Flashback Delay Review

manufacturer: TC Electronic date: 01/09/2012 category: Guitar Effects
TC Electronic: Flashback Delay
The TC Electronics Flashback delay pedal is extremely easy to use and offers a wide variety of great sounding delays. If you can handle the short battery life and the lack of tap tempo you may find the Flashback to be a fantastic delay pedal.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Ease of Use: 9
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reviews (5) pictures (2) 8 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Flashback Delay Reviewed by: Uncle Manwich, on january 09, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: The TC Electronics Flashback delay pedal is extremely easy to use and offers a wide variety of great sounding delays. If you can handle the short battery life and the lack of tap tempo you may find the Flashback to be a fantastic delay pedal. There are four main knobs: The Delay knob which adjusts the delay time, the Feedback knob which adjusts the amount of repeats, the FX Level knob which adjusts the volume of the repeats and a mode selection knob. You also have a subdivision selector mini switch that allows you to choose from 1/4th note, 1/8th note or a really cool sounding 1/4th + 1/8th note delay. It's also important to note that there is no tap tempo function on the pedal. Instead the Flashback features a mode called Audio Tap that allows you set the delay tempo with your guitar. To use Audio Tap you must simply press and hold the bypass button for 2 seconds, strum the tempo on your guitar, then release the bypass button. A lot of people prefer the use of tap tempo or external tap tempo, but I find it easier to set the delay time with my hands instead of my feet so it was definitely a plus for me.

The pedal also has a built in looper that has 40 seconds of looping time and unlimited overdubs. The bypass button allows you to start and stop recording. Pressing it twice quickly will delete the loop. However, the FX Level knob controls the volume of both the loops and the guitar which is ridiculous to say the least. It's very hard to record a riff and solo over it without having difficulty to hear yourself. It almost forces you to dial back your guitar or equipment when recording rhythm sections. The Flashback also has a mode called Toneprint that allows you to download pre-made settings directly into the pedal via mini USB (cable is included). These pre-sets are either made by TC Electronics or various artists and can be easily downloaded from the TC Electronics website.

Finally, something worth noting is the battery compartment. The rear portion on the pedal is accessible by untwisting a giant flathead screw with a guitar Pick or coin. This gives you easy access to the battery compartment and two tiny switches. The first switch is to go from true bypass to buffered bypass and the other is a Kill Dry switch if you wish to use it in a parallel effects loop. // 9

Sound: Let me start by saying that this pedal sounds great. I usually prefer to practice unsafe guitar and plug it straight into the amp, but the Flashback is very transparent and doesn't degrade my tone. I usually run a Fender Stratocaster equiped with Fender HOT Noiseless pickups into a Carvin MTS 3200 2x12 100 watt combo. I have also used it with a Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II, a DigiTech Whammy IV and a Dunlop Crybaby. It sounds fantastic every time. There are 10 delay modes: Analogue, Tape, LoFi, Dynamic, Modulated, Ping Pong, Slapback, Reverse, Toneprint and 2290 modeled after the famous TC Electronics 2290 Digital Delay unit. These are available in mono or stereo.

I really like dynamic delay that dynamically adjusts the volume of the repeats to insure that your signal doesn't become muddy. Every delay mode sounds excellent, especially the 2290 that creates crystal clear repeats. The Flashback allows me to get anything from Tool to Pink Floyd to surf rock and everything in between. The only real criticism I can give is that sometimes you will hear a very subtle sound when engaging the pedal (I know I'm nitpicking!) which is fairly common for pedals, especially ones with true bypass. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The pedal is housed in a beautiful sparkly blue rock Solid Metal casing. All the knobs, mini switches, jacks and bypass switch feel very sturdy and smooth. The bypass switch could be a little more robust but I highly doubt it would break without a serious fight. A serious down side is the battery life seeing as batteries tend to only last 3 to 5 hours. I would highly recommend a power adapter if you are going to gig with this pedal. I use mine with a Visual Sound 1 Spot and it works pretty well. In the end, if you avoid the batteries it's definitely gig worthy even without a backup. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall I really love this pedal as it satisfies all my needs. I can get great Gilmour or Neil Young sounds when I use my Stratocaster and spacy Tool sounds when I use a Les Paul with full gain. I took a look at many delay units including the Boss DD-3, DD-7, Hardwire DL-8, Line 6 DL4, Electro Harmonix Memory Man, TC Electronic Nova Delay, Repeater and the Eventide Timefactor. In the end I opted for this one because of its price, ease of use and transparent sound. It's fantastic for its price range, I would gladly pay another 180$ CAN if it were stolen. Overall verdict: If you want a fancy advanced delay unit with all the bells and whistles or you absolutely want tap tempo, skip it. If you want a small ultra-simple delay unit with a great amount of features or if you are tone ardent and want a transparent pedal, get it or at least check it out! // 9

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overall: 9.3
Flashback Delay Reviewed by: givemeajackson, on march 26, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: musix

