I'm very happy with this unit. I've owned many effects and amps before. the problem I've had with digital signal is that it always seems to come out sterile on the other end. but this 'reactor circuit' puts a healthy amount of life back into your output signal. expecially if your plugging into something with tubes.
I've played on the competition, all of these different multi-effects have some great stuff coming out these days. this might not be the unit for you if your looking for a humungo massing of effects, or searing saturation. but you'll love it if you like tons of classic flavors, that are actually responsive to your playing.
Model Year: 2006
Price: $499.00 (new)
Where Obtained: AMS
The Tonelab uses four presets with A/B switching per bank. in addition to the two assignable pedals it has a dedicated "control" switch for turning effects on/off or to set tap tempo.
there are two sets of knobs, one set makes your selection, like for modulation, which modulation you want to use. the other set of knobs adjust individual parameters, like if your setting up an amp preset you use these like the knobs on the face of the amp, gain, master, bass, mid, treble. if your setting up an accoustic simulator, these adjust effect parameters.
the onboard 12AX7 isn't used for preamps, rather I understand its used to duplicate what a power tube is doing. vox won't say too much, but they say it's a relationship between the tube and a slaved transformer.
there are some stomp boxes, a choice of amps and cabinets, and delay and modulation type effects.
Sound quality is where this unit shines. many flavors of clean, dirty, muddy, and driven amp sounds. I can't get a seriously saturated high-gain. maybe it's that my tastes are for the overdriven sounds, and that I haven't tweaked enough. but vox has done a superb job of including everything from lightly breaking up to face bending heavy overdrive. and true to advertised, all of these sounds respond well to touch, string attack, and how hard your playing it. I've played them all, and this is the only one that does that.
I only have an LP to play on this. but I've run it out to a cheesy SS amp, straight to a mixer, in the front of several big tube amps, and to the pre-amp in of a big tube amp (bypassing the pre) and it performed excellent in each instance. theres just enough tweakablility to get your best from what your plugging into. without being overloaded with menus and menus of parameters with names you've never heard of before.
All of those knobs make ease of use a no brainer. almost no menus. litteraly everthing can be tweaked with a knob or expression pedal. the few things that are listed in menu, can also be reached by grabbing a knob.
I haven't swapped the tube yet, but I hear it's a bugger to get out. and looks like it too. it's down inside a pocket in the face of the chassy with no way to get your fingers around it. they say to grab it by wrapping a piece of paper around it, and wiggle it loose that way. I guess it's well protected.
Very well built. thick piece of aluminum for ends. there are bends in the top piece that add adequate strength to such a long piece of sheet metal. I've spent many years bending sheetmetal for a living, and am well qualified to assess the convoluted shape of the top metal as exceptionally strong. well thought out. heavy duty chrome plated expression pedals. heavy duty switches that are well away from (keeping your foot away from) the plastic knobs.