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opinion on POD HD?
by willemtemp on 2010-12-01 13:08:42

hi there, can someone please give me an honest opinion if it's a good idea to upgrade to the POD HD(from an x3live)?  i need to hear from someone who's not trying to sell me the product..

another thing is, nowhere on any (official)LINE 6 web page does anyone compare the two, the HD is compared to virtually every other line 6 product, exept the X3LIVE, which is, in my opinion the closest to the HD.

it's as if they are making an effort not to mention the X3LIVE.(marketing strategy, maybe).

should i upgrade?

is the HD an upgraded version of the X3LIVE?

thanx!!



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by TheRealZap on 2010-12-01 13:24:11

they don't compare to the x3live because they have discontinued it.

here's the breakdown though...

if guitar is your only concern the HD's are a no-brainer... the m-series effects and improved amp models are outstanding...

the things that the HD (500) doesn't do that the X3 did:

no bass, acoustic, vocal models...

no pod farm or similar plugin

USB recording is limited to a stereo output (the x3 has 8 outs)

x3 has 78 amps vs 16 on the HD although the quality is better on the HD's

ultimately it's widely believed that these things will change and the HD will be closer to the x3 in terms of these things...

however... i would not make a buying decision based on what might be.... if you need those things... then the HD probably isn't for you just yet...



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by silverhead on 2010-12-01 13:29:28

The only Pod HD that compares at all to the X3 Live is the HD500 because of its dual path capabilities and XLR/mic input jack. But the HD500 is not primarily intended as an upgrade of the X3. The HD is brand new technology and focuses on live play. The tone quality of the HD models (both amps and FX) is much better than the X3. If you are comparing the two simply in terms of achievable tone quality for the electric guitar in a live situation there is really no comparision. The HD500 wins hands down.

However, if you are primarily interested in studio/recording flexibility the X3 remains superior in my opinion (with the exception of direct recording tone quality). The X3 (at least today) is more capable than the HD500 in the studio in the following ways:

- it has specialized preamps and presets for vocals, bass guitar, and acoustic guitar

- it has more options for the USB Record Send signal routing

- it has the Pod Farm plugin

Hopefully future HD500 software upgrades and future development of Pod Farm HD will address all of these current differences. But there's no guarantee of any upgrades.



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by phil_m on 2010-12-01 13:36:17

I pretty much second what Zap said.  I would probably disagree with your statement that the X3L is closest to the HD.  Really, they are different beasts altogether.  The HD isn't really meant to be the successor to the X3L as much as it's the first step of the new amp modeling.

If you're actually using the X3L for bass and/or vocal stuff now, there's nothing in the HD500 that does that yet.  For guitar, though, I find the HD500 pretty much superior in every way with the possible exception of what you can do with dual tones.  The HD500 does do dual tones, but you'll probably find that you can't recreate many dual tones you would do on the X3L with the HD500 because you'll hit the DSP limit.  Personally, I didn't really ever use true dual tones all that much in the X3L, so I don't find that too big of a deal.



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by spaceatl on 2010-12-01 13:44:40

I never had an X3 anything so I can't tell you anything...I do think my HD400 sounds better than my XT bean, Flextone III XL...The DT50 is the best sounding amp they have ever made...An HD with a DT50 is just a whole different ballgame...

Whether the upgrade is worth it or not is up to you...



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-12-01 14:20:53

Hi

The HD500 is not an upgraded version of the X3 Live.  It is a new unit built from the ground up.  It does some things like amp modelling and FX much better than the X3 Live and some things like the number of recording channels available over ASIO or being able to send separate output voicings simultaneously to different outputs.

The HD500 is more flexible in terms of FX and amp model placement than the X3 Live, but the price of that flexibility is that the DSP limit that is always there in any modeller may occasionally be exceeded depending on the combinations of FX and amp models you choose to use.

I have both the X3 Live and the HD500 as well as the older POD XT Live and POD 2.0.

