Trusted musician and artist reviews for TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay
Based on 38 Reviews
I have owned many TC products and their proprietary digital delays like the 2290 are great while their models of analog gear usually left a bit to be desired having what I can only describe as a "plastic and artificial" quality that hurt my ears. The Line 6 models have this quality too, but at elast they model some of the other quirks of the real gear very closely. That said, I prefer TC for their pure analog dry signal path in all their higher end effects. So I bought an X4 on a whim, total impulse but thru ebay....
and now I have changed my tune. From personal experience I can assure you the Flashback delay series CLOSELY replicates the following pieces of gear (at least to my ear, which is pretty discerning): WEM Copicat 60s version (tube mode), Roland Space or CHorus Echo (Space mode), Boss DM2 & 3 as well as Ibanez's AD80 & 9 (Analog mode), EHX DMM (Analog Mod mode), MXR and Roland's grainy 8 bit rack delays from the late 70s and the crunchy sounding digital delay from the Yamaha SPX90 (LoFi mode)... the tap tempo s super responsive to quick, light toe touches even with my shoes off. The pedal is built like a tank too. Knobs are huge and easily tweakable with a J toed cowboy boot. Reverse mode sounds better than the line 6 DL4 reverse.
Bypass sounds transparent at factory setting (supposedly true bypass, must be true) and with the buffer engaged for trails there is very minimal tone coloration (I used a true bypass looper to test, I always do this with new gear to be sure its not stealing from or adding to my signal in undesireable ways and I built this small looper box from some spare jacks and a big toddle switch back when I first got my Radial Switchbone ABY so I could dial in the drag control to sound just like my bypass signal, but I digress). If you want complete transparency in trails mode make sure you hit a tube stage or reactive input like the Radial Dragster first. Running my ABY box out front of the X4 made the highs sound right to me again (not that the buffered top end is bad, just not the same as plugging straight in).
I have 2 complaints with this pedal, 1 it needs to be able to receive MIDI program changes to switch to ANY delay model, not just the 3 saved on your footswitches AND it needs to accept MIDI program changes to go into bypass. Its kinda annoying that in order to integrate this pedal with mthe MIDI setup I am working on I will have to leave her on ALL the darn time. Fuck me.
Overall? nice job TC!
UPDATE: I am so fond of this as a bread and butter delay swiss army knife that I got another one...
Good solid all round delay
I'm ken on this pedal for a few reasons. It doesn't really have so many bells and whistles as others (like a timeline) but covers a lot of bases as well as having an excellent looper. The options this does have are all very nicely implemented, if limited in some cases. The tape delays/echoes are rich sounding, full and with a little modulation sound pretty authentic. The others are similarly good, each sounding pretty true to the inspiration they are based on. Even when the flashback doesn't offer all the frills of the original (like the memory man) the sound is very close and will please most of the people most of the time. Considering a memory man is about the same size for one single delay I think this is a fair trade off. The TC studio style delay is a favourite. It has lots of clarity and feels both vintage and modern at the same time.
The unit is solidly built, as are most tc pedals, with quality buttons and rotary controls. No gigging issues here. The blue case is maybe a little lacklustre and doesn't feel special but it's well labelled and easy to use. The tap tempo button is included as it should be and the other pedals allow access to three presets of your choice, easily stored by creating a delay setup up and pressing/holding the button you want to assign it to. Easy, reliable and functional. I'd give it a 5 if had just a touch more mojo.
The best looper I ever used
I got it for the delays - they are good. But the best thing about the X4 ist the looper. It reacts so fast and without any latency. Every other looper I ever owned was problematic in the end. The Vox, the Digitech Jamman XT Solo, the Boss RC-20. They all were harder to use and faulty loopwise. With the TC you click or kick it and the loop just works and fits.
Beautiful delays, great looper, only one downfall.
I've been playing with this pedal for about four months and I absolutely love it. The range of delays absolutely blows my mind as they are all as good each other. After spending some time on it with a friend of mine who has had the pedal for a bit longer than me, I finally got a few presents i'm comfortable with. The only issue I have with this pedal is that you can only activate the looper using a manual switch. Other than that i absolutely adore this pedal.
Super versatile, and I love that it has a looper in there as well. Toneprints are obviously a great functionality. I bought it as one of the first pedals in my collection, and it's been a great choice.
But I think it's a bit of a shame shame there is no proper dry/wet knob. I guess this is probably because of people's obsession with true bypass. You can kill the dry signal with a tiny switch inside the device (or through TonePrints) but a more gradual or hands-on way of lowering the dry signal would be welcome for me.
With a little creativity, this pedal can become a multi-fx.
TC has always been known for great delay tone, and this pedal is no exception. While big, it packs a mighty punch, with not only amazing delay sounds, a 40-second looper, choruses, through-zero flanging, faux-reverb, doubling, distortion and vibrato. The key is their toneprint editor. Users can tweak virtually any parameter they want to get their perfect sound. With 4 toneprint spots open, a user can add a lovely sounding trichorus, flange, or vibrato, not to mention tons of delays. I use my X4 presets for chorus, delay, and fake reverb (short delay with lots of repeats at 30% level). It sounds great, and is easy to use. The looper also has lots of functions, and 40 seconds is more than enough for most players. A great bang for your buck, strongly recommended.
Recommended toneprints: Reeves Gabriel (basis for faux reverb) PGS EP-3 TC Tri-chorus, Double Dutch, Drive and Doubler, RingMod Bumblefoot Alienmimic and Dual Delay Andy Summers Walking-On-The-Moon Delay John Petrucci Aurora and MountainTop Guitar Center Big Grass Omar Rodriguez- Lopez David! The Dogs Pete Thorn Modulated Delay Sweetwater DM3-Plus
edited over 2 years ago
The standard size is better value for money
I love the Flashback, and there are some great sounds to be had in every version of it, but in my opinion the X4 isn't quite able to justify the huge amount of real estate it takes up on your board. Having 3 presets is nice; more TonePrint slots is nice; having the looper more accessible and being able to use a delay while the loop is engaged is also nice. But some of the extra modes on here feel a little redundant, and on a pedal this size, I'd rather have a bit more on-board control over the sound; even though I use the tone print feature, it's a little bit of a drag and very fiddly.
I'd like to have more on the fly control, I'm not going to keep the pedal plugged into a laptop for the whole show. Even just a Tone knob and some way of controlling the modulation would have been nice (I know you can change what the knobs do via TonePrint, and it's a feature I've found to be very handy, but I think they'd do very well to have a couple of extra knobs on the pedal itself).
The biggest selling point for this particular version of the pedal is the intuitive expression pedal input; you sweep the expression, you set the knobs where you want them, and boom, you have the parameters. That's super cool, and I love it. But for the size of the pedal, AND the fact you'd have to also lug around a big ol' expression pedal along with it to use that feature, make it feel a little bit too much. Besides, the Mash control on the Flashback 2 massively improves upon this, as well as several other things lacking on these earlier models (like being able to use TonePrint to set the delay subdivisions).
It's fine, perfectly fine. And the sounds are as good as they've ever been. But my money's on the smaller versions, to be honest.
Amazing Delay! Toneprints are awesome and the only downside is that it doesn't simulate analog delays well ... so if you make the delays time shorter while being turned on a analog delay pitches up the delayed signal ... but other than that a great thing
Underrated delay unit, with very handy features
Simple. It allows you to have three delays at a touch, with tap tempo. Delays come from a selection of high quality standard delays, with four slots for downloadable delays. Also the dam thing got me hooked on looping with the high quality built in looper. Wish it had, stacking but that's availiable on the next model up, wish it had trails, but that's not essential, and I wish it had more glitch, off piste crazy delay models. All in all 4/5
So many amazing delay tones
I can't stop tweaking this seriously outstanding delay. It has three presets, the ability to have 1/4, 1/8th or 1/16th based notes, controlled feedback, level and time, as well as tap tempo. It even provides a looper with pretty simple functionality if you want. Overwhelming bit of gear.
one of the best out there!
This is a great 3 deals in 1 pedal, with a 40 second looper that could be used along with the delays. Sound quality is great, the analogue dry through was one of the reasons i bought this, and there are no alterations or digitising of your guitar tone, the delays have superior quality to almost everything out there.
My gripes about it, which are not a big deal but would have made this the ultimate pedal.
1) the spillover, it only works when turning off delays, but not when jumping from one delay to the other, i use this in some of my playing and would want the delay to continue and not feel cut off, when switching between parts that require another delay or tempo
2) Would have been nice to have a foot switch for the looper/ delay switching, or place the switch somewhere where i can atlas reach it with my foot
3) banks... there are none. This pedal is so awesome, it has wonderful 11 delay types and limitless access to pro tone prints, and there are tricks to program 7 delays (4 tone prints and 3 assigned to switch), BUT it is a bit of a hassle. and would have been a LOT more useful if I had the chance to program delays as much as i wanted, at least have 4 or 5 banks, so that i would not lose that special delay that i made, even by accident.
Other than that, this pedal has a lot, 3 delay pedals in one, with dotted with and quarter not options, and both together as well, so you get a kind of stereo delay on all delay types which is awesome.
I had the dl4 in my possession and I replaced it on the pedal board
Obviously this pedal cannot compete with the variety of higher priced pedals (strymon timeline for example) but its main rival is the DL4 which I was 100% in love with until this gem came into my life. And is that the digital delay, the 2290 and the tape are incredible, I think the only purchase that could exceed it is the timeline. Great pedal and it will stay with me for a long time.
From Gear Setup:
Simple and versatile
The perfect delay pedal if you're looking for something that combines the flexibility of multiple presets with the simplicity of a regular effects unit. Good sounds from tape echo to a crystal clear 2290 digital delay, it even does some great ambient-type hold delays if you have the time and patience to tweak the settings. The looper does it's job and the Toneprint app works great. Obliviously it doesn't quite have the feel of having a real tape echo or a 80's rack delay etc. but it does a great job replicating them all
edited about 3 years ago
All glorious X4
I bought it about two years ago, played it around and sold it. Why? That's a miliion dollar question, apparently I was being stupid at that moment. Anyway I ordered it again few days ago and now I know it will stay with me forever. This thing is fabulous; countless delay combinations, perfect tone quality, three independent banks, built-in looper and... top secret weapon: modulation. Flanger, Chorus, Vibrato can be accessed via toneprint editor when you connect your pedal to PC. Wonderful device, no doubt about it. Worth the money for sure.
A fun learning curve
There is a bit of a learning curve, but once I learned it I really began to enjoy the Flashback X4. I don't use all the pedals, instead choosing a few and only really using those. But it's knowing the others are available for future use if I should decide to experiment that makes me happy. It's sounds good, especially after you adjust a few things, and works how it should. It gives you an enough options, and the looper is a really nice option, to really make it an important piece on my board. It's really the perfect Delay Pedal for someone who enjoys using delays but doesn't make their entire songs about delays.
Not what I wanted.
I bought this version mainly because of the possibility to use an expression pedal. Unfortunately the expression pedal feature is totally useless, as it creates random noises and weird sounds rather than the controlled delay sounds I had expected. First I thought I did something wrong, but after several attempts and re-calibrations of the expression pedal I still had only bad results.
The delay sounds are too sterile to my ears, but for a digital delay it delivers crisp sounds for relative low cost. However I use mainly the tape echo sounds with modulation, and those are way better with a real analog delay.
Fantastic Delay, packed with almost any sound you're after!
Fantastic Delay, packed with almost any sound you're after! Didn't actually used the toneprint feature as never needed it (sure it works great), having onboard all spectrum of delays with 3 usable presents... Fantastic! Only complain is the size of it...