What does the Empress buffer+ do, and do I really need a buffer? … I mean there are several interesting pedals out there that can do some really exiting stuff, so why spend money on a pedal that doesn’t add a wild distortion or other ‘stuff’ to your sound? Well let me try to tell you about my experiences with buffers and why I just got the Empress buffer+.
When I made my pedalboard a couple of years ago I spent hours reading about true bypass, browsing the internet to find the right pedals, cables and jacks. I was very happy and excited about most of the stuff I ended up buying. But I must admit I was confused and disappointed when I finally put everything together and plugged my guitar into the board and amp … what happened to that nice warm and present tone I just had a minute ago, going directly into the amp?
Overview of my board 2014 with the Empress Buffer+ down in the right corner
After talking to some of my more nerdy friends who have had boards for years, I was recommended a buffer. Actually a guy in a music store already mentioned a buffer to me, when I was complaining about how all the volume pedals choked the tone while I was trying out all the different brands – and back then I replied that I was looking for one good volume pedal … not a volume pedal AND something to fix it. But now I was a bit more ready to hear about buffers. Again I’m not into all the technical stuff … I just want it to sound good.
Let med try to explain very briefly what a buffer does.
I’ve been addicted to delay machines since the 80’s – now I’ve just become addicted to the new Empress Tape Delay Pedal.
I got my first delay fix from a Boss pedal in the late 70’s – the same time the Chorus CE-1 entered the market. Shortly after realizing I had a delay-addiction, I started looking for more serious alternatives to the noisy Boss and bought my first rack unit.
Since then I’ve been through a lot of different units. The TC 2290 has been a favorite and the brain/center in my rack-setup for years. A few years ago, when I decided to go for a pedalboard solution instead of the rack. I searched the market for a while and ended up buying the the Empress Vintage Modified Superdelay, which in my opinion, is the best delay pedal around. It sounds awesome, has tons of configurations, and even the ability to save up to eight presets.
Empress Tape Delay together with the Empress Compressor and the Radial Tonebone placed in my new board – 2014
Some years ago, when I decided to go for a pedalboard solution instead of the rack setup that I’ve used for years, I searched the market for quite a while to find the right pedals for my new board. I ended up buying some really good, and unfortunately not cheap, pedals. The upside is that they are reliable and sound awesome, so now I don’t have to worry about purchasing ‘upgrades’ … or? 🙂
Why should I get a new pedalboard?
Well, last year I was invited to play in Canada this summer. When I got a little closer to my trip and started thinking about what to bring, I realized I had to cut down my current pedalboard, if I wanted to avoid spending a fortune on surcharges at the airports. What could I remove?? Actually, I loved my board as it was and didn’t want to lose anything, but I had to let something go. Some tough decisions had to be made, so I started browsing the internet again… and I inevitably ended up checking out what the brands I already used (on my main board) had to offer.
I’ve been using TC Electronics products for more than 25 years I guess. The first TC Electronic pedal I bought was the phaser, and after that I’ve had several of their products. For years especially the 2290 has been an important part of my setup, so when I heard about the TC Electronic Flashback delay, I thought it would be a natural part of my board.
Facts about the TC Electronic Flashback delay
The TC Electronic Flashback delay offers you 11 different delay types. In addition to the “normal” different delay types, you get the TonePrint function. TonePrint gives you your favorite guitar players custom presets, in one of the delay modes. This is downloaded to the pedal either by your computer and an usb-cable or by and app for your smartphone. All in all a lot of possibilities in a regular stomp box – super.
The loop function is cool and sounds great – and I have loop time enough for my need (40 seconds).
The TC Electronic Flashback delay in my pedalboard
Does it cover all my needs delay wise?
Overall the pedal sounds great. The different presets sound cool, and it covers about everything you can expect from a delay pedal, at least from a small stomp box.