The POD X3 Live has a lot of amp models some of which are excellent and some of which are so-so - the HD500 has 32 (16 PRE and 16 FULL) high quality models which in my opinion are very realistic when compared to those real amps that are modeleed and which I have personal experience of

The POD X3 Live FX are certainly OK, but the M series FX are in my opinion better FX.  The HD500 has all the M series FX (from the M9/M13)

The POD X3 live is assembled in a tough plastic case.  I've had zero problems with this BTW but it was considered by some X3 Live users as a weakness in the early days of the X3 Live.  The HD500 is built in a strong steel case.

The X3 Live has 8 ASIO channels for recording - The HD500 currently has 2

The X3 Live's MIDI implementation is quite limited.  The HD500's MIDI implementation particularly in what it can transmit is far in excess of the capability of the X3 Live currently

The X3 Live allows separation of the output with different voicings for sending to PA and guitar amp at the same time.  The HD500 currently doesn't allow this

The X3 Live cannot use L6 Link.  The HD500 can use L6 Link to interface with and control the DT50 range of amplifiers - up to 4

The X3 Live IME and IMO is not overly intuitive to program at the unit.  The HD500 is IME and IMO much easier and far more intuitive to program at the unit.  That's subjective of course but it is my opinion and experience. YMMV

The sound of my X3 Live into a FOH PA system or recording console was always very good, but I really gave up on getting a decent tone easily when going into any kind of guitar amp - it was never impossible by any means but it was never easy.  The HD500 sounds between very good and superb into everything I've tried it with and particularly into the DT50.  Again - subjective, but that is my experience and opinion.

There's a lot more too, but those are some of the main differences

I don't think there's any particular effort on the part of the company not to mention the X3 Live, but apart from both being in the POD family, there is a clearly different developmental path between the two and the HD500 really is not a direct descendant of the X3 Live like the X3 Live was a direct descendant of the POD XT Live although there is obviously a common heritage.  With the HD500 the designers have gone back to the drawing board and re-thought the concept somewhat based on previous user requests and advances in technology, as well as thinking more outside the box in terms of flexibility and the general user interface.

Nick



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by willemtemp on 2010-12-02 04:06:38

thanx guys, that cleared up a lot,

i use my X3Live mainly for live guitar playing, when i play acoustic i normally use a DI into the PA system, and i used the vocal patches only once, mainly to fiddle around with vocal compression. so i wont miss any of those extras. i dont use POD FARM often either, i don't know why, but i get frustrated quickly with it.

as for the 78 amp 'downscale' to 16 amps... all my presets are based on the AC30, with minor changes here and there, so tone-quality improvement carries more weight than a 78amp-line up.

the only thing that i'm going to miss is the dual path capabilities, but most af the time i monitor through a normal floor wedge monitor.

thank each one of you for the info, my choice has been made..(well, still gonna try it out a bit in the shop..),then i need to go and sell something, or maybe i can get a good trade-in deal..



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-12-02 04:36:33

Great idea to try out the HD500 before you buy.  PODs aren't for everyone necessarily and sometimes us users see the opposite to each other like DSP limit is a problem or DSP limit isn't a problem (all modellers have a DSP limit BTW, just with some modellers what you can do is restricted so you never see any sign of the limitation).  Give the unit a good trial and see what you think.  Try and get a bit of help from the sales guy who should have a bit of practical knowledge at least and either play through the power amp in of something like a Spider Valve 112 or 212 with the the HD500 output mode set to Combo Power Amp In or into a little PA system with the HD500 output mode set to Studio/Direct.  Ideally play the HD500 through a DT50 via L6 Link.  The factory prest sounds are OK if you view them as intended which is generally either as: the basis for a sound you might use yourself with some minor tweaking; an example of how extreme the HD500 can sound with presets like B3PO which make your guitar sound pretty convincingly like a Hammond B3; the sounds which may have been inspired by certain artists or certain songs; or as training aids for when you want to work out some neat bit of routing/footswitch action or suchlike.  Factory presets always meet with some criticism and these are no different.  Try building one or two of your own, just starting with the amp models to see how you like them.  The PRE models may be better when going in to a combo, but there's no hard and fast rules.

Regards

Nick



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by willemtemp on 2010-12-03 07:00:51

yup, i almost never use any presets. i would really like to hear the B3 organ model though, should be interesting...

do you reckon that the power amp-in option of the spider valve give a good(define good,ugh...) flat eq response?

whenever i use the power amp of an amp i can still hear characteristics of the amp, and it's obviously not the pre amp, cause it's bypassed.    especially with a fender amp, well, the only fender that i tried out..

when i model my tones, i usually go to our church connect directly to the PA, and fine tune at a resonable level. and when i'm at home, the closest that i can get to that original sound is through the normal input af a small marshall practice amp(X3 out set to combo amp)



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by mr_slugworth on 2010-12-03 07:45:20

Power amps color tone, as well as speakers/cabs.  Some to more of an extent than others.

If you are living on the X3 AC-30 model, I think you'll find that you're in for a huge treat with the HD AC-30 model.  But you should check out the other HD amp models, too.  You will find at least one or two more that you really love.



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-12-03 08:06:19

Hi

I am fortunate to have a DT50 here so that is my current amp of choice for the Hd500, but I also have a MkI SV 112 and a MkII SV 212, both of which I've used with the HD500.  All amps and speaker combinations will colour the sound of any modeller slightly - even the DT50.  That doesn't really matter too much to me as log as: a) the sound I hear is good, and; b) the amount of coloration is small and relatively unobtrusive.  Both Spider Valve amps I have here did/do sound very good with the HD500 in my opinion.  I have an X3 Live too and having tried this with the Spider Valve MkI power amp I have to say the difference between the X3 Live and the HD500 is like chalk and cheese - to me that is

The Spider Valve power amp section does add a bit of valve 'warmth' in my opinion, but it is subtle and the thing with an SV that probably makes the biggest difference is the Vintage 30 speaker.  My MkI 112 Spider Valve has a Celestion G12K100 fitted, whilst the MkII is still stock with two V30's - and whilst there is a noticeable difference between the 112 as it is now and the 212 it is not bad in either case.  The 112 probably has a slightly 'flatter' frequency response than the 212

So, yes I reckon the Spider Valve does give good enough definition and a pretty flat frequency response for the HD500 based on personal experience, but when you go and try out the HD500 see if the store also has a Spider Valve on hand to try the HD500 through.  you do need to hear it for yourself with your own ears.

Regards

Nick



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by toasterdude on 2010-12-03 09:14:48

willemtemp wrote:

hi there, can someone please give me an honest opinion if it's a good idea to upgrade to the POD HD(from an x3live)?  i need to hear from someone who's not trying to sell me the product..

another thing is, nowhere on any (official)LINE 6 web page does anyone compare the two, the HD is compared to virtually every other line 6 product, exept the X3LIVE, which is, in my opinion the closest to the HD.

it's as if they are making an effort not to mention the X3LIVE.(marketing strategy, maybe).

should i upgrade?

is the HD an upgraded version of the X3LIVE?

thanx!!

If you use dual amp patches you may be somewhat frustrated. If you do not use dual amps, you will most likely love it.



