You know what I love the most? The pedals that are full of surprises. Of course, it’s nice to see what you’re getting at first glance, but sometimes I prefer the units that hide a lot of secrets underneath the shell. They intrigue me even more than ordinary models for some reason and force me to experiment with them right away. I know that not every one of you will feel the same, but the unit we’re going to discuss will probably be interesting for almost all of you. Plus, its configuration is something we should all get used to. As the time passes by, we’re getting way less controls on the surface and way more features are being transformed in software and apps. Old-school players will probably cringe as they read the previous sentence, but we have to face the reality. In this article, we’re going to talk about TC Electronic SpectraComp – a pedal that adheres to the description I’ve provided perfectly. It looks like a rudimentary bass compressor, however, it isn’t that simple. If you’ve played with the brand before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, then this review will be of great help to you. Are you willing to figure out what this puppy is hiding from us? Then stay with me and read this article till the end. Let’s get started!
Since I have intrigued you enough in the beginning, I’ll get straight to the point here. As you look at the SpectraComp, you keep thinking that it offers too little control. All you can see is a single knob, the functionalities of which you don’t even understand. However, in order to save up some real-estate, the brand decided to shrink the amount of knobs you get on the pedal itself, and keep them in TonePrint Editor and App only. Again, this might not be the perfect scenario for everyone, but I’m sure most of you will fall in love with such layout easily. The software and app aren’t limited to the controls that are missing on the surface. They also unleash countless opportunities for you: you can experiment with pre-recorded pieces, or create your own compression effects. Either way, this fella offers a lot of options.
In addition, SpectraComp is a multi-band compressor. It utilizes the same algorithm that was utilized in TC’s proprietary RH series bass amplifiers. This technology implies that the effect is added to high, low and middle spectrum similarly, creating a balanced tone. That’s why this puppy is delivering studio-quality performance. Plus, it has true hardwire bypass, which guarantees that the full body of your bass is maintained as it passes through this unit. The fact that nothing gets lost in the process is crucially important with bass, since nobody wants their low-end to disappear. SpectraComp comes in a compact, yet durable chassis – it’s built with die-cast aluminum which will protect internal components perfectly. When it comes to powering options, here you can utilize power supply only (probably due to the small footprint). Oh and lastly, this baby is quite affordable if you compare it to other options on the market.
TC Electronic SpecrtaComp definitely isn’t the most impressive bass compressor out there (judging by its physical capabilities). The brand shrunk everything in the tiny package and decided to omit everything expect from one knob. The encoder that is situated in the top part of the pedal is responsible for determining how much compression will be added to your sound. As you rotate it clockwise, the effect intensifies with each step. The biggest con in such layout is the lack of Level control. It isn’t a secret to anyone that compressors mess around with your volume. The most common phenomenon here is a drop, which is compensated by some sort of encoder in other pedals. But we don’t have that here, even though the output isn’t as consistent as we would like it to be. However, as you enter the editor, you discover just how many parameters you can actually adjust with this one. Since it’s a multi-band compressor, you have the ability to change the settings individually with each band and, thus, create uniform and precise sound. Using TonePrint isn’t an easy task, but if you spend enough time messing around with it, you’ll definitely get the hang of it in no time.
There’s a lot we have to mention about the sound of TC Electronic SpectraComp. They did their best to configure the voicing of the pedal itself in a way that would perfectly combine all the basic parameters i.e. Threshold, Volume, Compression and etc. Even though they succeeded in that quite a bit, they didn’t manage to get the volume perfectly. As you start twisting the knob clockwise, you hear noticeable increase in level to a certain point. After that, it slowly starts to drop. A dedicated knob would correct that mistake with ease, however, we don’t have that option on the surface (it’s available in the editor with individual bands). Regardless, TonePrint is the selling point of this one. Available pieces are really good sounding, and give you more versatility than you’ll encounter elsewhere. SpectraComp has extensive tonal controls, as well, but you have to use software for that. Once you do that, you’ll be exposed to Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release and other controls for each frequency band. This way you’ll have the chance to tweak low, mid and high precisely and bring back their qualities in case they get lost in compression.
All in all, TC Electronic SpectraComp isn’t the most typical bass compressor out there. It has its own peculiarities, but once you understand how many options can be accessed via TonePrint Editor and App, you won’t doubt the brand’s decisions. This puppy has some flaws that can be corrected with the software easily. If you do a proper research and have the right expectations for this one, you definitely won’t be disappointed, especially at this price point. Good luck!
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