“Boards, Pedals, & Toneprints, Oh My!” TC Electronics announces April Release of Plethora X5 Multi effects Pedal
Since the release of the Flashback X4, I have admittedly been a TC Electronics fan-boy. It was the impetus for my first Effect Bay post, comparing the X4 to the Line 6 DL4. And here we are, 7 years later, about to dive into another TCE product that has seemingly improved on the progress that Line 6 has made in the digital modeling world:
So, will the Plethora X5 multi-effects pedal live up to the hype when it is released this April? It looks and sounds promising, but those Danes may have some work to do before we can get our grubby hands on them.
A Replacement for Your Analog Board? Naw.
It is clear that TCE is not hoping to see a bunch of Pedaltrains and boutique pedals suddenly showing up in dumpsters all over the world. The footprint and features of the Plethora are meant to integrate with an analog system. However, with an IR cab sim built-in, this could be a great pinch hitting rig for those that want to save the dough (and the anxiety) of an extra checked bag on their next United flight.
The switchable effects loop adds some dimension, as well as the option to choose which of the built-in effects go through an amps effects loop or are in front of the amp’s input.
Notable Features of the Plethora X5
Of course, there isn’t much else to do but speculate until I can get my hands on a Plethora myself. But as you contemplate whether or not you want to commit to learning a whole new user interface, here are a few of the most notable and enticing features of the Plethora X5, in my opinion:
No more static bleeps and bloops, no more fussing with mini USB cables — the Plethora joins the future as a bluetooth guitar pedal.
Pedalboard presets are nothing new. Though, it appears there may not be a way to name the presets, which is a bit of a bummer.
Onboard Effects Loops
In the more recent pedal series, many would agree the drive pedals are a weak link. So if you want to keep your drive of choice (as I do), You can keep in in the loop or in front of the input. And of course, the aforementioned choice of effects send within the unit itself.
MASH (Even for Legacy Pedals)
Wanted to have a Shaker Vibrato pedal with MASH? Now you can. In my actual experience with the Flashback 2, the MASH expression is a very satisfying feature.
Expression Pedal or Volume: You Choose
The expression output can be assigned a parameter, or you can choose to use it as a volume, anywhere in the chain.
“British” Cab Sim
For the down and dirty fly riggers out there, there is a single cab sim included. It would be nice to have one or two more options, but take this as a hint that TC Electronics isn’t looking to make this the entire brain of your next rig. It will play well with an amp (hopefully).
Sounds utopian for those that have stared at their M13’s frustrated that “it wasn’t this way when I left it”. But time will tell how the user experience actually plays out.
Quick Swap Signal Chains
This feels like a video game cheat. Cool for on the fly changes.
There is Still Work To Do Before April
There are some teasers, like “top secret features based on customer feedback”, and the addition of a ditto looper capability and a chromatic tuner (they will not be adding the Polytune function, which I personally will not miss). So who knows how that will integrate before the April release. What do you think? Will you look to make some room on your board now, or will you be waiting for the Plethora 2 X5?
About the author:
Jake Van Paepeghem is a touring guitarist and music producer/composer based out of Portland, Maine. Student of jazz, Jake has shared the stage with American Idol Kris Allen, Seattle rock group This Providence, NYC based vocalists Emily Braden, and many more. His latest original release is the 5 song EP “Until I Fall Back Down” from the Boise Idaho based band, Interstate. Jake also works as a content writer and video editor for the marketing firm Energy Circle, and lives in Portland with his wife and collie-lab mix Sara.