ToneLab ST Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 11/16/2012 category: Guitar Effects
Vox: ToneLab ST
The Vox Tonelab ST is a multi-effects pedal with an actual tube power amp running a single 12AX7, which makes this unit stand out from its competition thanks to its warm tone and accurate amp modeling.
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 7.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.6
 Ease of Use: 6.6
 Overall rating:
 7 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.4 
 Users rating:
 6.6 
 Votes:
 64 
reviews (7) pictures (3) 31 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: UG Team, on february 03, 2011
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 199

Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com

Ease of Use: Please visit www.voxamps.com for a list of features and specs. The Vox Tonelab ST immediately puts good base tones in your hands. While the 50 factory presets aren't all things that I will use every day, it isn't a matter of the quality of the preset, it is a matter of taste and the music that I play. I ran through the presets and jotted down the numbers of the ones that would be the most useful to me. It is easy to dial in the amp model and effects that you want to use when making your own patches, but I believe it would be easier when setting all of the parameters to use the Valvetronix librarian software. The instruction manual is very clear and easy to understand, and covers everything you need to know to get started. Features I like: You can assign almost any effect parameter to the expression pedal. You can produce some really interesting sounds with this. You can turn off the amp and cab modeling and strictly use the Vox Tonelab ST for the effects. The Vox Wah sounds really great. The reverb is a separate effect. You don't have to use an amplifier at all with this pedal. You can hook this directly to a cab or to your PC. The built in tuner is great, and gives you two options one to tune without muting and a second option to mute all sound while tuning. This pedal is running through a tube power amp that really seems to warm up the tone and doesn't sound digital like most multi-effects pedals. I don't understand how it works, but my ears say that it does indeed work. Features I don't like: The expression pedal is a little undersized, and I would prefer it to be scaled to match stand alone Wah pedals. The noise gate doesn't work as well as I would like on some of the patches, but this can be edited via the librarian software. The volume on the factory presets is not consistent, and this is a problem with multi-effects pedals in general, but it really gets on my nerves. The gain knob can't be used if you are not using the amp or cab models. I would like for the gain to be functional whether I am using the amp/cab models or not. I've had experience with the Behringer V-Amp 2, and I can say that the Vox Tonelab ST sounds much better to me and is much easier to use. I was able to get good tones out of this pedal immediately and was able to tweak knobs to get specific sounds I was looking for, but I was disappointed about the gain knob only being active with the amp/cab models. // 7

Sound: The Vox Tonelab ST has a very warm organic sound thanks to the tube power amp running a single 12AX7 vacuum tube. I played with this Vox Tonelab ST with the following setups: ran directly to my computer using a G&L Tribute S-500 (basically a strat with extras), an Ibanez Artcore AXD83P, an Ibanez RG350EX, a Behringer MetAlien. I ran this from the G&L Tribute S-500 to a Blackheart Little Giant 1x12 half stack, and then the same setup but with the Ibanez Artcore AXD83P. I am probably most familiar with the Ibanez Artcore AXD83P so I did a lot of experimenting there, and I was really surprised at what I got out of this pedal. Just to be upfront, this will not replace analog pedals in tone the two effects that were really impressive were the Vox Wah and the digital delay. I think they sound as good as any analog pedal I've used, but when you get into the other effects they probably rival some lower end to mid level analog pedals, but just barely. You can't expect to spend 200 dollars and seriously have several thousand dollars worth of effects at the same quality, but it really is close when you take into account that this is a multi-effects pedal. I haven't heard a multi-effects pedal that does a better job than the Vox. Some of the high gain amp models and presets are loud. I was able to work on the noise gate and greatly reduce this on the few I messed with. I play a lot of different types of music. I play anything from outlaw country (i.e. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings) to thrash metal (i.e. Megadeth) and I was able to get some good tones for just about everything. I probably play more in the way of overdriven blues than anything, and the blues tones available are endless. Also, there is not really any of the LAG you experience with some other multi-effects pedals when changing presets. Of the 50 factory presets, 20 of these are actual song presets and they sound good. I was surprised because I expected them to really stink, but I was pleasantly surprised after actually listening to them to discover they accurately caught a close approximation of the tone of the songs. Also, there is an Acoustic effect that was really mind blowing to me it really stood out on the S-500 on the neck pickup. Of course, no effect is really going to make an electric sound like an acoustic, but I really like where this effect got me in their effort. A really nice balanced clean tone that sounded nice with subtle overdrive. I was really happy overall with the Vox Tonelab ST. I bought this pedal for just a few of the effects it has, and wanted to have the option to play around with effects I wouldn't necessarily use every day. I have a budget, so it was this pedal instead of a dozen analog pedals. Comparing this to other multi-effects pedals in its price range this really shines in regards to the tone it can produce, and I will give this a rating of a 9 as I was truly impressed with the tone vs. price. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The Vox Tonelab ST is heavy and feels sturdy. The knobs are responsive and the casing is tough. On the other hand, this has a tube power amp, and there is always the possibility of a tube going bad. I don't gig I jam with friends or with myself but I think you can depend on this pedal for gigging. I would want to probably spend more time with it and know exactly where my presets are, and be comfortable reprogramming a preset from the unit itself before I gigged with it, but I would feel that way about any multi-effects pedal. The key to gigging with the Vox Tonelab ST is knowing what tones you are going to need ahead of time and knowing how to get to them as quickly as possible. A bonus is, in theory you could hook this up straight to a PA system and not need an amplifier. I would give this a rating of 8 for Reliability & Durability because it seems awesomely sturdy. // 8

