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In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 7:54 pm
by VikingBlues
So after the Boss ME-5 went back with the faulty pedal the search continued.

After driving myself demented :wall: with the vast number of possible bits of gear, I took the plunge on e-bay and recieved this a couple of days ago:-
Vox Tonelab LE
Vox Tonelab LE
100_0091_sm.jpg (206.38 KiB) Viewed 10843 times
It appears so far to be working fine - I'm trying to check it out pretty thoroughly this weekend so I can leave feedback. The LE seems very transparent and responds well to dynamics and changes to tone and playing style on the guitar. I suspect the more dynamic feature will be at least partly down to the tube built into the LE.

You'll guess from looking at the picture of it that there's quite a lot to get my head around as far as using it goes. 16 amp types, 12AX7 miniature triode valve (vacuum tube) to create the sound of actual power amps with various clas A and clas AB circuits, 11 different cabinet emulations, 16 pedal effects, 11 types of modulation, 11 types of delay, 11 types of reverb and also noise reduction. For all of those you can change the various settings individually and assign the pedal to a variety of parameters. Throw in the option of changing the order of the chain of modulation, delay and reverb.

So I have a great opportunity to make some awful sounds as well as good ones! :roll:

I've only had multi fx units that were like a bunch of pedals before - and I prefer this. it's more like getting a load of extra settings and controls for your amp than getting a load of fx pedals.. It's a bit like my Vox Tonelab ST which I use for direct recordings but it's a lot more flexible, powerful, big and heavy! :drool:

There's a UK Blues setting on it already that with very little tweaking I like a lot. Vox describe it as "based on the "High Treble" channel of an extremely rare handwired head made in England in the early 80s which had 3 x ECC83s in the preamp, 1 x GZ34 rectifier, 2 x KT66s in the power amp". Could this be a Marshall - maybe the JTM-45? NOT that I've got it maxed out and howling of course - but here's some sounds in 4 styles (with a twist of VB) I've recorded today over segments of 4 BTs - direct recording to PC, not through my amp.

download/file.php?id=1062

Would be grateful to know if anyone thinks if this is going in the right direction.

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 10:39 pm
by 2WheelsOfBlues
right direction???? sky high you mean

VB I find it very nice... really. (1ste part)
So i put it whith my mp3 collection. ( i tray to get some tones out my amp :think: :wink: )

i like the sound of the song/test really great. :clap: :clap: :thumbsup:
If this is a test i can't wait to hear the compleet song

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 12:15 am
by MikeJackal
Totally agree, that's some great sounds your getting already, will probably take a few months to fully get to a point where your truly happy with the sound but a fun journey and I'm looking forward to hearing it along the way.

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 6:19 am
by Blindboy
Sounds great!
Looks like an excellent piece of gear. Looking forward to hearing more.

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 4:55 pm
by bluesfreek
It sounds great! Nice thick clean tone. :thumbsup:

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:15 pm
by 12bar
I'll throw my toneport away - sounds great - and no Windows problems... :pray:

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:34 pm
by HalfBlindLefty
OMG, I'm beginning to have serious competition sound wise.
Sounds freaking good VB

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:21 pm
by weelie
Sounds great!

I have always been Afraid of multi-effects units, and effects in general, really. Only lately, I've been pondering about multi-effects again.
Line6 M9 and Vox tonelab are names that I have kept in my head as high class choices.

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:49 pm
by vancouverois
It sounds great VB, how do you compare the LE and the ST?
12bar wrote:I'll throw my toneport away - sounds great - and no Windows problems... :pray:
I did sell my guitar port, too much hassle dealing with the Win7 64 bit drivers issues.
I've waited for drivers updates, firmware upgrades and new software but finally no luck.

I bought a Tonelab ST, very nice sounding unit that can act as an USB soundcard directly with Win7 without
any problem or issues. For the time being it's directly plugged to the line in of my soundcard and sounds great. :big_smile:

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 12:04 am
by VikingBlues
WOW! I think that's called a positive response! :clap:

Thanks guys for listening and I'm glad you're confirming that my tired old ears are telling me the truth.

I had been intending to spend the weekend trying out lots of sounds but I so like this UK blues setting that there's been only minor tweaking and quite a lot of playing. I think that's good. :D I think you're right Mike - it'll be months of trying it out - but there's no hurry I guess.

