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30 Pedals in 30 Days: TC Electronic’s Flashback X4 Delay Pedal

Marc Johnson for TheToneKing.com

The same day that The Tone King told me that I was going to write an article about TC Electronic’s brand new FlashBack X4 Delay Pedal, four of them showed up at the guitar shop that I work at.

By the end of the day, all four of them were sold.

For 30 Pedals in 30 Days, we at TheToneKing.com had a chance to give the Flashback X4 Delay Pedal a test drive. Stay tuned for the video, but in the mean time, let’s take a look at what’s under the hood of TC’s next big pedal.

First, in order to understand why TC’s pedals have become some of the most coveted pedals in the world of gear, we have to take a look back at how it all started.

Founded by brothers Kim and John Rishoj in 1976, TC Electronic is a company that based out of Risskov Denmark. Since Day One, TC Electronic has been about making the cleanest and purest sounding effects in the industry. And, in 1985, they shook up the industry when they managed to do just that.

1985 saw the advent of the TC2290 Rack Mounted Delay processor. The TC2290 shook things up by being widely regarded as far more innovative than its competition. Besides for having superior sound quality and modulation features, the TC2290 was clean. How much did the TC2290 shake things up? So much that it’s still in use today. While most electronics struggle to stay relevant for more than a week, the TC2290 has managed to hang around for nearly three decades.

Fast forward to today, where TC’s artist roster looks like a who’s who of guitarists. John Petrucci, Steve Morse, Brian May, Steve Vai, and Kirk Hammett are just a few of the players that are using TC. Besides for TC list of over twenty different guitar pedals, they are on the cutting edge of rack mount effects, bass effects, vocal effects, recording, studio production, and just about everything…well, electronic.

The Flashback Delay includes ten types of delays including Slap, Tape, and Modulating, just to name a few. Each effect can be adjusted for Delay, FX Level, or Feedback levels. With true bypass, the pedal can be wired for mono or stereo in or outs. The Flashback also includes the sound that put TC on the map, the 2290.

The Roadie Rag - An EZer way to clean your instruments!

But, one of the coolest functions on the original Flashback, as well as many other TC pedals, is the TonePrint feature. TonePrint enables the user to download presets from his favorite player and load them up into the Flashback. Want to sound like Bullet For My Valentine? Download Michael ‘Padge’ Paget’s Tears Delay TonePrint through your phone and upload it into the pedal. How about Joe Perry’s Slap Delay? Or Munky’s Synth Delay? All done in a matter of minutes.

With clean sounds and innovative features like the TonePrint, Flashback has already made its name as one of the premiere pedals in TC’s line up.

So what’s the Flashback X4?

If the Flashback were a Mustang, the Flashback X4 would be a Maserati. You’re looking at 12 delay types, 4 TonePrint slots, 3 fully programmable presets, and a Tap Tempo. The 40-second Looper has also been enhanced to include a play/pause, play once, record, and undo/redo. In the back, you have Stereo in/out, MIDI in/through– where you can sync delay tempos and change presests externally, and an Expression Pedal Input.

While it all sounds complicated, TC makes it clear that the Flashback X4 is just as easy to use as its predecessor. Just plug and play. And, we here at TheToneKing.com love easy.

What took me by surprise, though, was the price point of the Flashback X4. While the Flashback will set you back about $170 bucks, the Flashback X4 sells for $249.99. For less than $80 bucks more, the Flashback X4 has more than three times as many features as its predecessor.

TC Electronic has been around for over 30 years, and since day one they have been recognized as being on the cutting edge of digital processing technology. Now that pedals are hip again, TC is still known as a “go-to” brand for players. The Flashback X4 really shows why TC is so revered; quality sounds, a ton of features, and you’ll still be able to make your rent payment on time.

Make sure you check out TheToneKing.com for the upcoming video spotlighting TC Electronic’s Flashback X4 Delay Pedal.

5 Things to Know about the Flashback X4

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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