In gear nerd forums the Internet over, the word ‘gimmick’ has come to be somewhat of an insult: the implication being that any given pedal may be a good idea on paper yet have little to no real world application. This has been the death knell for many a hopeful new face on the market but sometimes a gimmick can be exactly the thing that pushes an idea over the edge (see: Devo, Kraftwerk et al.) Enter the Wiretap Riff Recorder.
The pitch here is simple. We’ve all been in the situation in a rehearsal studio plugging away at one riff or another and something just clicks. You wail away for hours on it only to have it disappear as quickly as your tinnitus kicks in. The Wiretap is here to help you distil those ephemeral moments of improvised alchemy to take home later and restore time and time again with a view to making them a more permanent, replicable part of your set.
Functionality is paramount here, as in order for an idea like this to work there has to be a balance between immediate simplicity and uncompromising quality. The signal path is true bypass and playback is clean as a whistle, so there is no tonal loss between the magic that goes into it and that which comes out when you listen back. This means that not only is it a great writing tool but a simple little looper to boot – not surprising given the success of the same company’s Ditto range. The package comes with a concise cheat sheet of the specific set of combinations of clicks and taps used to navigate your riff library. One tap to record, two taps to play back and from there the rest is academic.
After a while the hardest part about using it would be scrolling through up to 8 hours of solid gold noodling to find the specific riff that escapes you at the time. That however is where the real outside of the box thinking comes in. TC Electronic have built an app that couples with the pedal itself that not only makes storing your creations a breeze but also opens up a whole other set of playback options. You can name, trim, edit, mix and playlist all of your creations either on your smartphone or laptop and paired either via Bluetooth or USB you can pass files back and forth as needed. Leave it to the Swedish to invent something so thoroughly usable and packed with real world application.
Long story short, TC Electronic’s Wiretap is a damned sight easier and quicker than setting up an Abbey Road worth of mics for every jam. It sounds infinitely better than a handheld recorder and has a small enough footprint that you don’t need to bump off any of your other pedals to make room for it. It may seem gimmicky on first glance but let it prove its worth to you and you’ll thank it time and time again.
For more details on the range of TC Electronic products, head to ambertech.com.au.