28 July 2012

Line 6 POD HD Desktop

Line 6 has been making guitar recording devices for many years now and i have been somewhat of a fan of their products. The draw that kept me going back to their products was the ease of use for home recording.

Recently,  I managed to pick up a pre owned POD HD Desktop or better know as the the "Black Bean". Many folks were claiming how it's a step up from their existing series but i sincerely did not feel the same.

While the new black bean is spots a slick black housing, it hosts the same modelers and amp simulators as the HD500, I sincerely felt that the HD series is a big let down. Here's a quick review of the POD HD Desktop played through a Kurzweil KS40A on my iMac.

I would not say it's a walk in the park to tweak the knobs and dialing in a kickass tone on the HD. Reading and understanding the manual is mandatory or you will be a lost soul.

Although the cleans are rather nice, There was just so much fizz and highs to the high gain models. It was almost impossible to tame and dial in a nice tone without post EQ processing. Even after post EQ on logic, the tones generated was still not up to par with it's predecessor the POD X3. Although dynamics are captured rather nicely on the HD, I still feel that a big integral part of the HD was lost with it's inability to capture a warm organic tone. Of course nothing beats the real deal of a tube amp but forking out SGD$595 for a brand new HD Desktop that does not come close isn't by any means value for money.

In case you didn't know already. The HD series has it's own software called HD Edit. You will not be able to use Gearbox, Pod Farm, Pod Farm 2 with the HD series. versions of the software varies for the HD300/400/500/Desktop models.

So if you have forked out some cash on buying add on's on your previous devices like me, rest assured these would not come in handy on the HD devices.

HD Edit was much easier to tweak in comparison to the on-board controls and i do give credit for that. Drivers and firmware has recently been updated to Ver 2x and there was a couple of additional amps that were begin added on to their list of too little amp simulators.

When someone dives into buying a Line 6 product, They will probably be looking at recording through their DAW at some time or another. The HD series does not include the possibility of recording and playing it as a VST plugin. Yes you heard me right... NO VST!

You will not be able to record raw dry tracks and tweak them later. How on earth did the people at Line 6 leave that out?! How is recording made easy applicable for the HD series in this manner?

I bought the POD HD Desktop and tweaked it for 2 weeks and sold it without any regrets. In fact, i was rather relived that someone else wanted a taste of it. I had NEVER sold any piece of my gear in such a short possession period!

I jumped back onto my Studio UX1 with Pod Farm 2 and i could hear the significance between both. I'm not saying that the older products sound better than the HD series as tone is very subjective but to my ears, i could definitely live with the tones from my Studio UX1 and POD Farm 2. They aren't bad after hearing what the HD had to offer.

With amazing competitors like Axe Fx and Kemper currently leading the race in Amp sims, Line 6 has gotta think out of the box and keep the pace if they want a piece of the pie in the amp simulator market.

Rating: 3/10 Stars