TC Plethora X5 Advice

Hi gear experts, would appreciate your advice as I mull over which way to go.
On my GAS list are the following pedals from TC :
-Hall Of Fame 2
-Sentry
-Ditto+ looper (not in UK shops yet)

My understanding is that the Sentry and Hof2 are available in the P5.
And that TC are planning to put a looper in the P5 (for which I guess TC would include some of the more advanced features akin to the Ditto+).

So given the above, and given the prices of the individual pedals vs the P5, plus the extra pedals I would get in the P5, is there any reason NOT to go for the P5?

Seems for a little more investment upfront you get a better system?

Are there any inherent problems with going the P5 route?

I should say I am already aware of previous comments about poor TC customer service, this aspect doesn’t really bother me too much as I would deal with the shop that sells me the P5 if anything broke etc.

I’m really interested in if the P5 route is limiting in any way, or any other reason not to go for it?

I’m also familiar with the toneprint concept as I already have a TC Spectracomp, which I would sell as a comp is in the P5, throwing a little money back into the P5 deal.

I also have an overdrive pedal already, which I would use with the P5, as (currently) it does not implement pedals like overdrive digitally.

Thanks, advice welcome gurus. :heavy_check_mark:

(Edit/PS : anyone else thinking that long term having a P5 in the market is going to cost TC revenue, unless they start to charge to download new pedals to the P5, or the associated Toneprints? :thinking:)

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I think the P5 is a cool concept, but I would keep the spectra comp as well.
I have toyed around with having 2, even 3 compressors running. My San June (always on) and Boss Bass Comp BC-1X work fine together… I also had a patch in my Zoom MS-60b that was Chorus, and another that was envelope filter. For both of those patches, I had a Compressor, Noise Gate and either Chorus or Envelope filter. It worked well with the combined compression.
You might find where you want to kick on just the SpectraComp and not anything on the P5.
Just a thought

Also, does the P5 do any Drive? Like the SpectraDrive?

I think it just might be preference, if you like the idea of it and already have played with some of the sounds, then go for it.

Also, the Sentry noise gate, there is an EHX The Silencer, and the Boss NS-2 to look at. I think you can’t go wrong with any one of them, and price and availability would be the decider.

But if the P5 is going to add Looping, and you want looping, you may want to wait. However, it might be nice to have a looper alone in case you wanted to take it with you and not drag the whole P5. IDK if that is important to you or not?

BTW, HOF2 is on my GAS list. I wish I could get it right now so I could side by side test it against the Boss RV-6. I have the Boss, but I am still able to return it. The HOF2 is what I wanted first, and IDK if I would even want to keep the Boss even if I couldn’t get the HOF2.
But now I see the HOF2 is being sold with deliver after August 24 when they are back in stock.
I have to have the Boss back by the 28, so I might have a small window to test them out.
If I don’t keep the HOF2 either, I will end up with a simple Spring Reverb, or something like EHX Holy Grail Nano. I really only like a simple, subtle reverb anyway, something you only no is there is you are listening for it. so all the extra Shimmer and Modulation and other types of reverbs don’t interest me much.

plus I absolute LOVE my noise gate. I have the Boss NS-2. I only loop in my noisy pedals, the compressor and drive pedals. everything else is not affected, and it works like a champ. I am sure that the TC E Sentry or EHX The Silencer would both be just as good.
As long as the noise gate has its only pedal chain loop, it works well IMO and IME

Thanks for all the advice @T_dub :heavy_check_mark:

As far as I know, no drive type pedals in the P5, although I watched a video from a TC software developer and he said if enough people ask, then it’s possible to do. So for now it would be my Bass Soul Food.

Taking stuff mobile is not a concern for me at present, in fact most people want to keep me locked up when I play…

Yes I think it sounds great, def selling point that it’s in the P5

The P5 for what I read has a Send Return loop which can be used with the noise gate and/or an amps send/return path, so seems ok to be able to gate external high gain pedals via the P5.

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What I was referring to is the type of noise gate. Some noise gates only have an input and output, and they GATE the whole chain.
Gates like Boss NS-2, TC Electronics Sentry and EHX The Silencer have
input
loop out
loop in
output.

So, you could go (example in chain without P5)
Bass - TC E Sentry - Octave pedal - Chorus - Reverb - Delay - Amp
-___-Spectra Comp
-------Sour Food
-------Big Muff

Look at that as tho the pedals under the Sentry are looped thru it, where you loop the compressor, drive and fuzz pedals thru the noise gate.
The compressor and drive / distortion / fuzz pedals are typically LOUD
Just turning them on, you hear a humm and static noise until you start playing. you can hear pops after turning one on, then next one can add more noise and pop on / off.
If you loop those pedals thru the noise gate, you get no Hiss, Hmmm, Static noise, and No ti Little pops. Plus the gate won’t remove any volume from the pedals that don’t go thru it.

That is why I said the Sentry, and The Silencer and the NS-2 are good noise gates, they have the send and receive jacks.

As far as using it with the P5, IDK, I am reading up on it more now.

I did read something about CAB Sims in the short description in the first page of the amazon add. I am looking more into this.

Do YOU KNOW if it is able to store and use IR files for those sims? If yes, that is another reason to want this

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Yes I saw a cab sim in a demo of the P5 I think it’s just one off SIM at the moment, they didn’t say much about it or demo it…
Really doubt you’d be able to load third party IR files, but you never know!

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Having a cab sim at all is a nice feature.

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I have the X5 for the same price reasoning you mention above. I already liked 2 of the TC pedals enough to own them, so why not pay for 2.5 pedals and have 12 to play with. I noticed some of the TC toneprint pedals consistently show up on a lot of pedalboards and some of the others are close contenders for top spot. Overall, good enough for me to have a treasure chest to experiment with. I’m using it in that way the same as many people buy the Zoom for. Overall, I really like it. I can’t say I’m going to research the best and most expensive tremolo, so having this one in the box seems fine, for example.

The documentation is thin. The only way to really learn it is by watching YouTube videos. There’s not so much to learn and it’s not too complicated, but I may not have figured it all out just by hunting.

The tuner doesn’t take up a slot. It gets activated by a triple tap to a footswitch, or not if you don’t like that.

The effects loop can take up a slot if you want it on a footswitch, otherwise it can go between any module, at the beginning or at the end without taking up a slot.

It keeps 75 toneprints per pedal type in the unit, so it’s never really necessary to hook up a PC or go to the app unless you want a totally new toneprint.

It won’t do ANY toneprint pedal, only the 12 they list. It’s unclear if future toneprint pedals get added to this firmware, with or without cost.

It only has the Hypergravity compressor in the list, but there is a toneprint for it called Spectra, so I’m guessing this makes it act like a Spectracomp.

The ease of use is really nice. I like being able to hold down two footswitches and have the slots swap places to re-order things. I like that just flipping a switch gets me to parameter adjustments and just flipping it back goes back to normal mode. No nesting menus for what you do all the time. It makes it seem a lot more like it has real knobs all the time; they aren’t very far away with a single switch action. I like being able to see 3 adjustment knobs all at the same time with a nice graphic display of where they are all set. However, it’s weird to me that you can’t scroll those knobs to more than 3 parameters. Most of the time it’s good enough, but some pedals are nice to have more knobs without going into the toneprint editor. It hasn’t really been a practical problem yet.

The biggest design weirdness, in my opinion, is that they used pots for the adjustment knobs instead of rotary encoders like they did on the menu knob. This means that if you grab an adjustment it doesn’t nudge from where it is; it jumps to where the knob is set and takes off from there. This means you have to look at where something is set on the display before you move the knob if you only want a little more of something. And then you have to turn the knob to get back to your starting point. Of course, it’s in sync after you move each knob once. I’m tremendously annoyed by having settings jump.

Unfortunately, they have all this display space an no metering whatsoever outside of the tuner display. I would have liked to have seen some indicators, especially for compression.

I haven’t tried to use the noise gate how @T_dub describes yet. I’ll have to try that later today to see if it can even do it. Since the internal wiring of the X5 is virtual, it could in theory use the raw bass signal as a sidechain trigger no matter where the gate itself sits in the sequence. If it doesn’t, that sounds like a good firmware enhancement!!!

I like immensely that I don’t have the price or spaghetti mess of: a pedal mounting board, a multi-output power supply and cabling, daisy chain cabling. I have the send/return loop going to the overdrive section (has options for both vintage tubes and their more modern, aggressive B7K) of the Darkglass Microtubes 500 amp head using the 4-cable method and I’m (almost) done. The only loose pedal I have sitting around is the MXR Envelope.

The primary drawback is that if I start wandering from TC and prefer more and more loose pedals from other makers, then I have this 5-slot longboard that may be taking up way more space on the future pedalboard than it’s useful for. I’m also using this deliberately to prevent me from taking up the pedal hobby. I ask myself, do I really think the MXR M87 compressor is enough better than ALL the Hypergravity toneprints to justify a loose pedal? It may be better, but not enough better for me to mess up my neat package and try to justify the extra cost.

