ToneLab ST review by Vox

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  • Sound: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 5 Decent
  • Users' score: 6.6 (66 votes)
Vox: ToneLab ST

Price paid: $ 199

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 3
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.

Overall Impression — 4
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.

Reliability & Durability — 9
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.

Ease of Use — 4
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.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SGofawesome wrote: Not much diversity on the pedal. A lot of the settings are the same. Just get a high quality amp and don't even worry about a pedal.
    In many cases there's not much diversity from a single quality amp either.
    XtremesWolf wrote: Charlie4 wrote: I have the Tonelab LE and I would say this review was very good/accurate. SGofawesome wrote: Not much diversity on the pedal. A lot of the settings are the same. Just get a high quality amp and don't even worry about a pedal. The reason people buy multi-fx units is because they don't have thousands to spend on boutique pedals/amps. well here in Quebec ,you can get a nice 60 watts combo 6505+ for 499$ Canadian dollar, i would go for the amp before the pedal for sure
    Everyone and their grandma has a ****in 6505(+) now. These new modeling pedals piss people off because lot of them actually have a good sound, but they're too damn stubborn to admit it. I can plus one of these(or a BOSS GT/Line 6 XT Live) into a P.A. system and blow away most other peoples amps. As well these are GREAT for recording without a mic. There's less hassling wit the mixing and mastering after compared to micing an amp.