The Amp Models
I wanted to start by showing all of the available Amp models on the unit and how easy it is to edit them. Having the amp controls laid out like an actual amp is a really great way of dialling in the sounds you want and the 16 Amp Models all sound really good and most importantly react like a real tube amp should. I found it easy to edit the amp cabinets and microphone’s too without having to look at the manual which is always a bonus.
Line 6 make great digital effects, you will very often see their DL4 delay pedal on touring guitarists’ pedalboards and the POD HD300 is packed full of effects including their M-Class effects made famous by Line 6 M9 and M13 stompbox modelers, M-class effects include delays, reverbs, mods, pitch effects etc. The HD300 also includes a selection of Wah pedals so that you can choose a Wah type to suit your particular preset, pressing down on the built-in expression pedal switches between Volume and Wah but can also be assigned to pitch effects etc.
Which POD HD is for me?
Well the simple answer is get the one that you can afford, but for me the features lacking on the HD300 are worth saving up your pennies to upgrade to at least the HD400. For instance there are no dedicated bank up and down footswitches on the HD300 which for a multi-effects floor unit, for me, is a must.
What this means is that you can really only use 3 presets before having to bend down and switch to another bank. I’ve since found out you can press preset switches 1 & 2 at the same time to bank down and 3 & 4 to bank up. I would still find this a bit tricky to be honest and would prefer separate footswitches. I know that many people won’t use more than a few presets in a live situation in which case this is fine and as per my demo you will see you can easily switch modes so that you can turn one of the 3 assigned effects on and off individually which is a huge bonus.
The HD300 and HD400 seem very similar in layout aside from the additional effects loop and bank footswitches but the flagship HD500 looks entirely different, for a start the amp models and auto-fx controls have been removed and instead the editing screen is enlarged and it seems you use this screen to edit all of the available virtual signal chain parameters. Of course there is a software UI for all of the HD series that will make life a lot simpler and enable you to really fine tune your presets with ease.
All in all I was very impressed having not used a Line 6 POD product before, the HD300 is a very solid unit so you know it is going to withstand plenty of abuse if you are gigging regularly and I didn’t refer to the manual once to get up and running. The effects are all top notch and the amp models were responsive, very tweakable and sounded like real amps especially once you dig into the cabinet and mic models to get the sound you want. If I actually owned one of the POD HD products I would spend time with their free downloadable software tweaking on screen rather than using the tiny LED screen and then have my presets ready to go it just makes more sense and that is why they created it.