POD HD500 Metal Tones

By Jason Stallworth

May 12, 2019

Are you looking for some new POD HD500 metal tones that aren’t fizzy and sound close to a real amp?

In this post, I’m going to give you my exact amp settings and show you how to create some killer metal guitar tones with your POD HD500. 

So go grab your guitar and get ready to dial in some new metal tones! 

Below you’ll find the sections for each HD500 metal amp (I’ve got some extra tones for you too)…

HD500 Treadplate Tone

pod hd500 metal tone treadplate amp sim

The Line 6 HD500 Treadplate amp is based on the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp (probably more accurately the Mesa half stack). I’d be willing to say this is Line 6’s most popular amp model for all of their amp modeling units for both rock and metal tones.

This is probably due to two things:

  1. The Mesa Dual Rectifier amp is one of the most sought after tones for hard rock and heavy metal music and…
  2. I think Line 6 nailed it with their Treadplate amp modeled after the Mesa Dual. Even with their earlier units such as the POD XT Live (which I have a few videos on as well), the Treadplate seems to be the amp model most rock and metal guitarists use.

This is the first video I made for the Line 6 POD HD500, and I made this shortly after upgrading from the POD XT Live to the HD500.

Since I had used the Treadplate as my go-to amp model with the XT Live I immediately started programming my settings for the Treadplate when I brought home my HD500.

Even though there was a learning curve for me with the HD500, it didn’t take long to program a solid metal tone with the Treadplate. Check it out below…

HD500 Treadplate Video

**Compare this the HD500 Treadplate to the Positive Grid BIAS Amp 2 Treadplate (using the Celestion IRs) in this post: BIAS Amp 2 Metal Tones

Treadplate Settings

The settings below are slightly different from the settings I used in the video. I made minor changes to my EQ settings, mic, and I eliminated the Compressor/Sustainer (I found the tone to be clearer without these). 

Here’s my Treadplate settings that you can use for your HD500…

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: Treadplate
  • Cabinet: 4×12 Tread V-30
  • Mic: 87 condenser (67 mic for the other panned rhythm)
  • Drive: 80
  • Bass: 55
  • Mid: 38
  • Treble: 72
  • Presence: 40
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Noise Gate: Decay 20, Thresh 60
  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 20, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 60, Q 50, Gain 40
  • Delay: Settings vary based on the song and used mainly on leads

**These are my rhythms settings for the HD500 Treadplate amp. I usually record two rhythm tracks for metal and hard pan them both. I use the Neumann U 87 mic sim for the guitar track pan left and the 67 mic for the one I pan right.

And I also use the 87 mic for lead tracks. I use various delay effects and settings depending on the song, and I normally only use delays for my lead guitar tracks. If you see any settings I did not post then that just means I didn’t change anything.

HD500 Angel FBALL Metal Tone

Angel FBALL HD500 Apocalyptic Dreams guitar tone

The Line 6 HD500 Angel FBALL is based on ENGL Fireball amp. These German-made amps (ENGL) have an extremely distinct tone and feel. 

They’re widely used by melodic death metal, Gothic metal, symphonic metal, and power metal bands (all of which I love!). They deliver a ton of gain without lacking clarity. 

That being said, I was eager to see what metal tones I could dial in using the Angel FBALL.

At first, I was battling between the Treadplate and Angel FBALL, and a fierce battle this! Both had proven to deliver the best HD500 metal tones (in my opinion…the other models are decent but do not hold a candle to these two). 

Here’s my Angel FBALL metal tone…

HD500 Angel FBALL Video

Angel FBALL Settings

The settings below are my most recent HD500 Angel FBALL settings and are slightly different from the one’s you hear in the video above (though you may not be able to tell). 

The changes aren’t substantial but I’ve found that I like the FBALL tones better with boosted mids rather than the typical scooped mids you hear in many metal songs. 

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: Angel FBALL
  • Cabinet: 4X12 XXL V-30
  • Mic: 57 off axis (57 on axis mic for the other panned rhythm)
  • Drive: 90
  • Bass: 50
  • Mid: 55
  • Treble: 72
  • Presence: 70
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 20, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 60, Q 50, Gain 40
  • Delay: Settings vary based on the song and used mainly on leads

**The overdrive, parametric EQ, and delay for leads for the same that I use for Treadplate (or at least similar)…this is the case for most of my metal tones.

