NEW TC Electronic Plethora X3

Hoodster

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This looks fantastic. Love my X5 as well.

Edited to add someone on TGP asked me for more info on how I use it, so I figured I would paste that here as well:

I also play only at home at the moment and have found the X5 to be one of my favorite gear purchases in over 40 years of playing. I use it for everything except dirt, which I put in the plethora loop, into a tube amplifier, and it sounds fantastic. I use the compressor, which is always on and has a fabulous algorithm from Pete Thorn called something like Pete’s magic tone enhancer that does exactly what it says it does. I also use the chorus, tremolo, reverb, and delay. Most of my 20 or 30 boards that I have created are variations on that theme, because of course there is a nearly infinite number of wonderful algorithms particularly for reverb and delay, which is obviously what TC is famous for. The last firmware update also included all of the awesome vintage echo algorithms from the alter ego. I of course use the tuner as well, which is excellent.

My only minor quibble so far is the tremolo, but I think I was spoiled having just come from the fender Tre-Verb pedal, which had the best bias tremolo I’ve ever heard, unbelievably rich. The plethora has a couple of serviceable tremolos but nothing on that level, which was a little disappointing. I think they are probably fine for most people.

There are some really good flangers as well, but I just don’t use that very much. Ditto for the vibe, phaser, and vibrato.

The wackier effects just aren’t my thing.
 
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KC

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TC makes nice-sounding pedals, in my experience, that are also completely unreliable, in my experience. I had two TC pedals go out, dead as a doornail, within a couple of weeks of each other, some kind of disturbance in the Force or something. Customer service was worse than non-existent, they wanted me to join a club or something, no luck with either pedal & local techs want nothing to do with them. So I look at this and think that it would be handy as hell for gigs & practices, small, convenient -- and a total catastrophe if everything went out at once. Your mileage may vary.
 

telel6s

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I might start listing some lesser used pedals for sale. I might be able to get close to the price of this.

I liked the idea of the X5 when it was introduced, but the price was too much for me to experiment with changing from individual pedals. My personal budget controls won't allow me to spend $500+ before selling off current pedals only to then find out I wish I had kept some/all of those pedals. That said, if somebody was starting basically from scratch, I think the X5 actually provides great value.

Now the X3....this would be easier to integrate into current setups. Just replace delay/reverb/chorus/trem. Run current wah/filter > drive/boost > X3. The X3 would also be an easy way to add FX to my acoustic setup. I currently use a lot of the same pedals for electric and acoustic, so end up doing a lot of pedal swapping & cable switching depending which I'm using most. But the X3 could just have a spot on an electric board, and then unhook it and place it in front of the pre-amp/DI box for acoustic use. Easy-peasy.

On first glance, I wish the X3 had the insert loop that the X5 does. In theory (having never actually played an X5), the ability to assign that loop to a different position in different patches seems brilliant. Patch 1 has chorus before your external drive pedals, Patch 2 has the drive before chorus. But maybe with just three FX versus five this isn't such a big deal.

Personally, I don't use expression pedals that much (In fact, my wah pedal has mostly been replaced by an auto-filter.), and the MASH switches give back some of that functionality. So that's no loss for me.

I've never used MIDI in my life, so please make me a cheaper version without that, thank you! 😁. OK, I can actually understand how having access to all the Tone Prints via MIDI would be a big bonus for players using a that type of set up.

Interested in hearing other people's thoughts. Or experiences with the X5. Also curious to how well the included cab sims work.

Cheers!
 

Hoodster

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I might start listing some lesser used pedals for sale. I might be able to get close to the price of this.

I liked the idea of the X5 when it was introduced, but the price was too much for me to experiment with changing from individual pedals. My personal budget controls won't allow me to spend $500+ before selling off current pedals only to then find out I wish I had kept some/all of those pedals. That said, if somebody was starting basically from scratch, I think the X5 actually provides great value.

Now the X3....this would be easier to integrate into current setups. Just replace delay/reverb/chorus/trem. Run current wah/filter > drive/boost > X3. The X3 would also be an easy way to add FX to my acoustic setup. I currently use a lot of the same pedals for electric and acoustic, so end up doing a lot of pedal swapping & cable switching depending which I'm using most. But the X3 could just have a spot on an electric board, and then unhook it and place it in front of the pre-amp/DI box for acoustic use. Easy-peasy.

On first glance, I wish the X3 had the insert loop that the X5 does. In theory (having never actually played an X5), the ability to assign that loop to a different position in different patches seems brilliant. Patch 1 has chorus before your external drive pedals, Patch 2 has the drive before chorus. But maybe with just three FX versus five this isn't such a big deal.

Personally, I don't use expression pedals that much (In fact, my wah pedal has mostly been replaced by an auto-filter.), and the MASH switches give back some of that functionality. So that's no loss for me.

I've never used MIDI in my life, so please make me a cheaper version without that, thank you! 😁. OK, I can actually understand how having access to all the Tone Prints via MIDI would be a big bonus for players using a that type of set up.

Interested in hearing other people's thoughts. Or experiences with the X5. Also curious to how well the included cab sims work.

Cheers!

I have to say that my enthusiasm for this unit diminished considerably after I realized it doesn’t have the effects loop of the X5, but that is only because the compressor is always on and first in my chain for every board.

After discovering that and reading that some people do indeed like running dirt after compression, I did a controlled experiment last night with a single drive pedal (the four knob TC Spark, which many people don’t seem to realize is a fabulous low to medium gain overdrive on the mid setting), same pedal and amplifier settings both times.

