Review: TC Electronic Mini Pedals — Video
GOLD AWARD WINNER
In the constant quest for great tone, many guitarists eventually decide that the effects on their pedal boards simply aren’t enough.
The problem is that most of us have already filled much of our board’s available real estate, and there usually isn’t a whole lot of room left for another full-size pedal.
Then there are those who are tired of lugging around a heavy, oversized pedal board and are trying to put together a board with more portable proportions—preferably one that’s not much larger than an iPad Air.
If you fall into either of these categories, or you simply like the idea of a stomp box that’s shrunken down to the smallest imaginable size, you’ll love the four new additions to TC Electronic’s Mini Pedal line: the Corona Mini Chorus, Flashback Mini Delay, Shaker Mini Vibrato and Vortex Mini Flanger.
Mini Pedals offer the performance and personality of full-size stomp boxes in a super-compact format that measures less than two inches wide, four inches long and one-and-a-half inches high (not including the control knobs and footswitch). Featuring TC’s TonePrint technology, these pedals are versatile, professional-quality tools and not diminutive novelties.
FEATURES These four new mini pedals join TC’s Mini Pedal family, which also includes a booster, looper, reverb and tuner. But whereas the previous Mini pedals had only one control knob, these new additions each have three. The Corona’s controls are speed, depth and effect level; the Flashback’s are feedback, delay and effect level; the Shaker’s are speed, depth and ramp; and the Vortex’s are speed, depth and feedback. All four deliver the same sound quality as their full-size TC namesakes, although they lack those pedals’ more sophisticated features, like stereo inputs and outputs, preset selector switches or other certain parameter controls (like the full-size Shaker’s tone knob).
Each pedal has true-bypass foot switching, and the mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks are staggered, which makes it easy to patch together multiple Mini Pedals in close proximity using short cables with right-angle jacks. The pedals operate only with an external nine-volt power supply—no battery operation.
Located directly above the nine-volt power input is a mini USB jack that allows you to connect the pedal to a computer or iPad to transfer custom TonePrint effects programmed by dozens of pro guitarists. Likewise, you can import your own customized TonePrints that you can create using TC’s free TonePrint Editor software. The TonePrint app for Android or iPhone also allows users to wirelessly beam TonePrint effects to each pedal.
PERFORMANCE The TC Electronic Mini Pedals may be less than half the size of their full-size namesakes, but each pedal’s overall performance is essentially identical to its larger counterpart. If you’re a “set-and-forget” type of player that uses just one sound from a pedal at any given time and typically makes only minor tweaks of basic parameters during a gig or session, these pedals will save you some valuable pedal-board space and even a few bucks. However, if you need instant access to a full selection of parameters or constantly change parameters, such as the Flashback’s delay type and note-subdivision settings, the larger pedals are still the way to go.
Out of the box, each pedal provides classic effects that should cover the needs of most guitarists out there. The sound quality of each effect is thick, rich and lush but with the studio-quality, noise-free performance guitarists expect from TC effects. Each pedal also features analog dry-through circuitry that never converts the guitar’s dry signal to digital, so even when heavy processing is applied, the guitar’s tone always remains dynamic, expressive and natural sounding, without latency delays. The Flashback Mini Delay has an extra trick up its sleeve, an audio-tapping function that is engaged by holding down the footswitch. This allows players to manually set the delay time simply by strumming the strings at the desired tempo.
The selections of TonePrint effects for each pedal are staggering, and in the rare case that you can’t find an effect you need, you can program it yourself using the TonePrint Editor software. The amount of power and versatility that TC has packed into these tiny boxes is impressive, but even more remarkable is how affordable they are.
LIST PRICES Corona, Shaker and Vortex, $136.49; Flashback, $164.49
MANUFACTURER TC Electronic, tcelectronic.com
Each pedal offers the processing power of TC’s full-size stomp boxes in a pedal less than half the size.
Three control knobs allow guitarists to tweak basic parameters onstage.
TonePrint effects can be downloaded from a computer or iPad via the mini USB jack or wirelessly using the TonePrint app on an Android device or iPhone.
The Flashback’s Audio Tapping function enables guitarists to manually set the delay time by strumming the strings at the desired tempo.
THE BOTTOM LINE TC’s Mini Pedals are perfect for players who want or need maximum performance and professional sounds from a pedal that takes up the minimal amount of space.