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TC Electronic

TC Electronic
( 673 user reviews on products )
TC Electronic is the 16th most viewed brand on AF

About TC Electronic

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Reviews TC Electronic

4/5

TC Electronic PolyTune Clip Review

A Gripping PolyTune You all know the PolyTune, right? The pedal that revolutionized the tuning world five years ago by providing a polyphonic mode that allows you to see the pitch of all strings at once? Well, after introducing a second and a Mini version, TC Electronic presents now a model that clips on to your instrument's headstock. That definitely sounds cool, but how well does it work? read more…

TC Electronic Ditto X2 Review

The Return of the Same Thing Following up on the success of the original Ditto, which had only two controls, TC strikes again with the X2, featuring more than twice that. Can it give the final blow to its competitors in the not-too-expensive loopers market? read more…

TC Electronic BG250-210 Bass Combo Review

Please Turn on Your Cell Phones! Yesterday I downloaded the free version of a mobile application that makes cats fly! read more…

User reviews on TC Electronic products

With BeatSense, you now can loop seamlessly with a live drummer (Ditto JAM X2 Looper)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 26/07/2018
SOUND:
With 24-bit (CD and studio quality) recording and playback, the Ditto JAM X2 Looper by TC Electronic is an ideal band-mate and solo practice device. The YouTube video below demonstrates some of the settings and capabilities.



The Ditto JAM X2 is the latest in the line of TC Electronic loopers that stores sound files (upward of 2 minutes) and as many dubs or layers/tracks as you wish. It reproduces whatever goes into it faithfully, and so ‘garbage-in-garbage-out’ or it can sound as clear and wonderful as a master CD. Obviously the more dubs the more ‘junky’ the output can sound unless mixing the tracks or dubs effectively. In that regard I do suggest keeping heavy rhythm parts (particularly if distorted) fairly free of delay or reverb (at least keep any delay/reverb light and barely audible) while mixing in clean non-distorted guitar parts or bass and then finally some lead parts (that can have a bit more delay or reverb). As well, if each guitar part recorded on the Ditto JAM looper has a slightly different EQ range or frequency, then each part will cut through better and not ‘blend’ so much (I did not do that in the demo video, but perhaps I should have).

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
The Ditto JAM X2 Looper has a maximum loop of 120-seconds, which typically is more than enough for some fairly long riffs and rhythm lines, although it may be considered short if you want to jam along with an entire song. However, you also are afforded unlimited dubs, which typically will not exceed 3-5 parts in any case as it would start to sound a bit congested unless playing and timing are superb and without too many effects, like reverb.
What is unique among loopers is Ditto JAM’s BeatSense Mode. It will listen for a rhythm (supplied by a drummer, metronome, etc.) and quantize or ‘fit’ a guitar player’s playing more effectively based on that rhythm. In other words, your riffs and rhythm may be off slightly, but when it is recorded in the Ditto JAM it will play back more accurately and in accordance to the supplied beat… even if your drummer speeds up or slows down slightly! This is great for bands using a looper live, but it’s also great for home use (I use a metronome, placed next to the Ditto JAM’s microphones).

With 24-bits buffered (it is true bypass when not recording), which is studio quality, the sound is exceptional. The ability to record in two ways (rec-dub-play vs. rec-play-dub) is useful if you need to add a dub or layer immediately after a rhythm section (ideal in live situations) vs. if you need to stop and take a few seconds pause before adding a dub (or if you’re not quite sure what the dub will be and need to practice a few lines).

EASE OF USE:
You can use the Ditto JAM in three ways, as well as two options with each of those. I’ll describe the options later. The first way in which to use the Ditto JAM is in Classic Mode (no LED light above the Stop switch), which means there is no rhythm or beat that the Ditto JAM searches for. You simply record something and then play/improvise over top… or you can add extra layers (dubs), etc. – very straight-forward. The second way in which to use the Ditto JAM is in Practice Mode (red LED light above the Stop switch), which allows you to add whatever recording and dubs you want, but it looks for a rhythm or groove supplied by your chops. In other words, it gets an idea of your rhythm and tries to quantize the riffs you’re laying down to make it more timely or regular. This is not something you have to think about – the Ditto JAM does it for you and you simply try to maintain a solid rhythm as best you can.

The third way in which to use the Ditto JAM is completely unique among loopers, and it’s called BeatSense. It uses built-in microphones (two of them) or an external microphone (on an 8-foot cable that you can attach to a snare or other drum equipment) to gather a rhythm or timing from that outside source. You even can use a metronome or tap your foot next to the Ditto JAM (although you need to make certain your cranked up amp isn’t closer to the microphones than the beat source). Now, this is cool for a few reasons. Obviously you can record a loop and play it back in time with varying human tempos and this information is quantized to the nearest beats for the best loop points (and loop playback is time compressed and expanded where necessary to stay in time). And because the tempo is guided by your drummer (or a drum machine, etc.), it makes it possible finally to use a looper effectively in live situations and without the need for finely-tuned monitoring systems.

Next, there are two ways in which to record, the first being ‘Rec-Dub-Play.’ In effect, once you press the Loop switch to begin recording, and once you stop that recording (by pressing the Loop button) that recorded part plays back while the ‘red’ record light remains… you then can record a second part. It’s only when you step on the Loop switch a third time that recording stops (although it continues to play and you need to step on the Stop switch to terminate playback). In other words, you get to record two things, one after the other, very seamlessly and immediately.

On the other hand, the ‘Rec-Play-Dub’ option records only once, and when you press the Loop switch a second time your recording plays back, but you cannot record again unless you press the Loop switch a third again. Likewise, pressing the Stop button stops recording and playback all together.

To erase the last dub or track recorded (e.g., dub #3), you simply press and hold the Loop switch. To erase the entire loop with all its dubs you press and hold the Stop switch.
It is not difficult to master any of the above, although you need to get into a rhythm with how you work with the Ditto JAM in order to coordinate the ‘Rec-Play-Dub’ vs. the ‘Rec-Dub-Play.’ There’s also an issue of timing, so that your loop beings, ends and then begins (loops) seamlessly, although TC Electronic included some very useful tips in its user manual… and for those familiar with loopers (particularly the Ditto X2) you know what I mean. If you’re new to loopers you may realize that your timing is not all it’s cracked up to be and it will take an hour or two of practice to become efficient at utilizing this tool to ‘punch in and punch out’ of recordings.

RELIABILITY & DURABILITY:
The Ditto JAM is true bypass pedal (although it is buffered when in ‘record’ mode) and slightly oversized compared to a standard pedal size; the framework is made of steel. All the connections are in the back, which saves on pedal board space, but also helps to protect the inputs and outputs. The Ditto JAM includes a USB port to download the latest firmware developments and an external microphone input, both of which are located in the back as well. The two foot switches (Loop and Stop) are ‘soft’ switches (no ‘click’ locking in or out) and nowhere near the other controls. The very large Loop Level control knob is big enough to navigate with a foot (so that you don’t have to bend down to control your output level), and is raised quite a bit higher than the only other control, which is a small toggle switch to choose between ‘Rec-Dub-Play’ and ‘Rec-Play-Dub.’ The Ditto JAM works on a standard 9V 150mA power supply or two 9V batteries, which makes it convenient for transporting and keeping jamming simple.
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Wide Range of Settings + Looper (Flashback x4)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 13/08/2018
SOUND:
TC Electronic’s Flashback X4 is a combo pedal, offering a wide array of delay types with a looper and as demonstrated in the YouTube video below:



TC Electronic is known for its quality delays and the company brings its best in Flashback X4. You get 12 delay types, starting with Tape, which has a very vintage and widely popular tone. Tube is slightly warmer than Tape. Space has rich echo sounds based on the Roland Space Echo. Analog produces a nice fading echo, while Analog with Modulation adds some swirls in the mix. Reverse is based on the old Hendrix experimentation, reversing a tape delay signal. Dynamic is unique, as the delay swells in volume when you stop playing and reduces while playing. 2290 is a vintage TC Electronic delay from 1985, producing a crisp and clean echo – while the 2290 with Modulation adds a tri-chorus effect in the mix. Slap produces that vintage slap-back echo, reminiscent of Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins. Lofi has a (well… lo-fi) tone that sounds dirty. Finally Ping-Pong shifts the echo back and forth from left to right (cool when running your gear in stereo, although it sounds great in mono). The overall quality of sound is obvious and pristine; whether keeping the effect low or high in the mix both the guitar signal and the delay are audible and separate. What also is cool is that you can edit and create unique delays (and save them in three presets) or upload TonePrint delays, which are delays designed for TC Electronic and by professional musicians like Petrucci, Morse and Townsend.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
TC Electronic is known for its delay pedals, and so you know you have quality on your pedal board. However, the Flashback X4 is not the most pedal-board-friendly, since it has a second function – a looper. Gigging musicians may opt for the Flashback Mini (if not wanting to store a preset or a TonePrint) or the Flashback (regular) or Flashback 2, both of which can save at least one presets/TonePrint. However, even with the added size of the Flashback X4 if you’re looking for a delay that offers three presets that can be accessed with footswitches, as well as another four TonePrints, upward of 7000ms of delay and have access to the many delay types (that you set manually), then you would be hard pressed to find a better and more complete option… all at a price of $249 USD. What also makes this version of Flashback useful is the MIDI in/out, stereo capabilities and being able to use an expression pedal for some unique and ambient effects. The Flashback X4 does come with its own power supply, but you can use any 2.1 mm 9v-12v supply that gives at least 300mA of power.

