PodXT live or Tonelab se

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by janoz, Nov 2, 2005.


  1. janoz

    janoz Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Sweden
    Hi!
    I would be glad for some additional advice on the matter of a purchase of PodXT live or Tonelab se, to the musicschool i work at.
    Have read the threads and found it very useful.
    Just need some last bit of advice :)

    I have the Vox valvetronix1x12 combo and i really like the tone/feel of the Vox sims

    Have a pod 2.0 as well that i use as a practice "thingy" at work
    Dont like that one so much.Its ok but nothing i ever would let my student take on stage.

    Also had a Flextone II a while that i.m.h.o sucked bigtime.

    My question is if the upgrades to the Pod Live xt from the Pod 2.0/Flextone II have made it similar in feel/sound to the Tonelab or is it so that if you dislike the Pod(the overall processed sound) and love the Valvetronix you should stick with the vox?

    And which one of them sounds best direct in to a mixer/Pa?
    I understand that you can fiddle around with mic positioning on the XT-live.

    The use of it would be as a part of a portable gigging Pa
    (Powered mixer/2 fullrange speakers)

    You can hear the type of playing i usally do on my homepage
    http://www.lidberg.hemsida.net
    "click on music, then either on the videos or the mp3´s"

    (The things my students play at the school is everything from mellow jazz to hardrock)

    If anyone of you have some recordings where you use either the
    XT live /Tonelab direct into the board i would be glad if you could link to them

    I really dont know which one to get....

    Kind regards Andreas
    :)
     
  2. JohnLutz

    JohnLutz Supporting Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    I used a Roland VG-88 for years. Compared it with a POD 2 and kept the Roland. When the ToneLab came out, it took about three minutes to convince me to give up the Roland. The ToneLab is the most amp-like, best sounding modeller that I've tried.

    John
     
  3. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

    Messages:
    477
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2002
    Location:
    Middle earth, er . . Georgia
    I am in a band where both guitarists play through PODs direct to the board. I am one of them and never believed I would not be playing through my Guytron, VibroVerb, Orange amps. The PODxt Live is what I use. I am new at it, but the unit is versatile and the tones are not all bad. One nice thing is to be able to go from "Here Comes the Sun" to "Comfortably Numb" by hitting one button. I am sure the people dancing and drinking don't know that I'm not using a tube amp and the rig is a lot easier to carry. If you send me your email address I can email you some familiar tunes where the bass and both guitars go direct to the board through PODs.

    Ned
     
  4. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,989
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
  5. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,807
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have recordings of them both somewhere, but in the end I prefer the Line 6 POD XTL over the Tonelab SE.

    If you do search here on XTL you'll find a ton of stuff about it here from me.

    I still use the XTL for rehersals and even on some gigs. I use a powered JBL EON G2 10" monitor. I use a Radial JDI as a DI for the PA.
     
  6. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Messages:
    18,476
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    under the stars
    God...this is strange. I'm sorry but I do NOT remember where, but somewhere on the net I just read a point-by-point comparison between the two...exactly those two.

    Try to google for it. The guy did a really nice job and went in depth. There was no clear winner, but the SE had a few things (that I set more stock in...or weight on) and I think the POD had more in many aread.

    But there was some drawback with the software on the POD that wasn't finished yet.

    See if you can google and find it. It was point by point and he gave categories to one or the other throughout.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Memorex

    Memorex Member

    Messages:
    610
    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    I've owned my Tonelab SE for about 9 months now, and at this point I think I have a pretty good idea of what it does well and what it's lacking. And there's plenty of things Vox did well on the Tonelab SE, but here's a list of things I think Vox could have done better, or could do better on the next Tonelab.

    1. The whole idea of building a pedal board with editing buttons that sits on the floor... is stupid. You can't edit with the board on the floor, but you can't use the pedals with it sitting on a table. The original tabletop Tonelab made more sense, and the next Tonelab should be a 19" rack mount unit, with a VC-12 type of pedal unit as standard equipment. The pedal unit should have a removable cord, perhaps a 15-foot cord as standard and an optional 40-foot heavy-duty cord for stage use. Even then, the MIDI software is still a necessity for easy editing (the editing software also has some bugs that I won't go into here).

    2. The compressor sounds like the Dynacomp it is supposedly modeled after, which is not bad. There are certainly better ones that could have been modeled, such as the DBX 165, or the Janglebox, for example. However, the compressor is such an essential part of today's guitar sound that it should be in its own section (not part of the Pedal section), available all the time. Also, the compressor routing should be adjustable, since there might be times when you want the compressor preceding or following the other pedal effects.

