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Thread: Clark Kent: Treason (Axe-Fx vs. POD HD500 review)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Clark Kent: Treason (Axe-Fx vs. POD HD500 review)

    THIS THREAD IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSIDERING AXE-FX AND WONDERING IF LINE6 POD HD IS ENOUGH!

    I've been the guy who's been bashing POD HD the most so I felt it was my turn to give it an honest review.

    http://soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job/clark-kent-treason

    Haven't been here lately so I thought I'd tell you why. I've sold my Axe-Fx Standard for the price of brand new Axe-Fx and I was already planning to save up for an Ultra. Things didn't go as planned and I tried a POD HD500 and it was sure no Axe-Fx but I knew I could make it sound good. I mean... it took me two months to create the first Axe-Fx patch that I really liked.

    Now I've had the POD HD500 for a week and the above song was recorded with just one guitar patch. It has no post processing, no tricks, just an AMP BLOCK w/ cab ofcourse. I'm happy with the sound. It's Engl Fireball with Bogner Uberkab SM57 off-axis. Now I know how hard it is to get a perfect tone with the Axe-Fx if you aren't allowed to use EQ blocks. That metal tight low end f.ex. yadda yadda.

    Now... I know this is the Fractal Forum and I assume you'll say this sounds bad just because it's Line6 and Axe-Fx is pure awesomeness. Sure, the POD HD500 isn't even close to an Axe-Fx. I'm struggling to get a metal tone that isn't overly bassy and there's only one amp model that can pull it off and it's the Engl. So it leaves me with one usable amp sim for metal. Okay that sucks right? Well... how many amp sims did I use with Axe-Fx? 2-3 but 90% of the time just the Recto New. The POD doesn't have the versatility but did I ever really use it? Those synth-sounding crystals? Hell no. The parallel effect option is what I'm missing though. Also I'm hoping they make the user cab option for POD too.

    What about the cleans and crunch tones? Well TB100%H the Fender cleans sound more like the real thing with the POD. The bassman sounds very vintage and the blackface sounds very clean... but you have to use the preamp versions. Crunch... well I haven't really gotten into that yet but I'm assuming it won't be as good as the Axe-Fx. I think all of the amp sims on the POD have way too much gain... I can make a metal tone with a JCM800. If you are interested I can make a clip of that too but I assure you it's not comparable with the Axe-Fx.

    Conclusion:

    Line6 POD HD500: Easy to use, a full rig in one pedal, many effects, CHEAP AS HELL, easy to carry around. Fits into my guitar bag.
    TONE: Not many options, will take time tweaking things right, has the tube amp feel.

    Axe-Fx: Easy to use after you learn the basics, you'll have to buy a midi pedal, crazy many effects, will end up costing 5-7 times more than an HD500 rig. Will require getting into rack stuff and wiring etc.
    TONE: Many options, will take time tweaking things right, has the tube amp feel.

    It's a matter of what you need and how much money you've got. If you want crazy versatility and have the money I suggest you get an Axe-Fx. If you are fine with probably just 3-5 amp sims that can be used and also more effects than you can think of then the POD HD might be your thing. It does have the Uberkab (cabinet) which is good for any type of music IMO. (The German cab and Recto2 cab were the only cabs in the Axe-Fx that were up to my standards so the Uberkab is good) And it's a rig in one box unlike the Axe-Fx. (You'll need a midi pedal for the Axe-Fx and all the setup is just crazy IMO) If you have the money, you'll never regret getting the Axe-Fx. If you want things as simple as possible like me then you should consider the HD500 even though you have the money. I have the money to buy an Axe-Fx but I'm not buying although I know how good it is. Maybe some day... you never know.
    Last edited by Clark Kent; Mar-21-2011 at 12:16 PM.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Scott Peterson's Avatar
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    These are tool boxes with tools. Find what works for you and have fun making music.

    If the HD is the tool box for you, then by all means have a ball with it.

    A few things about your review: a) you have a good ear for what you do, and the HD500 is a great unit for $500 so I don't have to hear your clip to know it'll sound like you doing a clip and sound good; b) $500 is not 'cheap as hell' any more than $1500 (of which you note you recouped in full) is exorbitantly or prohibitively expensive. Each unit is a great value for the money in terms of what they give you; c) the "vs." thing from your subject line is what'll set folks off. There isn't really any real competition between the two units; they are different products aimed at very different markets. Not a value judgement; just an honest observation.

    If the tool set and tools fits; and you like the lower end product more; great! You save money. But the "vs." sets up a situation the lower priced unit just cannot compete on, even on features/hardware quality, etc..

    You are justifying, IMHO, selling a boutique high end unit for a lower price point consumer product. They are not really comparable products. Even if you only use one amp model from the Axe-FX, that doesn't mean anything is 'left on the table', it just means you have a lot more options yet to use if you should so choose. There is not ever a need to use every single thing any piece of gear offers you for it to somehow 'measure' up to value. I've never understood that line of thought.

    It's great if you found what fits; when you 'left' here you were going with a Mesa amp and that was that. 'Real tube amps only!' I guess that wasn't all 'that'. (Just poking fun man, don't take it as a slam).

