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I still love my HD500X


clintmartin
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After trying a lot of different rigs, I'm back to a HD500X and a DT25. The DT25 is for live use. I could never bond with a FRFR setup. At home I play my HD500X through my daw direct and it sounds fantastic. I have never played through a helix, Kemper or Axefx, but I don't feel the need for an upgrade at this point. I have owned the Amplifire and it was nice, but I sold it to re-buy a HD500X. I was pretty comfortable with move having owned a HD500 and DT50 for a few years.

For the person who just bought the HD500X or the person that can't afford a Helix...I suggest you hang in there and give the HD a chance. It can deliver. There is a learning curve, but we can help. You can buy these used for $350 all day, and it's a freaking steal.

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Thanks! I've been back for awhile, but I felt the need to write about it again after reading the ongoing debate about modelers on other forums. It seems some people just need the latest thing, but a lot can be said about a proven performer. The POD is stable, mature and has a powerful set of features. After trying so many different rigs and setups I can honestly say the HD500X with a DT amp is as good a rig as anything available right now. What could you possibly desire that it doesn't cover 5 different ways? I need to save up and buy another Variax now! Hahaha!

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I can identify with your lack of bonding experience with an FRFR setup.  I made the move to an FRFR setup late last year and it's been challenging to adjust to it.  The real problem is in dialing back the response of the FRFR speaker to get it closer to the range of a typical guitar amp cabinet so that my patches sound more normal.  I think I've now pretty much got it where I need it to be but there's been a lot of adjustments along the way.  I think it's worth it because I know what I'm hearing out of my FRFR speaker is what will be accurately projected to the audience through the PA whether I'm practicing at home or on the stage.  I also discovered that because of the clarity and articulation of the FRFR it's easier to make my guitar distinguishable in the mix of the band at a lower volume, which makes the whole band sound better.

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I also still love my pod HD 500, even after owning a Helix. The Helix maybe sounds a bit better, but it lacks effects and options on the effects.. The DSP is not so huge as ppl believed, it is just a bit more than the 500X.. I still prefer the HD more. Maybe by time I will like the Helix more, (when I get a good unit).

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I still like my HD, particularly for effects, and as a backup for when Helix might fail (can't help but worry about this lately with a number of people reporting broken leds and scribble strips, damn). It sure does turn on quicker.

 

I gotta agree that Helix lacks effects, but the ones that are in there are really good. The delays completely demolish the HD's. You can get some really strange things going on with just the delays if you're into that sort of thing. For some reason I haven't identified, I like the HD's octo reverb better.

 

The amount of DSP in Helix is roughly like having two HD500Xs, or slightly more, without the block limitation, and in one package. I haven't run into any limits yet, and at least one of my patches uses quite a bit of stuff.

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I still like my HD, particularly for effects, and as a backup for when Helix might fail (can't help but worry about this lately with a number of people reporting broken leds and scribble strips, damn). It sure does turn on quicker.

 

I gotta agree that Helix lacks effects, but the ones that are in there are really good. The delays completely demolish the HD's. You can get some really strange things going on with just the delays if you're into that sort of thing. For some reason I haven't identified, I like the HD's octo reverb better.

 

The amount of DSP in Helix is roughly like having two HD500Xs, or slightly more, without the block limitation, and in one package. I haven't run into any limits yet, and at least one of my patches uses quite a bit of stuff.

I don't know Duncann, I set the ain't talking bout love from the pod hd 500 to helix, and it required 2 (!!!) paths to become full, I don't know, I think it is not so big.

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I'm not knocking the Helix or any other brand out there. If the Helix can ever do what a HD500X can with a DT amp I may have to give it a go, but I'm just really satisfied with my POD right now. In fairness I have owned a HD500/HD500X for 5 years now and know my way around the unit. That is a very important thing for any modeler or amp sim...you need to give it time and learn the ins and outs of the thing. The POD isn't plug and play, you have to set it up properly. The deep cab settings was a major upgrade that really solved most of my issues. Using the Mid focus EQ as a HP/LP filter solved the rest.

Like I said before you can get these used for $350 or so, and I think it's the best sub $1000 modeler available today.

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I can identify with your lack of bonding experience with an FRFR setup.  I made the move to an FRFR setup late last year and it's been challenging to adjust to it.  The real problem is in dialing back the response of the FRFR speaker to get it closer to the range of a typical guitar amp cabinet so that my patches sound more normal.  I think I've now pretty much got it where I need it to be but there's been a lot of adjustments along the way.  I think it's worth it because I know what I'm hearing out of my FRFR speaker is what will be accurately projected to the audience through the PA whether I'm practicing at home or on the stage.  I also discovered that because of the clarity and articulation of the FRFR it's easier to make my guitar distinguishable in the mix of the band at a lower volume, which makes the whole band sound better.

Which FRFR do you use? I think your description is spot on to my experience. I tried (in order) a QSC K12, then two K12's, Two Alto TS112A's and finally an Atomic CLR. After the CLR I sold my Amplifire, midi controller, tuner, expression pedal and CLR. It never sounded as good as my old HD500/DT50. This time I bought a HD500X and DT25. For the money, I thought those Alto's sounded pretty good. I wouldn't mind getting another pair someday just to have options.

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I don't know Duncann, I set the ain't talking bout love from the pod hd 500 to helix, and it required 2 (!!!) paths to become full, I don't know, I think it is not so big.

 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean? :unsure:

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My HD500 will have to die before I get rid of it, lol, and I would try to fix it first before that, hahahaha. I also have the DT50HD with one DT25 Cab and it sounds fantastic.

 

I never did try the FRFR thing. I've plugged into a Bose set up and cheap stereo speaker cab and amp I put together, the cheaper one sounded better, lol.

 

Off Topic: Recently got a Zoom MS-100BT and plugged that into the Aux in on my Spider Jam and could not believe my ears. I was blown away with how good it sounded dirty and clean. Gave me the goose bumps since I didn't really have to tweak much at all. Then I watched a video on the device web page of the creator Tommy Bolan, lol. Holy lollipop Man!

 

In the end I really like the HD500 and it will be placed on my chest as they 86 me, lol. Jus Kidd'in. lol

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lol... sometimes using systems more limited in the effective frequency range they can reproduce can be an advantage..

like having both low and high cut filters with fixed settings built in

 

True, I should try both together next time. Keep in mind I didn't say they sounded really bad. :)

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limited in the effective frequency range

 

Haha. I used to have one of those surround cube speaker systems from Bose. It was only OK for watching movies and stuff like that. I remember plugging my Rockman sustainor and stereo chorus delay into it, and it sounded really good!

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Add me to the HD500 (not even X) + DT25 lovefest.  I've followed Helix with interest, watched all the videos, and would love to have the cool interface and new shiny, but it just doesn't make any sense to start over when I've got something that meets all my needs so well now.  The only advantage of a FRFR setup would be not needing a second acoustic amp when I play music theater gigs.

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thanks "Br"..

 

seems that the way you sympathetically consider me is already reflected officially in my forum label,... I've been promoted.

 

Hahaha Sorry 'bout that. My fingers were faster than my eyes, LOL. I was wondering if you were going to catch that before I edited it. Your more than a GURU!

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.. Fastest mouse in all Pod-land

 

I've only had my 500x (actually on my third device) since about last April. I usually couldn't get a good sound coming through a full range speaker with a tweeter so I went the power amp and cabinet route up until I get my first wedge here in a couple days.

 

I could always get a good recorded sound with some in-DAW post EQ or even external IRs but I've been using the global Eq as a kind of a crutch, getting rid of a lot of unnecessary highs. in doing this, I've put a choke hold on some of the shimmery reverbs and other synth effects that might be taking up those frequencies, thus kind of limiting the sound.

 

it was only until a couple days ago when I downloaded some of Meambobbos patches that sounded like what I was getting with external IRs. this tells me that I still have a lot to learn and there's a lot of tricks with in the pod that I haven't even touched on.

 

Right after I had to get my first HD500x replaced (usb port fail) is when the Helix and the AX8 were almost simultaneously announced. My heart literally sank to the floor and I thought I should've held out.

 

I stuck with the Pod and it has grown on me. It's a great tool that keeps proving it's worth over and over again. Especially after all the problems I've been hearing about with the HX

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that's why I don't like the idea of using the GEQ, ie because it applies at the very end of the chain, which thing I don't want absolutely, given that IMO all post amp FXs (some mods, delays and verb) shouldn't be affected by any EQ..

 

if I need low and high cut filters I prefer to put a MID FOCUS EQ (which has 2 filters that do the same thing) just after the cab and before any other following FXs

+1

 

Pretty smart thinking bro

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path 1:phaser, tube drive,1  amp &cab, echo, and no more.. to put the gate and reverb i used the second path.

 

Everything you mentioned fits in one path/processor. The input block/circle has a gate right there. For the phaser and tube drive make sure you're selecting the mono versions (much less dsp). Where it runs out on path 1 is if you selected the stereo versions for the phaser and tube drive, and you wanted a spring reverb.

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Thank you Nico, that is exactly what I want to say!!! Duncann, I did exactly as you said, and I consume all DSP on path 1... is also the DSP of my unit malfunctioning?? 

 

I'm not sure what to say, it's an oddity for sure. Do you know what firmware version was on there? It could be they did some optimizations along the way from version 1.0.

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I'm not sure what to say, it's an oddity for sure. Do you know what firmware version was on there? It could be they did some optimizations along the way from version 1.0.

last one. 1.0.4 something i think. anyway, tomorrow i am sending it back.

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Turn the gain down to zero and leave the Q to default. Use only the High freq and Low freq knobs. It shouldn't color the sound at all.

Did just that and it colors the sound. I'm sitting here toggling back and forth and there's an obvious difference

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hmmm. Even with the knobs turned down all the way? Just to clarify it colors the sound by just being in the chain turned on? I'll re-check this when I'm back playing with it again. The other option would be to use the deep cab edit to High pass the lows and a different EQ to roll off the highs.

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One of the reasons I really never used the mid focus eq was because it wasn't transparent enough. The one I found to not color the sound at all is the studio eq. So maybe try one of those combined with what clintmartin said about the low-cut cab parameter.

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Even with the knobs turned down all the way? Just to clarify it colors the sound by just being in the chain turned on? I'll re-check this when I'm back playing with it again. The other option would be to use the deep cab edit to High pass the lows and a different EQ to roll off the highs.

Yep, yep, and yep. Since I already had a parametric EQ, the High knob does the trick for that specific patch.

 

I am finding the Mid Focus useful when I'm sculpting a new sound, just not to Low Pass a tone I like already.

 

Which is WHY I'd love a High Cut, right next to the Low Cut would he nice ;)

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I agree. A high cut in the cab edit section would solve it all. Maybe the reason I've never noticed the coloring is I have the mid-focus on from the beginning when creating a patch. At least the HD500 provides the tools needed in some form, but it takes up an effects block...which is why I'm sitting here now looking at effects to go into the loop. The M9 would be nice, but it's expensive. I'm thinking about the Zoom MS-cdr which could handle chorus, delay and reverb. I used to have it and it had some nice effects.

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For an approx neutral tone setting of the Mid Focus EQ use

HP Freq 0%

LP Freq 100%

Both Q's to ~55%

Gain ~0% or very little

For a more detailed example on how to use this EQ see Meambobo's guide

I could sit here and quote Bob's guide too, as this was the first thing I tried. It's just not transparent enough for some sounds.

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I've had my HD500X for just under two years, and I am still loving it. Before that, I had my XT Live with the Metal Pack for 8+ years, never had a problem with it either, but I found that the option of Dual Amps and the addition of the H-3000 modeled harmonizer were important features that I had missed since the old days of multiple rack components, like my ADA MP-2 preamps (one for clean/one for dirty) to do the "morph" preset  (Back/Clean - Forward/Crunch) using the expression pedal.

 

That being said, I've been doing this for 35-ish years, and have never had a problem getting good tone.  Some items take longer than others, but the ears do the work more than the gear.

 

I am thoroughly pleased with my L6 gear.

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I could sit here and quote Bob's guide too, as this was the first thing I tried. It's just not transparent enough for some sounds.

Not saying the Mid Focus can be set absolutely tone neutral, but for my purposes it was good enough as i could not hear a difference when i checked.

That said, if your Mid Focus or Studio EQ is not transparent you may want to check whether the input signal to the EQ is not too hot. I found that if your input signal exceeds -12dBFS peak you start to see some compression and soft clipping. Around -9dB it does not sound much different in most cases, but things will get worse nasty if you exceed -6dB or more. Same is true if you use a gain setting that makes the EQ output signal exceed those limits. By the way, amp models do that too, but with them you may actually want to take advantage of a little compression unless its getting into the digital clipping sounding range.

You can verify this for example with USB output and a good metering app or plugin in a DAW. You will find that changing the gain setting up and down the signal levels in a very predictive fashion (same % difference = same db gain difference for both peak and RMS levels, but if your peaks exceed the limits given above, raising gain will not produce expected results way before clipping: the peak levels will stay lower than expected and the RMS levels will go up higher than expected, which I believe is a sign of added harminic distortion/compression.

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