    3. With only one Pedal section, you can't cascade a wah into a fuzz, or a fuzz into a phaser, or whatever. There should be at least two identical pedal sections. I know you can cascade external pedals, but those are patched before the Pedal section, and usually you'd want your compressor driving the next pedal, or your wah driving a fuzz or phaser, so the insert point should be routable just like the post-effects. Besides, why buy an all-in-one pedal board if you have to carry auxiliary pedals around with you?

    4. And speaking of the Pedal models, I'm not a big fan of Boss OD pedals, so the Super OD and Orange Dist are relatively useless to me. There are so many excellent and unique fuzzes out there, they could have chosen a better selection. Like the Zendrive, or Tim on the boutique side, or a classic germanium fuzz like the FuzzFace. The Fuzz model sounds very little like the Maestro it is supposed to be modeled after, and I would have preferred an even cheesier sound, like the Mosrite FuzzRite. Also, my 27 year old Ross phaser sounds better than any of the phaser models in the Pedal section (I use it all the time as an Insert pedal), so they could have done better there, as well. It would have been nice if the Octavia model, which is actually quite good, could produce a clean octave-up effect without the overdrive. Notably missing is a 6 or 10-band graphic EQ, which is commonly found in the pedal chain of many well-known guitarists. Having said that, most of the existing pedal effects are pretty good, actually.

    5. I have very few complaints about the amp and cab models, they're the high point of the unit. However, there is no model of a single-ended, true class A amp, like the Fender Champ. The Vox amps are not really Class A, they're push-pull, class AB with cathode bias (the British call this class A apparently, but in the US, we don't). My only other criticism would be that the amp models that use a tube rectifier should sag a little more when cranked, an adjustable sag control would be nice.

    6. The noise reduction (NR) fizzes noticeably on both attack and decay. Compared to a decent studio noise gate, it's pretty lousy. To compensate for the poor NR stage, I've learned not to set it as high as I would like it. There's usually a lower setting that allows some noise through, but is a lot less fizzy.

    7. There should be a 4-band parametric EQ between the amp model and the channel volume. It should have A/B settings for the two channels. It would be nice if it had an automatic unity gain switch.

    8. Modulation section: The rotary speaker simulator is the weakest link in the Tonelab SE effects. I almost never use it because it sounds like a bad 2-speed phaser with excessive panning. To hear how much better a rotary simulator can sound, go to the Line6 web site and listen to samples of the Roto-Machine, for example. The Classic Chorus is too distorted. The Textrem would benefit from having an LFO waveform select. And a minimum speed of 1.0 hz is a bit fast to use it as an autopanner. The minimum speed should be 0.1 hz. The pitch bender is extremely glitchy at all settings, and when used as a digital whammy with the expression pedal, it randomly produces a weird flange effect when returning the pedal to the zero pitch bend position, like you can hear both direct and effect outputs even with the direct output turned off. I doubt this is a defect in my particular unit, but rather a firmware bug, as my first Tonelab SE (which I exchanged due to squeaky pedals) did the same thing. So, with the exception of the Rotary simulator, the Modulation section is pretty good.

    9. All the delays in the Mod and Delay sections should have 0.1 ms resolution for delay times below 20 ms. This would give better tunability for those pitched resonant feedback effects.

    10. Delay section: Better overall support of adjustable parameters for the expression pedals is needed (this goes for the Reverb and Mod sections as well). Also, the Reverse delay takes too long to kick in after you start playing (that is, if the delay time is 2 sec, you wait about that long to hear anything). It should be possible to feed the input continuously and adjust the output level or mix with the expression pedals, so there is backward effect immediately when you want it. Also, the Stereo echo should have a left-right output reverse. But overall, the Delay section is pretty good.

    11. Reverb section: The reverb models are acceptable, but they're all mediocre sounding. In fact, none of the reverb models sounds as good as the ones built into my old sound card (Yamaha DSP Factory). The only ones I use are Spring2 and Gate. The whole Reverb section needs improvement.

    12. There should be parallel and series-parallel routing options for the Mod, Delay, and Reverb sections, not just series routing options.

    13. The post-effects should die out naturally when you switch patches while playing. Worse yet, the post-effects glitch just switching A/B channel (this is especially audible in the reverb).

