Tonelab LE as a pedalboard?

Average Joe

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11,707
Hi, I'm Average Joe and I'm a noob when it comes to multieffects and simulators, and I need some advice.

I need a secondary board for a band I've joined. Rather than building a new pedal board pedal by pedal I've considered going with some sort of multieffect. I don't really need the amp aimulations, although I imagine they could be useful in a pinch.

There is a Tonelab LE for sale locally. A couple of questions

How does it work as an effects board only in front of an amp?
Are the distortion sounds any good?
Is it fairly user friendly?
Is it dependable/rugged?

Any pitfalls I should be aware of? Software updates etc?

Yeah, these may be stupid questions. I'm sorry if they are
 

Berlin Chris

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1,170
I have an LE lying around at home. Just tried exactly what you want to do some time ago. Guitar into Tonelab LE into computer with guitar software (S-Gear). See below..... all IMHO.

How does it work as an effects board only in front of an amp?
- so/so. Compressor good, Delays good, reverb ok, mod-efx halfway acceptable, some good

Are the distortion sounds any good?
- I hated them. The boost was ok, the fuzz and distortion were terrible, again IMHO.

Is it fairly user friendly?
- yes, super easy to program
- stombox-mode gives you instant access to the different food groups
- vol/expression-pedal works good

Is it dependable/rugged?
- I have one switch that is getting a little funky. Other than that is really an ok piece of gear.

Any pitfalls I should be aware of? Software updates etc?
- overall I find the sound to be too "digital" for the lack of a better word.


OTOH, I see these units going used for about 100 Euro/Dollar. This is really cheap for what an LE can do and well worth the price. They used to be about 400 new.
 

jayman

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148
I still have a tonelab le that I still use as a midi controller for other modelers. Reliability is questionable as some of the buttons needed to enter and edit patches fail intermittently now. I only really liked one of the drive effects, the reverbs were average at best and you are limited to only 1 effect of any type per patch. Some amp models (mainly the Vox ones) were actually pretty convincing, due to the "valve reactor" technology.

My back up is a Zoom G3. There aren't enough foot switches to do anything but presets live without heroic tap dancing. However, it is small, inexpensive, sounds good enough IMO, and is tremendously flexible. It can be used as a virtual pedal board in front of an amp with any pedal anywhere in chain (within CPU limits) or as a virtual full rig with fewer effects and amp modelling on.

If you can live with the switching limitations live, the G3 is a good inexpensive option. I'm sure there are other good options, as I haven't used the Line 6 or Boss options much.

Jay
 

quilsaw

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1,130
Ditto on most of the above comments. Some FX are very good, the Univibe and Hold Delay come to mind. Didn't care much for the overdrive/distortion, but they can be easily dialed to taste as required. Some of the reverb was very good, imho, but again you can/must dial to taste. As noted above, it can be a useful midi controller, but limited there, imo. On reliability, it is fairly robust, but I had to conjure up a repair on one of the small menu navigation tabs that broke off...that was a real PITA. I'll probably keep it around until I find a replacement for the Hold Delay, which is unique...haven't found anything else to do it.
 

slugworth

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2,593
IMO the distortion stompbox sounds out in the Tonelab EX are much better than the LE. It's got several that were new for the EX (didn't exist in the LE) including some really good ones. I haven't tried the Tonelab ST, but for your purposes that might be the way to go. IIRC it has all the stompbox models as the EX, including the stompbox mode, but at a lower price and smaller size.

For what these things run for used, I think it would definitely be worth a shot.
 

rsm

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14,086
I used a ToneLab LE back in the day, it was the first modeler I used live (it was an update to my original tabletop Tonelab, which IIRC was the first?)

Not sure what the price is for one today, but I'd look to something newer. If you want something similar to a pedalboard, have a look at the Boss ME-80, IMO.

FWIW, my main go-to rig is a Boss GT-100 (and I have the desktop version, GT-001).

edit: ME-80 is $299 new, should be a few around used.
 

p.snail

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785
I have an le that I use for church direct. I actually think the modelling is very good. At the time it was first released it smoked anything line 6 was doing, IMO. The effects however, are not very good. I use mine in conjunction with a line 6 M9. That combo works for me.

If all you need is effects, a used M9 will only run you about 225-250. That unit still compares nicely to modern units.
 

Average Joe

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11,707
Thank you for your feedback, which actually kept me from buying the Vox. It didn't seem totally suited for my needs.

A couple of days after I posted this thread a Nova System came up for a reasonable price. I like what I'm hearing.
Expect a lot of silly questions about setting that one up in the coming weeks :D
 
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rsm

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I had a Nova System, sold it and got another. I was digging it so much, I considered making a pedalboard using the TCE Nova series pedals - this would have cost more than a G-System...so I got a G-System instead.

The Nova System sounds great IMO. However, thanks to newer modelers the constraints are noticeable: you can't change the order of effects (not an issue until you want to do this) and no routing. You run it in front with the dirt, or bypass the dirt and run it in the send/return. Two things to know: 1) always set your input level for the guitar you're using; 2) the boost is actually attenuation; i.e., you set your patches to a lower level, the boost adds up to +6 (IIRC) - it removes the attenuation. You can't exceed 100% so if you try to boost something already at 100%, it does nothing. If you set the patch levels too low, however, you increase the relative noise levels. It's a bit of art and science. I think I set my patch levels around 75% - 80% and used the max boost (again IIRC, 6+)...so I always had some headroom (never running above 90%). Each effect stage increase your levels, so you have to adjust your levels to avoid digital clipping inside the unit.

edit: I like the dirt in the Nova System; the G-System doesn't have dirt, so I got the Nova Drive which was designed to work with the G-System. I still have the Nova Drive, it's one of my favorite dirt pedals of all time...the same analog dirt is in the Nova System (the Nova Drive has a few more functions). Unless you have some dirt you need, spend some time with the dirt circuits in the Nova, it's time well spent IMO.
 
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Average Joe

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11,707
Thanks for the informative post @rsm
Yeah, I reckon it's not state of the art, but for what I was looking for, an all-in one pedalboard in front of an amp, it seem to fit the bill so far.

It took me a while to figure out that I needed to turn the effects down to get the boost to work :D I still need to muck about with it to get the settings right. I also have to figure out which level parameter to change to get the global boost setting "boost lock" to actually work.

As someone who have only used stomp boxes I'm pleasantly surprised at how relatively simple the Nova is. I'm sure there are a bunch of things I just havent discovered yet, but getting something useful turned out to be quite simple. I need to work them to get them perfected though

So far the locked order of effects isn't an issue, it's what I'm used to from my pedal board. But as I learn to work it I'm sure I'll run into something.

The one constraint I've run into, and this could be user error, is that it seems impossible to change gain characteristics while playing without going to a differrent preset bank. So there is no real time Nova equivalent of boosting my distortion pedal with a TS for solos.
 
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longi

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I use a still Korg AX3000G which is basically a stripped down version of the LE. I woudn't recommend using it in front of an amp if your using it for effects only as it does suffer from a bit of "tone suck." However if you use it in your amps effects loop for reverb, modulation, delays and boost it works very well. I use mine with a M5 out front connect via midi which works very well. There are better sounding more compact options out there but for ease of use it's probably second to none which is why my GT-100 has never made it to be my main pedal board even though the GT-100 sounds far better for the most part.
 

GCDEF

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I remember Tonelabs as being really limited on what effects you can combine. Only one at a time from four groups. Wah and fuzz are mutually exclusive for example.
 

rsm

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@Average Joe - The Nova Drive lets you use both OD and Dist in a single patch, and you can reverse the order, and turn each on/off, that is what's missing in the Nova - you have either OD or Dist per patch. If you add an external expression pedal, you can set it to control different parameters; I don't recall if the OD/Dist is in the list, or if this is per patch...it's been awhile...worth a look.
 

Guitardave

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10,074
Nova System is a great multi-effects...there are a ton of great effects in there and it's totally bulletproof for gig use. I had a pedalboard with that, one additional drive pedal, wah/volume pedal for awhile. I found the pitch setting when used with just the barest amount (like 1 cent up/down) provided a nice volume boost/tonal change for solos.
 

Cgkindler

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6,249
If you need something on the cheap(er) and don't need a lot of menus ect, might I recommend the BOSS ME-80?

I grabbed one for about a week, then traded up the HD500x (I've had one before, and knew how to get it going)

But that said, the ME-80 was an AWESOME unit to grab and go and have what you need to rock it out at your feet for well under $300 brand new. Plus it can use AA's if you wanted it to!

Used under $200....

I played around with a Tonelabs from my friend, and the dirt could get away from you very easily...

Another option might be the FLY boards from Tech 21....though I'm not sure where they're at price wise these days....if they're anywhere near the ME-80, then it's a no brainer in my book.


Good luck! Hope you find what you're looking for!
 




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