EASE OF USE:
The first part of the Flashback X4 is the DELAY. Three factory presets are included at the footswitches, which you can change and save. The other delays (e.g., Tape, Tube, Space, etc.) and all their elements are “what you see is what you get.” For example, you can select Tape delay and from there you turn a knob to select Delay Time (unless you use the Tap temp function), Feedback (or how many repeats you get) and Delay Level (how much you want to hear the delay, e.g., the mix between dry and wet). This is very straight-forward stuff. There’s also a Subdivision Selector so that you can chose the note intervals that the delay is based upon (e.g., quarter note, dotted eighths or quarter notes + dotted eighths). It doesn’t take long to set these and to know where to set them, although it depends if you want a hint of delay or a lot and how much feedback, etc. (and once you find what you like, simply save them in the footswitch presets).

Use of the TonePrints (uploading them more particularly), or creating your own unique delays/TonePrints is more involved, but not that difficult to apply. Users first would download the free TonePrint Editor and hook up the Flashback X4 via USB (cable included) to a computer… or you can use a SmartPhone and stream the information to the pedal. Once in the editor you can select from dozens of custom TonePrints from world-class musicians… you can edit them or create your own from scratch in the editor and then save those in the presets or in the four TonePrint slots (located with the delay type selections). This also brings us to the use of an expression pedal. When using such a pedal to create unique delay effects, you can apply different elements to the pedal. For example, you can create a delay time swell, from 200ms to 1000ms… you can increase the amount of modulation in the mix, or perhaps alter the Feedback or the Delay Level… or all the above.

The second part of the X4 is the LOOPER, activated with a flip of a switch and while still able to access the various delay types (with other loopers you still need a delay effects pedal) so that whatever you record includes delay. However, you do not have access to the presets, since the footswitches now have different functions when working the Looper. You can add as many dubs or layers to your loop (up to 40 seconds of record time) simply by pressing the REC footswitch, and each one can have a different delay type and mix. Once you press REC a second time the recording stops and the loop plays continuously until you press the Play/Pause footswitch – also, you would have to press REC again to start another dub. If you don’t like a recording you press the UNDO/REDO switch (obviously pressing it again will REDO the recording … and holding it down for a few seconds wipes out the Loop and all its layers). There’s a ONCE footswitch, which is useful if you stop soloing and want the loop to play one last time before ending. One thing you should be aware of is that the Looper does not save any recordings… once you turn off the Flashback X4 you lose what you recorded.

RELIABILITY & DURABILITY:
TC Electronic’s Flashback X4 is a hefty piece of technology, encased in steel. The company did not skimp on the quality of the housing, that much is obvious. The footswitches are soft-click-based and all solid to the touch. The footswitches are spaced apart well enough that it’s unlikely you will double-click anything. The footswitches also are far removed from the heavy black plastic knobs, large enough that you likely could rotate them with a foot (with the exception of the delay selector, which clicks in place). The two switches on the front (Subdivision Selector, e.g., eighth notes, full notes, and the Delay/Looper switch) are small and located between larger knobs, and so they are well protected from mishaps. All lines (input/output/power/USB/MIDI) are located in the back, to save on pedal board space and to keep unwanted force or pressure away from a stomping foot. You cannot use a battery with the Flashback X4, but a 9v DC power supply that provides at least 300 mA (power chord included or use your own pedal board power supply).
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News TC Electronic

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