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.