    Clark, just make sure you have fun and keep making music, recording music and performing music. Keep on keeping on man. I've nothing but good will towards you and hope you are having fun.

    Your contrast/compare between the two is great and I'm glad you took the time to share.
    Last edited by Scott Peterson; Mar-21-2011 at 12:33 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member AndrewSimon's Avatar
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    Nothing new here... that I didn't know before...
    As said, the HD500 is cool.... but it's not exactly an AXE-FX
    If it satisfy you, great.

    Enjoy!


  4. #4
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    has the tube amp feel.
    I had made an AB test. HD sounds good, but has too much highs and no tube amp feel. I feel the lack of mid, good organic tone in your clip.

  5. #5
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    I Thought you were on a world trip??????????

    Liked the recording BTW. And I do not give a s@%&t if it is the AXIE or PODDO.

    If it sound good it is good (love that phrase)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Yeah I didn't mean to VS. the two. Like I said in my text they can't be compared. If you compare versatility then the POD will fail immediately. I could never pull off something like the amp comparison video that I made with the Axe-Fx. And like Scott said, I am using the real Mesa ATM. This is just for demoing songs at home. The real Recto tone is something that I couldn't find in the Axe-Fx and I can't find it in the POD. I don't know if this sounds anything like Engl Fireball... all I know is that I like it.

    The world isn't black and white. I know the general opinion is "the POD is sh** compared to Axe-Fx" and sure I agree with that a lot but it doesn't mean you can't get proper tones with the POD. And it's more about how it'll fit your needs. I need a metal tone and slightly less gain metal tone for rock and a clean tone. Some bluesy guys might find nothing of use in the POD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smilzo View Post
    I had made an AB test. HD sounds good, but has too much highs and no tube amp feel. I feel the lack of mid, good organic tone in your clip.
    I don't know if the firmware you tested was an older one but the HD I've got with the newest firmware has too much LOWS. That's the main problem I'm having. Also I'd love to have more mids but the mid knob adds boomyness so I can't really do that either. The Engl sure is the best amp sim in this thing. It has the mids and doesn't boom in the lower register... sounds like ass if you don't tweak it accurately though.

    The HD sure has tube feel. I mean... it gets bouncy and chunky just like real amps. Sure you don't have the amount of control over it like with the Axe-Fx. I can turn a metal tone into a clean tone with my guitar volume knob. This I could only do with the Axe-Fx Fryette amp sim. If you were using the PREAMP versions of the amps (which many POD users seem to prefer because they are not boomy) then it does not have the power amp tube feel.

    Also... master knob is only volume in the HD. So no real master knob.

    Quote Originally Posted by DADA View Post
    If it sound good it is good (love that phrase)
    Exactly. And... I don't like to give myself credit but tone is in the fingers and ability to tweak. Not saying that what I do is generally perfect but it's perfect for me.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
    www.soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

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    What different ways have you run the HD for monitoring? Headphones, powered PA (QSC, verve), studio monitors?

    I liked your Axe clips and I like this clip as well. Goes to show the old argument of 90+% of the tone is in your hands!

    -Eric

  8. #8
    Senior Member claham's Avatar
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    Low end hands, get low end gear; mid end hands, get mid end gear; high end hands, spend and you are there?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredding Hand View Post
    What different ways have you run the HD for monitoring? Headphones, powered PA (QSC, verve), studio monitors?

    I liked your Axe clips and I like this clip as well. Goes to show the old argument of 90+% of the tone is in your hands!

    -Eric
    Right now this is just a recording setup for recording at home so that would be KRK Rokit 5's and 8's and my wide collection of headphones. I might use this for effects in my live rig. Mainly just noise gate.

    Sure it has a lot to do with hands. If I couldn't play tight all my Axe-Fx clips would sound bad. Same goes with the POD. Other than that it's all about the knowledge of "what is a good tone". It's a bit complicated to explain but I'll try.

    First of all you need to know what you want and have proper ears that can judge a tone. I want tight low end and mids that keep the tone together but don't sound woolly. High end that cut but don't fizz.

    How to tweak a tone like Clark Kent does it:
    What I do is I max out the gain at first. Then I set all knobs to zero and search for the right treble knob position. Then bass so that it doesn't boom. Then add mids enough that it doesn't sound woolly. (which is my own word for boomy in the mid frequency ) The presence thing is something I always measure with a comparison. I might A/B the tone to a track for some while to get it right. Then I'll lower the gain as much as possible. Too much gain will sound bad and you can't really play tight with too much gain.

    This is the way I've done it for a long time and it gets me where I need to be. If you like my tones then I suggest you try it out. Lowering the gain makes it tight!

    Quote Originally Posted by dodo View Post
    FS: My hands
    Hahahaha... Nah man... it takes practice and I've been doing this a lot. Just pick as hard as you can for a week and then take it down a notch and it's there.

