Back when I was younger, I remember saving up as much as I can to get a stompbox that I want to add to my pedalboard. And just like every guitar player, not every pedal stays on my board; and eventually, you're left with a collection of various wasted pedals that you rarely use. The best-case scenario would be a pedalboard full of expensive, hard-earned, boutique pedals for a great tone during live performances, gigs, or recording sessions.
Over time, manufacturers recognized the demand for cheaper pedals with great sounds and effects. Some are original circuits while others are copies of famous and more expensive pedals that are highly sought-for by many guitarists. Eventually, manufacturers even came up with multi-effects pedals. These pedals offer more than one effect, usually by having more than one analog circuit or a digital circuit that is meant to simulate various effects such as distortion, boost, reverb, delay, and even amp models.
This review is about the TC Electronic Flashback Delay Looper pedal - a great multi-effect pedal from one of the most reliable and famous guitar effects pedals manufacturer nowadays. The pedal is a top-of-the-line take on a combination of two versatile effects that would be great additions to your rig. While saving money with this 2-in-1 pedal, you would also be saving space on your pedalboard for more effects.
While TC Electronic has created another looper pedal, the "Ditto", the Flashback features a delay effect which can be used for even more purposes when jamming out with friends, recording a song, or performing during a gig. There are also other variants of pedals that have a combination of delay and looper effects from other manufacturers, such as Joyo; however, the TC Electronic Flashback is a better product due to their reputation for reliable, great-sounding, and durable stompboxes.
While the combination of a delay effect with a looper makes sense due to their similarities and playing back what was played by the guitarist, the idea of combining the two has extra layers of genius to it. This is because it was realized that both pedals are usually placed next to each other in a rig at the end of the effects chain.
This is because you would want all your other effects such as distortion, overdrive, and modulation to feed into a looper or delay pedal so that the playbacks or loops can retain the effects even after you've disengaged them. Additionally, this makes sure you won't have any problems arranging your stompboxes with the Flashback pedal. The Flashback comes with many different delay types and the brand's Toneprint feature. You can read more about the features and sound of the pedal in this TC electronics Flashback review.
Should You Get It?
If you want to be able to jam with a self-made backing track and practice your licks and solos, or if you want to be able to create looped riffs during a performance with a delay effect ready to be used, the Flashback pedal is for you. It is reasonably priced at around $200, which is expected from top stompbox manufacturers such as TC Electronic. However, for this price you get two effects in one stompbox, allowing you to spend approximately the same amount as two pedals while maximizing the space on your pedalboard for more stompboxes.
The TC Electronic Flashback is also great for those who want a delay pedal with multiple modes to choose from. Its wide range of selectable delay types is great for guitar players who want to experiment around with different kinds of delays and learn how to incorporate them into their playing to impress the audience for their next gig. Additionally, having a looper is very handy for practicing by yourself or performing as a one-man-band. It opens up various opportunities for performances and is a useful addition to your rig. However, if you feel like you don't need the looper, a Flashback mini is also offered by TC and only has the delay effect with the same level of sound quality and clarity as the regular Flashback.
Features and Benefits
The TC Electronic Flashback has a wide range of great practical features for a looper-plus-delay pedal. Just like some other TC Electronic pedals, the Flashback has the Toneprint feature. The Toneprint feature is a great implementation from the manufacturer which allows you to "ToneTransfer" your favorite delay effect settings. With the Toneprint feature, you can even access the delay settings and presets of your favorite guitarists and idols. The Toneprint app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices.
The Flashback has 9 delay modes that can be selected with one of its knobs that will be discussed later on in this review. With this, the user can select from Analog, 2290, Lo-Fi, Dynamic, Tape, modulated 2290, Slap, Ping-Pong, and Reverse delay modes. The Analog and Slapback modes are my favorites, and I definitely would use this pedal on my rig for these delay modes. I loved the delay tones I was able to get out of this thing as it complemented blues riffs and solos very well.
The maximum delay time of the pedal is 7 seconds, giving you plenty of time to dial in different settings - from slapback delay tones to long echoes. Furthermore, the delay has 3 subdivisions, namely quarter note, dotted eighth, and a combination of the two. However, switching between these is quite difficult to do on the fly and pretty much impossible to do in the middle of a performance.
The looper function of the Flashback has up to 40 seconds of playback, giving you plenty of time to record riffs. While there are a lot of looper pedals that offer longer times, 40 seconds is enough and it is very unlikely you would use more than that during a live performance.
In terms of build quality, the TC Electronic Flashback is built like a tank. The case is very durable just like all of the pedals from TC. You won't have to worry about dropping this thing or stepping on it too hard - it can take it. The pedal also has true bypass switching to ensure that your tone is not sucked out while it's disengaged. It also has a Kill-Dry feature that makes the pedal use parallel effects and cuts out the dry signal.
Another innovation implemented in the Flashback is its unique tap-tempo which allows you to set the tempo by strumming your strings while it mutes the output. This can be a little weird at first for those used to the conventional tap-tempo and can take some time to get used to. However, spending some time using the feature will get you to realize how useful and amazing this feature is.
Despite having two functions, the pedal has quite a simple interface with only four knobs. It's also worth mentioning that the Toneprint allows you to change what each knob controls, which can be useful for some people. The first knob is the Delay knob. This encoder allows you to go from 20ms to 7000ms of delay intervals with almost all the modes. The Feedback knob beside this allows you to change the number of repetitions of the delay effect.
Next is the FX knob which lets you adjust the mix of the repetitions and make them more audible or subtler depending on your preference. Next is the Delay selector, letting you choose between 9 types of delay as stated earlier. Subdivisions can be changed using the toggle switch in the middle. It's worth taking the time to explore the Toneprint app and experimenting with the pedal for more control options. However, the default controls are intuitive and practical which makes the pedal great for both beginners and professionals.
The TC Electronic Flashback provides very clear loops and delay-effect playbacks which are expected from a high caliber brand such as TC. The delay modes and ample delay time are very inspiring and will let you come up with unique sounding tones - from riffs that sound otherworldly to stunning licks. The wide range of choices will surely have something for any guitar player out there playing any genre of music.
The Toneprint app compatibility even opens up more opportunities to try out presets of famous guitar players and other professionals for more options. The looper is also very clear and can make your performance sound like two guitarists are playing. The sound quality of the Flashback Delay Looper is great and is expected from a brand that has provided guitar players around the world with high-quality effects.
For a demonstration of the stompbox, you can refer to this video:
The TC Electronic Flashback is a great pedal for those who want a versatile delay pedal and a looper. Its 2-in-1 design is a useful feature for saving space on your pedalboard. While it is quite pricey, the price tag is justified by its great sound quality, build, and 2-in-1 nature.
It also has great implementations such as the Toneprint feature, strum tap-tempo, and true bypass switching. If you want a delay effect with 9 different modes and infinite tonal possibilities with its controls and a looper at your beck and call, look no further than the TC Electronic Flashback Delay Looper pedal.
You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link: