Monday, February 13, 2012

Flashback to Reality

I just picked up this sweet little guy; spent most
of the week's pay doing it too. I think I suffer from that poor-person syndrome where as soon as there is a little money in my pocket, it has to get spent-TODAY!

Delay pedals are so awesome. The uniqueness of delays is right up there with overdrives and distortions. Even if the effect does the same thing as another one, there are subtle differences and proponents will go to the mattresses over their favorite.

Delay pedals are in a decidedly more complex
category than overdrives though because there are many different kinds of delay effects derived from different technologies that produce their own unique kind of delay. I could go into the important differences between tube echos, tape echos, analog delays, lo-fi delays, digital delays and so on, or I could let someone else do it for me.

There are pros and cons for each kind and it really is a matter of what kind of effect you are trying to get before you start weighing in on a particular unit. Is an $800 vintage Roland Space Echo better than an inexpensive digital delay? Yes, but they make completely different sounds, that's my point.

The TC Electronic Flashback delay is great because it has a wide variety of popular delay sounds packed into a compact pedal. Additionally, it's a lot easier to use than, say, a DL4, but it's not as versatile either. One of the things I wish it had was a tone knob or "x-factor" knob to change some of the parameters within a delay type. For instance: the lo-fi delay voicing is great, but I wish it could get even lower-fi where the repeats are super squawky and chirpy; or on the modulated delay setting, you can't really dial in more or less modulation without getting more or less of the overall effect level.

One of the most inventive features of this pedal, though, is really ground breaking. There is a small connection on the front (depending on how you look at it) of the pedal that allows you to hook up to your computer's USB port and download an artist-created special delay. They call the process TonePrint and I think it's a great ideal. There is a library of over two-dozen-and-growing TonePrints available for this pedal alone. I only wish there was a way of giving the sound a listen before downloading it so as to prevent from downloading them all, because they all seem like they would be useful and usable.

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