For me the X5 is a nice price point between the Zoom and Line 6 Helix with a particularly good core set of pedals with a simple streamlined look and interface. Maybe the Zoom is good enough for this. I know @T_dub has compared it to the TC Corona Chorus and can’t tell the difference at all. I’ve never tried the Zoom, but I’m suspicious that everything in there is as satisfying as the Corona turned out to be. However, lots of people really like and perhaps choose first Sub-n-Up, Hall of Fame, real Corona. Flashback and Tremolo certainly do their job. Hypergravity does what I was expecting. It’a a solid base bass set.

Anywhoo I don’t have any skin in the game and people make all kinds of choices for equally valid reasons to them. This is just what was rattling around in my head before I clicked to buy.

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Hi Dave @DaveT, really appreciate the in depth response from someone that has the P5.
Everything you said makes sense to me. Really like the idea of the tidy set up and the cost comparison being favourable.
Like you mention above, I think the biggest question is where will TC go with the P5 in the future?
Will it become a general platform that nearly all their pedals can be virtually loaded on to? Will they start to charge in some way (I’d be very surprised if some downloads didn’t become ‘premium’) .
Any further info you could provide on the noise gate functionaliry would be great, cheers.
Weird about the control knobs jumping settings around, seems a weird design choice, maybe just early release problems that will get fixed.
Cheers Dave

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Fixing this would require changing the physical knobs. I’m guessing that there’s some limitation preventing this, like maybe the processor they are using only has 2 encoder pins native without upgrading to a higher price point. Otherwise, it’s just silly to control soft settings with a fixed position knob.

Here you can see where I put all three adjustment knobs at noon. Then I flipped the Play/Edit switch to edit to reveal the parameters for the tremolo. You can see how the settings don’t match the knobs. If I turn the Output Level knob (far right, initially set at 0) even the most tiny bit, it first jumps to 50 and then tracks where I turn it.

The TonePrint editor doesn’t allow you to edit offline, so I have to actually connect up USB to the X5 to see what features it may have hidden. Also, annoying. I couldn’t find anything in the menu on the X5 to set the sidechain input to the gate to something other than its natural sequence in the chain. I don’t think it can be in the toneprint because it has to do with signal routing across the whole X5 board. I’ll keep looking though.

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OK, I went through the toneprint editor and I can’t find any way to route a side chain input to the Sentry in the X5.

The very cool part about the toneprint editor is that you can set the range of each knob. It sometimes seems to be that the knob turns to places I don’t really use or I want finer adjustment where it changes too quickly. In this example, you don’t have to allow 10ms to 2.0s release time range. You can drag those points on the curve and make the knob only do things in a range you find useful.

Ah, I found another annoyance! It’s not possible to rename the adjustment knobs in the toneprint editor. For example, the knobs are called “sustain, attack and level” all the time no matter what you do. Looking into this particular patch, sustain controls threshold and level controls ratio. This is unfortunate for something that is a soft display parameter.

My list is now:

  1. Fixed position knobs cause parameter adjustment jumps
  2. Noise gate doesn’t have a side chain routing option
  3. Parameter knobs can’t be renamed based on what they are controlling in a particular patch.
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Found another difference between the X5 implementation and the toneprint pedals. They didn’t implement all the controls on the X5 the same as they are in the pedals. The Corona Chorus in pedal land has a tone control. This isn’t accessible at all in the toneprint editor for the X5 version of the Corona. No tone for you.

As I’m digging into this, I’m finding more and more potholes.

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Thanks again Dave for doing all this investigation.
Certainly seems TC have some work to do on the software, and you can’t take for granted a pedal in virtual land is the same as the physical pedal.

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Thanks for giving me some motivation to dig in deeper today. Mastering a piece of gear in the arsenal is always fun!

The good news is that the sub-n-up controls are extensive, way more than you would be able to get with the number of knobs on a pedal. Weird they left the EQ off the Chorus implementation. It’s not possible to find all this without having one in front of you since there’s no real manual and the toneprints for the X5 are “adapted” from the others in ways that can’t be seen if you aren’t actually connected to an X5.

Let me know if you want me to try anything else. I’ll probably learn something.

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Now I’m going to have to open up a Corona pedal and see what’s happening. I’ll bet the tone control isn’t implemented on the DSP chip. I wonder if it’s a little analogue circuit on the output that they would have had to spend time writing code for the X5.

