POD HD’s front-panel controls make it easy to create and edit complex signal paths, thanks, in part, to the informative LCD.
POD HD is the latest iteration of
Line 6’s extensive series of guitar processors,
however, the stand-alone unit is not
simply a refresh of a legacy product. The
classic desktop version now contains the
same high-level amp and effects models
that are in other Line 6 HD products, as
well as offering greater editing capabilities.
And while POD HD remains the most portable
of the bunch, it sounds great whether
you’re listening through headphones,
studio monitors, or running it through
your favorite amp.
Like the other products in the HD line,
POD HD features an LCD where you access
the menu system using a 4-way navigation
button, a pushbutton rotary encoder, and
four multifunction buttons that surround
them (Save, View, Enter, and Move). Below
the screen are four additional multifunction
rotary encoders and buttons. While
the number of contextual controls might
seem a bit extreme for an amp modeler, the
interface is surprisingly intuitive, especially
considering how extensively you can edit
things. The LCD shows you a graphic of
the signal path, and with the onboard controls
alone, you can reorder the elements,
select an amp or effect for editing, and step
through presets, among other things. You
can figure out the basics in about 10 minutes
without opening the manual. (Surprisingly,
the Advanced Guide, available
online from Line6.com, provides the best
introduction to the unit.)
The lower row of buttons can be used for
selecting patches or to control the built-in
looper. The looper includes reverse and
half-speed controls, the latter of which can
also give you double-time playback if you
record at the lower speed. You access the
internal guitar tuner by holding down the
Around the perimeter of the POD HD
are eight additional knobs—Drive, Bass,
Middle, Treble, Presence, Tweak, Volume,
and Master—most of which are self-explanatory.
The Tweak control is user assignable
and can be used to adjust any parameter
that you feel is important in a patch. You
can even set a minimum and maximum
value for the tweakable parameter. And
as you turn the knobs, the controls in the
LCD screen follow.
POD HD boasts 22 of Line 6’s highdefinition
virtual amps and over 100 effects
from the company’s M-series stompbox
modelers. The amp selection includes classic
Fender, Marshall, and Vox models, as
well as examples from Bogner, Engl, Hiwatt,
Mesa/Boogie, Divided by 13, Dr. Z, Supro,
Park, and Gibson. Next, pick from the 16
virtual speaker cabinets (from many of the
same manufacturers), and then select one
of eight mic models, from Shure and Sennheiser
dynamics, to Royer and Coles ribbons
and Neumann condensers.
The effects categories include distortion,
modulation, dynamics, filtering, reverb,
EQ, delay, and pitch change. There are
common effects you’d expect, as well as a
number of surprises. Looking for intelligent
harmonization, tube-echo, vocal-formant filtering,
octave-fuzz, or a sequenced filter?
You’ve got ’em. But check out the Pattern
Tremolo. It steps through four rhythmic
cells at a tempo you select, and each cell can
have 1 to 16 tremolo waves, stay level, or
be skipped. It took only a minute to set up
a repeating pattern that alternated between
16ths and quintuplets. Righteous!
The effects can be placed before or
after the amps, in series or parallel. You
also have the option of placing two amp
models in parallel in the signal path. This
allows you to create some very sophisticated
sounds, especially if you take advantage of
the unit’s stereo capabilities. Many of the
factory presets demonstrate this very well,
even if they might not be the most practical
patches for your own music. The good
news is that there are hundreds of user
slots to save your own presets.
To facilitate editing, Line 6 offers POD
HD Edit (Mac/win), a freeware editor/
librarian that simplifies the task of patch
creation so much that it makes programming
fun. You’ll need to connect the POD
HD to your computer using the USB port
and the included cable, and then download
the software from the Web. I had no
hassles setting everything up to work with
my MacBook Pro.
Once you’re connected via USB, you
can also use POD HD as your audio interface
and record directly to your favorite
DAW software, or listen to audio files
once you’ve connected the device to your
studio’s playback system. Besides the ¼"
guitar input, the processor has balanced
¼" outputs as well as an XLR input (with
dedicated gain control) for a dynamic mic.
There’s even a S/PDIF digital output that
allows you to send your dry or processed
signal to an external audio interface or digital
audio recorder. POD HD’s digital resolution
is 24-bit, with sampling rates from
44.1 to 96kHz.
To unleash the full potential of the POD
HD processor, you will want to combine it
with one of the Line 6 footboard controllers—
the FBV, FBV Shortboard, or FBV
Express. Besides having an expression pedal
for volume and filter effects, the switches
allow you to select presets, bypass effects,
tap in the tempo, or engage the tuner. And
the pedalboard makes it much easier to use
the POD HD’s looper.
Using the editor and controller is the
most convenient way to handle the POD
HD’s vast modeling resources in any recording
or performance environment. But even
on its own, POD HD will give you plenty
of creative mileage.
Contact Line 6; line6.com
Price $549 retail/$399 street
Inputs 1/4", XLR mic
Outputs Stereo headphone, balanced
1/4" (2), S/PDIF, USB 2.0 port
Kudos Built-in Looper. Excellent
sound quality. Easy to edit
and arrange amps and effects.
Works as USB interface.
Concerns Can’t use condenser mics
because it lacks phantom
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