Gear talk for the GAS-afflicted.

Soldano SLO100 vs POD HD500 + Competition!!

Soldano SLO100 vs POD HD500 + Competition!!

Oct 21, 2012

That’s right bitches! Line 6 has finally issued the update that lets you, the HD500 owner, have access to not one but THREE new amp models based on the legendary Soldano SLO100. The models you get cover the Overdrive, Crunch and Clean channels (in that order of importance to me, haha).

The Soldano SLO100 is a modern classic that has set the standard for high gain tube amps – delivering a crushing overdrive tone with a distinct midrange voicing unlike any other amp. Not to say that brutal drive is the only thing it can do – it’s been utilized by many distinctly unmetal guitar greats ranging from Eric Clapton to Mark Knopfler to the late Gary Moore. You can trace its genesis back to the Mesa Mark III, while its influence can be seen/heard in the design of the original Mesa Dual Rectifier and the Peavey 5150.

Anyway. There are some new amp models out for the POD HD series. Now, I could just do some clips for you to show you how these sound, and that would be cool – but by freakish good timing, I actually have an ACTUAL Soldano SLO100 with me at the moment!!!! <– the number of exclamation marks denotes my level of excitement.

It’s a really rare opportunity, and considering that I probably won’t ever make enough money in my lifetime to actually BUY an SLO, I’m going to seize the opportunity to try and give you a decent attempt at an A/B comparison between the two!

To try and keep it as equal as possible, I’ve run the new SOLO amp model into my Line 6 DT25 head, and into my Mesa Thiele cab. For comparison, I’ll run the Soldano SLO100 into that same cab, which will be miked up with an Audix i5, kept in the same position – slightly off axis.

Now for the fun stuff!!


Here’s the challenge!!!

The SLO100 is panned to one side, while the POD/DT25 is panned to the other. Which one is which??? You have a listen, and tell me.

I tried to find a few artists who are connected to the SLO100, and of course one of the most famous past users of the amp is none other than Mr Edward Van Halen! He used it on the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (or FUCK, for short – it took me years to realize that) when his long suffering Marshall started to die.

I’m going to go ahead and disregard which era that album is from, since I don’t actually know that much Van Halen. But I’m sure that if I crank up that gain knob, the feel and sound will be close enough if we’re going to get… a little Hot for Teacher…


Soldano SLO100 vs Line 6 POD HD500 (Six-String Samurai)



Wow. That’s actually pretty close. So – what’s your guess?

Some discrepancy in sound can probably be attributed to the fact that for the POD, I had the virtual poweramp “cooking” at max, while on the actual SLO100, I struggled to get the master up past 4 without deafening myself!

However, I thought that the Line 6 model definitely captured that distinctive vibe and midrange voicing of the SLO! Uncanny.

Not convinced? Still Got the Blues for more sounds, perhaps.


Here’s a bit of Ozzy for you. Strangely enough, when I first plugged into the new amp model on the POD, this was what I felt like playing, even though the original is in no way associated with Soldano… so let’s everybody go outside and have a bit of a howl at the full moon…

Let’s not forget some more grindy, brutal sounds. I don’t want our readers of the heavier persuasion to feel… Outshined.


So… what’s your verdict? I want to hear what you think, and why!!

Let’s make it interesting

The person who can get the most correct panning combinations out of the four A/B tracks will win a dozen newly minted Six-String Samurai picks in their choice of standard or Jazz III size!! They’re awesome, I just got them custom made, and they look like this:

Remember – the panning may not be the same between each different track, so listen carefully! I’ll announce the answers in a week in the comments section.

Get your listening caps on, and leave your answers in the comments!



Update – and here are the answers:



  1. Bill says:

    Nice A/B. Soldano in my right ear….HD in my left?

    How did I pick? Nice playing too!!!

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hi Bill – great to see a new face on the site!! Welcome, have a look around and hopefully you’ll like what you see and stick around!!

      Heh, I can’t reveal the answer till more people have a guess – but have a listen to the rest of the clips too and see whether you think those are any different ;D

  2. Christian says:

    Tracks 1 and 3 on the right is the HD and track 2 on the left is HD.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hey Christian – yet another new face/name! Warm welcome to Six-String Samurai :)

      Your answers are noted! What about Track 4 though? (I’m counting the Youtube vid as track 1, let me know if you’re thinking of it the other way round…)

  3. Craig says:

    It surely has to be podHD left ear and real Soldano on the right? Left sounds more digital/ compressed and a bit more overdriven. Both sound good though. Hope thats right!

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hey Craig – oooh, are you right? We’ll have to wait and see. Did you just listen to the Youtube vid, or the rest as well? Any opinions on those?

  4. in the vid HD500 right, SLO left
    Still got the Blues: SLO Right, HD500 Left
    Bark at the Moon: SLO Right, HD500 Left
    Outshined: Ohhhhhhhhhhh I’m feelin SLO Left, HD500 Right


    1. thesamurai says:

      Druza, the man with the plan!! Sorry I couldn’t catch up with you in Melbourne in the end, I was just staying way too for out of the city unfortunately.

      Answers registered – stay tuned to Samurai Radio (TM pending) to find out whether you’re right or not!! :D

      1. all good dude, was pretty hectic the whole time you were here anyway would’ve been a bit of a mish to catchup

  5. Sheamus says:

    Track 1: SLO Left
    Track 2: SLO Left
    Track 3: SLO Right
    Track 4: SLO Right


    1. thesamurai says:

      Right… or left?? Hahah. Thanks for your answers, Sheamus – come back next week to find out! :)

  6. Grubbalicious says:

    Ya know, I’m not going to risk a guess.
    Line 6 has been duping me for years, and the new HD models are even better. I’m not so much a fanboy as a pragmatist; When you’re in pretty much any venue or recording situation, a Line 6…or any of the other new modeling devices, will prove hard to discover. I’m pretty sure the only time someone will really be able to discern a difference is when the amp is 1) right in front of them and those rare little phase and harmonic differences are easier to pick up 2) was paid for with a months wages by the player.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Great point!