POD HD500 Metal Guitar Tones

First Metal Album Recorded Using the POD HD500

Well, I don’t know if this is the FIRST metal album using the POD HD500 for guitar tones, but it was used on my first album!

I released Apocalyptic Dreams in 2013. This is an instrumental metal album with a classic metal style. There’s plenty of riffs and chunky palm muting, so I needed that clarity and needed a tight guitar tone. 

At the time, the HD500 was what I had to work with. And having my studio in our small apartment back then, it was a feasible option.

What tone did I use for Apocalyptic Dreams?

You guess it…the Angel FBALL (same settings and all that you read about above!). 

You can buy/listen to Apocalyptic Dreams below…

Listen to Apocalyptic Dreams

HD500 Brit J800 Hard Rock Tone

I like Marshall amps but I don’t love them. Yes, I know, that’s total blasphemy.

They’re great for hard rock tones, and of course there are a few old school metal bands that use or have used them (Megadeth and Slayer use Marshalls, and Hetfield had a modded Marshall he used for Metallica’s first two albums). 

But I’ve always been more into the tones from ENGL, 5150/6505, and a few other amps for metal. However, when it comes to rock or hard rock tones, it’s tough to beat a Marshall.

It was no surprise that I didn’t care much for the Line 6 POD HD500 Brit J800 at first. However, for some reason I decided to spend some time tweaking the settings.

When I recorded the song that you’ll hear in the video below, I was blown away by the overall mix and how good the Brit J800 sounded!

There was a trick I used, and once I learned this trick, I’ve used it on every single song and album I’ve ever released. 

It’s typical for me to record two rhythm guitar tracks and hard pan each one. But this time, I made some subtle changes to the second rhythm guitar tracks. Nothing major, just moved the EQ here and there, and maybe the mic placement. 

Once I did that, the two guitars sounded like the Heavens opening up in my studio. 

HD500 Brit J800 Video

**Compare the HD500 J800 to the BIAS FX Snake’s Lead tones in this post: BIAS FX Metal and Rock Tones

Brit J800 Settings

My Brit J800 amp settings below are for one rhythm track (the one panned hard left).

I do give you the mic I used for the second rhythm guitar. But you can mess around with the EQ to make more changes if you want (mainly to your mids and highs). 

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: Brit J800
  • Cabinet: 4×12 Brit 75
  • Mic: 409 mic (57 mic on axis for the other panned rhythm)
  • Drive: 90
  • Bass: 60
  • Mid: 60
  • Treble: 72
  • Presence: 40
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Noise Gate: Decay 20, Thresh 60
  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 50, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 60, Q 50, Gain 40
  • Delay: Mostly leads, some rhythms and the settings will vary

HD500 SOLO 100 Rock/Metal Tone (Crunch and Overdrive) 

I’m not too familiar with the actual Soldano amps. And I’ve never been a fan of the processors or amp simulators that have modeled this amp.

I decided to shoot a video with the HD500 SOLO 100 amp out of curiosity. I just wanted to hear it with my style of playing, and in a full mix. 

I was pleasantly surprised with this amp, but not so much for the type of metal I play. It’s more of a rock or hard rock tone (that’s why I’m calling this the SOLO 100 ‘Rock’ instead of Metal in the title). 

So here it is…my curiosity video! 

HD500 SOLO 100 Video

SOLO 100 Settings

In the video, I broke down the amp tones into four parts:

  • SOLO Crunch 1
  • SOLO Crunch 2
  • SOLO Crunch 3
  • SOLO Lead (Overdrive)

As the settings are similar between all of these, I’m listing one set below. The core change for the Crunch, or the rhythm patches is the different cabinets and mics used (which are listed below). 

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: SOLO 100 (Crunch and Overdrive)
  • Cabinet and Mic 1: 4×12 Brit 75 with SM57 mic off axis
  • Cabinet and Mic 2: 4×12 Greenback 25 with 409 mic
  • Cabinet and Mic 3: 4×12 Blackback 30 with 409 mic
  • Drive: 71
  • Bass: 60
  • Mid: 71
  • Treble: 75
  • Presence: 38
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Noise Gate: Decay 20, Thresh 60
  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 50, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 80, Q 60, Gain 40
  • Delay: Mostly leads, some rhythms and the settings will vary

**Cabinet and Mic 3 was used on both the Crunch 3 and Overdrive (lead) tones

HD500 BF Double VIB Clean Tone

This is my absolute favorite clean tone among all amp modelers, effects processors, and software (VST) amp sims…

The HD500 BF Double VIB (such a long name, eh??!). 

I assume this amp is modeled after the Fender Blackface Deluxe, or maybe one of the Fender Reverb editions. I’m not certain.

And I will not attempt to compare the HD500BF Double VIB to a real Fender tube amp (you tone snobs would put out a hit on me if I did that!). But to my ears, this amp model is a win.

It also fits perfectly with the many HD500 effects, especially the delays and reverbs. In particular, you get some astounding ambient tones using the HD500 Particle Verb effects (I’ve yet to find anything that replicates this sound, which is why I still own my HD500 unit).

Is this a metal tone? No, but it’s a killer clean tone that would fit nicely in any metal song, like an intro, outro, or breakdown during the song. 

HD500 BF Double VIB Video

**There’s also some killer ambient tones I came up with using Positive Grid’s BIAS FX plugin in this post: BIAS FX Clean and Ambient Tones

BF Double VID Settings

You can dial in the exact tones with the settings below. But I do encourage you to mess around with the settings. You can also add an overdrive in front of the amp to get some cool tones.

The effects are also something I suggest you spend adequate time on. There’s some crazy ambient sounds you can get mixing the different reverbs and delays. Just have fun with this one! 

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: BF Double VIB
  • Cabinet: 4×12 Blackback 30
  • Mic: 409 mic (57 mic on axis for the other panned rhythm)
  • Drive: 90
  • Bass: 60
  • Mid: 60
  • Treble: 72
  • Presence: 40
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Noise Gate: Decay 20, Thresh 60
  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 50, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 60, Q 50, Gain 40
  • Delay: Mostly leads, some rhythms and the settings will vary
  • Chorus

HD500 Brit P-75 Rock Tone

Even though it’s not built for metal, the HD500 Brit P-75 is one of my all-time favorite amp models from the Line 6 POD HD500 for rock or any style of music except extreme metal. 

It’s modeled (at least I think) after the Marshall Park amp. This amp has a warmth and subtle punch that I’ve never heard before. 

The HD500 Brit P-75 is immensely diverse as you can go from a hard rock to softer and more gritty guitar tones. I also think the Brit P-75 amp sounds more realistic to a real amplifier than any of the other HD amp models. 

HD500 Brit-75 Video

Brit P-75 Settings

For my Brit P-75 Rhythm I crank the amp’s gain and include the HD500 tube screamer model, a noise gate, parametric EQ, reverb and delay.

My Brit P-75 lead guitar tone is pretty much the same with more amp gain and I include a 2nd Screamer pedal. The gain on the tube screamers are low to mid-way. The Screamer seems to clean up the tone and also adds some punch. 

For all of the tones I’m using the 4 x 12 Blackback 30 cabinet model (same cab I used in my clean tone above). I also demonstrate a cleaner tone with this amp which sounds really nice. 

I don’t use a tube screamer sim on this one and the amp’s gain is only at about 20%. This tone with the bridge pickup gives you a nice warm guitar tone.

The most important piece is probably the mic which I’m using the Dynamic 409 mic model. The Brit P-75 sounds good with the 57 On Axis and 57 Off Axis mic models but the 409 condenser mic gives it a darker tone, which is what I prefer as opposed to the brighter and hissy tones, and the 409 mic also seems to make the notes more pronounced and cleaner.

