Back in the day, all guitar pedals were analog and digital pedal effects could only be achieved in post-processing after recording at a studio and not in live performances. Guitar pedals used many different circuits with various electronic components to alter the signal passing through and add distortion, delay, reverb, or modulation effects such as chorus and flanges. Over the years, digital guitar effects pedals were made to recreate the behavior of analog circuits and reproduce effects using smaller, programmable, digital circuits.
The innovation brought by digital stompboxes to the guitar pedal industry led to multi-effects pedals. Back in the day, people had to go through several brands and pedal models to find a specific effect that works with their rig. With multi-effects pedals, several virtual stompboxes are made available in one unit, and the users are allowed to assign a digital effect on each button or placement. Essentially, multi-effects pedals are pre-built pedalboards with a swappable and customizable effect chain. However, digital pedals were not immediately popular among all guitarists.
Some liked the convenience and clean sound of a digital pedal; but other guitarists, like myself, still love the natural character and sound of analog pedals. Since their introduction, digital pedals always seemed to lack character and sounded artificial but over the years manufacturers have gained enough experience to make them sound and behave just like the analog pedals we've all come to know and love. Gone are the days of hunting down every single member of your pedalboard and potentially wasting money - multi-effect pedals are now very viable due to their improved sound quality and undeniable convenience when it comes to whipping out a fresh signal chain for your next performance.
The Line 6 POD HD500X comes to mind when thinking about a great multi-effects pedal that can be used by literally anyone - beginners, performers, and recording artists. It offers a wide variety of guitar effects that will make sure you always have the pedal you need in your chain and has multiple footswitches. It provides convenience and ease of swapping out effects per footswitch that will be useful for people new to effect chains and pedalboard building. You no longer have to spend hours searching for specific pedals or take weeks completing a pedalboard when you can have all the stompboxes you need in one digital multi-effect pedal.
Line 6 has excelled in various music products including guitar amp, audio interfaces, recording devices, pedals, and music software. They have a wide variety of multi-effect pedals, some are portable and small, while others are complex and large.
If you're looking for the best of both worlds, the Line 6 POD HD500X is a perfect choice. With a multitude of effects, backlit switches and controls, and even interface compatibility, the HD500X can be your dream rig in one unit. If you'd like to know more about this beast of a pedal, keep reading this POD HD500X review.
Should You Get It?
The POD HD500X is perfect for guitarists who want to make the most out of their money and save time by using a multi-effects pedal rather than building a pedalboard. Truly, nothing compares to the satisfaction and fun of building a pedalboard from scratch and hand-picking each stompbox to add to the chain; but multi-effects pedals help you get straight to business and ready to perform.
Furthermore, if you end up deciding you want to swap out an effect or two in the chain, you can do so in a matter of seconds without having to buy a new stompbox. If the sound is a concern, rest assured that the HD500X offers high quality and excellent effects that match up to analog pedals - even I was shocked.
If you want to invest on a single purchase and have all the effects you need while saving money in the long run, the Line 6 HD500X is a no-brainer. It's one of the many great multi-effects pedals offered by the brand but is the go-to bestseller among many guitarists. Whether you're jamming out with friends in the garage or performing and recording professionally, the Line 6 POD HD500X is a great pick for convenience, versatility, and sound quality.
Features and Benefits
The Line 6 POD HD500X has plenty of features for convenience and practical customization of your chain and all the effects on it. Going through every single feature would take more than an hour to talk about - that's how versatile and feature-packed this thing is.
It has backlit footswitches, an expression pedal that you can assign a wah effect to, and control knobs that you can use to adjust the parameters of the currently selected effect in your chain which you can see on its screen. The HD500X also has many jacks and ports including a guitar input, amp output, microphone input, and compatibility with headphones, MIDI, FX loop, and an external expression pedal.
In terms of its main purpose, the HD500X has a huge collection of top-notch guitar amp models and virtual pedals. There are about 130 amp and stompbox simulations combined in this pedal, which lets you choose from many options without being too overwhelmed. Because of this vast library, you can reproduce any chain you can think of. Did you need a reverb pedal? No problem, simply assign one to a footswitch. Did you suddenly have to use a fuzz pedal in the middle of a performance? No sweat, simply swap out one of your effects for a virtual fuzz in a few seconds.
The versatility of the HD500X when it comes to sound is jaw-dropping. I would have loved to have this Line 6 gear back when I was losing my mind building the perfect pedalboard for myself. You simply experiment with the effects and if you're unsatisfied you can simply swap out a couple of effects - it's really like bringing more than a hundred stompboxes with you wherever you go in the size of a regular pedalboard.
Another neat feature is the presets in the HD500X. This pedal offers a little over 500 preset locations, so you can set it all up and choose the appropriate signal chain for any song or performance. This is useful for preparing before a gig or a recording session to ensure smooth transitions between songs. Additionally, the POD HD500X has a 48-second looper with layering capabilities, perfect for creating your jam tracks to solo over.
With the POD, Line 6 products are easily pairable and allow you to create a sound system with the HD500X. The pedal also has useful features such as a built-in tuner, and sound editor giving you full control over your tone. These are only the main features of the HD500X and this review is not enough to discuss all the other little features, but trust me - this thing is very powerful and can be all you need for your next gig.
The controls on the Line 6 POD HD500X can be confusing for some newbies but are simple and easy to use once you've gotten used to it. The pedal has an LCD like most multi-effect pedals and shows everything about your chain. Near the screen are encoders for going through settings and presets.
You will also see controls such as Drive, which controls the amount of gain or distortion; Tone, which lets you control your bass, mid, treble, and presence parameters; Volume, which lets you control the volume of the current effect; and Master Volume, which allows you to change the general volume of the unit.
The footswitches and expression pedal can all be assigned to different virtual stompboxes and mimic a pedalboard. It may take some time familiarizing yourself with the controls of the HD500X, but it's worth it and you'll soon be performing with a hundred effects at your disposal.
When it comes to sound quality, the POD HD is awesome. It has amazing guitar amp and stompbox simulations that can truly match up against high-end analog pedals. The amp simulations are incredibly accurate to the real thing and preserve your dynamics. In fact, the amp simulations are so good that I would choose this pedal over others in the market just for the virtual amplifiers on this thing.
The pedal also does not produce any noise, which is great because a digital pedal such as this will have to be switched on whether the virtual stompboxes or amp simulations are disengaged or not. The effects and amp sims sound great together no matter what chain you've set up. Even the 48-second looper is fantastic and plays back your riffs in high-fidelity. Take my word for it, this pedal sounds amazing and Line 6 definitely nailed this one.
For a demonstration of the HD500X, refer to this video:
If you want to spend less time building a pedalboard and go straight to performing with over a hundred amp simulations and virtual pedals in a single unit, the Line 6 POD HD500X is a must-buy. It has a variety of features and lets you store over 500 signal paths or presets.
It provides the convenience of a digital multi-effect processor with the jaw-dropping character and sound quality of analog pedal chains and amp models - there's nothing else you can want from a guitar multi-effect pedal that the Line 6 POD HD500X can't provide.
You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link: