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Here’s the review – Contest has ended!
The Line 6 POD HD bean, I found, to be a remarkable slab of modern technology. Toying around with it was surprisingly more educational than I’d expected after having played around with the POD HD300. The quality of the sound is every bit as good as the floor PODs, though there is the flexibility for more customization with the bean.
Thankfully most of the controls are easy enough to figure out by pushing buttons, but some of the more detailed setting controls might get you to scratch your head if you don’t know what you’re looking at so thankfully they’ve generously included an instruction manual which makes for a good read on a cold night, bundled up by the fireplace. While I wouldn’t consider the manual a particularly interesting read it does what it’s supposed to do plenty well enough.
I don’t know what the demand for XLR inputs looks like, but I remember being bummed that the HD300 didn’t have one, so I was modestly elated to see that the bean units have one, but that’s probably a negligible concern.
I think my favorite aspect about this POD is that you have more versatility with how you set up your pedal chain. The LCD display shows your pedal chain on its primary screen and it’s plenty easy enough to understand. What really sells me on it is that you can add multiple of one type of effect to your chain… if that makes sense. For example. The X3 line, with its dual channels offered you a max of two delays at once while the HD300 and HD400 pedals gave you only one delay at a time. This follows suit with the HD500 in that you can load up your pedal chain with a whole bunch of delays if you see fit which can offer itself to some great ideas in the right hands.
The looper that’s built into it is plenty of fun to play around with and coupled with the 1/2 speed and reverse buttons can lend itself to some fun concoctions. There isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about it. If you’ve worked on other loopers before you’ve got a good idea of what to expect and it competes very well. However I found myself kind of wishing there was a metronome or a four-count click before it started recording. Pushing record with your hand and making it back to the neck in time can be cumbersome.
You can plug in a floor board via FBV jack which, if I’ve read the manual correctly, you can control the looper with your feet. I wasn’t able to put that to test, sorry to say. More dated lines of floor boards are also incompatible, so if you’ve got the Line 6 Floor Board or FBV2 then you’ll have to make more of an upgrade.
I was also a bit surprised at the lacking L6 jack which would give all sorts of interactive joy when plugged into other Line 6 products. Perhaps it was omitted to maintain the $400 price tag which is a fair asking price for what this product does. It’s solid, sturdy, sounds great, and it’s plenty of fun to play around on.
It’s quite evident that Line 6 doesn’t sit around and rerelease the same product over and over. Not without making seamless improvements anyway, so my overall opinion is very favorable and I’m curious to see what they’ll do to top this next time around. I still like the idea of an HD X3 line.
[rating:5] – Bang for Buck – 5
[rating:5] – Build – 5
[rating:4] – Ease of Use – 4
[rating:5] – Features – 5
[rating:5] – Quality – 5
[rating: overall] – 4.8