Let’s be honest: loopers are not those devices that suit every taste out there. They can definitely be too finicky for some musicians, or not sound the best for their genre. However, the fact that they are extremely usable cannot be denied. What happens when you want to experiment with some loopers but you do not like them enough to purchase a dedicated unit? What should you do when you do not want a one trick pony, but rather crave for a versatile beast? I have a very simple solution for you, my friend. When you are not ready to commit to a single effect pedal, you should go for a hybrid, or a two-in-one deal. This way you will kill two birds with one stone and handle things like a real boss. Today I will introduce to you the stompbox that is everything you ever dreamt for: TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper. This baby is way more than just a pedal – it is a real treat sent from our fellow aliens. Exaggeration aside, this unit is definitely worth checking out, especially if the situation I described above sounds familiar. Let’s continue this article and go through all the features, controls and sounds together. I really hope that you will enjoy this one as much as I do. We shall see!
The features of TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper are so multi-faceted and ample that I shall start right away to fit everything in this article. Similar to other products from the brand, this one is also compatible with TonePrint app and editor. This means that you can load professional presets and modify them to your liking or create your own with meticulous adjustments. More importantly, this pedal offers the combination of delay and looper, which already means diversity. However, TC Electronic did not stop there. They have incorporated 9 delay types: 2290, Analog, Tape, Lo-Fi, Dynamic, 2290 with modulation, Ping-Pong, Slap and Reverse. This means that you have the majority of flavors available and, thus, have the ability to taste them all with a twist of a knob. Maximum delay time is 7 seconds, which is amazing if you are into those lengthy echoes. We do also have 3 subdivisions – dotted eighth, quarter note and their combination. Flashback Delay and Looper has 40 seconds of looping, which is not that much but if we are being realistic, you would not need more in live scenarios. Let’s not forget that this bad boy has true bypass switching (with optional buffered bypass) and an analog dry through (i.e. your signal will not be turned into digital at any stage). It has Kill-Dry feature, which removes dry signal path while utilizing parallel effects loops. Flashback Delay and Looper has tap tempo for delays, but it is not your typical foot switchable one. It sets the rhythm of the effect as you strum your strings and mutes the output, which might be weird at first but you will quickly fall in love with it. It also has dual inputs and outputs for stereo, as well as USB port for connecting the unit with the computer. Finally, this pedal uses a 9V adapter in order to be supplied with power.
Judging by the abundance of features we have just discussed, it is easy to assume that TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper has overcrowded control layout. However, that is not the case here. The set of switches and encoders includes the knobs that you would need for achieving the desired level of adjustments. There is nothing confusing about this one, which I find quite amazing. One thing to keep in mind is that TonePrint enables you to change the duties of each knob, so refer to the manual for that. For now, let’s see what the default functionalities of the controls are.
First on the panel is Delay that changes the delay time. You can go from 20 to 7000ms with the majority of delay types, with slapback being an exception. Next comes Feedback, which alters the amount of repetitions in your delays. FX Level modifies the volume of the repetitions, since the original signal is always at unity gain. Then we have Delay Type Selector, which allows you to choose between different styles and access Looper and TonePrint functionalities. There is also a subdivision toggle, which shifts between quarter notes, dotted eighths and their combination. Lastly, we have a footswitch that can take up different assignments depending on what you want to achieve. There is way more you can do with this pedal if you access the TonePrint, so it definitely takes some time to explore all the controls and grasp the full potential of the pedal.
The sound of TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper is something that you have to listen to in real life in order to understand fully. What I mean is that it sounds mind-blowing on demos, but once you start playing and fiddling around, you discover a whole new universe of tones. The delay flavors are inspiring, especially for such a compact unit. They all have their own character and will probably suit the majority of musicians out there. The looper is rather capable as well – it can be utilized in conjunction with delay for more interesting results. If the sonic capabilities stopped here, Flashback Delay and Looper would still be on top of the list. But with TonePrint, you have interminable presets to scroll through and editing possibilities that are not that common in other units. It is safe to say that you will not miss that much while performing with this one.
All in all, TC Electronic did a wonderful job once again and created a compact device that has extremely versatile capabilities. Flashback Delay and Looper is a combination of two effects that are amazing together and individually. Though it will take you some time to figure out TonePrint and all the hidden gems of the pedal, it is worth the time. Do not be lazy to explore and you will have a lot of fun. Good luck!
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