Your favourite Danish gear company is back at it again, this time with a revised and updated version of their excellent Flashback X4 delay/looper. TC Electronic make it extremely clear that this elongated stompbox – immediately reminiscent of a certain lime-green Line 6 delay modeller – is the end-all, be-all of delay pedals. With such an incredible number of features packed into its sizeable chassis, they might just be right.
TC Electronic are renowned for their time-based effects pedals. That’s a fact, not an opinion; their Hall of Fame reverb and standard-sized Flashback delay are more than enough proof. The new Flashback 2 X4 is their latest flagship delay pedal, featuring ten factory delay settings and six additional TonePrint/preset selections.
For those who aren’t aware, TonePrints are artist-created presets that are unique for TC Electronic pedals. You can connect the Flashback 2 X4 via provided USB cable to your PC or Mac to upload TonePrints to a specified slot, or even use your smartphone to beam it down through your phone’s speakers, into your guitar’s pickups, and then to the pedal. There are over 70 TonePrints currently available on the website, with more being added each day – you can rest assured that you’ll never run out of interesting ways to use this pedal.
The controls atop the Flashback 2 X4 are fairly self-explanatory: Subdivision, Delay Time, Feedback and Level. The Subdivision knob hosts a staggering range of note intervals to please even the most experimental performers. It even includes a custom division preset which can be set up via the TonePrint app.
In a similar fashion to its predecessor, the Flashback 2 X4 remains extremely user-friendly. Three of the four footswitches are dedicated to one delay type each, while the last acts as a global tap tempo. Flicking the bank/store toggle switch downwards binds a delay algorithm to a footswitch of your choice, while thumbing it upwards or holding down the tap tempo footswitch gives access to a secondary bank, giving access to three more delay selections. A handy red/green LED light atop each footswitch even lets you know which bank of delays you’ve currently chosen. Even the Looper mode – which allows for a decent 40 seconds of recording – is completely fool-proof, with simple controls conveniently marked above each switch.
The sounds produced by this pedal are simply sublime. From TC’s iconic 2290 Dynamic Digital Delay to its historically accurate tape and analog bucket-brigade delay, you won’t find a sound or setting that ever displeases. Of particular note is the new crystal setting, which produces a swirl of ethereal and haunting tones which can be further accentuated with the MASH footswitch. Up to three different parameters can be modified when using the pressure-sensitive MASH switch, which can be set via the TonePrint app. Most of the default selections allow controlled, real-time bursts of cascading feedback to add extra dynamics to your playing. It’ll take some practice to equate the pressure required to the feedback level you want, but when learning is this fun, who’s complaining?
The top panel of this stompbox has a wealth of input and output jacks. There’s room for stereo functionality (which works a treat with the ping pong delay setting), an external expression pedal, and even MIDI control capabilities. Two easily accessible dipswitches also allow you to select between buffered and true bypass, and even a kill-dry setting for use in a parallel effects loop.
There’s a whole slew of ways you can use the TC Electronic Flashback 2 X4, and the included looper is just the cherry on top of an already impressive product. TC Electronic have produced yet another winner in the delay category, and it’s not difficult to see why they’re globally recognised in this particular field.
Hits and Misses
Crazy number of delay algorithms to pick from
MASH is super fun