TC Plethora X3

Bread Knife

Member
Messages
11
Bread Knife no joy. The pedal UI itself is good, the sounds great, the app is meh - useful for naming boards and a few other things, but falls very short of what it could be.
Bummer, but thanks for reporting back! I'm still considering one of these but I'll probably hold off for a bit based on your experience. Being able to create toneprints in the editor is absolutely a highlight of the Flashback 2 I have and I'm most interested in having that option for other effect types - reverb, trem, etc... In any case, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the sounds and interface.
 

soundbee

Double Platinum Member
Messages
1,391
The app is driving me crazy at the moment - usb connection cuz my ios devices don't see any x3 in bluetooth). As soon as I save the toneprint the settings revert to something else - seems to be no rhyme/reason. If I can figure a workaround to the oddness, then life will be beautiful.

On a somewhat related note - it seems the led next to the #1 switch is always on - very dim when it's supposed to be off. #2 & #3 seem normal completely off. Does anyone else notice led #1 is always on?
 

electrolyte

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
454
Bummer, but thanks for reporting back! I'm still considering one of these but I'll probably hold off for a bit based on your experience. Being able to create toneprints in the editor is absolutely a highlight of the Flashback 2 I have and I'm most interested in having that option for other effect types - reverb, trem, etc... In any case, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the sounds and interface.
Just to provide some perspective, I'm used to the HX Stomp, which obviously isn't a fair comparison given the tech and price point. Nor was I expecting that level of functionality, just a better app. So as long as you know what to expect, the X3 is totally worth the dough. Overall I'm happy with the unit. If you're not in a hurry, wait for some to show up used and maybe get a bargain.
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,654
For those that have an X5 - Is it good? The reason I ask is I have had the older TC stuff like the Nova, but I know longer have any of that stuff as it always sounded a little too cold. Has the newer stuff moved forward in terms of depth of sound and overall warmth?

Yes X5 is great imo and very cheap considering you get over 20 pedals and cab sims plus tuner.

Yes, the effects are identical to the individual pedals.
Yes, most of the toneprints for the individual pedals are available for X5/X3.
Yes, X3 is just a smaller version of X5.
Yes, the newer Flashback & Hall of Fame pedals sound better than the old Nova delay/reverb pedals.

The best thing about Plethora is that it doesn't have crappy overdrive/distortion pedals.
These are always the big weak link of modelers, are always unusable for me, and just get in the way.
 

Laser

Member
Messages
362
Yes, X3 is just a smaller version of X5.
There seems to be concerns on this thread about the MIDI limitations on the X3 - that it can only be used for switching pedalboards.

I know that the X5 could turn individual pedals on a given pedalboard ON and OFF via MIDI (per a video I saw). If the X3 can't do this, it's a deal-breaker for me.

Can you clarify?
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,654
There seems to be concerns on this thread about the MIDI limitations on the X3 - that it can only be used for switching pedalboards.

I know that the X5 could turn individual pedals on a given pedalboard ON and OFF via MIDI (per a video I saw). If the X3 can't do this, it's a deal-breaker for me.

Can you clarify?

No can't sorry - don't use midi and have no interest in it :)

I add though that... if X3 doesn't now have the same midi functions as X5 it soon will.
X5 has under gone big expansion in each of its 3 firmware updates.

TCE have added more pedals and lots more functionality largely based on requests from owners.
That will continue and I expect within 1-2 years Plethora will include every pedal TCE make :)
 
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TheBigDipper

Member
Messages
19
There seems to be concerns on this thread about the MIDI limitations on the X3 - that it can only be used for switching pedalboards.

I know that the X5 could turn individual pedals on a given pedalboard ON and OFF via MIDI (per a video I saw). If the X3 can't do this, it's a deal-breaker for me.

Can you clarify?

I would have been very surprised to find TC used a more limited MIDI instruction set in the X3. I'm positive it is the same as the X5.

I'm an X5 user and MIDI does a lot:
- scroll to next/prev board
- select a specific board
- turn individual pedal slots on/off
- change the knob positions (and therefore effect settings) on pedals if you're using the Hotknobz feature
- control the looper

The mechanism is different to Line 6, but you can use MIDI to replicate the concept of a snapshot and change things instantaneously as you play.

The only big feature that's missing (IMHO) is the ability to have global tap tempo. However, I'm not sure all "real" TC pedals support global tap tempo, either (I wasn't a MIDI person when I owned "real" TC pedals), so if it's not in the algorithm already, then it's extra work to put it into the Plethora. But they should, anyway :) .