Ease of Use: This thing is easy to use as hell. It has just 4 knobs, which one of is an 11 position switch that chooses between 9 types of delay, a 40 second looper and one free toneprint slot where you can load a completely new type of delay into the pedal. They are lots of em, and it is actually a useful feature and not just a marketing gag cause there are really good and special ones. Then there is a delay time, a feedback and a level knob. Then there is a switch to chose the rhythm of the repeats: quarter notes, dotted eight notes and both together. There is no traditional tap tempo, instead there is a feature called audio tap. You hold the footswitch and play short notes with the guitar. It is very accurate, and very intuitive. Easy to use while being packed with features. Good job TC! // 10

Sound: I use it in the parallel fx loop of an Engl Blackmore. It sounds fantastic, period! The 9 types of delay are: 2290 (typical digital delay), analog, tape, lofi (distorted dark sounding delay) modulation (has a trichorus on the repeats), ping pong (only in stereo), reversed (the repeats are reversed), ducking and slap back. All useful. My favourites are tape for lead tones and modulated for clean chord pickings. Only issue is that the looper somehow affects the volume and tone of the amp, even if I set the pedal for true bypass. But I'm not too picky about that, cause it's a delay pedal in first instance, and it does an excellent job at that. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Solid Metal casing. Very stable. But the knobs are not tight enough imo. It happens that you change the settings accidentially by activating it. But no problem using it live. It's very reiliable and built like a tank. // 8

Overall Impression: It's a very good pedal, and I don't need anything else. Due to the toneprint feature it can do more than most delays can, and even without that it's extremely versatile. The only thing that could be better is the looper, but it's nice to have it and for practice it's more than enough. Strictly used as a delay I can't imagine anything that could be better. // 10

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overall: 9
Flashback Delay Reviewed by: leenux5030, on october 31, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 149

Purchased from: Musikverkstan (Göteborg)

Ease of Use: This pedal packs a good amount of features, so you might have to spend some time playing/reading manual. It is not a very complex pedal to use. It is quiet easy to make things complicated if something has too many features in it. TC Electronic did a fair job in keeping the interface simple. I got the following complaints: 1) Audio Tapping (for tempo setting): Don't take this as a complaint, I would call this as an enhancement request instead. This is a good feature, but the way this works is, you need to hold the foot switch for 2 seconds and then strum. This is alright. But the problem is it mutes everything until you release the foot switch. And hence you can't change the tempo in the middle of the song. Yeah I know its not a big deal, but it will be very good if the audio tapping feature works in a more dynamic fashion. 2) Using the looper is not that easy, you have to be fairly quick and accurate in stomping foot switches. // 8

Sound: Sound wise this is a brilliant sounding pedal, I play mostly progressive and post-rock (Goodspeed You Black Emperor, Mogwai etc), and this pedal works very well for them. I haven't encountered any noise related issues from it yet (its been a year since I have bought it). I love all the delays on this pedal, and toneprint is such an awesome feature. The sound and toneprint feature sealed it for me I had to buy this pedal. And the looper on this pedal ain't that good, the problem I have found is that when you loop something on it, it introduces a little gap between the periodic cycles of loops. And it is also not that easy to use the looper. But I never bought this pedal for looping anyway. I will give this pedal 10 for sound, I know people will be like, "oww nothing is perfect, nothing gets 10" No! This pedal gets 10 for the sound. However, I use this pedal as the last thing on the effects chain, and if I got too much feedback then it makes my Wah pedal sound a bit more weird in an interesting way, sometimes in an annoying way too. I have to play with it a bit more to get the right setting to utilize this weirdness. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This pedal feels very durable, except for the fact that I lost one of the rubber feet. But those rubber feet were bound to get lost they were more like stickers, but that is nothing to be worried about. Yes you can depend on this pedal, and yeah you can gig without a backup. The shop keeper told me that it is better to use an external power supply, and he called this pedal as a battery guzzler, but the ratings on the back of the pedal says it needs 100mA @ 9V, I don't think that is a big time battery guzzler. And one more good thing that I found was that all my other effects pedals make noise when I run them on external power supply, but this one stays very calm. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a good variety of stuff, Post rock, progressive metal, thrash metal, black metal and death metal. This pedal has ability to generate a very nice ambient and atmospheric sounds, which I think can be very useful when you are looking to make some creepy sounds for your evil songs. I have been playing since past 4 years, so I am not an expert when it comes to using delay pedals, but this pedal seems to sound good no matter what monkey business I do on it. I use it along with Boss DS1, Vox V845 and Jackson PS4 Performer guitar. If it is stolen I will buy it again, or in a rare case if I manage to catch the thief I will request that person to give it back to me as I love this pedal so much I will be very sad if I don't have it. And the price of the pedal is decent for all the features it gives. And I don't think there is any other pedal that can give me all those features at same price. So yeah if it is stolen then it will be getting this pedal again. And as I mentioned before it will be nice to have improvements in the audio-tapping feature, I hope TC Electronic releases some sort of firmware update for it.

// 9

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