    14. The tube should be a lot easier to replace. I know Vox doesn't want people changing the tube; in fact, they'll tell you that doing so voids the warranty. How incredibly stupid. Naturally guitarists want to try different tubes to individualize their sound. If every amp and preamp manufacturer said that changing the tubes voided the warranty, it would pretty much put an end to the guitar amp industry as we know it. Assuming the next Tonelab is a rack mount unit, the tube should be on the back (forget that eye-candy, red LED thing, the tube doesn't need to be visible). The socket should be partially recessed into the chassis so it doesn't stick out too much, with a half-size metal cover. Then the tube would be easy to replace. The socket should have gold plated contacts.

    15. The expression pedals on my Tonelab SE squeak intermittently (my first Tonelab SE squeaked so badly, I took it back and exchanged it). I have used both sewing machine oil and silicone on the hinges, but it made little difference (the local Vox authorized repair guy told me there is no documented procedure for dealing with this, but he recommended oil). Also, the hinge tightness is not exactly equal on both pedals, and there doesn't appear to be any way to adjust it. When I have the pedals rocked back in the off mode and remove my foot, they slip a little under their own weight, which changes the setting a little. The expression pedals have a cheap feel to them. I have a Yamaha DX7 keyboard I bought in 1987, and its old, potentiometer-based expression pedal still works great and feels great, so I guess Vox just used an inexpensive and inferior pedal hinge design. In all fairness to Vox, though, a lot of floor modelers have problems with poorly designed expression pedals. Considering how much abuse the expression pedals get, they should be individually removable, adjustable, and replaceable from the top of the unit. I consider the expression pedals to be the single most annoying thing about the Tonelab SE.

    16. Vox should put back the S/PDIF output, but coaxial (RCA connector) next time, not optical as on the original Tonelab. Coaxial is compatible with a lot more sound cards.

    17. Dual output support for direct PA and live stage monitoring would have been nice. You should have the option of bypassing the cab models in one output group, while still using them in the other output group. That output group should also have inverse cabinet models, so that if you're using guitar amps as stage monitors, you could (sort of) EQ out the amp cabinet and use the cab models for more tonal variation. This way, you would be able to go direct to the PA, use guitar amps as stage monitors, and still achieve a fairly consistent tone from both.

    18. The unit needs an input sensitivity control with detents so you can use the same patches with different guitars.

    19. A clipping LED for the post-effects would be a helpful addition.

    Have I forgotten anything? Probably. But having said all that, I love the sounds I get from my Tonelab SE; it packs a lot of bang for the buck. If Vox ever puts out a rack mount version with all the changes I've specified above, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, even if it cost $400-500 more than I paid for this unit. However, this unit works OK (given its limitations), and I certainly wouldn't waste the money on the next version of Tonelab unless it were a rack mount unit with most of the improvements specified above.
     
  8. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,807
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    Here is my head to head of the two from another thread:

     
  9. YZDanno

    YZDanno Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I agree with Scott's review. My experience was the following:

    Purchased and then subsequently returned the Tonelab SE twice in a 6 month period. I found it relatively easy to get a very decent basic tone and liked the 'feel' of the amp/cab models, however, I couldn't take it to the next level of polish that I wanted on it. I found the modulation/delay/stomp effects somewhat limiting.

    The PodXT, however, took much more tweaking/time to get a decent basic tone. However, with some additional tweaking (and advice from other XT users on the post-eq, mic modeling, etc) I was able to get some really great tones that I'm still very happy with. The effects are much more flexible and with upgradeability and model packs available, the sky is the limit.
     
  10. journo

    journo Member

    Messages:
    5,609
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Sweden
    Hi,

    Just to confuse the issue I would like to suggest the Boss GT-8 which in my opinion feels more like a real amp, has more amp-like dynamics, more effects, better effects (hey, it's a Boss) and better amp simulations. Due to the flexible efx loop you can also connect to other equipment in some creative ways. It also sounds a lot better IMHO. I have tried them all and my vote goes to the GT-8.

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
  11. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Messages:
    18,476
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    under the stars
    Scott...so it was YOU!!

    Cool, I was really impressed with the thoroughness and thought you put into it. It is a useful little comparison. I might disagree with any conclusion (or NOT), but you gave what seemed to me to be a really fair and even judgement on the merits and perceived problems with each.

    Excellent critique!

    I haven't owned either, though I own a Digitech RP-7 which is similar in style to the Tonelab SE (in that it has a built in tube, multi effects, assignable expression pedal). It can get some really great sounds, it also has the same problem you and others mention about the SE...specifically, things like the noise-gate (unusuable on the RP-7 EXCEPT...as a pretty cool "swell" effect. :) ...