On the X5, tap tempo is on a pedal-by-pedal basis, using the secondary function of the on/off button for each effects slot. Most of the time I've only got one pedal on a board that follows the music tempo, so not a huge problem for me personally (for now...).

Filipe on The Pedal Platform is a bit of a guru for things TC and MIDI. This YT vid he made very recently is worth a look as it seems to show the X3 and X5 have the same MIDI support. It's also a great MIDI primer for guitarists who would like some MIDI and Plethora education and does a great job of selling the Ampero Control.

 

Laser

Member
Messages
362
I would have been very surprised to find TC used a more limited MIDI instruction set in the X3. I'm positive it is the same as the X5.

I'm an X5 user and MIDI does a lot:
- scroll to next/prev board
- select a specific board
- turn individual pedal slots on/off
- change the knob positions (and therefore effect settings) on pedals if you're using the Hotknobz feature
- control the looper

The mechanism is different to Line 6, but you can use MIDI to replicate the concept of a snapshot and change things instantaneously as you play.

The only big feature that's missing (IMHO) is the ability to have global tap tempo. However, I'm not sure all "real" TC pedals support global tap tempo, either (I wasn't a MIDI person when I owned "real" TC pedals), so if it's not in the algorithm already, then it's extra work to put it into the Plethora. But they should, anyway :) .

On the X5, tap tempo is on a pedal-by-pedal basis, using the secondary function of the on/off button for each effects slot. Most of the time I've only got one pedal on a board that follows the music tempo, so not a huge problem for me personally (for now...).

Filipe on The Pedal Platform is a bit of a guru for things TC and MIDI. This YT vid he made very recently is worth a look as it seems to show the X3 and X5 have the same MIDI support. It's also a great MIDI primer for guitarists who would like some MIDI and Plethora education and does a great job of selling the Ampero Control.


Excellent BD! Just what I was looking for.

I retract my EPIC FAIL comment (based on the wrong information given earlier) and replace it with an "EPIC WIN".

A big thanks to you and Filipe.
 

OotMagroot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,031
The best thing about Plethora is that it doesn't have crappy overdrive/distortion pedals.
These are always the big weak link of modelers, are always unusable for me, and just get in the way.
I think if TC could make faithful digital versions of some of their drives - I was thinking their Dark Matter, Mojo Mojo, Cinders, El Mocambo, the newer Magus, Zeus, and their Fuzzes - I think it would be a cool option given the midi information/functionality displayed in the previous thread. But, alas I feel as if the 'creating the faithful digital version' part would be the weak link.
 

LesPaul70

Member
Messages
471
I think if TC could make faithful digital versions of some of their drives...

I also think if TC could make a version of Plethora that actually worked, it would be utterly cool.
I had to send my original X5 back because of several serious design issues (couldn't handle effects loop signal level, horrible tone coloration, too slow expression pedal tracking, etc.). It was also very buggy, even with the latest firmware, and had to be factory-reseted frequently, meaning you lost all your boards and customizations.
I would like to see them address those X5 issues first with a firmware and/or hardware update before unleashing different versions.
 

stargazer747

Member
Messages
4,334
No can't sorry - don't use midi and have no interest in it :)

I add though that... if X3 doesn't now have the same midi functions as X5 it soon will.
X5 has under gone big expansion in each of its 3 firmware updates.

TCE have added more pedals and lots more functionality largely based on requests from owners.
That will continue and I expect within 1-2 years Plethora will include every pedal TCE make :)
Same here, I have no interest in MIDI, regardless of any benefits it has to offer either in live and studio scenarios, I tried it once with a Hughes & Kettner Grandmeister 36, buying all the optional accessories needed, even hooking it up to my laptop & smartphone only to realize that it was too involved to even want to deal with it making it all to clear that its definitely not for me.

What I would want from this smaller edition Plethora is that I can easily setup each of the 3x FX with Phaser, Chorus, & Flanger (as if having the Helix Phaser, Corona Chorus, & Vortex Flanger all in one) to be used in place of 3x separate pedals in a much smaller pedalboard project. That it has tone print capabilities where I can choose samples I like from their library for each FX is a huge plus and not to mention that you can save an assortment virtual "pedalboards" of different settings and/or with different FX makes it extremely versatile in whatever scenario I plan to use it on.
I also think if TC could make a version of Plethora that actually worked, it would be utterly cool.
I had to send my original X5 back because of several serious design issues (couldn't handle effects loop signal level, horrible tone coloration, too slow expression pedal tracking, etc.). It was also very buggy, even with the latest firmware, and had to be factory-reseted frequently, meaning you lost all your boards and customizations.
I would like to see them address those X5 issues first with a firmware and/or hardware update before unleashing different versions.
Does it have the ability of downloading to a file via USB all settings saved? So in the event of issues requiring a factory reset returns you can then upload that file and get back what you created?
 

