We’ve seen the HD500 - it features the new Line 6 HD amp models and was - as far as we could tell, pretty darned good. As is the way of most things - this tech has now trickled further down the product line and found itself in the latest Pod offering from Line 6 - the Pod HD.
Inside, we basically have the exact same tech - same amp models, same stomps (100+ M class effects) and editing system - as the HD500. Note there’s six new HD amp models since the new 1.3 firmware update, bringing the total number of amp models to 22. In addition you get the same dual path routing - with a second input on XLR - primarilly for a mic for vocals, though you can stick a guitar in if you have a jack to XLR adapter - so the same dual channel processing power too.
Of course there are limitations - you only get a single pair of analog ouputs and no external effects loop, but you do get stereo analog, S/P-DIF and direct USB soundcard connection - meaning you can record directly from the Pod to your DAW.
Form Somehow in use the POD HD is more accessible for editing than the HD500 - with it being desktop mounted and all the knobs surrounding the main display, its a more hands-on experience rather than feet-on. Though you can hook up an FBV Shortboard MKII foot controller to get your feet involved if you want to take it on the road - you can also get special Pod stand to keep it off the floor. Although it feels right at home on the desktop integrated into your recording system.
Sounds What can we say - you get the same high quality range of sounds as you do in the more expensive HD 500 - the range is simply stunning - classic tones, dreamy ambient, rock, metal, lead, synth and so many more. The new HD amp models are (still) really pretty good and the effects are up to the usual Line 6 quality.
We found the desktop format to be particularly good for getting hands on and sculpting and tweaking the sound - the addition of the assignable Tweak knob also helps for realtime control of any amp or effect parameter.
Line 6 have not let the side down with this new model, the price is pretty close to the others in the HD range, but the form factor and DAW integration does make it ideal for the studio. You could equally use it live in combination with the FBV, but the single unit of the HD300 or HD500 might appeal more if you want to keep it simple.