that 90bpm. You need to re-tap the tempo. Silly.

    The config app that runs on your computer could use a little polish. I don;t need sexy-whiz-bang-BS in my user interface. Let me get my job done simply. So I will say the the app IS kinda sexy, but simple things like the order of effects in the list where you can tweak effects really should match the actual sequence of effects in the chain- this can get confusing when working with lots of effects in a program. The control assignment stuff is a little cumbersome to work with; I've head to clear everything and start over a few times, but I'm not sure how the design could be improved upon.

    I wish there was phone support. I called Mackie last week, and in a very short time was speaking with a very knowledgeable tech who answered my every question thoroughly. Line6 only has an online forum - granted, it is a very active community, but I still like speaking with a human being.

    SUMMARY
    I think the HD500 is an excellent device, and a good value (ha, even though I haven't touched any of the amp sims yet!). The pros are many, the cons are few, and hopefully software updates in the future will address these shortcomings.

  • from iowa August 21, 2011Music Background:
    semi-pro

    pretty good pedal

    Basically I like my hd500 if you a person who plays live you may not like it as much as a studio guy. The tones are first class but the pod does not perform well for us metal guys who .play loud. The distortion gets thin and the overall tone gets muddy and falls apart at high volume levels. For a blues,country, or jazz/r+b guy this would be a awesome piece of gear. Even though its not working for me live I see it as a valuable piece of gear for future studio use. The tones and effects in this thing are just unreal. Its defenatly a whole new level of effects processing than what us guitar players are use to. You can use 8 effects at a time. One cool feature it has is the ability to use more than one chorus at a time. You can use a phaser plange and analog chorus and tremelo and pitch shift delay and reverb and eq at the same time. 8 effects at once and any effects you choose. This unit is not for the beginner. And if you buy it your gonna be angry and think you got ripped off or wasted your money at first. It is really a sensitive piece of gear and any little tweak of a knob can throw your whole tone off kilter. If you run mono pan both amps hard left. And make sure you adjust the output settings. And also the amp settings. The key to a good tone is doubling the amps and finding a distortion or overdrive and blending its distortion with the amps. Then add a eq and push the frequencies in the positives not the negatives or you'll loose needed volume for live use. Its more suited fir studio use. The effects loop was a dissapointment also if you run a distortion pedal through it. But for other effects pedals it works fine. Once again its all about volume levels for playing live. I would recommend you buy the hd500 for the extra features like the fx loop and the ability to shut the amp cabs off and turn your mics down and run preamps instead of fullamps. And it you have a amp run it through the fx loop for a better sound theirs really no right or wrong way to run the pedal so expietment with amp and direct or live or combo or whatever you want. Forget the presets and don't pay attention to others user settings because every amp will sound different. Just understand you'll be spending some serious time with this thing to find a tone you like. But the payoff will be worth it. A line6 exec emailed me back and forth 50 times till I got a tone I liked. Their customer service isn't the best. Luckily I met this person on a forum and he was kind enough to help me. If your a home studio guy this thing is gonna solve your guitar and vocal guitar problems and your gonna get some awesome results. You live performers will have to tweek on it awhile to get the results you want.

  • from Central Florida, USA November 15, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician with tons of experience in live and studio work.

    Please take the time to read this...

    Okay - here is my very subjective and poersonal opinion about this new POD pedalboard from Line 6.

    I think the HD500 is ALMOST exactly what all the demos on the Line 6 website say it is. The emulations/modeling has been improved. Some amps/cabs VERY improved and others slightly improved because they got it right the first time all those many years ago back when the POD BEAN was first introduced, or an amp like the AX2 or Flextone.

    I think for someone who NEEDS or just plain WANTS to have the latest and "greatest" then this POD is for you. I've also read many coments about just a 15 minute test drive is not long enough for something of this design. I AGREE 100%!! What I would suggest is that anyone interested in this unit BUY IT from an online retailer with a PAYMENT PLAN AND a GREAT RETURN POLICY!! Places like Sweetwater, American Musical Supply, SameDayMusic and any others of this level of flexibility and return policies.

    Then once you have tied up not ALL of the retail price, but a PORTION of the retail price for at least 30 days, you then have that much time from the moment the unit arrives at your home to give this unit a GOOD THOROUGH Test drive. Anything less than...READING the poorly written manual for starters, to pulling all the amps and cabs apart within the unit, hooking it up to your COMPUTER via Line 6 Monkey and EDIT software to REALLY EXPLORE what this unit CAN DO, and judge NOT JUST on the factory presets.

    If this method is done properly - anyone will know without any doubt if this unit is the right unit for them. This will also allow others to post better comments about how the unit works, how it sounds, how it intefaces with any other gear, etc.

    I've been a very satisfied Line product owner/performer since 2003 when I bought my first Line 6 Vetta combo amp. Personally I think this and every other piece of gear offered by Line 6 falls far short of the capabilities of the Vetta and I would have rather seen the company explore more with the Vetta line instead of dropping it, but that is just my opinion.

  • from Birmingham, AL November 25, 2010Music Background:
    Outlaw Country Musician

    HD500 Great at home, Live not so much

    I bought the HD500 at GC (sweetwater did not have them yet). Once I had it home I ran through all the patches, made a few of my own and even downloaded some available around the net. The thing sounded awesome at home but when I played the first gig I noticed the sound would just not cut through the mix, seemed muddy no matter what I tried. Also, there is an annoying sound spike sometimes when switching patches, It happened 3 or 4 times during the show and I could not figure out what was causing it, it was almost like the last note played by the guitar regenerated using the next page, even though it was not making any sound before switching patches. 1 show was enough, I took it back for a refund.

  • from May 31, 2015

    Has developed a glitch

    I don't know why, but all of a sudden I'm getting error messages from Pod HD500X Edit, and the display on the Pod itself shows the Line 6 logo, but is stuck in a start and restart loop - that's all it can do. I'm sure Line 6 has some answers for this, but for right now I will have to rely on my Pod X3 Live; at least I know it works... and it's reliable.
    I do recall seeing other reviews relating this same problem, so in some ways I was forewarned. It looks like a few bugs may still need to be worked out. Line 6 is a great company, but this is something that really shouldn't be happening.

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