    Quote Originally Posted by claham View Post
    Low end hands, get low end gear; mid end hands, get mid end gear; high end hands, spend and you are there?
    Not necessarily. A good player can sound good with any gear. High end gear helps... sometimes high end gear can complicate things and distract you from concentrating on the playing.
    Last edited by Clark Kent; Mar-21-2011 at 05:08 PM.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
    www.soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mark_melling's Avatar
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    Clark listen you don't need excuses to come and visit..when i see a "Clark Kent Ax V'S" what i am really seeing is a "Clark Kent misses you guys so damn much"
    It's ok..we realize it soon gets boring with only a dirty Mesa, HD & women for company..well don't you fret i'm sure there is enough manly love on here for you!!
    ...You take the TUBE, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the Ax, you stay in wonderland, and i show you how deep the input hole goes...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Hahaha. Honestly, sure I miss you guys. (except Jay ofcourse) The main difference between Axe-Fx users and HD users is that Line6 users are mostly noobs. A Line6 user commenting on my tone tells me nothing. I mean... if they were fine with Vettas and are used to those Line6 tones then they don't have high enough standards.

    The Uberkab is actually pretty good in this thing. Very different than the Redwirez Uberkab. If you want I can make IR's. Imagine that... Axe-Fx users using POD HD IR's.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
    www.soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

  12. #12
    Senior Member shasha's Avatar
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    Well to me it sounds like Clark Kent playing....

  13. #13
    MSS
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    Sounds pretty good in the mix. Can we hear just the guitar track? I'm considering the Pod HD300 to use for late at night headphone jams.
    Last edited by MSS; Mar-21-2011 at 08:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Kent View Post
    The real Recto tone is something that I couldn't find in the Axe-Fx and I can't find it in the POD.
    Well... I don't like real recto...

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Kent View Post
    I don't know if the firmware you tested was an older one but the HD I've got with the newest firmware has too much LOWS.
    Don't know HD version, sorry. Maybe this is the problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Kent View Post
    The HD sure has tube feel. I mean... it gets bouncy and chunky just like real amps. ... I can turn a metal tone into a clean tone with my guitar volume knob. This I could only do with the Axe-Fx Fryette amp sim.
    I got it. But there are also lot of stompboxes that can turn from clean to metal with a twist of guitar knob. I call it "reactivity", or interaction... (not dynamic, this is a term that I use with proper EE meaning). Try an Eleven Electric, even cheaper than HD. There are many axefx amp sim that go clean just with volume knob. Maybe you missed something in setting... I don't know. I feel the axefx amp model being less reactive then real (ie, SLO100), but I found other models that suit my reactivity needs better.

    IMO tube feel is attack/mid and high clip, "bloom". What I heard in the HD is a 2d tone, flat mid crunch, like many commercial solid state stompboxes. Axefx has more 3d quality when clipping. I tested Axefx/HD with a excelent musician, who preferred the HD. It's a matter of needs and preferences...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSS View Post
    Sounds pretty good in the mix. Can we hear just the guitar track? I'm considering the Pod HD300 to use for late at night headphone jams.
    http://soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job/clark-kent-treason-guitars

    There you have the GUITARS ONLY track. You might notice copy+paste in the second "chorus" and little additional things here and there. That's how I roll. You'll probably notice what I said... only a few amp sims really worked for me and you need to work the amp EQ a bit to make them sound good.

    Sure... tube feel is considered many things I guess. Some say it's the bass rumble after you stop playing. (which is in the POD HD BTW) I do agree that attack plays a big part. Then again a tube amp and a SUPER LOUD tube amp don't have similar attack. I'd say the super loud amp isn't as tight as one with volume down and I think POD HD is modeled more like a super loud amp. This is something you can control in the Axe-Fx.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
    www.soundcloud.com/clark-kent-job
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

  16. #16
    Member carydad's Avatar
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    I tried it as well as the peavey vyper 120 combo. Both are gone now. I've kept the ultra as the A rig and a GSP1101 into a blackstar 60 as a B rig. I dont like the way the GSP sounds through the QSC speakers, but through that combo amp is a really nice. Didnt care for the HD either way. Hit the CPU wall all the time which was annoying.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member axel's Avatar
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    Not to change the subject too much, but have you compared the HD to the 11R?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Not to change the subject too much, but have you compared the HD to the 11R?
    I've played the 11R and I've heard very convincing clips of the 11R. Like this: YouTube - Eleven Rack -vs- Mesa Road King II Demo <--- actually seems to work better than Axe-Fx did when I tried it this way :S

    I haven't A/B'd them but the general opinion seems to be that HD is better because 11R has only three cabs. And price is better... and you don't have to buy a midi pedal.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

  19. #19
    Member guitarded's Avatar
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    I thouht it sounded Super-Man! Ha ha.. I kill me!!!
    Did you record the bass through it as well?
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Clark Kent's Avatar
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    Yeah the bass track is guitar with the HD harmonizer through a bassman.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/clarkkentjob
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMetal86 View Post
    While I haven't tried every cab pack from every distributor, the TEH oversized cab IR's he and Irotlas have done def have something the rest don't. I've played through and oversized cab for years with a few different amps. I must say, the crunch dynamics, punch, etc. made me feel like I was still standing in front of my my old cab. I've tried a lot of other IR's of the same cab, but nothing comes close.

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