Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Review
Alter Ego V1 custom delay pedal. This is my overdue review of the first version Alter Ego custom delay by TC Electronic. In fact, this review is so long overdue that TC describe this pedal as a legacy product. But, better late than never?
* TC Electronic: Copyright © 2018 MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd. All rights reserved.
As a Bass player, pedals and effects make up a big part of my sound, although I never thought delay would be an effect I would use as part of my own pedal board set-up.
However, some effects that I think sound good on Bass, such as chorus and flanger, are built upon a very short delay of a few milliseconds;
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Overview:
The first version of the Alter Ego pedal is based on the legendary TC Flashback delay (and looper), but with two custom sounds (the EHX Deluxe Memory Man and Binson Echorec) not available in the Flashback pedal.
The Flashback delay has the Lo-Fi and Dynamic delay settings – not available on the Alter Ego. This aside (and the colour difference), the two pedals are exactly the same and the Alter Ego works with all Flashback TonePrints.
The Alter Ego V1 pedal is rarely available new, and you might expect to pay up to £150 for one (brand new) or from £80 to £120 at auction, in fully working condition, and with the original box.
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Technical spec:
- Controls: four knobs (includes one rotary) and a mini-toggle switch
- Connectors: Input x2, Output x2, AC Adaptor
- Input/output: x4 Standard ¼ inch jacks – mono/TS with automatic mono/stereo sensing
- Dimensions (mm): 50 x 72 x 122
- Current Draw: 9 volts DC, center negative >100 mA (power supply not included)
- Weight: 420 grammes (16 oz.)
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Operation:
The Alter Ego V1 has 11 delay types which includes a looper – 40 seconds in mono and 20 seconds in stereo; and a further slot (‘TP’) where you can store an artist approved signature TonePrint.
Toneprints can either be beamed into the pedal, via the TonePrint app, or uploaded via USB into the pedal. There is also the option to design your own sounds using the totally free TonePrint software, which is available to download via the TC Electronic web-site.
⦁ ‘Delay’ knob: Controls the delay time, which apart from the Slapback (SLP), can go up to seven seconds;
⦁ ‘Mix’ knob: FX Level. How pronounced the effect is. From subtle to time warp!
⦁ ‘Regen’ knob: Feedback. Set the number of repeats and how much effect is fed back to the input – short and snappy or infinite;
⦁ Rotary knob: This sets the type of delay;
⦁ Mini-toggle switch: Select quarter notes, dotted eighth notes or a combination of both.
Although not immediately obvious, the delay tempo can be set (via audio) by pressing the foot-switch and rhythmically hitting the strings. Here’s how to set the tempo:-
- Hold down the foot-switch;
- With the foot-switch held down, play short steady 1/4 notes on your instrument. (The pedal mutes when you do this);
- Release the switch again.
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Presets:
- 2290: The original classic delay from 1985. The cleanest delay imaginable.
- AN: Analogue delay. An old transistor bucket-brigade delay without buying the real thing!
- TP: Tape delay. A smooth old tape echo machine with its mellow and ‘warbling’ sound.
- ER: Echorec* emulation by Proguitarshop. A unique modulated delay, with a subtle Leslie speaker effect. It morphs into some great swirling upper harmonics at higher delay time settings.
- DMM: EHX Deluxe Memory Man* emulation by Proguitarshop. The nuances of the echo and the unique decay can be heard in its repeats.
- MOD: 2290 delay with modulation. Take the 2290’s pristine sound, and send it through three chorus pedals (!)… et voilà. Also, with the delay knob turned ‘OFF’, you have a Tri-chorus pedal. Don’t tell any one, because It’s a secret!
- PP: Ping-pong delay. The repeats jump from left to right (provided you’re using both outputs for a stereo signal). The effect is really wide. It sounds great in mono, too.
- SLP: Slap back delay. A great alternative to reverb.
- RVS: Reverse delay. A classic effect which still seems to inspire people to try something different. Turn the Mix knob all the way down to hear only the reversed sound.
- LP: Looper. Set the rotary knob to ‘LP’ to use the built in looper. The duration of a loop can be up to 40 seconds in mono and 20 seconds in stereo, regardless of how many overdubs you make. The DELAY and REGEN knobs are inactive in Loop mode.
- TP: TonePrint. Set the Delay type to TP to use TonePrint. Here is a link to a handy guide
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | In use:
I acquired my Alter Ego V1 customer delay pedal back in 2013 and it’s still one of my favourite pedals. It is so versatile, not least because with the rotary set to ‘MOD’, and the delay knob turned ‘OFF’, you also have a very good Tri-chorus pedal.
Of course, the Deluxe Memory Man by electro-harmonix and Binson Echorec delay emulations sound great, but the 2290 (with or without modulation) is right up there with the very best of delays too. “I love how you can create driving rhythm’s with this pedal, which adds another dimension to my sound. It’s great to play along with, and also inspired a song I wrote called ‘Alter Ego’, where I recorded some solo bass, which was a lot of fun to do”.
However, there is one thing that drives me nuts about the Alter Ego! and that’s the mustard pedal colour with white labeling, which I believe was based on the original Echorec delay.
Perhaps a black pedal with dark mustard and white labeling might have been a better choice?
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Sounds like:
You can’t judge low-end sound on laptop, tablet or phone speakers! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. The sound clips were recorded with:-
⦁ Jaydee GA24 ‘Infinity’ Custom four string Bass (Active);
⦁ Trace Elliot GP12VX valve preamp (set flat);
⦁ Tascam US-322 Interface;
⦁ DAW: Reaper 5 by Cockos | 24 bit (44.1HZ) uncompressed.
I’ve chosen six of my favorite sounds from the Alter Ego (which also includes a TonePrint); The clips are recorded with a short 8th note delay, and high feedback settings:-
⦁ ‘2290’ delay
⦁ ‘TP’ Tape delay
⦁ ‘ER’ Echorec delay
⦁ ‘DMM’ Deluxe Memory Man delay
⦁ ‘RVS’ Reverse delay
⦁ ‘TP’ Colheita Chorus
Rasmus Brinkmann Andersen created a chorus TonePrint for his Alter Ego delay pedal. Using a Tri-Chorus as the foundation, a drive element is used from within the TonePrint Editor, which adds a warmth to the chorus tone:-
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Citations:
Alter Ego V1 custom delay | Final analysis:
- Design and ease of use: 90/100 – the colour (white on dark mustard?) and the switch label (tap tempo) could be a whole lot clearer!
- Features: 95/100 – Toneprints, a looper and custom presets;
- Reliability: 95/100;
- Sound quality: 95/100;
- Value for money: 90/100 – more than £100 sterling is almost boutique pedal territory;
- Overall score (non adjusted): 93/100 — An Outstanding pedal!
In summary, I’ve owned both the ‘Flashback’ and the ‘Alter Ego’ delays, and I Love them both, but the ‘Alter Ego’ just edges it because of the custom presets. Although a legacy product and not available brand new, search on-line and see if someone will sell you one.