|Recently I took advantage of a generous employee purchase plan through TC electronic ( one of the few perks these days of working in a music store) and bought a TC Flashback delay. I have been wanting to downsize my pedal board and replace my M-9 with a Smaller M-5, and as this is the pedal board I use for conventional non looping gigs, the need for a looper was not as crucial. I'm also keeping the faith that the LP-2 will find a place on this board as well, and i needed to find space for it. To be honest my love affair with Line 6 stuff is all but over. I just can't see why some of the brightest minds in the biz can conceive of some genuinely inspired technology, that is easy to use and sounds good, would choose to cut corners on the most vital operational component on a foot actuated multi effect, uh that would be the footswitch?The M series switches are worse than those found on the original Line 6 modelers with more moving parts that where out quickly. I just replaced the ones on my M-9, with factory switches, and thats an hour of my time I wish I had back. The fact that this achilles heal has spawned a growing cottage industry of Line 6 up graders and modifiers is not lost on me, this has been going on since Jeorge Tripps started tweaking the DL-4, and then passed the info along to Fred Keeley, so that he could offer it to the general public. Up till now I have not found someone who has taken the time to figure out an audio upgrade for the M series products, though plenty of vendors like http://r3fx.com/store/index.php?route=common/home will change out the crappy switches for quality smooth operating hardwired switches, not to mention paint you machine a custom color if you so desire. I had yet to find someone who had tackled the other main issue with these units albeit one that many might not notice. That being the issue of purity of signal path. Though the issue, is perhaps unnoticeable to a lot of people, particularly those who have long signal chains, leave many things on and are used to a certain amount of noise.. if i could describe what i hear, its another layer of noise floor, a certain digital grungy-ness and a harshness in the high frequencies when I do things like crank up the feedback on tape and analog delay models. Well I finally found a guy in Georgia who has come up with a mod to purify the signal path, an add a variable output volume control. he also does the footswitch mods, and a few other cool things as well. http://jhv3.squarespace.com/. I plan to send him an M-5 in a few weeks for both mods.|
Regarding the Flashback, this is a potent little delay with a decent simple looper on board. I can't say the footswitch is world class as it has a a positive action click not particularly suited when precise timing is needed ( I'll let you know how my skill progresses) and you have to double click the loop to turn it off, and once you do the loop is lost. Its only 20 second in stereo and 40 seconds in mono but its excellent for loop ambient drones with infinite overdub capability. I assume the overall delay length is also halved when running stereo but one thing that attracted me to it was its 7 seconds of delay time in all but the slap back modes. This is ideal for ambient long delay and sound on sound applications and killer for long reverse passages. The audio quality is typical of TC, pristine, and the delay types are all excellent. Tap tempo is handle by holding the pedal down and playing even tempo strokes to set the delay time. I'm not crazy about the fact that the signal is muted while you are doing this , though i can see the logic for sure, just wish i had the option. then there is the tone print feature that allows you to download custom presets from todays "Leading Guitarists". So iI downloaded a few and ended up using a Pete Thorn created delay with modulation that is capable of self oscillating feedback. perhaps at some point TC might release an actual editor librarian so some of the world "Not Leading Guitarists" can take a crack at sound design. otherwise this is a stellar affordable delay in a small mxr sized chassis that seems ruggedly built and has a very clean signal path.