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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Tech 21 Character Series

Discussion in 'Pedal/Effects Owners Clubs' started by Jbnaxx, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Meister

    Jan 31, 2011
    I thought it would be nice to share users' experiences with the different Character Series pedals....
    I have the Leeds and it can easily rank among the top 10 pieces of gear that I have ever owned..... maybe top 5. After going through a couple of modelers with limited success (and endless tweeking), the Leeds has been more to my liking in sound and in ease of use.
    The Leeds can do early Pete Townsend very well and has a wonderful clean tone. I started out using it direct, but lately have been playing with it in front of an amp (VHT Special Six) with pleasing results. My sound is mostly clean to a driven clean. The Leeds serves as a sort of a super equalizer..... and it does it very well.
    I have always loved the Marshall tone....... How is the British?
  2. roosme

    roosme TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    I recently got a used Tech 21 Blonde, and I'm very happy with it. I've been using a Joyo American Sound, which is a clone of the Blonde, but decided to see if it could really do all the Blonde can do. The answer is, well, yes, it can do it all, but not nearly as well. The Blonde is superior in the range of level available and in signal to noise ratio. The footswitch is much, much better too. I feel more secure with the Tech 21 build quality. I'm glad I've upgraded. The Blonde is worth the extra price of admission. Next on my wish list is the Liverpool. I have the other Joyo Tech 21 clones (ACTone, British, and California). They're all decent, but now that I know firsthand Tech 21 quality, I don't think I can be fully satisfied with them. I'm also very interested in the Fly Rig RK5.
  3. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    I have the VT Bass, and it's one of the best pieces of gear I've ever owned. Coupled with a 400 watt solid state head, it's the ultimate bass rig- it really has the tube tone, with all the advantages of solid state. I used to lust after an SVT head, but not anymore. The VT is also much more flexible than any single amp- it can do Motown-y B15, SVT grind, and all points in between.

    I had a Tech 21 "Hot Plexi" pedal (not technically a Character pedal, but close) that I didn't get along with. It sounded tinny and harsh through my amps. Sold it and bought a Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret that is WAY better for my purposes.
  4. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Meister

    Jan 31, 2011
    My Leeds has been one of the most useful gear purchases that I have ever made. It truly is like being able to buy a great amp for the price of a pedal. I have used it for almost 2 years with a Dyna Comp, a delay and a reverb. It always makes me smile. I wish I had found this years ago....... I would probably have a lot less gear.
  5. roosme

    roosme TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    I just used a GC 20% off coupon to order the VT Bass, and I'm gassing for the British and the Marshall sound. For some reason GC doesn't carry the British. They have all the others except the California. I have the Joyo British sound, but it's not quite as good as the other Joyos in that series. Tech 21's British sounds significantly better in YouTube videos. I'll check out Leeds demos too.

    One other note: I tried out the Flyrig RK5, but decided the Character series pedals are a better way to go for home recording. The Flyrigs are better aimed at grab and go playing. Not bad, but the character series has a lot more flexibility and variety of sounds.

    Correction: GC does have a couple U.S. Steels, one used, one open box. It's what I was calling the California (the Joyo clone of the U.S. Steel).
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  6. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Tele-Afflicted

    I used the Blondie, and they sounded awesome! I was plugged in straight into the PA without an amp, and all the time I was playing, I sounded like I have an amp. great tone! its only my playing that was the weak link.
  7. roosme

    roosme TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    My problem too! But the pedals are great enough to inspire more practice, so we're bound to get better!;)

    And I sprung for the British, when I found a good deal on Ebay this morning. Should have it before Christmas.
  8. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Meister

    Jan 31, 2011
    How do you guys use them...... Amp, direct, Power Engine, powered speaker???

    I use mine for practice every day. Is running into a small sound board with an old Phase Linear power amp and a pair of Yamaha 8 in. speakers. I can get about any sound I want at about any volume. I have used it into my amps some and I am beginning to like that too. Mine is the series 2 with the speaker emulator switch.

    I'm wondering how it would sound through a big ol' 12 or 15 inch powered speaker..... just straight up like you were using it like an amp. I'll bet it would sound huge.

    And tell me about the British. Can you get a decent clean sound out of it. I might be the only guy in the world to say that I have always loved the sound of a clean Marshall.
  9. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    I have the Blonde (1st generation without speaker sim). It’s a useful bit of kit. I wouldn’t say it nails the sound and feel of an amp but it comes close enough and it has a large range of sounds.

    For band gigs I prefer a real amp, partly for the sound, partly because as a singer I like having just vocals through the monitors if possible, and also because I don’t want to be at the mercy of the sound “engineer” if there is one. (I use quotes because it’s rare to have anyone with real expertise running the sound desk at the sort of gigs I do.)

    I’ve found the Blonde useful for solo gigs. I’m unusual in that I mostly play electric for solo gigs. I don’t get why playing solo should automatically mean playing acoustic. To me an electric is much more expressive and gives more variety of sounds, which is important when playing solo. If I’m lugging a PA and doing my own sound I can save some space in the car and some lifting by using the Sansamp instead of an amp. I’ve found I can get a decent sound with the Sansamp but the feel is stiffer than a valve amp, and I don’t find the overdrive very amp-like. I have another overdrive pedal that I think is very amp-like, so I usually put that in front and set the Blonde for a clean sound. I’ve found I like the Blonde better with the switchable speaker sim on my Behringer DI. There are times when there’s a certain sharpness that I can’t seem to dial out. I’ve gone back to using my modded Laney Cub 10 for solo gigs, as it sounds better than the Blonde DIed through the desk, and it’s pretty portable.

    I’ve had reasonable success using the Blonde for DI recording, but it always needed tweaking with plugins. But then most things do.

    I also have the Tech 21 Tri-amp and Bass DI on loan and find them useful but with similar limitations. All of them are useful and useable on their own terms, but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a bunch of resistors and diodes to totally nail the complex sound and dynamic response of a tube amp. But I prefer them to most of the digital modellers I’ve used.
  10. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2015
    I've had a few of the Character Series pedals and, truthfully, I get as good a sound out of one of the models in a Zoom MS-50G. It's $100 and it'll give you eight amp sims.
    Here's a good demo...
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    I have the California and have enjoyed it so far. A huge spectrum of sounds. I have not finished the new recording studio yet to put the Tech21 through it's paces.. I'm thinking about adding the Blonde to my Grab 'n Go board. Glad to see the VT Bass being mentioned as a winner. Maybe I should get that for my wife. ;)
  12. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    I have the old version of the British. A huge range of sounds, so much so that it is easy to miss the sweet spot. I'm currently using mine as the preamp for my H&K, direct into the FX return. It is also just powerful enough to run headphones.

    Mine works better into a PA or PC than it does into an amp. The new ones with the speaker emulation bypass should be better in this respect. I haven't used digital FX for clipped (OD, distortion, fuzz) sounds for a long time, but it is certainly better than I remember the ones I tried.
  13. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2004
    Newly Indiana
    After three years.......

    Liverpool was my choice to give a different flavor to my Fender amps. I use it mostly as a lead boost and get some great tones for rock, Petty, blues, old R&R. Not as good for soul or country but that's when you just need a louder tele.

    I also use the Liverpool to go direct into the PA when playing bass. Gives a really good, full sound without muss, fuss, or backache.
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