TC Electronic Flashback by darkhorse
I’ve been through so many delay units in my day as to forget some of them. When I first saw the new Toneprint series TC Electronics put out, I was interested in the TC level of quality in an affordable small package.
I had been using and trying out several new delays and was using a Boss DD-20 for a time. Nothing wrong w the DD-20 by any means, I prefer it much more over the little Boss digital delays. I had brought home a new Hardwire delay and had been running that through the paces as well as the new Satriani TimeMachine delay. Both really nice pedals and sounded good, useful delays. The Hardwire had an array of different modes which made it more useful and versatile but the TimeMachine sounded great, better than the Hardwire and the DD-20.
Within that just under $200 price range, I decided to try out the new TC Flashback delay as it had an amazing array of 12 modes, a full 6 second delay range, and loop record time of an outstanding 40s mono and 20s stereo. How could they get so much into a little box?
More plus to the package on the TC was the new download/upload toneprint option and the USB port to enable future software upgrades, just not seen in other pedals. It was also true bypass which was an essential issue for my board setup as I like to select what and where I have a buffer pedal.
The features of this little pedal just kept coming, true stereo in/out, panning and pong capability L to R, the direct pass was analog keeping for a true original tone without being processed through the board circuit on the way out. To end that long list came the innovative battery internal access plate, the option to click on the unit’s buffer circuit for delay trails and signal buffering If needed and a really unique designed tap tempo function that made setting a custom temp easy and more accurate than foot tapping.
The final killer option on this pedal just not seen on so many others, the ability to play both 1/4, 1/8 or both note timing repeats! This toggle available on all modes as far as I know at this point, if you are after that multi-tap "Edge" type repeat thing, this is a nice pedal to get at that multiple delay effect.
All that being on the table, this puppy had better not sound like crap, how could it with all that going on? It manifested the best sounding most musical delay I had yet tried, it seemed to morph into the tones no matter how clean or gained laying back under the mix so perfectly, requiring so little tweaking.
I used to drive myself crazy tweaking on the DD-20 presets trying to get them just right but this little pedal was killing the more expensive $200 pedals hands down. What a delicious delay here, so many modes to choose from and tweak and each had a musical usefulness and quality one would expect from TC electronics.
The 2290 and 2290 DYN mode kill any sort of real digital delay like the popular Boss models, ...for me any way. Most love the various Tape simulator modes, but myself, I do not really like a modulation on my delay repeats, a little of that goes a long way. Sometimes you just want a trail repeat that is not whacking the sound. I tend to like the 2290 or LoFi modes myself.
If you dig the whole tape thing and that is what you are after, I do suggest the Wampler Faux Tape Delay, an analog model that will blow your mind with things that would make a tape wrinkle into destruction, what a cool unit, but alas no real clean true delay. I would take that pedal over a real fragile, moody, tape unit hands down!
The only downside to this little gem of a pedal was that it had no ms readout or any preset capability, which I do like(and few pedals really offer), and would be the only reason to replace it, but that would be a $400-500 pedal from this mere $160 jewel. The TC Nova is like $250 and has preset and ms readout BUT cannot match this little units incredible loop length and delay range. 6secs and a 40sec mono loop, are you kidding me in this little box? Simply amazing!
The Toneprint feature is of course very cool to allow one to load in an entirely different custom “artist” mode making for 12 different mode types on this little puppy! That being said, I find my own tweaked in std modes more useful to my playing and those of us who have some of these Toneprint pedals long for the day of a public available editor to get in there and design our own pedals to our own wants and needs. The array of edit features inside these units is freaky in detail. Again one wonders how they did it in such a small box while still presenting a superior sounding delay pedal.
Unique “tap tempo” feature:
Merely hold down the switch and play short ¼ notes to your sense of song tempo and release. Only takes like 2-3 strums. Output is muted on true bypass mode during tempo set.
Option Switch located inside switches from true bypass mode to the pedals buffered circuit allowing for delay trails on cut off and a buffered output.
2290 - Pure and clear unaltered digital delay.
ANA - Analog Delay rolls off high-end frequencies, giving that analog “warmth” notion.
TAPE - emulation of the old style tape delays. Modulation filter mimic of tape wow and flutter
LOFI - Compresses the sound of the delay repeats (a fav mode)
DYN – 2290 delay, when playing, delay level attenuated during breaks or stops releases echo repeats, great for not interfering in fast passages.
MOD - Modulated delay, adds a modulated vibrato/chorus effect to the delay, differs from Tape mode in being more controlled and chorus sounding on the repeats
P.PONG -PingPong, pans repeats from left to right and back while keeping the input signal center based, a very widespread special stereo effect.
SLAP - very short delay with only a single or a few repeats. Delay knob range reduced.
RVS - Reverse, mysterious, exotic delay. The input signal is sampled and played in reverse. This reverse mode seems to be a more playable and useful than others I have messed with.
LOOP – Killer long sample time 40s mono, 20 stereo, infinite overdub. Select this mode, press switch once, record, press again to stop. Overdub at will. Erase by fast double click.
TONEPRINT – uses whatever toneprint is loaded into this slot.
Just a killer delay pedal, sounds great and hardly anything can match its incredible array of 12 modes and super long 6sec and 40sec loop times. For a mere $160, you can pay a lot more and get a lot less.