Line 6 POD HD Startup Guide

Posted Sep 18, 2012 at 12:32am

New to the POD series of processors and want to make your own sounds? Here’s how to get off to a good start


by Neal Vanderhoof


This guide is aimed at newbies to the POD HD experience—as well as those who have dismissed, given negative reviews, or returned one of the POD HD line of products because of the higher-than-average learning curve for such not-so-simple computer based gear.


Out of the box, I’d say the HD500 is not “gig-ready.” Of course it functions, unless UPS decided to drop it off a building on the way to its final destination. I’m referring to the fact that no set of presets designed by another guitarist who’s probably using different strings, a different pick, different playing style, and listening to different types of music is probably not going to design presets that fit your needs. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the HD line of effects are highly editable, and the sounds you want are in there—somewhere! But you need to understand how to make the HD do your bidding, and the following is what I recommend doing as you take as your first steps to get to know this product properly . . . (Note: Click on any image to enlarge.)




Forget about all your other gear except the guitar (or guitars) you plan to use with this unit. Get a great pair of headphones; do not use an amp at low volumes at this stage of the process. This will perhaps seem strange to you, but as you’ll see, there are very good reasons why I recommend this approach.




Fig. 1: The power connector is toward the right.


Be very careful with the power supply and how you plug it in, where it sits in your studio or on stage, and be as gentle as possible with the power connection point (Fig. 1) as it can break fairly easily if you’re not careful. A replacement power supply is about $50, but it’s more costly if the jack inside the unit breaks or “falls in.” Sure it’s all covered by a warranty, but who wants to wait weeks for something as simple as a power supply problem?




Take the time to find and either print (or simply save) the expanded HD500 Users Guide online. The manual with the unit is really just a getting started guide, and you want to do more than just get started.




While reading through the expanded manual, use the most recent version of the free Line 6 Monkey utility program to upgrade your unit to the full 22 amps/cabs (as well as added features like bias adjustment). Connect the HD to your computer’s USB port, make sure you have a working internet connection, boot up Monkey, the follow the updating procedures (Fig. 2).

Line6 Monkey.png

Fig. 2: The Line 6 Monkey analyzes your system, and lets you know if any elements need updating.


Note that when doing any updates with any gear via USB (not just Line 6 gear), don’t use a USB hub—plug directly into a computer’s USB port. Also while you're connected, download the POD HD500 Edit software!




I strongly suggest not bothering with any of the preset banks in the POD HD Edit software, at least for now, but do start your explorations with the editing software—it makes many “hidden” inner workings and signal paths of the unit much clearer. Also, the advantage of copy and paste for some sections of repeated programming is useful (Fig. 3).




Fig. 3: The POD HD Edit software unlocks the programmability of your POD.


After completing your updates, go to an empty User Bank and start there with a blank slate. Any patches from any of the presets can be simply dragged in and dropped into any slot you choose and modified if needed, but it’s important to know the basic amp sounds and default settings. The amp and cabinet are the foundations of any preset, so the better you know the various amp qualities, the easier it is to choose one that’s closest to what you need.


Each amp has two versions, Pre and Full. Pre is just that—the Preamp section of whatever amp you’re using, and any effects you may want to add in the signal chain. However, if you’re not following the unit with a guitar amp, you should choose Full as it will then model whatever cabinets and microphones you want. Using the headphones automatically puts each amp into this mode (I told you there was a good reason!); this mode is also adjustable, as described in the advanced manual.


Without turning the volume up too loud (remember, take care of your hearing), plug your guitar into the 1/4" input jack, put on the headphones, then sit with your HD500 connected to your computer with POD HD500 Edit running. As you change amps you’ll hear each through the headphones, which gives you a very detailed impression of the amp sound. Also, please don’t let the name alone fool you. Just because it’s a Vox or Fender doesn’t mean it can’t be used for heavy metal, or a Bogner or Mesa can’t be used for warm, clean sounds—much depends on the combination of your guitar’s volume knob setting and each amp’s input gain. Spend some quality time checking out all the amp sounds in full mode, as this will serve you well in the future.


Another advantage of listening through headphones is that you can hear what the amp should sound like when turned up to a volume that’s representative of running the amp at optimum levels. Truly good headphones will cost about $150 - $300; they’re worth the expense if you’re serious about getting the most from this unit.


Finally, remember that you can have two separate paths, each with their own amps and effects. This can make great stereo effects, but even when summed in mono, you can get a huge variety of sounds.




This should go on for quite a while, until you get to know all the nuances of each amp model. Then simply run the HD500 into your DAW via USB (or by patching the audio outs to an audio interface), or with a guitar amp by patching directly into the the power amp input or an effects loop return, choosing the Full or Pre sound as appropriate. Although being able to make your own sounds is ideal, don’t overlook the tons of worthwhile presets at (Fig. 5). Better yet, now you’ll know how to modify them as needed.


Fig. 5: It's great to be able to roll your own, but check out what other POD HD users have created as well.


And here’s one last tip before playing out: Turn your amp up to your performance stage volume you usually use, then make any final tweaks or adjustments to the HD500.



Acknowledgment: Thanks to Craig Anderton for editing and additional content. He also contributed the following video to this article, which shows how a couple simple tweaks can augment a basic dual amp sound.


