I've been recently thinking about replacing my POD XT Pro with something else. I can't really justify the awesomeness that is an Axe FX, but I'm hoping to keep it under the 1000 mark.
So far I've been eyeing the Prophecy from Rocktron, but there is another one ...from a company who's name totally eludes me. It's got an orange/black facing and it's relatively new from what I remember.
Any other ideas? I really don't use much of the capabilities of the pod and the extra effects outside of the gate, eq, boost and reverb. Super saturated high gain is where I like to be, like Carcass's Heartwork or Nevermore's TGE. I dig on my current sound, but when I replaced my last preamp, the default settings on the pod were better than the tweaked patches i had on the old one.
The Digidesign Eleven? I've never used one, but it's orange with a black facing
Also, a lot of people like the Engl E530 and the Digitech GSP1101.
You could also try to snag a used Triaxis, they occasionally come up for just over $1k.
I've also heard great things about the Egnater/Randall modular preamps and tonal modules.
I have no experience with any of the above though.