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brucie
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Joined: 13/11/02
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Loc: Manchester, UK
TC Electronic Nova System new
      #965159 - 20/01/12 11:03 AM
Here is a little review I did for the Nova System, after having been gigging with it for quite a while now!

So here is a little bit of background. I already own the TC Electronic G-Major and I have done for about 8 years now, so I knew what I was expecting effect's wise, pure effects awesomeness from TC Electronic. For pure simplicity, the Nova system is just fantastic! I am using it in simplified set up for gigging, where I am not using my rack system. It works really well and most importantly means I can do away with a massive pedalboard, and could just simply have the Nova System and a wah and I am away! Having said that...I am using a few additional pedals in the pedalboard. One is the Electro-Harmonix Micro Q-Tron as the Nova System doesn't have an envelope filter sadly and the other is the Suhr Riot which is just pure distortion heaven and I don't want to not have it as I love it so much!! It is the perfect partner for the Nova System as the distortions on the NS are really great but range from TubeScreamer like overdrive to classic rock distortions, the Riot pedal really is the 'turn it up to 11' pedal.

How easy is it to use?
On the whole the unit it very simple to use. There are two main ways of using it, one being in preset mode, where the bottom three pedals on the left (Drive, Comp, Rev) enable you to switch between presets. In this mode you still have access to be able to turn on and off the Pitch, Delay, Mod and Boost functions (and tap tempo). By holding your foot on either the Pitch or Mod control you can scroll up and down banks of presets. You can also connect the G-Minor footswitch to enable you to switch between presets, and you can then use the Nova System in pedal board mode.

Pedal mode provides you with access to all the pedals as it would on a standard pedal board (i.e. you get 7 different effects). By holding the pedal down for a couple of seconds you can switch presets (this happens on the release of the pedal!). I know that this annoys a lot of users, but it makes total sense to me, you have multi functioning switches and the easiest way to be able to not only switch an effect on an off and use it to switch preset is the way TC have implemented. If you want instant preset switching (but loosing access to turn the Drive, Comp and Rev on and off) just switch the unit to preset mode. I think it is a really clever idea and it makes sense to me.

In a sense you could see it that you could potentially have a different pedal board setup for each song for example and then switch between them between songs. If you content the G-Minor or use a midi controller, such as the FCB 1010 or the Tech 21 Midi-Moose, then you have instantaneous access to the different presets. So it is actually quite powerful.

There has been a lot said about the patch changing method that is implemented in the unit, I understand that they switches are multi-functional and the patch change works on the release and there is a lag time in the loading. It is fine for the way I use the system, but I can understand that it isn't for everyone. Potentially adding a G-Minor pedal or Midi Footswitch is the way forward, it is something I am considering!

I currently only have 3 different patches (read that as pedal boards) set up. Primarily to switch between the overdrive and distortion pedals. One preset has the overdrive and tremlo effect and the other to have the distortion effect and flanger. The rest stay the same.

So most importantly what does it SOUND like?

The effects are pristine in quality, and I know that is not for everyone, but it certainly works for me. I think the analogue drives are really good, whilst not out and out metal distortion, you can get some great rock and blues tones from the OD, and classic rock, metal from the distortion. But if you use it to drive a tube amp I think it would work well! The user interface is dead simple, I like the patch system where you can use different patches like different pedal boards, that is fantastic!

I personally really like the compressor, octave and boost functions. The boost is really really useful and can add a considerable boost say when you are switching to a lead tone. It is also fantastic into a tube amp as you can get the amp to break up nicely and cleanly with the boost. I think all the effects are pretty awesome, but I am not too impressed with some of the modulation options, but I should add I am not a modulation fan. As usual too their is a perceived drop in volume when using modulation effects, I make up by this by running with the compressor or the boost to increase the perceived level.

You can also create a whammy effect by adding and additional expression pedal (sadly this uses the same input as the G-minor footswitch, so it is one or the other!).

Programming the sounds is dead simple, plus for each effect you can store up to 4 favourites (i.e. configurations you like), whilst you can't access these without having to bend down and press the button (and in a sense in a gig why would you?) it is a really nice feature. The unit also has a speaker emulated output (although you loose the use of the EQ block...which by the way isn't footswitchable, which is a shame!). As the Nova System is not an amp modeller taking this approach might not be the best course of action, but in a totally emergency it is there, plus you could get something like the Tech 21 character pedals to provide you with an 'amp' and then run that either after or before the Nova System.

Are there any nice touches?
The unit is really solid, the brushed metal looks fantastic, the orange lights illuminating the pedals are also really great under stage lighting, as well as the display LCD. It runs from an IEC plug which is also fantastic, so no wall wart power supplies, I mean ideally it would run from my *** distribution box, but I it makes like really easy. The size is just right too, it can be thrown in a backpack, or on a small pedal board. I have actually managed to downsize to using an Electro-Harmonix Pedal Board Bag which may not be suited for touring, but if you are carefully it is a great little (and light) bag which you can stick pretty much anywhere!

Will it fall apart?

