So, I'm wondering what the best way to hook in the Pod X3 would be-
Is there any hope for this old X3, or do I just need to bite the bullet and get an HD500X?
I once had an X3L, replaced it with the HD500. I have had the HD500 since 2010, just got the DT25 month or so ago.
I can think of a couple ways you can make this work:
1.) get the MIDI interface needed to update your DT to the latest firmware. This will give you all 30 HD amps currently available on the HD500 POD series, as options on your DT. It would appear, this will give you 8 options- according to the firmware notes:
"With four voicings per channel, you have eight unique options at your fingertips"
DT Firmware Update 2.0
The specifics of their notes also states:
"Once you’ve updated your amp, you have a few options for customizing the voicings. If you own an iPhone® or iPad®, adding a Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer™ II (and TouchOSC or any other compatible MIDI app) allows you to control all of the enhanced MIDI functionality right from your iOS device. Line 6 has created presets for the TouchOSC app, which you can download below.
You can also control your amp’s enhanced MIDI functionality via a Mac® or PC computer with a USB-to-MIDI interface and compatible software capable of sending MIDI CC information."
2.) use your X3L for FX only, and/or use the "four cable" method. This will allow you to use the X3L as the FX processor, while still using the new/HD amps on the DT. I suppose that will also let you "audition" all of the HD amp models, and decide if you need them accessible with a floorboard. I don't know the specifics on how the DT loads the additional amp options, or what you would do to program it; but I would imagine you just pick the amps you want, and assign them to the channels available on the DT
Something worth noting - when you connect the HD to the DT using the L6Link, you are only using the "PRE" amp models, and allowing the Bogner portion of the DT to do it's thing in the analog / tube realm. While the HD amp models and corresponding cabinet / mic modelling do sound fantastic, the DT-Bogner side of the equations sounds even better. Which is most likely what you are hearing and liking with your DT.
The equivalent comparison of the FX quality, would be the M series FX units; for example, the M13. This is the FX stuff that is loaded into the HD500, along with the HD amp models. I guess it would be accurate to say these FX are "HD", though I am not certain that is 100% accurate. They are meant to be higher bit and sample rate than the predecessor, iE, the XT/X3 FX.
1.) Plug the 1/4" out from the X3L into the FX return of the DT25.
Regarding option#2; this is how I used my X3L and my HD500 for years! I typically wanted to also be able to run XLR to the recording or mixer, main, PA, monitors, etc. - so therefore I almost always chose "Studio/Direct". By plugging the 1/4" to the FX return of any amp, you bypass the preamp, and inject the POD's signal direct to the power amp. This allowed me to send the cab+mic modelled signal to my amp as a monitor, and the same signal would go to the main mix, stage mix, recording mix, etc.
I did have some luck sending the signal to the FX return of the amp, and setting the POD model to "Combo/Poweramp". This is the mode which the HD500 defaults to when using the L6Link to connect to the DT. Basically, this mode is not suitable to sending a direct signal to recording, or the main mix - but it will sound pretty good coming out of your amp. In essence, this option removes the mic modelling, and to some extent, modifies the cab modelling. It basically makes your amp sound more like the amp being modelled; whereas the studio/direct mode will emulate the sound of that amp model, in a room, with a mic on it.
Definitely give the fx return concept a try, and switch between the studio/direct mode, to the combo poweramp mode. I think the settings are comparable on the X3L as to the HD500.
1.) Bite the Bullet!! Four payments of $125/month from someplace like Zzounds..
A caveat to the "option #3"... You will most likely immediately want to get a JTV upon owning two of the three parts of what for me, is the best rig I have *ever* owned... I literally got the DT25, and a week later ordered a JTV59.