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by toasterdude on 2010-12-03 09:18:39

nickmattocks wrote:

Great idea to try out the HD500 before you buy.  PODs aren't for everyone necessarily and sometimes us users see the opposite to each other like DSP limit is a problem or DSP limit isn't a problem (all modellers have a DSP limit BTW, just with some modellers what you can do is restricted so you never see any sign of the limitation).  Give the unit a good trial and see what you think.  Try and get a bit of help from the sales guy who should have a bit of practical knowledge at least and either play through the power amp in of something like a Spider Valve 112 or 212 with the the HD500 output mode set to Combo Power Amp In or into a little PA system with the HD500 output mode set to Studio/Direct.  Ideally play the HD500 through a DT50 via L6 Link.  The factory prest sounds are OK if you view them as intended which is generally either as: the basis for a sound you might use yourself with some minor tweaking; an example of how extreme the HD500 can sound with presets like B3PO which make your guitar sound pretty convincingly like a Hammond B3; the sounds which may have been inspired by certain artists or certain songs; or as training aids for when you want to work out some neat bit of routing/footswitch action or suchlike.  Factory presets always meet with some criticism and these are no different.  Try building one or two of your own, just starting with the amp models to see how you like them.  The PRE models may be better when going in to a combo, but there's no hard and fast rules.

Regards

Nick

LIne 6 presets are notoriosly very bad. They should have Franzel from TGP make presets. I have tweaked everything I DLed from him but none outright sucked before tweaking. Presets are an afterthought with Line6 and even though I never use factory presets, many end users will make their buying decisions based on them.

Having presets that do not suck would be a smart marketing move.



Re: opinion on POD HD?
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-12-03 10:13:23

I agree that many buyers will make the decision whether to buy or not to buy based on the presets.   After release I came up with a simple full set list based on the 16 basic FULL amps with a selection of commonly used FX (all in the OFF position) so that people could try the amp models in a fairly organised way and this has been enhanced by others who have done something similar with the PRE amp models, however neither are part of the factory preset sets so you'd have to have purchased the HD500 to try these or the nearly 400 tones that are now up on Custom Tone.  I was going to do it anyway for my use, but then someone specifically asked for the same thing which pushed me to actually do it there and then.  The tones were just based on the raw default amp models, but quite a few people seem to have found them useful which was a good by-product.

The factory presets are what they are as in every single case of factory presets.  A lot of them in the HD500 are inspired by the tones of famous guitar players or songs but may be a little obscure in the naming department, but they won't all suit or impress everyone as in every other case where a unit comes pre-loaded.  It's a similar approach to the presets in the Spider Valve MkII.  A lot of the names are a bit obscure like Dutch Pasadenian which when you take a moment to think about it is pretty obviously inspired by EVH, but that wouldn't necessarily mean a lot to someone who didn't know.

I think if anything, what's actually missing is a set list with recognisably named presets - so say 64 presets with say 8 killer presets which are recognisable by name in 8 recognisable genres so you get 8 metal, 8 blues, 8 classic rock,. 8 punk, 8 prog-rock et al which would go some way to giving potential buyers a good idea of what the HD500 is actually capable of, and then adding to that with some more killer tones from Line 6 on Custom Tone.  There's certainly no shortage of great tones up there.  However for a number of different reasons I think the existing factory presets are good in a number of different ways in that they are quite educational in showing users different ways of setting up signal chains and perhaps doing some pretty whacky things if they want to and to me that's equally as valid as necessarily having a whole bunch of high gain metal, blues or rock tones with the same old same old ones being trotted out yet again as pretty much every other modeller in existence - and whilst there is definitely a place for some of that, once you have the HD500 in your hands it really isn't rocket science to closely recreate the sounds that are available in the Spider IV, Spider Valve MkII, X3 pretty closely by using the various editors in off-line mode and emulating the settings from presets in those other devices.  But as a new user, you might need a little leading towards that which is why I would suggest one set list at least of immediately recognisable tones by name might be good - perhaps to replace the current Best Of HD500 set list.

I've never been a big fan of factory presets, but there have been some pretty awesome ones in the past with the Spider series, XT series and X3 series which have sometimes given me the basis of something good to tweak.

With factory presets, the manufacturer is pretty much always damned if they do and equally damned if they don't LOL.  It's a thankless task whichever way you look at it as opinions will always be divided.  I have seen posts here where people have said they like the factory presets as well as others where people have said just the opposite

Nick




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