I promised to return to this topic in more depth, and here I am..
between my instruments that I use most often, there is a Variax 700 and an HD500, being both Line6 we could easily expect them to be made for each other, ok .. and then linking them together you theoretically should easily be able to get excellent results .. maximum compatibility ..
The Variax 700 is a great guitar, very versatile and offers a wide palette of typical guitar sounds, and it is quite faithful to reality..
I connected it to some normal standard amps and it works great, but connected instead to the HD500 leaving the default input settings, and also using the default settings of the models (which theoretically should be the most typical) doesn't give definitely the same best first impression, and immediately you feel that you have to work on your POD to get something good .. same impression I got by connecting other non-digital normal standard guitars to the HD500..
based mainly on reasonings of pure abstract logic, for a long time I forced myself to take for granted the default setting of the inputs of the HD500 (ie without never change them) thinking that in that way I would have gotten the more standard response behavior from the models .. and also I have deliberately ignored what is written in the rectangle on page 54 of the Advanced Guide, thinking it was just a little tip without great importance..reported below here:
"Note that when utilizing both Inputs 1 & 2 (or when using “SAME” for either of these Input options) the two Input signals are combined to allow them to be fed into any Amp or mono FX Model within the Pre position, which can result in a hot signal level. Reduce your instruments’ volume as needed to avoid overloading your Pre-positioned Models."
continuing on that route, over time I've noticed a series of issues:
- the feeling that there is always a sort of strong compression that crushes the sound..
- the timbre too easily and more than normal loses definition and dynamics when you push a little more the drive ..
- in a few cases you can hear the typical crackling noise of the digital clipping ..
- often distortion, bass and treble response are too exaggerated..
- sense of frequency response not well balanced..
furthermore I noticed that unlike some people who have an HD500, those who have a 300 or a 400 never complain of the sounds they get, but maybe only for the reduced flexibility..
I also discovered that the models of the 500 sound like those of the 300 and 400 only if you use just one HD500 input and you put them in pre position ..
if you have both devices available you can try them side by side, if it is not possible, you can watch this (a little boring) video and try to make your comparisons:
in this clip the guy plays all the HD300 models leaving them at default settings (only in one case there is an added chorus) alternating the use of the humbucker pickups, both splitted as a single coil and as full HB..
with my Variax 700 if I use the Telecaster and LP models I get almost 100% identical results of the video with my HD500 in single input mode, if I switch instead to the default double input mode I get much more distortion and worse sounds compared to those of the clip..
I also remember very well that some time ago "Silverhead" (known expert in this forum) confirmed to me that the input of a 300/400 corresponds to the single input of the 500..
in addition to note the things described above, I noticed a big difference in the sound quality by passing from the HD500 default setting with 2 equal inputs to a single active input.. by switching mode all the issues described near the beginning of this post went away..
unfortunately, perhaps for demonstrating the great flexibility of the HD500 over every other aspect, and maybe impeded by NDA, this fact has never been faced and explained as perhaps it should, but the fact is that at least for me all the models sound much more naturally and pleasantly by using just one input in pre position .. and everything becomes much easier in getting the various sounds that can be needed..
the technology of the 300/400/500 is the same and the models are the same identical in all 3 modelers, probably they have implemented them as they are with the same default settings on all three devices, but with the 500 in order to have also 2 completely independent chains they had to add a second input (otherwise would not have been necessary), which has messed up a little this beautiful modeler that otherwise would have been almost perfect..
so in order to implement this feature of the dual-channel, they sacrificed the quality of the sounds that are obtained with the default settings, which indeed allow you to have two independent channels ready to go..
I highly recommend you to make the change as I mentioned above, it is absolutely worth it! ..
and if by chance you plan to use only the path A as an alternative, be aware that you will not have the same beneficial results, because when isolated, path A behaves like the pre position with 2 same active inputs..
so try it, if you want!