First I ran it with the Plethora Hypergravity compressor before drive as I always do, and then after the drive. It was no contest - compression before drive provides a much tighter, crisper crunch with more dynamics.

For me, compression has to come before drive. And since I would want my time based and modulation effects after drive, the X3 would be unusable for me.

For folks who just want to use the X3 for time and modulation effects, I don’t think this would be an issue.
 
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4pickupguy

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I bought my X5 sight unseen when they were first announced in 2020 and waited over a year to hear it because I got stuck in Japan by the zombie apocalypse. The tri-chorus of the Corona chorus can be set as a subtle ‘Dimension D‘ thing that is really good. Here is the great thing about this planform. There are 16 different pedals that can occupy those three spots and they remain as independent pedals. Thats a VERY powerful pedal board! They can each have three parameters assigned to your exp pedal! So you can bring your reverb down while transitioning to your delay (I use that one a lot in a band mix) getting lots of mileage out each patch.
Everything is infinitely tweakable yet you have real time live knob tweakage there too. Like most people I set up patch one as a ‘Home Base’ preset and it covers 50% of what I need. The rest are set to cover particular tunes. The X5 takes a bit of real estate and since I almost never have more than two or three slots on at a time, The x3 makes a lot of sense. Imagine having two slots of room back for more fuzzeses!!

61446F81-C01B-4695-843D-C3E989CCF480.jpeg

Here are the pedals you can have:
  1. Helix Phaser (decent)
  2. Viscous Vibe (meh)
  3. Tape Deck Looper (killer)
  4. Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb (killer)
  5. Flashback 2 Delay (killer)
  6. Sub N Up Octaver (killer)
  7. Brainwaves Pitch Shifter (good)
  8. Corona Chorus (good)
  9. Hypergravity Compressor (killer)
  10. Mimiq Doubler (meh)
  11. Vortex Flanger (good)
  12. Pipeline Tap Tremolo (good)
  13. Quintessence harmony (killer)
  14. Sentry Noise Gate (dunno)
  15. Shaker Vibrato (good in wet dry)
  16. Alter Ego Vintage Echo (killer)
So far I have found the Mash switch feature completely useless. Exp pedal is the way to go and the possibilities are many. One fun thing I found to do on one tune is to use the expression pedal on the Quintessence harmonizer to go from a D dorian to A melodic minor mode as the chords change and its super effective in the solo!
I am ten years into many TC toneprint pedals and have never had a problem with them. These two plethora units are the best thing they have ever released imho.
 
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E5RSY

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For a unit like this I would be looking at BOSS and Line 6 first. Not ruling out TC. They just wouldn't be my first choice.
 

bgmacaw

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To me, it looks like a "Swiss Army Knife" device that I wouldn't find all that useful, especially with the hefty $350 price tag. Also, I'm not sure how well it competes with similar "do everything" devices from Boss and Line 6 in the same price range that have more features.

I think they would have made a better, and more profitable, product(s) by separating out the time based, modulation based and pitch shift based effects into individual pedals in the $200 to $250 price range. Maybe it's just how I think and how I like to set things up, but these things tend to go in different parts of an effects chain. And, why throw the compressor in there at all? Just keep it separate.
 

tele_pathic

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I plan buying the X3 before the end of the summer. As my original question implied, I will be mounting this to a PT Nano board with a tuner, compressor, dirt, fuzz, and wah. I had a TruTone CS6 power supply forever (well, a couple years), and it worked great for these, but it would not power the X3. So I started "the hunt."

I settled on the CIOKS DC7, which I guess is pretty new, but each of the 9v power outputs delivers 660 ma, more than I need for any of the other pedals but a good solution for the X3. And it's tiny. I had never even heard of CIOKS brand before, but it seems like it's a good product. Uses RCA plugs on the out and standard "BOSS" ends for plugging into the pedals.

With the power settled, I can't wait to add the X3 to the board. Once I do that, I can drop the tuner, which is a TC EL Polytune Mini. But I won't be dropping the Xotic SP Compressor cuz it's just too good and I prefer to put the compressor at the front to give a flat-ish signal to the rest of the chain. So I'll run Dunlop Tom Morello wah (a srsly very good wah)-->Wren Cuff Garbage Face J. Mascis siggy fuzz-->ZVEX Double Rock purple handpainted J. Mascis Siggy drive-->X3 with various boards setup for The Cure, rock, The Smiths, AC/DC, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. I may not be able to wait until the end of summer!

I had a headrush MX5 which is friggin awesome, but just a bit too complicated to switch between rigs and boards and pedals and stuff. Great for what it did, and when I played it a lot and could remember how to navigate it, it's nearly unbeatable. However, if I didn't play for a few days or weeks and forgot how to navigate it, it was such a pita to relearn it. I just gave up finally, and when I realized I only use the modulations stuff and get dirt from pedals, cuz the MX5 dirts and fuzz do sound like ****, I knew at that point the X3 made much more sense.
 

4pickupguy

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Theres no expression pedal input on the X3.
Wow, of all the features they would leave off!! That would be a non-starter for me. The EXP pedal is what makes the PlethoraX5 so usable. That is tragic! The X3 is $349 at Sweetwater and the X5 is $549. I would buy the X5 just to have the live functionality of the EXP pedal.
 
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4pickupguy

Doctor of Teleocity
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May 12, 2013
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Fort Worth, Texas
Well, I bought the X3 yesterday from sweetwater. Thought I could wait longer, but no, I couldn't. You know how it is
Well big congrats to ya! Please follow up with a review. The TC Toneprint series of pedals is very nice, add them to a platform that can offer 127 X 3 of them and they become all you ever want/need/use.
 




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