Gerd - no problems with the PC connection BUT - the Tonelab LE is plugged in using an Alesis iO-2 interface (which is using ASIO-4-All driver due to the Alesis driver and Vista and my laptop being a less than total success). My Vox Tonelab ST has also been plugged in through the Alesis (the ST has its own USB but doesn't work right with Vista on the laptop). Part of the reason I got an older style unit was it has no direct PC interface - I can't stand the thought of more wrestling with another PC interface. :wall:

As far as tone production goes I've been paying attention to a good teacher on this forum BTW Hans. :wink: I'm really feeling quite excited about what this piece of gear might be capable of (if it's owner can work it out).

Weelie - I will admit that in the past I've had limited success on multi-fx units I've owned (Zoom, Digitech, Korg Pandora for example). The thing I like about these Vox Tonelabs is they are concentrating on the amp / cab / modulation side of things more than the simulated pedal fx side of things. So it's a bit like getting extra amp controls - this is even more the case with the LE than the ST. I find the Tonelab approach a much more interesting route to go as I like to play pretty clean (as you all know) so heavy use of overdrive / fuzz etc is not really a priority.

VC - you asked about comparing the ST and LE. I've enjoyed using the ST a lot - particularly as it's come close to my amp sound in a way that none of my previous interfaces have. The LE is a similar piece of kit but with more options (and is also more expensive (maybe around + 60%). (1) The ST has it's own USB interface, the LE needs to be plugged into one. (2) The ST is a much smaller footprint 270 (W) x 180(D) x 70(H) mm / 10.63”(W) x 7.09”(D) x 2.76”(H) than the LE 500 (W) x 249(D) x 80(H) (mm) / :19.69 x 9.80 x 3.15 (inches) ; The LE is heavier too - don't know what the weights are but I sure wouldn't want to drop the LE on my foot! :sad: (3) There are 3 types of reverb on the ST compared to 11 on the LE and 1 type of delay compared to 11. (4) There are 6 adjustable parameters on the LE for each fx or modulation/delay/reverb type compared to 1 on the ST - the pedal can be assigned to any of the parameters. (5) The Amps and Cabs varieties are similar but modulation and delay are grouped together on the ST so you can only have one of them - on the LE they are seperate and can both be used.

I've tried some recording today with the Vox AC4TV mic'd up to the PC and the Tonelab LE configured for being input into a Vox type amp. I've not had the chance to properly listen to these other than on cheap headphones so they may not be as good as they could. It does at least seem to tell my ears that the LE is letting enough of the guitar sound through to identify the different tonal character of the two guitars. :thumbsup:

With the PRS SE:-
download/file.php?id=1064

With the Vintage VSA590:-
download/file.php?id=1065

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:27 pm
by HalfBlindLefty
VB, I know since I owned a Vox Ad15VT and my son owns a AD30VT amp that david lurks inside there

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:38 am
by LeftyCanuck
12bar wrote:I'll throw my toneport away - sounds great - and no Windows problems... :pray:
I bought a MacBook Pro and said goodbye to problems with my Toneport. Now it works beautifully! I'm still trying to figure out how to use GarageBand though...

Re: A few Tonelab LE sound samples

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:15 am
by VikingBlues
Aren't holidays wonderful - a chance to concentrate on guitar for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Put some short 35 second samples together (each playing the same chord sequences to try to show the resonances) to give a sort of demo of the Tonelab LE on 4 different amp settings with 2 different guitars. There's really only reverb added but I haven't got the same settings for tone etc on each one. I've just taken a basic amp/cab setting and tweaked the amp settings and added a bit of reverb to my taste. So I will have tended to move all the sounds towards the same sort of VB ideal sound.

But it still shows (to my ears at least) a good differentiation of the various amps and the two guitars sound different too - the Tonelab is quite transparent and let s a lot of the guitars sound through. It's certainly more transparent and clear tones than any multi fx or modelling unit I've had before. :clap:

:banana: I also love how dynamic it is - although it does show up the unevenness in my playing. :lol:

0:03-0:38 Vox AC30 Top Boost - Strat
0:39-1:13 Black 2x12 Fender Twin Reverb - Strat
1:15-1:50 UK Blues Marshall JTM45 - Strat
1:51-2:24 Tweed 4x10 Fender Bassman 59 - Strat
2:28-3:01 Vox AC30 Top Boost - PRS
3:02-3:33 Black 2x12 Fender Twin Reverb - PRS
3:35-4:07 UK Blues Marshall JTM45 - PRS
4:09-4:40 Tweed 4x10 Fender Bassman 59 - PRS

download/file.php?id=1117

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:38 am
by HalfBlindLefty
Some great sounds in there :)
I happen ( not unexpected) the Fenderish sounds the most.

