The TC Electronic Flashback Delay Pedal

The Toneprint series of pedals that TC Electronic launched earlier this year seems to be sending ripples throughout the fabric of the effect industry space continuum.

Not only do they bear the legendary TC sound quality but they also have a USB input to load ‘artist profiles’ that will change the caracter of the pedal. Before you ask, you cannot create your own tone print profiles (yet), they are made in the TC factory and can be downloaded for free.

I was in the market for a modern delay pedal that featured analog simulations as well as dotted eighth rhythmical delays with on the fly tempo adjustments. So I went to a store and tried the TC Electronic Flashback Delay. Let me say I was instantly taken away by the wealth of possibilities as well as the sheer tone quality. It had been a long time since I had come across such an inspirational piece of gear! I deliberately did not try the other pedals in the Toneprint series in order to avoid burning my credit card but the temptation was strong.

The TC Electronic Flashback Delay

Here is a review of the Flashback Delay featuring the obligatory video demo.


The Flashback delay comes in a compact format (think MXR compact) and is a true stereo pedal featuring two inputs and two outputs. It can of course be used in mono as well.

There are 4 rotating knobs: the classical level,delay time, fx level found on most delay pedals (see my post about the delay basics) and a 4th knob used to select the mode. The delay time goes from 20ms to 7s (yes 7000ms!).

The modes go as follows:

  • 2290: based on the legendary TC rack mounted delay used by the likes of the Edge or Robben Ford. It is a very crisp but powerful digital delay
  • Analog: simulation of an analog delay where each repetition is darker than the previous one
  • Tape: simulation of a tape delay, not as dark as the analog delay but still ‘warmer’ than the 2290 mode. It is definitely one of my favorite modes
  • Lofi: in this mode the repetitions get really dirty, I don’t find it really effective with distorted tones as it sounds like ‘dirt on more dirt’.
  • Dyn: this mode is clearly digital sounding with the special ability for the effect to be less present when you are playing and more present once you stop
  • Mod: another favorite of mine, a lush chorus effect is added to the delayed repetitions
  • Ping Pong: this a digital sounding mode especially designed for stereo operation. Repetitions are alternatively played on the right and left side of the stereo field (see my video demo below)
  • Reverse: for those psychedelic moments, the repetitions are played in reverse
  • Slap: in this mode, the maximum delay time is reduced to 300ms in order to emulate the slap echos of the 50s. Having it as a dedicated mode means you can switch from a long delay to a slapback echo just by turning the Mode knob
  • Loop: in this mode, the Flashback delay becomes a looper with overdubs. Note that it won’t be as sophisticated as a dedicated looper (no undo, no presets) but it is definitely a bonus to have this in such a small package
  • Toneprint: the tone print mode will activate whatever artist profile you have downloaded from the TC website and copied using your computer and the included USB cable. There is a growing collection of toneprints designed by guitar greats such as Steve Vai, Steve Stevens, Paul Gilbert or Ron Thal
Audio Tap

The Flashback Delay also features a little three way switch that affects the rhythmical tap tempo based delays. You can switch from quarter note to eighth to dotted eighth (the famous U2 delay).

This 3 way switch is particularly effective when paired with the “Audio Tap” functionality of the Flashback Delay. To activate it, just leave the pedal switch pressed until the pedal goes silent and strum your guitar to the desired “speed”. Release the switch and here you go, the delay time between repetitions is set to the “rhythm” of your strumming. Some of you might prefer the foot based Tap tempo feature that most other delay pedals feature but as I read once in a forum, TC has got a point in a sense that most guitarists are more precise with their hands than with their feet.

I did encounter a bit of an issue with the Audio Tap feature of the Flashback Delay when placed in the loop of my Marshall JMP-1 preamp. It seems than on the distorted channels, the loop lets some sound sip through even when the Flashback delay goes into Audio Tap mode and ‘blocks’ the sound. This is apparent in my video below. Note that this is a flaw in the JMP-1 and not in the TC pedal which goes completely silent when placed in a “normal” pedal chain.

Stereo Video Demo

Anyway, enough of my yakkin, here is a video demo. I have placed the flashback delay in the stereo loop of my JMP-1, the stereo ping pong or modulated delays are absolutely stunning (well, I think so) :

Gear used for the demo: Custom guitar made by Robin Bully and equipped with Schaller pickups, Digitech Bad Monkey used as boost (Volume on Max, Drive on zero, bass and treble on noon), Marshall JMP-1 used with clean and distorted channels. Recorded with a Micro-BR, no reverb was added but a bit of volume optimization and limiting was performed in Cubase for Youtube

Hidden Switches

Note that the Flashback Delay harbors two switches inside the pedal. The first one allows you to choose between True Bypass or Buffered (nice!) and the second one suppresses the dry signal in buffered mode to optimize the use of the pedal in effect loops.


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4 thoughts on “The TC Electronic Flashback Delay Pedal”

  1. Hi Romain,

    I bought the pedal because of your post. I’m totally blown way by that pedal and greatly meets my needs. Your post helped me to find what I needed in a delay!

    Thanks for your post!

  2. Bonjour,
    je viens de faire l’acquisition de cette pédale de delay de TC Electronic. Je l’ai testée en mono, et c’est parfait. Ensuite je l’ai testée en stereo de la façon suivante: j’utilise 2 amplis avec disto de l’ampli, alors j’ai cru bon de la placer dans les boucles des amplis, en mettant le send de l’ampli 1 dans le IN mono de la pédale, le send de l’ampli 2 dans le IN stereo, et les OUT de la pédale dans les returns respectifs. Tout fonctionne bien, sauf le ping pong qui me fait un delay avec un volume énorme, seulement dans un des amplis, peu importe si je mets cet ampli dans l’une ou l’autre des entrées/sorties de la pédale.
    Je me demandais si vous pouviez m’aider, en me disant déjà si ma configuration est juste, et ensuite si c’est plutôt un problème avec la pédale ou avec la boucle de l’ampli.
    Merci de votre réponse, et un grand merci pour votre site que je consulte très régulièrement 🙂

  3. Je vias peut-être raconter des bêtises (je vérifierai) mais il me semble que le ping-pong ne fonctionne correctement qu’avec une entrée mono. Dans ton cas, tu peux utiliser le préampli d’un de tes deux amplis de la façon suivant. Tu branches le send de un ampli dans le in mono de la pédale puis chaque OUT dans les retours de chaque ampli. Cela signifie qu’un ampli n’est utilisé que pour se section “ampli de puissance”. Quels amplis as-tu ?

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