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TC Electronic's Nova Series Hits the Floor

This pedal also allows you to split your line so you can run a raw sound against the compression or send one to the front of your amp and the other to your effects loop, which is something I’ve seen guys rigging up themselves.

Yeah, that was the second part of the idea, and it mainly comes from me being a metal guitar player a few years ago. I always wanted a pedal like that because, for metal or hard rock guitar in particular, you want something in front of your distortion to sort of tighten up the sound just to give you that crunch that metal or rock guitar requires. And then you’ll go to your amp and add the distortion there into a pedal or whatever, and after that, you want to be able to take the noise down.

With the technology we have in these algorithms, we have noise-scaling in there as well; we figured we’d make the perfect pedal for metal guitar players. Plug into that pedal and go into the amp, and back into the pedal through the noise gate, and that’s pretty much all you need for that type of playing.

You alluded to what we call the Drive Blend, where you get the benefits of the compression, but you don’t lose all the dynamics and the pick attack in your playing. We all sort of figured that with the more subtle compression that we’re able to do because of the multiband compression, it would be great for acoustic guitar players as well. And for a lot of these guys, they want to play with a bit of compression for their own sound going through an amp, but the front-of-house engineer probably won’t want to have that kind of compression on. He’ll add it using his own compressors for the front of house instead, so that way you can actually use an engine to just go to your amp, and then you can use the other output and bypass that engine to go into the PA system without any compression on, so it makes the engineer happy as well.

Let’s talk about the Modulator. It seems like you’ve almost made a multi-effects pedal just for the modulation side of things.

TC had been known for doing great modulation effects for a long time. Our thirty-year-old Stereo Chorus Flanger pedal is still selling amazingly well even though it hasn’t been changed at all for thirty years. And it’s something we’re known for in the guitar community. We thought that if we were going to do something new, simply doing a new chorus pedal wouldn’t make much sense because we already have the one that is considered an industry standard along with a few other great chorus pedals from other companies.

We figured if we were going to do a new digital version of modulation effects, we might as well sort of take advantage of the things you can do in the digital domain that you can’t do in the analog domain. We sort of went nuts from there. The basic idea was to do a dual-engine pedal - that’s actually where the original idea came from because we’ve gotten a lot of requests from users, you know, the more rack-oriented kind of guys who really like our 1210 Rack Processor which is actually two chorus flanger pedals linked together. It’s kind of like the classic eighties, early-nineties, L.A., Michael Landau, Lukather kind of sound, that’s what they all used. That dual was discontinued a long time ago, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests to either make it again, or to make something that would give the user the same kind of sound. That’s the basic idea and we sort of went from there.

Something that a lot of users of our multi-effects processor have commented on is that we lump a lot of our effects together in effect blocks, like the modulation block. If users want to have tremolo and chorus on the same patch, they can’t because you either choose the chorus or the tremolo. We figured we’d do a two engine pedal that sort of allows users to mix and match the effects, and the result is you can make pretty much any kind of sound you can imagine with that pedal.

That’s pretty cool because it gives you a lot of control – you can sync a lot of the modulation effects based off time delay and whatnot. You could sync all these together rather than have to tweak for an hour just to get them to be in phase.

That’s the other part of it, with the dual engines, you can do a lot of crazy stuff that you can’t do with any other pedal. With two phasers in the two engines, you can get pretty close to some of the old Mu-Tron and Bi-Phase effects, or put use tremolos with different sub-divisions and you get this sort of rhythmic tremolo thing that you really can’t get with any other type of pedal.

The other thing we also talked about was, you know, there are a few classic albums that sort of define an effect. “Eruption” for phaser, or “Machine Gun” for Uni-Vibe type sounds -- there are these classic tracks that are the type of sound you really want. If it’s done really well, and the engineer has taken his time, especially with modulation effects, you want to have them in sync with the music. You want to have the highest point of the LFO and the lowest point, you want them to begin at the one beat, so that the phaser or the flanger or whatever is at its highest or lowest point at the one beat and then moves rhythmically with the music. It just gives you a more musical kind of effect.

So the first thing we did, obviously, was to add the tap tempo which was something we’d been able to do for a long time in our multi-effect processors, but in a pedal form it’s not common to see a phaser or a flanger with tap tempo on it. We really wanted to take it a step further, so we added an LFO trigger, or that’s at least what we called it. Basically what that means is, in a typical pedal you have the LFO running all the time, so whenever you engage the pedal, press the on switch, you have no idea where the LFO is in its cycle. That’s sort of ok if you’re using chorus or something like that - it really doesn’t matter where the LFO is. But if you’re using a hot tremolo, you want to have your guitar on the one beat, you don’t want to sound like you’re playing reggae because the LFO is in the wrong place compared to where the music is.

What the LFO trigger does, is it stops the LFO once you bypass the pedal and it resets it again, so when you engage the pedal again, if you do it in sync with the music, then you are certain that you’ll get the right effect. It really makes it possible to get some of these great sounding effects that are synced up to the music even in live use.
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