The latest range of HD Pods from Line 6 have had some major work done on their amp models, with sixteen to choose from. The same sturdy construction and familiar layout apply so no massive surprises for the dedicated Line 6 user. For those who aren’tm its all pretty logical to use. The new amps are represented as bothfull amplifier with choose from 16 cab models plus mic types, or as preamp only so you can feed your own power amp. In the Pod HD500, there’s also 100+ stomp models to choose from giving a massive array of sounds to choose from. You can also run two amp models in a singe patch - something that people who can afford it have been doing for years - its a pretty effective combination. The amps can be run together (panned and mixed to taste), or separately - assign a footwsitch to flip between them for a radical (or subtle) tone change. Also new is the 48 second, mono Looper (24 secs in the other HD models) which can be inserted pre or post effects.
There’s plenty of routing options too with guitar, aux, mic and Variax inputs all available as amp sources. Its possible to have two sources simultaneously and route them into two separate amp and/or stomp paths - so two guitarists can play together each with independent sounds, though there might be a bit of a fight for the footswitches! CD/MP3 input allows you to play along with a line level source.
Outputs are stereo unbalanced on jacks, XLR balanced out, headphones, SP-DIF, stereo effects loop out and return - allowing you to put certain effects into your amps loop path, or indeed run some external stomps or effects as part of a setup.
Sounds: In short, the amp models are more real and immediate than ever before, with plenty of stomp models to choose from - essentially the same lot you’ll find in the Line6 M13. All are elements are editable via the front panel or via the dedicated software editor which hooks up via USB for Mac and PC. Our reviewer was impressed. There really is a massive range of sounds at your fingertips.
Patches are organised into 8 ‘Setlists’ which each contain 16 banks of four patches. The bank switches load the bank, bottom four switches load the patch (A,B,C,D) the top row is assignable to effects and amp switching. If four aren’t enough, its possible to set the bottom row of switches to stomp bypass too. MIDI also allows for external patch switching or indeed to switch other external gear.
Conclusion Overall, this unit has a lot to offer - from studio recording to live situations, rehearsal on phones, small single player gigs or even two players with the dual inputs. In short, its a pretty comprehensive guitar system with bags of tonal variation.
The only downside we could find was that there is no printed manual - a real pain actually and something that a unit of this depth could really do with for on the spot reference.
In short, we like. The flexibility of the routing and the range of sounds, make this a real contender for the only floor unit you’ll need - of course if you’d rather cart around a full pedal board and have multiple stomps with their points of failure but get the “real thing” then thats your choice. I think I know what I’d do.
The Pod HD500 is available now priced at: £409/ $499
If that is a little out of your price range there’s also the HD 300 - 80+ stomp models, 256 presets, 24 second looper no Aux in £259 / $329 HD 400 100+ stomps, 256 presets, 24 sec looper, no Aux in £339 /$399