It is a pretty robust unit, perhaps not as tank proof as something like a Boss pedal, but not bad at all. It is susceptible to scratches though!

Pros

1)The sounds are great (for me!)
2)The flexibility and the ability to have a number of different pedal board configurations at the press of a switch
3)The size and weight and construction

The negatives (for me)

1) The Tuner - The tuner has a limited range..... I can't tune my 7 string, not good in my opinion...perhaps this could be addressed in a firmware update.

2)Whilst I totally understand the reason that you can't to 4CM (4 Channel Method) with the Nova System (i.e. stump up and buy a G-System), it is a real sadness that the drive pedal (and also technically the compressor too) are lost if you decided to run it in the effects loop.

3)No filter effect and no foot switchable EQ

I would recommend at least trying it out!

Alternatives
The main contenders are the Line 6 M-Series floorboards (that is effects units only, rather than modellers)

I am sure I will continue to update this review as I spend more time with the unit. But it has been in my pedalboard for about 7 months now and it isn't going anywhere!!

If you have any questions, just post them below!

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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Music Wolf



Joined: 17/02/06
Posts: 713
Loc: Exiled to St Helens
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #966614 - 26/01/12 08:39 PM
Quote brucie:


The negatives (for me)

2)Whilst I totally understand the reason that you can't to 4CM (4 Channel Method) with the Nova System (i.e. stump up and buy a G-System), it is a real sadness that the drive pedal (and also technically the compressor too) are lost if you decided to run it in the effects loop.





I've had mine for almost a year and this is my biggest gripe. The analogue drive was what attracted me to the TC but I've ended up using it in the loop of my Blackstar combo (so I'm not using the drive or comp).

I use it in preset mode as I'm also lead vocalist and I need to be able to do everything with one button plus I have a VooDoo Labs MIDI switcher so that the Nova can also switch amp channels. I tried the G switch but I didn't like the way it worked with the bank switching. I now use an expression pedal as a master volume.

The delays and reverbs are everything that you'd expect from TC. I make use of the harmonizers on a couple of tracks. The tremolo is nice on clean sounds and I've just started using the phaser in an attempt to get something that hints at a Univibe.

Chris

--------------------
www.Insideoutcheshire.co.uk


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brucie
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Joined: 13/11/02
Posts: 240
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #967457 - 31/01/12 12:20 PM
Hi Chris,

I actually ended up with a Blackstar HT-20 after trying it out from your recommendation on a previous thread (the 40 was simply not practical with my car/flat)....and it sounds great. I have been using the Nova in the loop, but currently I have really downsized and I am running the Nova straight into a Blues Junior and it is awesome. I really did miss the nova drive section and the compressor and this method seems to work perfectly! Perhaps in the future they will release one where you can access the drive, but then again that is the G system or a Nova System with added Nova drive!

Thanks

Neil

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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Music Wolf



Joined: 17/02/06
Posts: 713
Loc: Exiled to St Helens
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #967602 - 31/01/12 09:08 PM
Hi Neil

Funnily enough after replying to your review, and after rehearsal last Sunday, I've decided to give the Nova another try in front of the amp. I'd like to have the flexibility of having different flavours of OD & Distortion available not to mention compression.

Chris

--------------------
www.Insideoutcheshire.co.uk


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brucie
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Joined: 13/11/02
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Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: Music Wolf]
      #969050 - 08/02/12 03:22 PM
Hi Chris,

I know what you mean, I really do like the Nova OD and distortion and the flexibility of running it in front of the amp. I did think that actually purchasing two would give you the best both worlds and still be cheaper than a G-system (I know you don't have all the routing options etc etc) but might make an interesting combo...I might start trawling e-bay now

Catch you later

Neil

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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jennyrobert



Joined: 12/02/12
Posts: 4
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #969703 - 12/02/12 06:21 AM
If an explanation could really be perfect, yours would be the one I’d pick. I like how you’ve stated your views and kept things engaging.


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brucie
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Joined: 13/11/02
Posts: 240
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #989163 - 23/05/12 03:28 PM
Hi Guys,

I have done a bit of a follow up review (video review) of the Nova system after extensively gigging it. Hope it is of use to anyone out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7C-NRYZdqo

If you have any specific questions, let me know and I'll try and answer them!

Thanks

Neil

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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Music Wolf



Joined: 17/02/06
Posts: 713
Loc: Exiled to St Helens
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #989210 - 23/05/12 09:10 PM
Also by way of update.

After a brief spell in front of the amp the Nova has been returned to the effects loop and I've paired it with a Behringer FCB1010 floor controler. This gives me access to 10 patches with one press as well as switching channels on my Blackstar combo. As I'm not using the drive or compressor on the Nova I've dragged a Boss CS-3 out of the cupboard and I've treated myself to Blackstar HT-Dual pedal.

In practice I don't use all 10 patches within a set but I can set up subtle variations to trial during rehearsal.

The Nova definitely sounds better in the effects loop rather than before the amp.