OotMagroot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,031
I also think if TC could make a version of Plethora that actually worked, it would be utterly cool.
I had to send my original X5 back because of several serious design issues (couldn't handle effects loop signal level, horrible tone coloration, too slow expression pedal tracking, etc.). It was also very buggy, even with the latest firmware, and had to be factory-reseted frequently, meaning you lost all your boards and customizations.
I would like to see them address those X5 issues first with a firmware and/or hardware update before unleashing different versions.

Good info, I was wondering about the effects loop signal level on the X5 (but since the X3 doesn't have that....). I was also wondering about coloration and tone suck - so thanks for that info.
 

Hoodster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,207
Good info, I was wondering about the effects loop signal level on the X5 (but since the X3 doesn't have that....). I was also wondering about coloration and tone suck - so thanks for that info.
I wouldn’t put too much stock in one person complaining about “tone suck and coloration” especially on an early unit. I have noticed neither on my X5, and I’m guessing all the people on here who are enjoying their X3’s and X5’s would mention it if it was an issue.
 

LesPaul70

Member
Messages
471
Does it have the ability of downloading to a file via USB all settings saved? So in the event of issues requiring a factory reset returns you can then upload that file and get back what you created?

No! That is the most annoying part of it all. You could not download your boards to your computer. A paper notebook was your best bet if you had to do a factory reset.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in one person complaining about “tone suck and coloration” especially on an early unit. I have noticed neither on my X5, and I’m guessing all the people on here who are enjoying their X3’s and X5’s would mention it if it was an issue.

I'm guessing most people who have not experienced those issues are not using a Plethora in the FX loop of a high-gain amp. I'm no cork sniffer, I can forgive a lot, but it totally ruins the amp tone in the FX loop - turns it into a kind of out-of-phase strangulated Donald Duck quack (in the true bypass mode). Anybody could hear that. Remove the Plethora from the loop, and your amp is back to normal.
(And it didn't happen with every amp I tried the Plethora with, to be more precise.)

That does not happen in front of your amp, which makes me think that they never designed it for FX loop use in the first place. There are other tone coloration issues that are still noticeable (but not even nearly as drastic), for example when you engage the pitch shifter without setting it to do anything at all. The tone, especially the attack, is noticeably different. This might or might not bother you. Again, I'm no cork sniffer, but the tone difference was more than I was ready to tolerate from a pitch shifter. I went back to my PS-6, which was good enough for me.

So the Plethora is probably kind of ok for pedal platforming but really sucks in an amp FX loop.
Just look out for those bugs that might force you to nuke your boards and settings with a factory reset.

I really, really wanted to like the Plethora. On paper, it was a dream unit.
In practice, rock bottom.
 

Hoodster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,207
No! That is the most annoying part of it all. You could not download your boards to your computer. A paper notebook was your best bet if you had to do a factory reset.



I'm guessing most people who have not experienced those issues are not using a Plethora in the FX loop of a high-gain amp. I'm no cork sniffer, I can forgive a lot, but it totally ruins the amp tone in the FX loop - turns it into a kind of out-of-phase strangulated Donald Duck quack (in the true bypass mode). Anybody could hear that. Remove the Plethora from the loop, and your amp is back to normal.
(And it didn't happen with every amp I tried the Plethora with, to be more precise.)

That does not happen in front of your amp, which makes me think that they never designed it for FX loop use in the first place. There are other tone coloration issues that are still noticeable (but not even nearly as drastic), for example when you engage the pitch shifter without setting it to do anything at all. The tone, especially the attack, is noticeably different. This might or might not bother you. Again, I'm no cork sniffer, but the tone difference was more than I was ready to tolerate from a pitch shifter. I went back to my PS-6, which was good enough for me.

So the Plethora is probably kind of ok for pedal platforming but really sucks in an amp FX loop.
Just look out for those bugs that might force you to nuke your boards and settings with a factory reset.

I really, really wanted to like the Plethora. On paper, it was a dream unit.
In practice, rock bottom.
Thanks for clarifying!
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,491
I returned mine. The UI sucks. On the fly (stage) changes were not what I was hoping for. Sounds and flexibility were good. TC needs to get someone from line 6 to help them with software and UI.
 

bnm1972

Member
Messages
5
Hi all! I'm in the camp of people who probably don't post here but are totally enjoying the Plethora X3. It's a lot of fun and I have no complaints at all.

I'm a simple "just for fun" player and don't need FX loops, pre/post control, MIDI, instant on-the-fly board changes, or anything like that. All I want is to be able to put an assortment of pedals in front of my small bedroom amp and play around with different, good sounds. Really I just want to set the pedals to a nice tone and forget it's there so I can just play guitar. The Plethora X3 has worked perfectly so far and I haven't noticed any bugs, interface glitches, bad sounds, or anything unexpected or disappointing. After watching demos and Filipe's (Pedal Platform) excellent Plethora videos, the unit is really exactly what I was expecting and I'm perfectly satisfied with the product.

My main requirements when considering the unit were: portability (super small size, lightweight), simple in/out connections, and quality and variety of tones and effects. Having owned other TC pedals in the past and enjoying them, the TC brand is also a plus for me. Considering what I was looking for, the Plethora X3 scores 10/10, and even comes with extra bonuses that weren't necessarily on my requirements but which I appreciated: stereo in/out, cab sims, built-in tuner, MASH (pressure-sensitive) button effects, nice and simple menu system and ease of tweaking sounds. Initially, what I really wanted was just a great reverb (Hall of Fame 2), a great delay (Flashback 2), a simple looper for practice, and a variety of extra tones to play with like flanger, chorus, octaver, etc. Plethora satisfies this perfectly.

I think of the X3 like this: You get 16 effect types which can be thought of as 16 different "pedals". It's really more like 16x3=48 pedals (3 pedals of each "type"), since you can use the same effect 2 or 3 times on an X3, as in Delay -> Delay -> Delay, or Looper -> Looper -> Looper, for example. PLUS, with the TonePrint ability, each pedal can be tweaked to produce quite different sounds easily -- and these templates can be finetuned in the app for even more control and experimentation (check the Pedal Platform videos for great details on that). While not as easy as, say turning one knob quickly from "Hall" to "Plate" to "Spring" on a Hall of Fame 2 reverb pedal, the X3 interface and menu system works perfectly for switching between these TonePrints on the virtual Hall of Fame 2 in the X3. The utilitarian UI is intuitive and does what it needs simply, so for me, the UI is great.

With the X3, it's like you get a big box of 48 TC electronic pedals to hook up in any way you like: 3 pedals of each type (reverb, delay, etc) that you can arrange, adjust, and rearrange easily without having to plug in/out actual physical cables between actual physical pedals, rearrange on a pedal board, and plug in/out power plugs... and it takes less physical space. And, having 127 slots ("boards") to save each arrangement with potentially different pedal settings and TonePrints means I won't run out of space for experimentation. Although, as I said I am a relatively simple player and don't really experiment that much with effects tweaking at this point. With the X3, I don't even need a pedalboard or anything extra, since the unit itself is sturdy, self-contained, and personally I don't need to add any other effects.

When researching the Plethora X3 and X5, I noticed a lot of people worrying about lack of firmware updates from TC, and pleading for some feature to be added in the next update. Personally, with a unit like this, I am fine with a careful, slow pace for updates (barring urgent fixes for serious flaws of course). I'd just rather have a robust, fully-tested unit that works as expected for a long time without frequent updates (which can always introduce more unexpected bugs and a less stable product). Of course, I do like and want the occasional firmware update with new effects and new features, but not at the risk of overall product stability. Speaking for myself, my feedback to TC is to keep up what you're doing and there will be some happy (if a bit quiet on the forums) customers!
 

TheBigDipper

Member
Messages
19
I returned mine. The UI sucks. On the fly (stage) changes were not what I was hoping for. Sounds and flexibility were good. TC needs to get someone from line 6 to help them with software and UI.
I just don't agree about the UI, but we're all entitled to our opinions. I dumped Line 6 products because I did not like their UI and spent too much time in HX Edit. I hardly ever use the TonePrint Editor with my X5. I'm making on the fly changes mid-song using the Hotknobz feature and quickly altering pedal settings if levels or mixes are wrong in a way I just couldn't do easily with Line 6.

And the sounds are better!
 




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