      However, having played the new models through an “actual” amp (My Line 6 DT25) through a proper cab, and comparing it that way to the SLO100 – which I felt was a bit more apples to apples – I definitely felt that the vibe and sound in person was certainly captured. Of course there will always be some differences, and I guess that’s why someone will always buy an SLO100, because they’re just amazing amps!

      Also… I love point 2 about the cost making it sound better, heh. I don’t think my month’s wages would get anywhere near buying an SLO though!!!

  7. Michel Sancovich says:

    Tracks 1, 2 and 3 on the left is HD.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hey Michel, thanks for that – what about Track 4?

      1. Michel Sancovich says:

        If the video song is the 1, then:

        1)SLO Left
        2)SLO Right
        3)SLO Right
        4)SLO Right

        1. thesamurai says:

          Thank you Michel, duly noted!

  8. JeremyB says:

    1: HD left SLO right
    2: SLO left HD right
    3: HD left SLO right
    4: HD left SLO right

    Super hard one to pick Ed, nice work man!

    1. thesamurai says:

      Thanks JeremyB! Answers registered – time to wait and find out! :D

  9. Lane says:

    Here are my guesses
    1. HD left
    2. HD right
    3. HD Left
    4. HD Left

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hi Lane, thanks for taking a guess! We’ll see how well you do in a week’s time!! Thanks for reading/listening, great to see some new people participating on the site :)

  10. Noriel Wong says:

    In the vid, I think the HD is on the Right
    The rest of the recordings, HD is panned to the left :D

    1. thesamurai says:

      Duly noted. Noriel, as an HD owner – do you think you have an advantage here??

  11. thesamurai says:

    PS – thanks to all of you who have taken a guess so far!!

    I’ll announce on Facebook next week when the answers are released – so if you haven’t already, please “like” us on Facebook at or make sure you’re signed up to get email updates :)

    It’s been pretty interesting reading your replies so far!! I would love to hear some reasons as to why you’ve picked what as well!

  12. I believe the real Soldano is
    1 Left
    2 Right
    3 Left
    4 Left

    But I struggled to hear much difference.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hi Mark Dude! Thanks for that. Wow, I checked out your website – you’re pretty into your Line 6 gear too!! Understatement alert! How do you like the JTV? I haven’t had the chance to play one yet, but would really love to check one out one of these days.

  13. jorge watkins says:

    This sounds AMAZING! Nice work. Any chance of you sharing these presets?

    1. thesamurai says:

      Thank you jorge! I’ll share some settings and talk about stuff like that next week when I reveal which is which! :D So make sure you check back, or get updates from us via email or Facebook.

  14. KKKle says:

    hello ^^ you test is cool!!
    i think right way is HD500!!

  15. Rhett says:

    I’ve gone back and forth… it’s a bit scary how similar they sound.

    Off to buy an Hd500…

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hahaha welcome back Rhett. What have you been up to? Yes, come to the dark side… we have cookies!

  16. Rhett says:

    Thanks… just lots of work. I have a new boss.

    Looking forward to the results. I’m leaning towards the Soldano being on the left side in the video.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hah, I thought your boss was always the same person (God joke alert!) :P

      Thanks for listening man. What’s your guess for the rest of ‘em?

      1. Rhett says:

        :-) I totally resisted making that joke myself.

        Ok, I’d go with…

        2. Soldano left, HD right
        3. Soldano right, HD left
        4. Soldano left, HD right

        So for me, the one that I’m thinking is the real SLO sounds a bit more mid-rangey and a bit tighter, with slightly less gain. The one I’m picking as the HD is a bit squishier and less defined. But I really do think they both sound very good.

        I’m totally going to be wrong, aren’t I? ;-)

  17. Teko says:

    Good work, Samurai…! Noticed you’ve improved in your video recording and editing…HD recording siottt..! And purple fingernail.

    I’m not gonna even gonna bother trying to guess coz I have no idea how a real SOLDANO’s supposed to sound like. And the fact that the two panned clips so amazingly alike….damn Line 6 is doing a pretty darn good job!

    1. thesamurai says:

      Thank you sir! IT’s only my second video, so things can only get better from here…

      Haha I’m surprised that you’re the first to notice the weird fingernail thing. We had a big night out with some friends last Friday and my friend’s sister decided she was going to randomly paint one finger for everyone. Hadn’t figured out how to get it off before I did the video, heh.

  18. Hamish (@hamo_d) says:

    Good shit again Ed, and heaps of likes and comments. Not gonna have a guess myself, I wavered too much in my assessments of which was which.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Thanks Hamish! There’s a new video of the Crunch side of things on the horizon, too… \m/

  19. […] Oct 29, 2012 Welcome back! So last week, we did a blind A/B comparison between the new Line 6 POD HD500 model based on the Soldano SLO100′s Overdrive channel, and an ACTUAL Soldano SLO100. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here. […]

  20. thesamurai says:

    The answers and our two winners have been announced! There’s also a new clip covering the Crunch channel, again facing off the Line 6 against the Soldano. Check it out:

  21. […] out for the next installment of the Gearvolution series – it’s time to put your ears to the ultimate […]

  22. MichaelBakerMusicMan says:

    Soldano: Left:Left:Hot For Teacher, Still Got the Blues
    Right:Right:Bark at the Moon, Outshined

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