Chris

--------------------
www.Insideoutcheshire.co.uk


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brucie
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Joined: 13/11/02
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Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: Music Wolf]
      #989297 - 24/05/12 12:38 PM
Hi Chris,

How are you finding the HT-Dual? I have had a few problems with mine, two channels getting switched on and the only way to turn them off was unplugging! Might just be my unit.

I think you highlight the best and the worst of the Nova system, it is so versitile and it sounds so great, it fits in easily into a more complex set up. (I have had the FCB1010 for years and years, first to control my JMP-1 and TC G-Major, and now possibly to control our lighting set up and I think it would be fantastic addition to use with the Nova (although a massive footboard!!), it is great that you can set it for channel switching.) But on the downside you loose the Drive and Compressor, which I really like (along with the delay). I think as I alluded to in the video that for the most fantastic system ever you could simply buy 2 nova systems, one in front and one in the loop, and you would still be well short of the cost of a G-System

I am currently going straight into a Blues Junior III (bad back at the mo...must be getting old!) and the Nova sounds great (no loop on the BJ III), the drive works so well, I am just holding back on the delays etc.

Must come and see you guys play sometime as you are local!!

Neil

A very useful update!

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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Music Wolf



Joined: 17/02/06
Posts: 713
Loc: Exiled to St Helens
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #989397 - 24/05/12 06:11 PM
Hi Neil

I'm still getting used to both the Dual and the FCB but so far no problems. One advantage of having the FCB is that I can have the Nova at a more convenient height whilst editing. It does take a lot of floor space though.

Hopefully we'll be playing a few gigs even closer to you shortly. We've just been joined by a female vocalist from Stockport so we'll be looking for gigs around that neck of the woods.

Chris

--------------------
www.Insideoutcheshire.co.uk


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clube
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Joined: 15/12/03
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Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #1032102 - 04/02/13 06:12 PM
I have had the Nova for about 18 months so far and found it to be excellent for setting up good drive and clean sounds in front of a valve amp on teh clean channel. The ability to switch in modulation, delay and boost is useful, but like others, it is an irritant that the reverb and drive sections cannot be disengaged in preset mode although I generally find I can work round that OK.

It is very capable with acoustic through an acoustic amplifier too which has been very useful to me.

However, has anyone else had issues with the effects not switching off properly? When the reverb or harmonizer etc is switched out of a patch, it is still there at very low level in the backgound. So when using it for recording and wanting to record a compeltely dry guitar, it is not possible. It's certainly not unusable but just shouldn't happen. I am not aware I am doing anything wrong with the set up, but perhaps someone can put me right on that.

--------------------
Music is the gift of God


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full circleltd



Joined: 11/02/13
Posts: 2
Re: TC Electronic Nova System [Re: brucie]
      #1033012 - 11/02/13 10:49 AM
Hello friends,

I want to learn TC electronic Nova System. Can you provide some tips before join any classes.


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yelemusic



Joined: 09/06/11
Posts: 10
Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: clube]
      #1049314 - 21/05/13 12:23 PM
Quote clube:


However, has anyone else had issues with the effects not switching off properly? When the reverb or harmonizer etc is switched out of a patch, it is still there at very low level in the backgound. So when using it for recording and wanting to record a compeltely dry guitar, it is not possible. It's certainly not unusable but just shouldn't happen. I am not aware I am doing anything wrong with the set up, but perhaps someone can put me right on that.




Nope, haven't had this problem. However, when I first got my NS I noticed the drive bleeding through on clean settings, which led me to get in touch with TC support. According to the guy this is something that can't be fully avoided due to the internal design of the unit. The workaround would be to turn the drive down all the way in clean settings (not just disable it), which did help indeed.

However, I've recently tried to replicate the problem, and I couldn't. So either I forgot how exactly this problem was produced, or my NS cured itself

So I can't find anything about my NS that I don't like. OK, as mentioned before, the tuner isn't too good, cos even a drop D wont tune correctly. But the workaround is easy: just use the 12th fret harmonic to tune.

In an ideal world I would like to change a few things about the NS, like separate inputs for expression pedal and the footswitch, auto wah, a proper amp-like EQ with bass mid and treble, and a more comprehensive way to change the order of the indiv. effect blocks, but this ain't an ideal world. The NS has served me well on hundreds of gigs over the last 2 years, so I don't intend to replace it with something new any time soon.

Oh, BTW, I too use it in front of a Blues Junior (sometimes two, if it's a big stage and I want the full stereo treatment )


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brucie
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Re: TC Electronic Nova System new [Re: brucie]
      #1049321 - 21/05/13 12:48 PM
Hi Yelemusic!

Seems we live parallel lives! 100's of gigs with the Nova system and Blues Junior over last couple of years, I have tried a few different things, but keep coming back to this combo. Seems like we also have the same requests for features. I'd love a new one to come out (especially with an autowah, as I have to take the relatively massive Q-tron on my board as it is a big part of my sound). Would love to be able to use G-switch and expression pedal, improved tuner (but now I have the polytune mini) and switchable eq (option to switch with another block perhaps?)

Oh and the ability to add toneprints....I'd buy two straight away!

Neil

--------------------
Neil S. Bruce - www.spencerbruce.com


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