Yeah, this amp has alot of tone to be had, it's a sweet piece of gear. I hear ya with the "too many options" on the HD500+DT25; that's my quest right now, I'm past the honeymoon swooning with love, and on to the attempts to find "my sound". I've been working mostly with dialing in patches on the HD500, keeping the amp models and fx choices restrained, and overall it's been a good experience paired with a JTV.
I'm going to try a little different approach this weekend; bought myself some Keeley pedals, have another on order, and I'm going to set up my HD500 patches with the primary intent of using the HD500 to power the JTV, function as a tuner, and use some of the more "basic" options - with the primary role being "amp switcher".
I am looking at putting pedals into both the FX loop of the HD500 and the DT25 (not sure if the latter works when using L6Link); hoping the true bypass that all Keeley pedals have will play nice in terms of adding extra A>D and D>A conversions. I've not really spent much time just plugging into the DT25 directly, I guess I may be giving that a whirl as well, that's where these analog pedals probably want to be anyhow.
My take on it, is going to be something like this:
JTV > vdi to HD500 > FX loop out to Keeley pedals > HD500 fs1-4 as two pre and two post, L6Link to DT25 + chorus pedal in DT25 FX loop. Still not sure whether I will need to put a noise gate after the FX loop returning from the Keeley grouping; hoping not. Looking at placing a drive pedal and a compressor in the FX loop (Bootlegger and 4-Knob Comp), and running a chorus pedal in the DT25 FX loop (Seafoam). Waiting patiently for the Keeley custom shop to build and ship my Neutrino (envelope filter).
Where I've been hesitant to exclude the HD500 lives in terms of, I think the manner in which the two interface has a ton of potential, and the fact that the HD500+JTV offers guitar/pickup switching at the foot level is a feature I don't want to discard lightly.
Have you done the DT25 firmware update and messed with switching out the onboard amp models? I was curious how that worked, in terms of replacing the stock choices with the expanded selection of the entire HD line. You could really focus the types of amp models on the DT25 that way, excluding certain choices that you wouldn't be likely to use. I recall someone mentioning in a previous discussion that you can actually load 8 amp models into the DT, not just four - not entirely clear on how that is done?
I would, for example, load both Plexi models, the Tweed bassman, and one more Fender. If I could use eight total, as I *think* is possible, I would probably just do all the Fender variations, maybe include the Marshall / Park.
I did find a very interesting note in the manual recently, discussing which amp models we should be careful to switch to or from, because of the power type used. Apparently the voltage jump is more extreme in the DT50 vs the DT25, but they said it's definitely something to keep an eye out for:
About Preset Loading and DT50 Amp Settings
*Note: Since DT25 amplifiers utilize lower voltage components, their setting changes are typically less affected. However, the following practices can be followed with DT25 amps as well if Preset changes are not as seamless as desired.
• Keeping Class A consistent between consecutively-switched Presets will help avoid the greatest potential for disruption.
• The Super O, Tweed B-man, Class A-15 and Brit Plexi J-45 share an aspect (their analog B+ voltage) that differs from the other POD HD Amp Models, which can also be a source of disruption. To minimize this disruption, limit the cases where you switch between one of these Amp Models and one of the other POD Amp Models.
• Avoid making setting changes within 5 seconds of each other, especially if you’ve included the Class and B+ voltage changes mentioned above. The DT50 circuitry can take up to 5 seconds to fully stabilize after such a transition, and making another change before then can cause disruptions that you wouldn’t hear if you waited slightly longer.
Due to the higher voltage components utilized in DT50 amplifiers, you may find that not all amplifier changes can be instantaneous.* If you require the most seamless change between two POD HD Presets - for instance, during live performance - the simplest approach when switching Presets (or DT50 amp Channels) is to use the same amp Voicing switch settings for both. For those times when you want more significant reconfigurations between settings, here are some tips: