REVIEW: TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb

IK Multimedia's MODO BASS

Okay, we all know that TC Electronic makes incredible effects. Their 2290 delay is legendary. Their G System, G Major and G Force: legendary. Their Nova series of pedals: legendary. But the TonePrint series of pedals is a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something that’s going to become legendary. Because TonePrint pedals allow you to dial in your own sounds, sure, but they also give you access to finely tweaked effects designed by some of the best ears in the biz, including Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, Steve Stevens, Paul Gilbert, Bumblefoot and many, many more. The Hall Of Fame Reverb is but one pedal in the series. The others are the FlashBack Delay, Corona Chorus, Shaker Vibrato, Vortex Flanger, and the new John Petrucci signature modulation station, the Dreamscape.

The Hall of Fame Reverb’s controls include rotary pots for FX Type, FX Level, Decay and Tone, as well as a toggle switch for Short or Long pre-delay times. There are stereo inputs and stereo outputs, a handy unscrewable battery compartment, 9vDC power supply jack, True Bypass stomper switch, and the same basic case shape as the company’s instant-classic PolyTune tuner pedal.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb Toneprint Series Guitar Effects Pedal

The Hall Of Fame offers ten different reverb types: Room, Hall, Spring, Plate, Church, Modulation, LoFi, Tile, Ambience and Gate, but there’s an eleventh click on the effect type control. This is where you access the TonePrint settings of your favourite players. They’re not actually on the pedal to begin with though: you need to download them either via a computer connected with a USB cable, or by using the dedicated TonePrint smartphone app. Call up the preset you wish to install, hold the phone in front of your pickups, listen for the digital chatter which carries the encoded patch, and your pedal will magically take on the settings of Brett Scallion, Soren Andersen, Troy Van Leeuwen, Paul Gilbert, or a whole bunch of TC Electronic, ProGuitarShop and Guitar Center patches.

For testing, I jacked the Hall of Fame into the effects loop of my Marshall as well as a Jet City JCA50 head and matching 2X12 cabinet. It immediately became apparent that the Hall Of Fame’s biggest strength is its ability to fade into the background for natural, unobtrusive yet once-you’ve-heard-it-you-can’t-do-without-it ambience via careful selection of FX Type and the Tone control. The Room, Plate and Church modes are especially great for this, as is of course the Ambient mode. Other settings are great for more obvious effects: the Spring setting can be cranked up for brilliant surf-type tones or more subtle vintage rock and blues, while the Tile mode is perfectly tailored for dramatic ‘check out this tiled room,’ wall-of-sound type effects. The Modulation mode is best used for more modern sounds, and it’s great for copping some of that A Perfect Circle echo/modulation vibe. The Gate mode is a little harder to get into for me. I just don’t find it as useful as the others. Your mileage may vary – I’m sure there are players out there who will really dig into this sound and fall in love with it, but I find myself returning to the Gate mode the least. What I use most is the Church mode, set with a very high FX level, Tone at about 1 o’clock, decay at about 10 o’clock and, crucially, the Pre-Delay switch set to ‘Long.’ This creates almost a warm slapback delay type sound which thickens up lead playing like nothing else out there. It’s a sound that’s so useful, so musical and so dimensional that it almost deserves its own pedal (and I’d love to tweak it further to save as a TonePrint when I some day become a famous guitarist). This sound is great for reinforcing super-fast lead work, for fattening up rhythm guitars, adding some mystery to a clean sound, thickening up overly bright single coils – I can’t think of a single musical situation that can’t be improved by this setting.

And then there are the TonePrints. They range from long, syrupy echo (Paul Gilbert’s “Otis Fieldsgood” setting) to shimmery vibrato (Troy Van Leeuwen’s “Vibrato Spring”) to more natural settings to some pretty out-there ones that take advantage of the modulation options offered to those with access to the full TonePrint parameters during the creation of their TonePrints. It’s a great idea that really extends the life of the pedal, and the musical situations you can use it in.

The Hall of Fame is probably the most versatile yet simple to use reverb stomper out there. For a minute there I thought MIDI control would be nice, but then I came to the conclusion that that would go against the truly interactive nature of this pedal. What it’s designed to do, and what it does incredibly well, is to offer you a full scope of reverb effects in an easily adjustable way, with the possibility of infinite variations via the growing TonePrint library.

LINK: TC Electronic.