Roundup Exclusive! TC Electronic TonePrint Pedals

April 22, 2011


DENMARK’S TC ELECTRONIC HAS A LONG HISTORY OF creating cutting-edge effects that dates back to 1976, with the famed Stereo Chorus + Pitch Modulator & Flanger pedal. However, TC later moved away from stompboxes to concentrate on processors such as the 2290 Dynamic Digital Delay, G-Force, G-Major 2, G System, and Nova System.

This year, TC Electronic was all about stompboxes again. The company debuted the five digital TonePrint pedals on review here, as well as two analog distortion boxes (MojoMojo Overdrive and Dark Matter Distortion) that we will test as soon as they are released. All pedals are true bypass (you can opt for a buffered bypass via an internal switch), and include rugged die-cast aluminum housings, 2.1mm external power jacks, and handy battery access via a single screw that can be opened using a coin or thick pick.

The digital pedals also feature a USB jack that lets you download custom “TonePrint” patches programmed into software at TC headquarters by players such as John Petrucci, Steve Morse, Bumblefoot, Doug Aldrich, Orianthi, and others. The way it works is simple: You plug the pedal into your computer (Mac OS 10 or Windows) using the included USB cable, log on to the TC Electronic website, download the desired TonePrint for your pedal, and—presto—you now have the exact sound the artist created for a particular application.

However, as we were handed some of the first TonePrints to see daylight at NAMM in January, we experienced a few “early version” system issues. The only pedal that accepted a TonePrint was the Flashback Delay, so we had to download firmware updates for the Corona Chorus, Shaker Vibrato, and Vortex Flanger from the TC website (the Hall of Fame Reverb had no TonePrints available at press time). Not a big deal. Then, after we loaded the appropriate TonePrints into each pedal (you can load one TonePrint at a time), only the Flashback delivered the artist patches. The Corona, Shaker, and Vortex loaded the custom patches, but could not play them.

Despite the snags with our early-production samples, we applaud the TonePrint concept that promises ongoing tonal updates and custom patches. In addition, the pedals sounded so cool that we pushed on with our tests, using a Stratocaster, Les Paul, and a PRS SC 245, and Dr. Z EZG-50, Victoria Ivy League, Rivera Clubster, Mesa/Boogie TransAtlantic, and ZT LunchBox amps.

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