Overall Impression: The Vox Tonelab ST really suits the music I play. The great thing is, it is so versatile it can handle virtually any musical genre. I play mostly overdriven blues (think Robin Trower) and this thing really stomps as far as good blues tones go. I did get several good thrash metal tones, and this pedal is able to kick out a lot of distortion without getting muddy, and I was very impressed with that. Again, I would have liked to see a gain knob that was functional separately from the amp and cab models, but this is a really small gripe in the bigger picture of the great unexpected warm tone this unit gives at such a great price. If this were lost, then I would absolutely buy it again and that is why I give it a rating of 8 for my Overall Impression. // 8


- Brandon East (c) 2011

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overall: 9
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: au_chris, on april 13, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 300

Purchased from: Allans Music

Ease of Use: Comes with decent presets, though starting from scratch (amp, cab etc) you can get very nice sounds. Pretty user friendly though the expression pedal assigning takes a few turns to get the knack of it. In terms of scrolling through presets, this can be annoying when trying to store new sounds and keep all (say) clean in one location, however with the aid of the sound librarian software its simple and fast. // 8

Sound: Using it with a Fender american standard strat through a Marshall MG50DFX: playing any sound through the clean channel sounds great. My first tip is to find on the net what each amp and cab actually models, then dialling in tones is much easier. Effects are pretty comprehensive, though you cannot get a nice lead tone by pumping gain and sticking an overdrive, distortion or copmression pedal after. My advice is either low amp gain (on the tonelab of course) and then a moderate pedal setting. Modulation wise its excellent, with a wide range of effects. Expression pedal works well with Wah and volume, though it can be used in conjunction with many more parameters (haven't used this much). // 9

Reliability & Durability: Had it for a while now and the only reason I would ditch this is when I build up a proper pedal board. Otherwise it's a keeper. I'd be pretty confident taking this to a gig and playing a set without any dramas. The metal casing seems fairly rugged and I'm sure it could take a few drops and hits. // 10

Overall Impression: I play lots of styles (excluding metal) and I find I can nail any tone from andy timmons' electric gypsy, to bohemian rhapsody's solo, to the sparkling clean chorus intro to paradise city. Definitely worth the money and really adds a dimension to a prexisting plain solid state amp. Very responsive to playing dynamics and the guitars volume and tone controls. // 9

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overall: 8.3
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 14, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 249

Purchased from: Allans/Billy Hyde

Ease of Use: A fairly easy to use device. Solid Metal body, chicken head style knobs, small expression pedal, Ruby 12AX7 preamp tube and 2 foot switches. It has a number of dials; - An amp selector knob, 11 positions, with more gain the further clockwise you turn it. Starts at clean, goes to a Fender bluesy sound, on to a classic Vox sound, onto Marshall high gain and finally to metal. Each of the 11 amps has 3 different 'options' to allow an even wider variety of sounds. - A cabinet switch which allows you to put one of 11 cabinets to your sound, from tweeds to 2x12's to quads etc. - The usual Volume, Middle, Treble, Bass and Gain. When using cabinets you can adjust them using these knobs too. - A 'Pedal' section knob which allows you to add an effect such as Vox wah, Tube OD, Fuzz etc, with an 'Edit' knob too. - Similar thing with a 'Mod/Delay' section knob, controlling delay, chorus, flanger etc. Again with 'Edit' knob and also a tempo button. - Seperate reverb knob with spring, hall and room reverbs. - Built-in Tuner via the footswitches. On the back is a USB port for direct recording and to link up to the Tonelab software on your PC/Mac. The output jack allows you to go into your amp or directly into a cabinet or DI box to play with a house PA. Editing patches is a breeze and is made even simpler if you download the Tonelab software from the Vox website. This also gives you the oppourtunity to share your tones with others, something I know some people appreciate. The manual provided is helpful and very thorough. // 8

Sound: Now this is where the Tonelab ST gets interesting. I have given it a 8 for sound BUT! This is only because I have given it a little DIY. If I was judging from a Tonelab ST straight out of the box it would probably get a 5/6 for sound. The preset sounds in ST are pretty average, I haven't used any and don't think I ever will. The change in initial volume between them is a real pain too. I don't want to start the war again, as to whether or not the preamp tube in Vox Valvetronix technology actually does anything, but I have noticed a huge difference changing my tube. The tube that comes in the ST is a Ruby 12AX7. To be honest it's a fairly cheap tube, not exactly what I'd use in a high quality product by any means. The tube in my unit was very dull and made nearly every setting sound dark and murky. I decided it would be worth changing the tube to see what effect it would have after noticing the number of people doubting the importance of the tube preamp. So I popped in an Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 and the sound changing considerably. Unfortunately you can't use a high gain tube with this unit (such as an EXH), it makes the signal far too hot. I had great difficulty recording effectively (it was peaking something awful) and my blues settings were breaking up far too early. Disheartened but not beaten I decided to put in a Sovtek 5751. The 5751 was a favourite of Stevie Ray Vaughan and has 70% of the gain a 12AX7 has. Now my ST is an amazing Machine with an unbelievable tone. It's considerably quieter which makes recording so much easier but I can still crank the volume knob at gigs without problem. My sound is clearer and smoother; hasn't got the background noise of the Ruby Tube nor the super HOT signal of the EHX Tube. It can handle blues and rock no problem now and dialling in a tone is as simple as can be. What a great sound! // 8

Reliability & Durability: I use this unit for recording and gigs and it hasn't failed me yet. The body is made of pretty sturdy metal and I doubt it would break easy (it has had a few knocks already and still works fine). The worst that could happen is you damage the preamp 12AX7 inside but thats not irreplaceable. I know that some people complain that switching between sounds during a live show is hard but I have found it dead easy, I think some people just whinge far too much. I have about 6 patches in a set and a single push of a footswitch puts me onto the next patch, it's not brain surgery. I don't think you'll ever need a back-up pedal unless you need something like a loop pedal in your set-up. I find it really handy that the Tonelab ST can plug directly into the house PA of a venue, it means all I carry to a gig is my guitar, 2 cables and the Tonelab, not an amp and a bunch of other gizmos. // 9

Overall Impression: Whilst this is a fantastic piece of equipment, I think people MUST understand that you have to invest time in this unit. I know some people expect to pull it out of the box and for it to make them sound wonderful but that is pretty unrealistic. If you aren't going to spend hours sitting down with this thing and really getting to the nuts and bolts of it, then please do not consider buying this. It really is a case of you get what you give. The sizable number of preset sounds are average at best in my opinion and I have had more fun making my own patches. To be honest, the first fews days of owning this I hated it. It was muddy, dull and had way too much background noise from the preamp. After 2 weeks of tinkering and many late nights playing with the sounds I can honestly say this is the best investment I have made. I now use it for recording, live shows and general house use and I will never look back. I mainly play blues (a mixture, SRV come B.B King) but also dabble in various rock genres. Due to the large amount of sounds in the Tonelab ST it's only too easy to get the sound I'm after, as well as some handy effects. I have been playing for 8 years now and own a decent amount of gear. I have had a DigiTech RP150 a few years ago but that was just awful. I've never had good luck with DigiTech to be honest. I guess like most guitarists I would LOVE to own a large pedalboard, stuffed with expensive goodies that would make even your cat sound like a guitar god. But like most guitarists I just don't have the money. I just wanted something cheap and compact, that I could use for recording, at live shows and would give me a decent tone. A lot to ask for but I think the Tonelab ST really delivers. If stolen I probably would definately get another one, it's just such a handy unit. I would definately recommend this for a beginner (as well as a pro but beginners especially). The cacophony of amps/cabs/effects will give you a solid understanding in finding your tone and style. It may even show you the brands you'll grow to love in the future (eg, the 'Cali Clean' amp is basically fender. If you like this setting the most you'll know to lean to them in the future). If you decide to change tubes this will also give beginners an oppourtunity to explore the fun yet sometimes hectic world of tubes but not overwhelm them. It's only a single preamp tube so go out and have fun experimenting with the different brands. You'll have a great time and learn a lot! Overall I think it would be fair to give the an 8 (really 8.5). Like I said, if you are willing to spend time with this you can get almost any sound you want, which is great for the price. The reason it is not getting a 10 is the extra money I had to spend fiddling around with tubes and the pretty average built-in presets. Also I think to get a 10 most people would like it to be expanded a bit like the Tonelab EX, but for me it defeats the purpose of being compact! // 8

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overall: 7
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: Metal_Master_0, on june 08, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 167.37

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Ease of Use: This multi-effects pedal is a monster for the price. To get a good sound out of it you really have to sit down, read the manual a couple times, and be ready to tinker with all the different settings. It has 8 knobs and an expression pedal, which include gain, treble, middle, bass, volume, pedal effects, modulation effects, and reverb. Because of all these knobs (and amp + cabinet simulation) you can get a ridiculous amount of tones out of this thing, making it pretty hard to use. You really have to get your ear ready for the seemingly infinite amount of possibilities in this pedal. The only downside to these possibilities is that there are only two stomp buttons, so you have to cycle your effects, so you'd have to have your effects in a cycle and ready before the gig. The manual clearly explains everything you'd need to know, and editing is as easy as a knob turn and two button pushes. I'm not sure on my firmware revision number, but I bought this pedal about a year and a half ago and been keeping it updated with its software, so it should be upgraded. This section is going to get a 6 because of the long learning curve but it sounds really sweet, but it only has two stomp buttons. // 6

Sound: I've used it with a B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock, and a Schecter C-1 Standard with a Line 6 Uber Metal running into the tonelab and out to my B-52 100W Tri-Channel head into a 4x12 cabinet with Celestion speakers and a small Drive 35W combo. The sound is good as long as you have the correct output set, there are 4 outputs for a line channel, a cabinet amp, a combo amp, and a Vox amp. The pedal can easily make your amp crackle with treble, and it can get pretty noisy. You have to really be on-point with this pedal to get exactly what you want. Some of the distortion effects are weak, but as I said this pedal is very specific and you have to find your perfect spot to get what you like. The reverb is kind of stale, and the treble boost is something I just stay away from. This pedal, however, can mimic quite a few artists. Nirvana's lumpy chorus, Van Halen's signature phaser, it can handle it all. I'd say all of the effects except the reverb and distortions are as top-notch as you'll get for a multi-effects pedal in this price range, plus it all runs through a 12AX7 tube which if anything should be the cherry on top. The tube significantly warms the tone and does make quite a bit of difference. Oh, and it has an on-board tuner. For how sweet it can sound for this price range. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This thing comes in a really sturdy shell, it seems like some form of thick metal. The only thing I have beef with is the fact that my drunk brother managed to step on one of the knobs to the effects and now the knob is popped off. I can still turn it, but I have to super glue the mother back on. But this s.o.b. has taken a few whacks from falling objects and didn't even have a mark on it. I'd use one these things without a backup, but I wouldn't feel comfortable because the tube could crap out at the wrong time. This is a pretty sturdy pedal. // 8

Overall Impression: I play anything from ska to metal, and this thing is perfect. It has every kind of amp model, cabinet model or effect I could want. I've been playing for 5 years, and I own this among a Line 6 Uber Metal distortion, a B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock and a Schecter C-1 Standard. The only thing I wish I would've asked is how big is the expression pedal, because for a big-footed person it's a tad small, but not annoying. If it were stolen or lost, I'd buy a higher end Vox multi-effects just because this one is quality. I love the fact that it offers so much, yet I hate the fact that it offers so much. This thing has a lot to it therefore to truly get the power out of it you have to invest time into it, and that can be bothersome if you just want to play. My favorite feature has to be the amount of tones you can get out of this pedal. I shopped around the Line-6 multi effects line (of this price range) and the DigiTech line but this one won me over with the tube. The only thing I wish it had was stomp buttons with banked effects so there was no cycling. Overall, I think it deserves a 7 for the price and the amount of tone and effect combinations available. // 7

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overall: 5
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 30, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 199