    Anyway, I think there are inherent problems for guys like me anyway with any ME pedal. Mainly, as someone upthred so shrewdly pointed out, there is an inherent contradiction between a floor pedal with controls. You gotta bend over and be uncomfortable to change things...can't put it on a table or you miss the point of a floor pedal. Mainly I think you do the patches at home, and pretty much leave it alone when playing out.

    Here's what I liked though...the knobs. On my RP-7 it is all menu driven. click-click-click-clik-tap "oh...now I can adjust that terribly EQ.." save-blah-blah-blah...

    It's terrible. So when I saw the SE I got excited. Finally just a regular old knob on the pedal and it seems you can more easily SEE what you have chosen as your mod pedal, or time pedal. etc.

    But still...for me, I went back to the stompbox world. I LIKE knobs, I like easily identifiable units...I know which unit is my VIBE..and I can have several of the same type of units on at the same time.

    I still sometimes think about using an ME (POD...for me...not good. I'm a programmer and have been a real Luddite about keeping PC's away from my music world. I work with them day in day out, and I don't want to get drawn into updates, clicking, mouse, etc. etc. I just want to tweak and that to me is real world) in conjunction with my outboard pedals. Then I think "Man..that's like the WORST of both worlds" I mean an ME is also for convenience...ONE (granted large) pedal to carry around, two cables to hook up...add more hookups AND more floorspace, and you you get nothing.

    The only way I really could use my RP-7 live...would be if I had one or two (maybe MAX 4) patches I just used all the time. I tried that a little while and it helped. I could also have a few extra for specific songs...but then you end up spending a lot of time building up the patches, etc...tweaking.


    I think ME are great for folks new to effects, also for at home recording. I may get to a point where I could use on live too, have tried, but maybe someday....if I did I think the best bet for me would be the Tonelab SE (hopefully at a much reduced used price) just from what I've seen of it. One thing too though... I saw one up close in a store after reading magazine reviews on it, and seeing lots of ads for it and I was not prepared for just how HUGE that pedal is....man...I've played on stages smaller than that thing!
     
  12. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,807
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    Good points. The thing to note about even my review - the TSE is a really good unit. I really did like it. I also had a great experience gigging with the 212 Valvetronix when I owned that.

    The biggest knock on the TSE IMHO is the size. It is just soooo long. Whereas, after a year with the XTL; I find the XTL just a touch small, with the footswitches a bit too crowded. Workable, but there you are.

    FWIW, I use about 4 patches I did on the XTL for electric guitar tones; and I use two patches to control my Acoustic Variax live. I am all about keeping it simple, trust me. :D
     
  13. janoz

    janoz Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Sweden
    I got the Podxt live after your(Scotts) indepth side by side comparison.

    Thank you everyone for your kind assistance!!!

    I think the XTL will fit the bill for the purposes intended at the school where i work.


    And the tonelab is kind of big,that was a minus-factor

    The ability to edit the Micpositioning was another selling point for me,as well as the post eq.

    Gonna go direct in to the PA
    (Behringer PMH5000/Eurolive 1520)
    and monitor it from a pair of Laney cp12 active monitors)

    If i tweek the Micpositioning/ post-Eq i should be able to get a decent sound ,Scott?
     
  14. DavidE

    DavidE Member

    Messages:
    3,625
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I just picked up an XTL, but wanted to add that I saw Pat Travers last summer and he played direct to house through the Vox Tonelab. Sounded great. I was shocked.
     
  15. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

    Messages:
    5,224
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Just to muck up the works a bit, don't discount a digitech gnx3k. It's got, IMO, the best amp models out of any ME unit out there, as well as great effects. If amp modelling is your main focus, go for this baby. If effects are more your aim, go for the POD. Either way, it's a good purchase.
     
  16. Memorex

    Memorex Member

    Messages:
    610
    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    Hey, wait a minute. I have a Tonelab SE, and I think it sounds as good as any combination of amp/pedals that I have ever owned. Even though there's a lot that Vox could have done better with it, it still sounds great. I just wish they'd come out with replacements for the expression pedals that feel good, don't squeak, and have adjustable hinge tension. The rest I can work around.
     
  17. Memorex

    Memorex Member

    Messages:
    610
    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    Sorry for double post, ignore
     
  18. Kewlpack

    Kewlpack Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Garland, Texas
    Indeed - I've found it to be a remarkable piece of gear. All my other MFX are collecting dust lately. The effects are nothing to sneeze at either.
     

Share This Page