ToneLab EX review by Vox

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.6 (23 votes)
Vox: ToneLab EX

Price paid: € 200

Purchased from: Secondhand but new

Sound — 8
I am using this unit mainly with a homebuild alder, EMG Stratocaster and on occasions with an Ibanez RG270. It actually sounds very very nice, it took a while to get 'my' tone but then it was worth it, it has some great overdrive/distortion models. There isn't much noise, only if you put it on the loudest distortion with the gain on 10, but there is a noise gate build in which functions well, so problem solved. The modulation effects are good, but not great, the pitch shifter for example sounds really digital and the fact that there is only one knob, you can't tweak enough. The delay/echo functions very well, I love it. The reverb is good, but I don't use it a lot. The Wah models sound awesome, only with the distortion models, they don't sound great, but its good for funk-like playing. So all in all, great versatile unit with some awesome sounds for the money.

Overall Impression — 8
I play kinda everything, but mostly funk-rock/instrumental (think Satch, Vai). Because I play so many different styles, it's good to have a unit like this with the versatility to get all kinds of different sounds. I have been playing for about 3, 5 years now (with 2 hours a day of practice). I also own the guitars I mentioned before (a alder body, maple neck EMG equipped homebuild strat and an Ibanez RG270) and a Jet city 20 watt combo. I think I would buy it again, I'm just so used to this unit that its become a real valuable part of my setup. I love the fact that you can get all kinds of sounds, just the versatility of this thing. I hate the fact that it hasn't got enough control over all the features and there is just too much features, not enough knobs. Favorite is the echo/distortion combo, you can really get a "For The Love Of God (Vai)" sound. I compared it to some different multi effects units and this one just stood out, as said before, so much versatility and great sounds for just 200 euros. Just great. If you are looking at buying this, first try it out, if you don't like spending quite some time tweaking and building sounds, you shouldn't buy this, it really takes time getting used to.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is build out of diecast aluminium I guess, very strong, very durable so yes you can depend on it. And I would and have already used in on a gig. The only problem here is: if there is e.g. No sound, you have to search through all the knobs to get what's causing this.

Ease of Use — 6
So I bought this unit as I was looking for something versatile, yet good sounding. I bought this from a guy who won it in some competition but had no use for it so it was still new. So lets start of, this thing is not easy to use, all knobs can be used for many things and it really takes some time to understand when you are in what setting and what each knob is for. I have now owned it almost a year and I still discover new things. The manual is quite elaborate but then, it should be with such complicate device. A real nice thing is the tuner, its a very big display.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vypor wrote: sewoo55 wrote: with many lauding the unique tube-like tone that they provide through the use of an actual 12AX7 preamp tube in the circuit, which they say "warms up" the guitar tone before going through the digital processing. that is nothing more than a marketing scheme to appeal to unsuspecting customers..... a single preamp tube is not enough to cause any noticable benefits to the tone If I were you, I'd try some Vox products before bashing them. I own a Vox Valvetronix VT30, its a solid state amp with a 12AX7 preamp and it really does warm the sound up considerably. Its not a full tube tone, but it is indeed pretty close and sounds good at high volumes. Not just a marketing scheme, when it comes down to it that is what separates these Vox modelers from the other modelers like Spiders and Vypers. . .
    To be honest, I didn't like the VT30 tone at all. It sounded too bassy and muddy, especially the high gain sounds. Try some real tube amps, that's my advice. After that you will never go back to solid state, let alone digital (unless it's a professional rack unit, though I would still prefer a real amp). But the solid states I have tried have sounded better (IMO) than the digital amps I have tried. Digital amps just lack something. But full tube is the way to go. If you have a tight budget, buy a used tube amp.
    Hi everyone, I have a Tonelab Le that I'm really happy with. I found MY SOUND with it. I live in France and I'll have to move soon to US and I'm wondering if I will bring it or if if should buy a new unit. I still don't understand VOX stopped making them. Anyway my concerned now is that if I want to buy a new unit I'll have to go with that new EX but there is a lot of questions in my head about it. First Will I found exactly the same sounds that I was able to create with my LE? Second is there a software with which you can upload some other sounds and especially the sounds that I had created with my LE? I'm really concerned about it because what is the meaning about changing a unit if you can't find your sound back. Mostly I use the UK 68P with an AC30 cabinet combined with a Comp for the clean sound, and a UK68P with an AC30 cabinet combined with a BOUTIQUE pedal for the crunch mode. If I can hear the same sound with the EX I'll go for it instead of keeping my LE because I don't know if it is good to use it in the US because of the different powerage (220V France / 110 V USA)
    All right, nevermind I tried it in a guitar store wirh my own guitar and I brought my ToneLab Le to compare. Well, I was very disapointed... I couldn't find the sound that I was able to create with my Le. Of course there is not the boutique pedal that I'm using with the LE so it didn't help, but I was hoping to have something close with the other stuff, and the the answer was, not possible.... I tried to find the clean sound that I like with my LE, I couldn't find it either... So I thought maybe it is because I'm not use to it( actually the way you have to create is for my opinion not as good as it was with the LE, and defenetly not intuitive). So I thought let's try the presets in this machine, there have to be some good sounds in it. After a lot of tries I felt like I didn't like any sound at all, which was really weird because I so love my LE. I'm sure I was in the same condition that at home because I brought my guitar and played it with my own headphones ( I'm really use to play with headphones and even if it is not like with an amp, I expected to find the same sound at least). Anyway, I don't to be negative about this product for VOX, it is only my opinion, but I've found really weird that the new is not able to do the same sound and actually really worse. I don't understand why they stopped to product the LE which really good. What really annoy me is what is the point to find a perfect sound for you if few years later you won't be able to buy another one but to find a second hand( which seems not be easy to find). I guess I should get stick with some real amp, some classic amp like Marshall or Fender etc.. do. Anyway I still have my LE, and I'll bring it to USA hoping that it will last long or that VOX will make a new one that has the quality of the LE or who knows better.
    Hi, cool vid and great review I have just bought the same pedal, it sounds great if i compare it to my previous BOSS ME-25, however, there is a slight issue i couldn't work out, how can i figure out the combination of each effect? I mean, if i want to know how much delay, what kind of amps, distortion is used in a particular setting and pre-set? in my previous pedal, the BOSS ME-25, i push the exit button and turn the nub of the effect i want to figure out and it tells me what effect is used. there must be a way, but i cannot find if