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This is probably the lowest category of any multi-effect unit I have tried. The ease of use is not there at all and to change each setting you have to hold this button and press this one and then turn this knob, it definitely takes a while to get used to and then its not easy to change once you've gotten that one thing you wanted if you wanted to Switch it takes another 30 minutes of tinkering with it to do that. The pedal doesn't have much range and there is a way to adjust the range but that also took me forever. The manual is very helpful but again its a 20 step process and I just was not impressed with it at all. I've seen other multi-effects units such as the Boss etc that were way easier to use. Getting online and doing the patches and the pre sets was pretty nice but for a basic plug and play pedal there is no way this could do it. I spent the first few days I had it messing with the different amp models and effects and I could get a decent sound out of it but using only limited options on it. The more stuff you turned on (which is why I thought I wanted it because I could have a pre amp, cab, pedal, reverb, effect all together) it just gets muddy, noisy, or just rather unpleasant no matter what the level is on the unit. // 4

Sound: I have a Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, and I put it through the effects loop and ran it straight into the amp. Either way I got a lot of noise and a lot of unusable settings on it. I wouldn't dare turn the Orange distortion on and use my amp it just would hiss and groan at me until I turned it off. I know this unit isnt a 1000 rack unit but still I expected 10 times more than what I got. The only thing good about this is the distortions they are fairly good and the Overdrive has a nice tube punch to it and doesnt't sound digital, but the reverb, chorus, and delay all sound sproingy and like your bouncing every note off of a metal wall its just not good and this is playing in a newly renevated sound proof studio. Which brings me to my most dissapointed part of this, the WAH, horrible! It sounds like everytime you push the pedal down someone in the background is yelling WAH! Nothing WAH! Nothing... Etc etc it was absolutely heartbreaking to hear that. I've used some older model Vox wahs and I loved them but this is rediculous it had no color no change whether you use the edit knob the volume or whatever it just sounds gross really. I messed with it every which way I could and got nothing out of it. I changed the expression pedal the amps cabs, turned this and that off and left others on and got nothing but WAH! I mean when you hear like the Dunlop WAH's which I have they bend the sound and shape it and you can adjust how this happens especially the 535Q and the like granted I wasn't expecting that sound but come on there is no adjustment other than barely audible or full blast. I don't mean to sit and bash this whole unit but I was just astonished how this thing was very non versatile even with a hundred options. I wanted something that did everything decent and nothing good and I would have been satisfied and maybe through a Line 6 Spider or some other solid state it would be great but even through the solid state rectifier I just couldn't handle the sounds that were coming out. I hope you have better luck. // 3

Reliability & Durability: This thing is a tank, made solid, never had a problem. I would never gig with it but if I were to it would never give you trouble. None of the knobs ever came loose or even acted like they wanted to break or not work, the LED's are nice and bright and you can see the tube clearly to see if its blown or not. You have to be big foot to break this thing. // 9

Overall Impression: I play everything, my main axe is the LP Trad. Pro like I said but I've also got a couple Ibanez's and a Strat and I have been playing for going on 15 years this year. I run nothing but straight tube amps and I've always used analog effects so yeah I'm bias but I bought this thinking I'd give digital a try. I was not happy. I promise you the analog pedals (even though they are a bit more) are way more worth it than what this has to offer. I use Logic Pro to record and tried it as a recording interface and it was ok way better than it was through the amp but still it just had that sproingy digital sound that I couldn't get over, if you want to use Garageband or logic or anything like that I would advise just getting the cheap fasttrack interface and using the built in effects I hate to bash Vox like this and I loved the LE unit and I hope the newest one is better, but I just couldn't help but be really dissapointed by it. Even as a beginner I wouldn't advise learning your effects with this thing half of them didn't sound how they were supposed to and maybe I did get a lemon but I know I already took it back and invested in some individual pedals with the 200 you save from this I'd get a good Wah pedal and an Overdrive or distortion pedal and it will serve you better. I know everyone will flame me for bashing this so hard but I literally spent forever comparing the Boss, Vox, and DigiTech models and they all sounded about the same I thought that tube might give it that little bit of extra edge. I was wrong and at least the other ones are easy to use and have footswitchable on and off effects. Like I said it may be that I'm running all analog and tube effects and amps maybe the digital and solid state amps have a better response I hope if you do get it you have a better experience than me. // 4

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overall: 7.8
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 26, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 200

Purchased from: Sky Music

Ease of Use: It's not that "agile", but it's pretty simple. You won't have any trouble creating sounds with it as long as you don't have to do it on stage. The front panel of the unit is as self-explaining as it can get, but on stage you'll have to get down to turn the knobs and such things. But, my advice is NOT to use Tonelab ST on stage. Read further to find out why... // 9

