A message to TC Electronic: let's make it a "Classic"
Preface: this is going to be a long post, so grab a chair, take something fresh to drink and keep on reading.
Part 1 of 3
There was a time when guitar effects, or audio gears generally speaking, were completely build using components such as diodes, resistors, capacitors and tubes at first, then transistors, operational amplifiers and similar discrete analog components. All gears were assembled using wires or soldered on PCBs following the design of someone who engineered all circuits in order to deliver a well defined idea, a colorful sound that in some case became a recognized trademark through decades up to these days.
Also many other less “popular” stomp boxes had their second chance to become “stars of the scenes” thanks to thousands and more unknown pioneers that managed to modify the circuits of such effects, either to match some famous brothers tone or to get something even better or simply different. This is for sure an unpredictable result, some kind of “side effect” that none of the designers could imagine at the time when they built their product. Today, thanks to internet, there are tons of communities around the globe for each and every device that can be modified, improved, expanded or simply customized and the final result is that all these devices are alive and kicking, even if the production stopped way back in the years. Moreover, we still produce brand new gears following such concepts and since they can also still be modified, the story repeats itself.
And then comes the “digital era” along with the strong usage of integrated circuits and DSPs. Even if we all heard billions of times people saying “analog sounds always better than digital” (and at first they got right if we think about some horrible overdrives in the end of the ’80s), we all agreed that benefits introduced by the ability to stack more than one effect into the same unit was amazing. The counter part was of course that little to no modifications could be made to these products and, once their features become obsolete or simply “out of production/maintenance”, they disappear from our gears list forever.
Now, the story does not end here of course. Equipments we use today are thousand steps further than the simple usage of a DSP. There are tons of amps, effects and processors to virtually emulate or model any tone; we can also use our mobile or a tablet to do it (see iRig philosophy). Modelling and profiling is the current trend and is a way to keep devices open to new and unpredictable tones.
(Continuing on the next post)