Amp and Cabinet Settings:

  • Amp: Brit P-75
  • Cabinet: 4×12 Brit 75
  • Mic: 409 mic (57 mic on axis for the other panned rhythm)
  • Drive: 70
  • Bass: 56
  • Mid: 74
  • Treble: 74
  • Presence: 30
  • Channel Volume: 50

Pedals and Effects:

  • Noise Gate: Decay 20, Thresh 60
  • Screamer: Bass 55, Tone 70, Treble 65, Drive 50, Output 80
  • Parametric EQ: Lows 50, Highs 50, Frequency 80, Q 60, Gain 40
  • Delay: Mostly leads, some rhythms and the settings will vary

**For LEADS, I boosted the gain, bass and mids, and I also used two tube screamer sims with the same settings to give more sustain. 

7 String Guitar Metal Tone with HD500

Several years later, after my POD HD500 had collected much dust, I was curious to hear what it would sound like with my 7 string guitar.

The 7 string is an ESP E-II Horizon FR-7 with EMG707 pickups.

I’m using the Angel F-BALL amp in the video below, and the settings are the same as in the Angel FBALL Metal Tone section (scroll up a ways and you’ll find it, or just go to the top of the page where the menu is and click on Angel FBALL Settings). 

The style of the song I’m playing is melodic death metal. It’s actually a song from my album called Masterpeace. ​

Is the HD500 worthy of 7 string melodic death metal tones?

Well, it’s certainly not my favorite for 7 string metal, but I want you to check it out and let me know what you think…

HD500 7 String Metal Video

What is the Best HD500 Amp for Metal?

For metal tones, by far the HD500 Angel FBALL wins. You have to understand that I’ve spent relentless hours programming and tweaking tones for every rock and metal amp in the HD500 amp modeler.

I’m willing to bet you’ve spent your fair share of hours tweaking tones too! It’s the nature of our metal beast! 

So what makes the Angel FBALL so special and outshine the others?

Here’s my list…

  • Clarity of the tone – every note is pronounced
  • Tightness of the tone (it even sounds decent without the screamer stomp box in front of it, though I still use it)
  • Easy to dial in a good tone
  • Doesn’t need any additional effects or EQs to sound good
  • Sits very well in the mix

Now the one downside I found to the HD500 in general is its ability to sustain notes. The notes fade out much faster than if you were playing through a real amp (or some of the modern software amp sims). 

I would imagine that Line 6 enhanced this in their future releases of the HD500X and Helix, though I’ve never played through any one of these. 

The ultimate question is can you dial in a good metal tone with the HD500?

Where ‘good metal tone‘ is extremely subjective, I believe you can. And if it’s all you’ve got, I say use!

Don’t let your talent go to waste just because you don’t have or can’t afford the latest and greatest gear!

There have been MANY excellent albums recorded with mediocre gear…and just as many (if not MOREcrappy albums made with expensive, premium gear. So just let that set in. 

In fact, I recorded my first studio album using the HD500 as my core guitar tones, which you’ll read more about below. You can also learn more about Line 6 products on their website here: https://line6.com/

More Tips for Dialing in HD500 Metal Tones

I hope you enjoyed reading about my HD500 metal guitar tones! I encourage you to plugin these settings and see how you like them. 

If nothing else, my HD500 tones and settings will give you a good starting point to create your own metal tones.

Here’s a few final tips in using the HD500:

  • Start out with all settings straight up the middle and made subtle changes from there as you test the sound.
  • Play around with different cabinets and mics.
  • Too many stomp boxes and effects may clutter your tone, so ‘less is more’ for HD500 metal tones.
  • Use a little gain on the screamer/overdrive to tighten up the tone (the ‘0 gain’ as you may use with a real tube amp doesn’t work too well with the HD500…you need a little more punch).
  • For leads, boost your mids, add more gain, and consider adding a compressor (this may sound par for the course, but it’s especially crucial with the HD500 as it does lack sustain). 

Now go dial in some metal tones! 

Keep it Metal,


Jason Stallworth

About the author

Jason is a hard rock and heavy metal recording artist, songwriter, and published author. Primarily a guitarist, he's known for his melodic style and positivity. He also enjoys helping other guitarists and musicians excel. When he's not writing music or filming YouTube videos, he's helping others build muscle and get in shape on themuscleprogram.com.

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