Add a Comment

Similar Guitar News

Line 6 Unveils Helix, a Guitar Processor That Redefines the Sound and Feel of Modeling (6/17/2015)
Line 6 has unveiled Helix, its new flagship tour-ready guitar processor. From the company: Helix represents a giant leap forward in guitar processing, as well as a new way of thinking about guitarists and their relationship to technology. Ever...
NAMM 2015: Line 6 releases POD HDX firmware update (1/23/2015)
Read more about NAMM 2015: Line 6 releases POD HDX firmware update at NAMM 2015: Fulfilling key customer requests, Line 6 announced the upcoming release of POD HD v2.6 firmware at Winter NAMM. The free V2.6 free update ups the pow...
NAMM 2015: Line 6 introduces the Relay G70, G75 digital wireless systems (1/23/2015)
Read more about NAMM 2015: Line 6 introduces the Relay G70, G75 digital wireless systems at NAMM 2015: Line 6 is introducing their new Relay G70 and Relay G75 digital wireless systems at Winter NAMM. The Relay G70 and G75 deliver ...
NAMM 2015: Line 6 unveils the Firehawk FX multi-effect guitar processor (1/23/2015)
Read more about NAMM 2015: Line 6 unveils the Firehawk FX multi-effect guitar processor at NAMM 2015: Guitarists looking for a multi-guitar processor that combines a tonal library from over 200 legendary amps and effects, intuitiv...
Line 6 unveils AMPLIFi TT Bluetooth guitar amp and streaming system (12/9/2014)
Read more about Line 6 unveils AMPLIFi TT Bluetooth guitar amp and streaming system at The Line 6 AMPLIFi series has already launched a brave attempt to redefine the humble guitar amp, but the new AMPLIFi TT desktop amp is the mos...
Line 6 reveals Sonic Port VX (9/5/2014)
Read more about Line 6 reveals Sonic Port VX at Want to record that impromptu 'unplugged' acoustic jam with a minimum of fuss and trailing cables? Line 6 reckon they've cracked the problem with a new audio interface that's also a ...
Steve Howe Talks Vintage and Line 6 Guitars and New Yes Album, 'Heaven & Earth' (8/26/2014)
This is an excerpt from the October 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus the rest of our Stevie Ray Vaughan Top 30 feature, the 60th anniversary of the Fender Strat, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from TC Electroni...
In praise of: Line 6 DL4 (5/22/2014)
Read more about In praise of: Line 6 DL4 at Back in the year 2000, delay pedals didn’t offer a whole lot of options: you made your choice of digital or analogue, and that was about it. The Line 6 DL4 delay modeller shook things up...
Musikmesse 2014: Line 6 reveal AMPLIFi FX100 (3/12/2014)
Read more about Musikmesse 2014: Line 6 reveal AMPLIFi FX100 at Musikmesse 2014: Line 6 has followed up the launch of its innovative AMPLIFi amplifier at NAMM with the AMPLIFi FX100 multi-eff
Review: Line 6 POD HD500X Multi-Effect Processor (1/29/2014)
This video is bonus content related to the March 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store. Not too long ago, if you were shopping for a...
NAMM 2014: Line 6 Introduces AMPLIFi — Guitar Amp and Stereo Bluetooth Speaker System with iOS Integration (1/27/2014)
Line 6 has introduced AMPLIFi, its new guitar amp and stereo Bluetooth speaker system with iOS integration. From Line 6: AMPLIFi is an entirely new kind of guitar amplifier. By combining a high-performance guitar amp, a streaming Bluetooth speak...
Line 6 introduce Pod HD500XS (7/11/2013)
Read more about Line 6 introduce Pod HD500XS at Line 6 has unveiled the POD HD500X guitar multi-effects processor, an upgrade to the popular POD HD500. New features on the POD HD500X include an expanded offering of HD amp models, ...
Line 6 unveils Sonic Port iPhone/iPad audio interface (6/3/2013)
Read more about Line 6 unveils Sonic Port iPhone/iPad audio interface at Line 6 has followed up its Mobile In iOS audio interface with a more advanced offering, the Sonic Port. This CoreAudio-compatible device co
Line 6 and Topspin Media Present the What's Next Musicians’ Conference (5/9/2013)
Line 6 and Topspin Media are joining forces with other leading music and technology companies to present the What's Next Musicians’ Conference, a series of free events that will allow artists to explore the ideas, trends and technologies that ar...
Session Guitar: How the Line 6 JTV-89 Guitar and HD500 Multi-Effects Processor Changed My Studio Life (4/1/2013)
First of all, let me stress this: SESSION GUYS, PAY ATTENTION! I often get asked about what gear I use in the studio. I have addressed this topic in my column in the past. However, a new guitar has been added to the bunch, Combined with my somew...
NAMM 2013: Line 6 unveils JTV-89F (1/25/2013)
Read more about NAMM 2013: Line 6 unveils JTV-89F at NAMM 2013: Line 6 has unveiled its latest James Tyler Variax, the JTV-89F. The Floyd Rose loaded electric boasts a huge amount of features, including 29 Variax instruments and a...