Sound: There are 33 amp models. The clean and overdrive-like ones are good, with good dynamics, but the higher you turn the gain knob the worse the sound gets. Especially the US Metal and Boutique amp models. It's the same about the distortion pedal models, they're pretty bad too. On the other hand, if you want clean or slightly overdriven sound - this is the thing (the whole ToneLab series, that is). It quite gives you the feel of a tube amp. The modulation effects are surprisingly good, except for Rotary, I personally don't like it. There's also a bunch of cabinet models, so you can really get a big variety of sounds. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This is when things get serious... Tonelab ST will last you forever if you don't use it in a band or for gigs. I've had mine for 2 and a half years now. The first 2 years were great, but when I joined a band 6 months ago, and started stomping on it for at least 3 hours a day every day - it just couldn't take it. The display blinks, parameters sometimes change on their own, the expression pedal doesn't work... If you own one - don't ever take it out of your room! // 8

Overall Impression: Pretty useful unit for beginners, practice, some "minor" recordings and such. If you want more aggressive sound - pass it, or use it in combination with some stompbox pedal. Read this review, then review your needs, and you'll know if this one's right for you! // 7

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overall: 7
ToneLab ST Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 16, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: The presets are shocking and don't do this unit justice (then again, that could just be my taste). The software that allows the unit to be connected to a computer had to be downloaded. This was not a problem, however, I have not been able to get Reaper (DAW) to recognize the ToneLab. Editing sounds on the computer also does not work although the Tonelab is recognized under Devices in Windows 7. Programming the unit is a bit fiddly at first, but as with all things nowadays, you have to accept that one button will have multiple functions. The manual is very poor and does not actually explain the unit particularly well. The manual is useless. Vox, get your act together! Big disappointment was a stereo output so that I have to get a special cable to go into my recording desk for stereo recording. A separate L and R output would have been better. // 4

Sound: I use a Vox Valvetronix and a Behringer Bugera Quad Box. My guitars are a mix of Strats and custom made guitars with DiMarzio PAF Pros. I also record a lot and use a Lexicon Omega and Reaper (DAW). The unit is noisy but the noise gate is quite effective. Some forums have compared this unit to the Korg AX1500G. However, the sounds cannot be compared - only the features. Obviously, as all units try to emulate a Marshall sound, the closer it gets to the Marshall, the more similar the units will sound. But I can say that after comparing the Korg and Vox side by side, the Korg sounds the least like a Marshall. In fact, the Vox is more like a Mesa Boogie crossed with a Hughes & Kettner Cream Machine. I say this because it has a creamier, smoother sound than the Korg or Marshall and the bass tones are very compressed (even when turning the Compressor off). The E and A strings are not defined enough for my taste. The Korg does better and sounds tighter in this space. The Wah pedal, albeit small, sounds and feels great. The chorus, on the other hand, is undefined and wishy-washy. The various cabinets and amp simulations work well and I could get very bluesy to heavy, screaming rock sounds. The only drawback, when you increase gain, is that the bass tones get flabbier and flabbier, regardless of the amp type chosen. The clean and acoustic sounds are good, and in this instance, sound similar to the Korg. Above the amp simulator rotary dial is a button that gives additional amp variations and the AMP button at the back of the unit provides line and filtered outputs for PA, amplifier or recording. This feature is very useful. The reverb and delays are OK. But they are not as good as the Korg or individual effect pedals. I don't use the other sounds (e.g. Filtron, Phaser or pitch shifter). Another point to make is that the Vox has a constant 'aww' open vowel sound. It is always there and can be reduced by selecting a different cabinet. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Ask me this question in a couple of years. I've only had the unit for a week in my studio. But it does look sturdy. The chassis is made of metal and the buttons look strong. The pots are high quality and don't crackle or resist. The Wah pedal is a bit of a concern. But then again, there are people who can and will break anything. If you're an occasional Wah user, the pedal should be fine. But if you're Jimi Hendrix or Slash, I'd say bring a back-up pedal. You won't fit your 70's clogs on this pedal. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, I like this unit for what it is and the low price that I paid for it. It sounds good! I can live with the fact that I won't be recording via USB with this device as I can go straight into the DA converter. But Vox needs to get the software sorted for all operating systems and DAWS. The unit complements my Korg and I will use them both live for a mix of sounds. The Korg vs Vox, well, one isn't better than the other. They are just different and both have strengths and weaknesses. The Korg, however, will remain my main unit.

// 8

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