I think that a POD can sound pretty good, actually it can sound better than an average amp that's not recorded well. But a good amp in the right hands/room/studio is WAY better sounding. It's never easy and just like drums, minor adjustements can make a huge difference on the final tracks.
But what really bothers me about the POD is what I call the 'Heineken' syndrom. Heineken is not a bad beer, I prefer it over many other brands (say US Budweiser/Coors/Fosters/etc) but it's too mainstream, without character and ultimately a compromise to reach a global market by adressing a so-called and ultimately non-existant 'average taste'.
I often record guitars direct (especially for clean sounds/Danelectros/12-strings/etc) and I also use a Sans Amp PSA-1 sometimes (though mostly for bass). Often it's a good alternative to an amp, especially when stacking tracks in an arrangement. But the key word is 'alternative' , it's a way to get a different sound than what you get with an amp and NOT a simulation of it and to me that's the catch. With a POD you get 762 sounds that are mediocre to o.k sounding at best and I prefer a few amps that sound KILLER instead.
I got a great 1971 Marshall Super Lead half-stack and a Fender Custom Vibrolux. The only thing that's missing for me is a VOX and the new hand-wired AC15 looks very intereting so I might get that soon. Between those amps and all the direct options, stompboxes, different preamps, etc I can pretty much cover all the tones I need.
__________________ 'Ever since the Supreme Court overturned the Snare Act, it has been legal to use any mic you like on snare.' - joeq http://www.doorknocker.ch/