TC Electronic has long been one of the key players in the digital delay business. Units like the legendary TC2290 have powered the sounds of players like U2’s The Edge and Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, and the company’s ever-expanding line of pedals has seen them take all sorts of approaches to delay, from the minimal to the complex. But there’s nothing out there quite like the new Flashback Triple Delay.
The charm of the Flashback is that it essentially gives you the option of using three different delays at once, which opens up a world of creative possibilities. But first, let’s look at the controls. There are 16 delay types at your disposal: four programmable TonePrint slots (which you can either create yourself on the free app or select artist presets, then beam them to your pedal via a smartphone or USB); Tape, Tube, Space, Analog, Analog Modulation, Reverse, Dynamic (i.e.: the volume of the repeats fades back underneath your notes until you stop playing), 2290, 2290 Modulation, Slap, LoFi and Ping Pong. You’ll see the standard controls for Time, Repeats and Mix, plus a Tap Tempo button and a Subdivision knob which lets you select everything from quarter notes to triples and all the way up to several kinds of dual delays. There’s a Series/Parallel switch for selecting whether your three different delays run into each other or occur alongside each other, and a Delay 1/2/3 switch lets you dial in completely independent settings for each of your three delay settings one at a time using the same controls. Around the back you’ll find stereo inputs and outputs, an expression pedal back, a USB port and MIDI In/Thru jacks. The unit itself is quite big and chunky, but you want a pedal like this to be easily accessible rather than so small that you risk accidentally turning on effects when you don’t want to.
THREE TIMES THE FUN
The possibilities here are endless. You can create all sorts of interesting rhythmic and textural moods. You can set up three otherwise-identical delays with different times to create staggered rhythmic delays, or you can dial in completely different delay sounds altogether and either feed them into each other or run them all alongside each other. The ability to stack different delays means you can build tension across the progression of a song or solo by starting with one delay type and building to three as appropriate. One of my favourite delay tricks has always been the 80s trick of having a very short single repeat, then a ping pong delay set to eighth or quarter notes in parallel. The great thing about the Flashback Triple Delay is that you can pull off this trick and then add a third delay in parallel too — and Devin Townsend’s spacey, modulated, washy TonePrint works really well for this.
Everyone should run to a store right now to try the Flashback Triple Delay. This is such a great idea that it’s kind of amazing nobody’s done it this way before. That’s before you consider the incredible range of sounds available by using your own TonePrints or those of a favourite artist. Everything is so well thought out, well implemented and well voiced that this one has usurped the mighty TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay as my favourite current digital delay unit.
Hits and Misses
Unlimited sonic potential
Very well-voiced delay models
Interactive, performance-friendly layout
None! Amazing piece of gear.
- 16 Delay Types
- 4 Programmable Tone Print Slots
- USB Connection
- Time, Repeats, Mix controls
- Tap Tempo button
- Subdivision control
- Series/Parallel switch
- Stereo inputs, outputs, expression pedal, MIDI In/Thru jacks