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scallybert

Pod HD500X vs Pod XT

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Simply put, what will a Pod HD500X get me that I don't have on my (now somewhat elderly) Pod XT ?

 

[i'm particularly interested in what flexibility there is in the effects blocks. eg can I put in multiple EQ blocks ? eg one before, and one after the amp model ?]

 

 

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Well, that's exactly the thing that XT doesn't do...You can PRE or POST FX in XT, but you cannot set the chain how you want...like reverb into flanger....You can set the 8 FX blocks in ANY order you like...All 8 before, All 8 after or any combination before and after...split post amp and run FX blocks parallel...oh and the amps and FX sound quite a bit better too...

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Well, that's exactly the thing that XT doesn't do...You can PRE or POST FX in XT, but you cannot set the chain how you want...like reverb into flanger....You can set the 8 FX blocks in ANY order you like...All 8 before, All 8 after or any combination before and after...split post amp and run FX blocks parallel...oh and the amps and FX sound quite a bit better too...

Cool, that sounds most useful.

 

Are there much in the way of constraints as to what FX you can put in the FX blocks ? [Aside from the DSP limits.]

 

The manual suggests that any FX model can be loaded into each of the FX blocks. On that basis, you could (if you wanted) put 3 EQ blocks in the chain ?

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correct. you can put any effect anywhere. and, yes, you can use the same effect in all 8 if you wanted.

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my (now somewhat elderly) Pod XT ?

The other unit is 8 years old. So if you are looking for "the latest", this ain't it.

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The other unit is 8 years old. So if you are looking for "the latest", this ain't it.

The Pod HD500X is 8 years old ?

 

While I'm not necessarily focused on having the latest, it's worth thinking whether it's sense to buy into something that's a bit old.

 

What is the most modern incarnation of the Pod concept ?

 

I had a quick look at a Helix, based on similar comments - but it seemed quite different.

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why did I switched from previous PODs to the HD?..

 

2 reasons:

- much more flexibility available to do patches as you want..

- improved touch and volume response from the amp models, more faithful to the real things modeled..

 

I play mainly blues/rock/jazz music so dynamics for me are quite important

Yes, this is similar to where I am. I was pretty familiar with the PodXT - but a little frustrated as well.

 

Similarity is good; but it would also be a shame to miss out on new stuff - if it was useful to me.

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speaking strictly about tone (and not of other handy features) IMO currently the main and most noticeable difference between the old generation modelers and the new ones is the IR loading feature available only on the latter

Ok, I've done a quick search - and I have no idea what Impulse Response is..! Any links ?

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There is no new HD unit. The 500x/Pro X are it. And based on comments made by L6 employees, they will be it for the HD line. 

When I say that they are 8 years old, it isn't that simple.

The 500 and 500x are the same unit. Due to a supply issue, a minor internal change was needed. And because they had some complaints about the footswitches and had been testing footswitches for the then-unreleased units, they changed the footswitches. 

They had an inner change, and an outer change, so they added an X to the name and people thought "wow, new unit, must buy". So, the 500X may not be 8 years old, but the 500 is, and 500 and 500x are the same unit. 

 

As to other units that are newer - there is the Helix, which is the new "mothership". There's the Firehawk. And I think there was a 3rd one, but I find nothing written about it. 

 

 

However, as previously mentioned, just because something is old, does not make it a bad product. 

Prior to switching to digital, my previous rig went more than 2 decades without having any changes or additions. And since switching to digital, I have one product - I may have a dozen of them stashed away at various points across the country so that I don't need to travel with them, but they are all the same unit.

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if you think that about 50% (if not more) of the final amp tone is due to its cab/speakers, you can easily understand why the IR loading feature is so requested..

 

having the chance to load hundreds of different IRs is almost like having the chance to load hundreds of different amps

Yes, I've not been paying attention, and hadn't heard the term.

 

I get the interaction between the amp power stage and cab - but also the massive effect that the (virtual) room has on things. One of the big things I discovered when I first got the PodXt was that a post-amp stereo reverb made things sound massively better into headphones (from a wasp between the ears, to feeling real).

 

I've had a quick look at that article, I'll read it in more detail. Cheers.

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PODHD is 8 years old but so is Windows 7 and a LOT of people still use that and say it's better.

 

Take a look at the Helix LT for $1000 then look at the PODHD for $500.  Yeah the Helix is better and a LOT easier to get tones out of.  The PODHD will make great tones but the default presets suck and you'll fight it for a while until you learn it's quirks - then you'll get great tone.

 

Ask yourself what you can afford and how much time you spend using it.  $1000 seems like a lot but how much did you spend on your guitar ?  

