Hey mates90....how are you using your pod right now and are you versed with programming it? I only ask because if you don't really dig into the programming and just use presets you're only using about 10% of its potential and compared to a well setup patch the presets are garbage.
If you've only played it through an amp and never through good PA system the same as above applies.
Oh no, I already dial in my own tones and I'm constantly looking around for custom tones made from real people. I think the presets lasted 2 hours after I bought it :P
It's not that I don't think the JVM is good piece of equipment and can't be the amp you should get, I don't actually know what tones you're looking to achieve or find appealing, only you know that. Without knowing the costs where you live, I can only go off personal experience with Marshall and that is that the high end Marshall's sound great but I don't have the kind of cash to get one new.
Furthermore, if what you want is Mesa-esque tones, get a Mesa - new or used. If what you want is Marshall-esque tones, buy a Marshall - or as has been suggested, check out Blackstar (made by ex-Marshall employees). You'll have to actually try the amps out for yourself to see if they work for the tones you want. For metal on a budet, I'd recommend the Blackstar HT series of amps - remember that wattage = clean headroom more than it correlates to volume - so you don't need 50-100 watts unless you're cranking out cleans in medium to large gigs. I'd also look, since you mentioned hi gain, at used Mesa's. You might be able to get a decent deal on a used Mark IV with the V out, the DC series is a great alternative with a very mark like clean and a more recto (but not quite dual rec) dirty channel. If you like the Marshall tones, the JVM series is very solid. I like the looks of the new Satriani model coming out and if it's like his other signature gear, it's sure to be versatile - and costly. There's plenty of options out there and you'll have to try them to see what it is you like best.
Lastly, as was already said, I would not buy an expensive amp like the JVM to be a platform for a pod. If you need to still use the pod for effects, that's fine, but if your game plan is to just use the amp for to power speakers for the pod, you're better off getting an full range speaker/pa set up and running into that direct.
I know what you mean. So far, if the gain in the JVM sounds good to me, it's the amp I'm going to get. I wont be using the POD with an amp model over the Marshall. That'd be stupid. But I am hoping to use the effects on the POD, yes. I know I will change it for some real pedals some time (most probably when I got the cash) and be sure I'll be here asking what pedals to get!
About the Mesa stuff, I cant find anything that's in my budget. All I can find are heads worth 500 dollars more than what the JVM would cost.
And just to be clear, although I'd be more than satisfied with the gain from a Mesa, I think I can sacrifice some of that gain for the clean british tones that you get from a Marshall (I use one at the rehearsal room and it's great).
I just stumbled upon a used Mesa Transatlantic Ta-15 with an Orange cab (used) for the same price I'd get the JVM (new). I wonder how that combination sounds..