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I was describing it for the stand alone pedals. Without knowing everything about the P5, I think that if I had one, I would still use a Stand alone noise gate. I think I would still use a stand alone compressor as well.
Since this pedal is BYOD, and that is one of the two noisiest pedals in MY chain, the 2nd being the compressor, I would have this and BMOD, BMOC and BMONG.
I am sure that the built in noise gate does a great job within the p5, as it does in any patch in the Zoom B1-four AND MS-60b, but like those, they don’t do much for my drive or compressor pedals when they are in my pedal chain
So, AGAIN, without full knowledge of the P5, I would go
Bass - Noise Gate - P5
____Compressor
____OverDrive
____Fuzz

Doing this, I doubt that you would need to waste one of the P5 slots for a noise gate, and you can do
Sub n Up / Vortex / HOF2 / Corona Chorus / Flashback
in the P5

I will say one more time, this is theory based on experience with pedals, but without actually knowing the P5

@DaveT, I do want to ask, have you played with the BrainWaves?
And, is there a control nob for each slot that will mimic the actual pedals, so that you have the exact same control over the effect that you would with the actual, full sized pedal? If you can, I am way intrigued with The Brainwaves pedal. I am seriously tempted to send back my Sub n Up and get the Brainwaves. You lose the 2 octave down, but you can go up semitones in stead of just adding more of a full octave. plus you have De-tune, flange, was, etc… This looks like a FUN AS HELL pedal that gets no exposure as far as I can tell.

I can say, IMO and IME, with having tested Spectra toneprints, that the San June Optical compressor G8-cp AND the Boss BASS COMP BC-1x are IMHO. And, to me at least, the difference is paramount. But I am a compression geek and find it fascinating, so to many others, it might mean didly.

I want to make sure it is understood that I tried the Corona Chorus, Factory Set, Out of the box, I did not play with ANY toneprints, The zoom was modeled on the Factory setting, nothing else, and it did, as far as I can tell, a perfect job.
There are videos on YT showing the Zoom DarkGlass Cab Sim, comparing it to the real thing, and the difference, In their opinion, was very little if any.

Being happy with what you bought, and enjoying it is how you measure a successful purchase, and you have a winner for sure.

Ahhh, answered one of my questions. This for me would be an annoyance, since pedals like the Sub n Up, and Brainwaves, I think it could be a hindrance to their overall performance.

Well, Maybe not :wink:

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got to this late, sorry. i have looked at this a lot, and am going to continue to follow it. so DaveT mentioned a bunch of pros and cons, all good stuff. the fact that there is NO documentation on this is bad enough, but you would think, ok it’s either online manuals or youtube manuals. nope, they don’t have those either. they don’t provide a list of exactly what toneprints are and aren’t available for it, mostly i think because they are trying to pull off the GET ALL THE TONEPRINTS IN ONE b.s. you do, admittedly get most of them. the main complaints online are no drive (because tc doesn’t make a digital drive which goes right over the heads of most people), and something about the order of the pedals is backwards (goes R to L instead of L to R), which triggers adhd in some people. they have just recently implemented some kind of simple midi control to turn groups of pedals on and off which was one of my concerns, but of course no instructions on how to do this. very simple i gather if you know anything about midi control at all, but i do not. no word on future support, whether or not they will add new toneprints to it as they come out. you always worry about long term support on something like this anyways. i compiled a current list of what toneprints are missing:

dreamscape
spectracomp (my fave, but they have hypergravity compressor)
alter ego delay (they have flashback delay)
arena reverb
trinity reverb (they have hall of fame 2 reverb)
viscuous vibe (coming soon they say)
helix phaser (also coming soon)

so all in all, i think it’s pretty close to being a buy for me. i would at present keep my spectracomp pedal with it (well, i have never heard the hypergravity and who knows, i might love it), which means i would only be getting rid of my hall of fame 2 for it. but you do get a lot. the fact that dave says some toneprints are somewhat hobbled in it is not a good thing. the reality for me is, i would probably look harder at this a few years down the road when there are 50 used ones for sale on reverb.

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There’s 3 knobs for control. They are the same 3 knobs for every slot. The control knob mapping comes up soft on the display after you select what slot you want to adjust. Any pedal that has more than 3 knobs has to delete something at that top layer.

For Brainwaves, it gives you Mix, Voice 1 and Voice 2 knobs. The FX type select knob on the physical pedal is buried in the toneprint editor. You would need to save 4 toneprints and recall the FX type you wanted to simulate turning this knob to a different mode.

OR . . . You can give up one of the other knobs to have the FX knob out front. But then you would have to hard set Mix or Voice 1 or Voice 2 to a fixed value for that toneprint.

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Yeah, as I said above, this pedal, being BYOD is also a BYOC IMO. Even with SpectraComp as an always on pedal, I could see also using the built in comp. there is nothing wrong with Compressing your signal at the beginning of the chain, and then again after it, or somewhere in-between. I am sure there will be times where you will be happy with that result.

HOF2 for sale? :wink:

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