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PODHD is 8 years old but so is Windows 7 and a LOT of people still use that and say it's better.

 

Take a look at the Helix LT for $1000 then look at the PODHD for $500.  Yeah the Helix is better and a LOT easier to get tones out of.  The PODHD will make great tones but the default presets suck and you'll fight it for a while until you learn it's quirks - then you'll get great tone.

 

Ask yourself what you can afford and how much time you spend using it.  $1000 seems like a lot but how much did you spend on your guitar ?  

Interesting points...

 

It's not really the money, as such. It's more the thought of buying a PodHD, then shortly afterwards a Helix (or whatever). That would make me feel uncomfortable.

 

The Pod HD does seem to have the advantages of being similar to the XT (which I fundamentally loved - but ran up against shortcomings), whilst seeming to address many of those shortcomings. I reckon I could either import my XT patches; or use what I'd already done as a good starting point.

 

The Helix seems a different animal. I almost got the impression that it had less options than the Pod HD, but people speak highly of the sounds, and it's current.

 

The PodXT always struck me as a 'studio in a box' into your headphones. I like that model. It makes sense if you're playing into headphones, or recording, or playing against tracks, etc.

 

I'm assuming the Pod HD is conceptually the same - in spite of being labelled a multi-effect unit.

 

Is the Helix ?

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Nope the Helix isn't a different animal just a nicer newer version of the PODHD that's easier to dial in tones and sounds better. 

 

And btw - the PODHD will NOT import from your PODXT.  Even the amps and cabs will sometimes not act the same way.  You will be starting virtually from scratch and dealing with the PODHD quirks such as changing Input 1 and Input 2 to different input types so it doesn't over drive your input signal, which is the default.  

 

But the PODHD is half the price and is a good sounding unit.  But I've lost count of the people who posted on this board so frustrated at dialing in tones that they wish they never bought it.  Then they work through the quirks and get what they want.  Some people take to it quickly, others take months to get it sounding right.

 

Personally if it was me I'd get the Helix LT after looking at it very closely and trying it out at the local music store (if that's an option).

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[...]

Personally if it was me I'd get the Helix LT after looking at it very closely and trying it out at the local music store (if that's an option).

Yep, I think I'll have a big look at the online manuals.

 

It does sound like a better option.

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I almost got the impression that it had less options than the Pod HD, but people speak highly of the sounds, and it's current.

 

The HD500 had far less when it was released. But there's been a dozen updates since.

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One other thing to think about is the amp you use.  If you use the DT25 or DT50, then the HD500x was built  to work with those amps... the amps will reconfigure themselves (really, sortof, don't know the tech speak...) based on the type of amp you have selected in the  HD.

 

I am one of those that have spent months trying to get a great tone.... or should say refining great tones ... and with the DT25 (two now) ...  I love it.  The flexibility is great and the sound is wonderful! IMHO....

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One other thing to think about is the amp you use.  If you use the DT25 or DT50, then the HD500x was built  to work with those amps... the amps will reconfigure themselves (really, sortof, don't know the tech speak...) based on the type of amp you have selected in the  HD.

 

I am one of those that have spent months trying to get a great tone.... or should say refining great tones ... and with the DT25 (two now) ...  I love it.  The flexibility is great and the sound is wonderful! IMHO....

Yes, interesting how that integration works.

 

Other than into headphones, I've used a Mackie SRM450 as a 'personal PA' with a PodXT, in the past. Compact, and rather loud...

 

FWIW, I'm pretty sure I'm going to got for a Helix LT.

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Probably a good choice. I went from an xtlive to a HD bean to an HD500. The improvement was huge. Helix should be that much better. If you can afford the latest and greatest. Go for it.

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scallybert,

 

  You asked a quick question about Impulse Responses... The easiest (and probably most familiar) way to explain it is that it is a modeled speaker cabinet. Just like when you swap out a modeled cab on a POD (for example) from a "6x9 Super O" to a "112 Field Coil", you are essentially changing from one Impulse Response to another. Simple enough, just a fairly new term for it.

 

  Impulse Responses (IRs) are the "new sexy" in modeling. The POD series has lots of modeled speaker cabs, but you are limited to the ones that Line 6 provided, either through stock software programming or model pack upgrades. With the Helix, Line 6 has allowed an onboard "storage space" where you can save 100+ IRs from other manufacturers.  Without getting too complicated, it's a "recording" of a particular cabinet/speaker/mic. Several companies sell software packs of these IRs. Some of the popular ones are from OwnHammer, RedWirez and Celestion.  You can find a decent selection of free IRs on the Web or you can choose to buy from the companies I mentioned (there are a LOT of other companies that sell IRs). They range in price from a couple of dollars to over $100. It pays to shop around.

 

  The new Line 6 PowerCab speaker system allows third-party (meaning other than L6) IRs to be stored in their memory. A POD owner can run "no cab" on the POD unit, but use the IR in the PowerCab to take advantage of a cab model that wouldn't normally be available to the POD.  They talk about it in the L6 video for the PowerCab.

 

  There is also a Digitech pedal called CabDryVR that has a small assortment of IRs inside.

 

   The IR thing is pretty cool, but can become a HUGE rabbit hole. The Fractal Axe FX can store from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand IRs, depending on which version of Fractal you have. It can quickly become "option paralysis" when you sort through so many IRs to find "the perfect tone."  

 

   If you run a POD/Helix/Fractal through an amp and guitar speaker cab, you normally wouldn't want to use an IR, because it sounds kind of weird. You are essentially sending a modeled speaker sound to a speaker and "double-EQing" the tone. Some people like the sound though. No rules, right?

 

   IRs are GREAT if you are running your POD/Helix/Fractal to PA speakers (house mix) or to a Full-range, Flat Response (FRFR) system - another cavernous rabbit hole, or are recording straight into a DAW (versus mic-ing a real speaker cab). Without a cab model (IR) used into these non-guitar-cabinet speakers (or DAW), the sound would be really sizzle-y. The modeled cab or IR makes it sound closer to a traditional guitar cab that is being mic'd. There's a RAGING debate over on the Fractal forums about the amp-in-the-room sound versus using IRs with an FRFR rig.

 

   If you've only played in front of a real amp and never mic'd it, you might think the IRs sound weird. Think of a garage band scenario: the bass player and guitarist each have a loud amp and only the singer uses the PA for vocals. Everyone else just cranks the amps straight into the audience. IRs don't really capture THAT sound, although you could probably get close with a lot of EQing. Conversely, think of an arena concert with a big-name band. You are hearing the amps that are on stage, but maybe through a microphone and into the PA or maybe they are running straight out of a modeler and into the PA with no amp on stage at all (this is becoming almost the norm). Or, just listen to a CD. You are hearing the guitar amp through a mic or a modeler. That's what an IR sounds like - a mic'd cabinet.

 

   IRs and FRFR rigs are becoming popular for a couple of reasons. First, because they are available! Second, stage volume (especially in smaller venues) is a source of frustration - both for the band (volume wars) and the venue owners (noise ordinances). Third, IRs allow gig-to-gig consistency in sound. Mic placement is an art. Fourth, you hear what the audience hears. Fifth, it is less gear to haul, fly and set-up. And the list goes on...

 

   I saw a video with Metallica's current rig rundown. Hetfield runs out of a Fractal to the PA (also called Front-of-House or FOH) and sends another output to a Matrix solid state power amp to a pair of 4x12 cabs on the stage. No wall of Mesa/Boogie stacks; it's a mostly empty stage with Lars' drum riser, a couple of single stack cabs and Kirk's wah pedal.  They didn't mention in-ear monitors (IEMs), but they probably have them. So, instead of volume wars on the stage, James can turn Kirk's guitar up or down in his own in-ear mix without impacting what Kirk hears or what the audience hears or worrying about what he's sending to the house mixer.

 

   I've been playing for 30+ years, so this is new and exciting stuff for me. Hopefully I've gotten most of the details correct. If not, others will chime in and set it straight. So there's a stupidly long answer (and commentary) to a short question. What are Impulse Responses?  The briefest answer is: a modeled simulation of a mic'd speaker cabinet. It's more than that, but that is the simple version. You can further complicate it by adding in: birch cab vs plywood, mic type and placement (on-axis/off axis, distance, condenser versus ribbon mic, etc. ), room size versus isolation box, open-back versus closed back cab, ported cab versus non-ported, etc. Rabbit hole.

 

   Hope this helped...

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Thanks, there's a lot there.

 

Interesting you mentioned Matrix - one of their directors [Robin Szemeti] is a mate of mine from a motorcycle mailing list.

 

The same mailing list where, in 2005, I was talking about running my PodXT into a 'personal PA' for stage use; and someone there [Paul Matthews] suggested I use a Mackie SRM450 - which I did, very successfully. [Interesting discussion in the shop {Turnkey} about why I only want *one* SRM450, and what I was using it for.]

 

There's a joke between Robin & myself that FRFR Matrix products came about as a result of that discussion..! [TBH, who knows whether it was actually the inspiration, or not. FRFR seems like a pretty logical thing to do.]

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