So I tried the hd500 out through a qsc12 the other day and hated it! It sounded too much like a mic'd up amp. I really want one just because they seem like the most convenient all in one solution, but would running it through a solid state pre-amp and through my mesa 2x12 make it seem more in an in the room amp like the recto?
Specifically one of the carvin ss poweramps? I'm no longer too worried about weight since I'm just going to plop it in the jam space and leave it there, I just really don't like all the hassle with tubes and the fact that if I keep my recto I'll have to blow a bunch of money on different pedals.
Also do powered monitors always have a tendency to sound like mic'd amps?
If you play it through an FRFR cab such as the QSC (powered monitor) then you would keep the cabinet emulations on, in which case yes, it'd sound like a miked cab. Sounds like that's not your bag. The alternative would then yes, be putting a power amp behind it into a regular guitar cab, and turning off the speaker sims. That would probably give it a more immediate, guitar through a guitar amp into a guitar cab sound.
There's no right way of doing it; do what sounds good to you. The store should allow you to try different things to see if it fits.
You might also want to consider the HD Pro if you're going to pair it with a Carvin SS power amp anyway, since it'd all fit nicely into a light, small rack.