Earlier in 2011, Denmark's TC Electronics introduced a new series of effect pedals that while costing little, offered great sounds derived from their more expensive effect units.
Known as the Toneprint series, five are available but we'll look at the Flashback Delay and Hall Of Fame Reverb here (the others are Vortex Flanger, Shaker Vibrato and Corona Chorus).
Each pedal is made of a metal chassis with two inputs and two outputs so you can select mono or stereo depending on your sound source and amplification. At the top of each pedal is a mini USB connector (update the software and download new effect settings via your computer) and a power input (9vDC,100mA).
While you can use a battery, the power draw on these pedals is best served by a separate power supply for hours of fun.
On the face of the pedal there is an on/off foot switch and four black dials, the lower two for effect mix and eleven different settings. In between the top two dials (delay and feedback on the delay, decay and tone on the reverb) is a small dip switch that offers either three note values (delay pedal) or two pre-delay options (reverb pedal).
Plugging in the Flashback Delay first, the quality and diversity of sounds is outstanding. The lower right dial offers various settings such as pristinely clean 2290-type delay, warm tape emulation echos, a chorus+delay combination, a reverse delay and a looper (up to 40 seconds mono, 20 seconds stereo) to name a few.
All sound very expensive and can be tempo set: hold the pedal down, strum the muted strings, take your foot off the pedal and the new tempo is ready. The final turn on the dial is the toneprint option - it comes with a factory default setting but alternatively log onto the TC Electronics site to download another setting from numerous others (created by players like Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and Bumblefoot).
Some settings access options not always readily available on the pedal itself – nice! We particularly liked the Pete Thorn modulated delay (warm chorus echo) and Soren Andersen's three settings in one toneprint (analog, slap back and ambience).
Onto the Hall Of Fame Reverb pedal and this was just as impressive - expensive sounding hall/church ambience that could sustain for many seconds through to spring, plate, tile and gated for various shorter reverbs. If you're after a little room ambience or to float in luxurious huge spaces, you won't be disappointed here.
Of particular mention is the Church and the Tile settings - very different reverb effects but very inspiring. Nipping over to the Toneprints downloads, we couldn't resist the Chorused Church (long and super rich) and the Duckingverb (dynamic reverb with a touch of vibrato for colour).
There are two mini switches to be found inside the pedal cases when you take the back off (a simple one large bolt affair that can turned with your pick) - true bypass/buffered bypass and kill/dry options. The former is very useful - true bypass is great for tonal integrity in your signal chain but we love the ability to have the effect linger on once the pedal has been turned off with buffered selected.
Kill/dry allows you to remove any dry signal from the pedal's output, useful if using an amp's parallel loop or having the effect as a 100% wet auxillary send/return. Interestingly, the pedal can handle guitar or line level signals – perfect for those with amps that have a 'hot' signal amp effects loop.
Overall, it's hard to find fault with these pedals - they are hugely versatile, offer lots of tweakability, are easy to use, sound super expensive and take up little space on your pedal board. They've even offered the option, via Apple's App store (an Android app is to follow in December), for a free phone app to 'beam' new Toneprints to a pedal - point your phone's speaker at one of your pickups and the new sound will be loaded!
The Flashback Delay is priced at £125 and The Hall Of Fame Reverb at £120.
For more info visit TC Electronic