Did you use a direct connection to record ? it sure sounded that way.
If you want the true sound of the Vox, try a normal audio installation or a solid state jazz amp

well done.

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:48 pm
by VikingBlues
HalfBlindLefty wrote:Some great sounds in there :)
I happen ( not unexpected) the Fenderish sounds the most.

Did you use a direct connection to record ? it sure sounded that way.
If you want the true sound of the Vox, try a normal audio installation or a solid state jazz amp

well done.
Spot on (as always) HBL - yes it's just the signal direct into the PC - well through the Alesis iO-2 USB interface, but that isn't supposed to add its own colour to the sound. The trouble is I've only really got the Vox AC4TV as far as usable quality amps go and that adds A LOT of its own flavour to the tones. My son has my old solid state amp but it was pretty cheap and is pretty awful and would make anything sound bad.

But at least as far as direct recording goes this set up is producing the goods WAY better than anything I've had before. And that big improvement is before I've had much chance to explore all the possibilities. :clap:

For some reason (!) I'm not totally surprised you prefer the Fender'y sounds. :lol:

I like them a lot too - I didn't manage to get the old Tonelab ST to get much that I liked out of the "Black" and "Tweed" settings and I ended up using its Vox settings all the time. I appreciate the clarity of the Fender settings on the Tonelab LE - and they do show up how more "coloured" the Vox settings are. Though I've unexpectedly found I really like the UK Blues Marshall settings to be to my taste - I've never got on well before with any Marshall emulations on any piece of gear.

The Vox AC30 setting does tend to sound better through the Vox AC4TV than it does direct, with the LE set up for output to that sort of amp. I would say the Fender and Marshall sounds come through better on the direct recording than through the AC4TV (not a surprise I guess). Maybe I'll try the old Vox AC15VT with the amp settings disabled for a mic audio recording? Though I've been having issues with interference causing noise on mic recording recently. Still got lots to explore and try out anyway.

So ... a solid state jazz amp ... hmmm :think: ... when's Christmas? :big_smile:

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:49 pm
by MikeJackal
I wouldn't be much of a Greeny fan if I didn't recognise the green manalishi at 20 paces. Great chord sequence and a good one to show the different sounds, they all sounded pretty good to me. Quite the bit of overdrive going too which I was glad to hear from you.

Re: A few Tonelab LE sound samples

Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:21 am
by 12bar
VikingBlues wrote:It's certainly more transparent and clear tones than any multi fx or modelling unit I've had before.
That's really crispy - Fender amp and strat guitar sound great!

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:49 pm
by VikingBlues
MikeJackal wrote:I wouldn't be much of a Greeny fan if I didn't recognise the green manalishi at 20 paces. Great chord sequence and a good one to show the different sounds, they all sounded pretty good to me. Quite the bit of overdrive going too which I was glad to hear from you.
Well - an approximation of green manalishi I guess! :lol: I like using that chord sequence to test a guitars tonal qualities, how well in copes with full chords without getting muddy, and also how good the intonation is - it sounds AWFUL if the intonation is out. Glad you liked it - I'm enjoying this piece of kit.
12bar wrote:That's really crispy - Fender amp and strat guitar sound great!
Thank you 12bar. :D I've never really got anywhere near the "Fender" sound with my previous gear. The sounds I can get are making me grin like an idiot at times. And I'm getting sounds that are like real guitar sounds (the ones proper players do) - I've almost got quite choked and emotional about how good it sounds a few times this week. :shy:

Re: In pursuit of Fendery sound now?

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:42 pm
by VikingBlues
Tried to extend the Strat / Fendery sounds a bit on the Tonelab LE. Using the '59 Bassman emulation and throwing a bit more into the mix on the modulation front. Forgive my ignorance, but I'm treading in uncharted waters ... or should that be sailing in uncharted waters perhaps? :think:

But .... with success??? :icon_whoknows:

download/file.php?id=1120

Re: In pursuit of recorded tone (again!)

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:27 pm
by 12bar
You're getting close to Clapton's 80's tone! :thumbsup:

Nothing beats a true tube amp played loud, even my small Fender Champ sounds so great when I have the chance to play it (it has no phone out!).
Once the kids are out (in maybe 20 years? :baby: ) I'll have my own music room! :dance: