Stellar reverb tones. Exceptional build quality. Simple interface. Real-time control via MASH footswitches. Deep editing—but only if desired. Bargain price.
It’s reet, but not petite.
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 X4 Reverb
Ease of Use:
The Hall of Fame 2 X4 Reverb from TC Electronic is big in every regard. It’s 9" wide and 5.5" deep. It weighs nearly three pounds. And, most important, it delivers excellent studio-quality reverb (and many ways to modify and control it) at a sensible stompbox price.
When I unboxed the HOF 2 X4, I thought, “Wow, this is for players with a serious commitment to reverb,” assuming that its cost would be as imposing as its enclosure. But no—the China-built device lists for $249, which is a remarkably low price for such a beautifully designed and manufactured pedal packed with great sounds and a host of unique TC Electronic extras.
Basically, the 2 X4 is a maximalist expansion of TC Electronic’s popular Hall of Fame 2 reverb pedal. You get 10 factory settings and six user memory slots settings, with eight stored patches accessible via four hefty footswitches. (The original Hall of Fame 2 has eight algorithms, three user slots, and a $130 street price. Here you have the power of four HOF 2s for a bit less than double the price.)
This bulky pedal may be a non-starter for players committed to cramming the maximum number of devices onto their pedalboards. Yet it’s gratifying to interact with a piece of gear with an old-school sense of scale. The oversized knobs feel great in your fingers, and their functions are easy to discern, even onstage.
What Fresh Hall Is This?
These reverbs are lush and detailed. They bloom attractively and maintain their richness through their final decays. There’s no hint of digital graininess or annoying resonance, and they don’t fatigue your ear after a few minutes. Reverb can be a matter of taste, and some might prefer crisper, simpler textures to these thick, creamy ones. But if any other pedals provide superior reverb in this price range, I’m unaware of them.
My first demo clip features a grab bag of electric guitar tones, recorded in mono with the 2 X4 between guitar and amp. (Some settings are factory algorithms, and some are weirder concoctions.) But for the true acid test, check out the remaining 10 clips—one for each of the factory settings. Here’s why they’re more revealing: I play acoustic guitar, which has vastly greater frequency and dynamic range than anything emerging from an amp speaker. I hooked up the 2 X4 as an outboard effect, with a mono guitar signal going in, but a stereo signal coming out. The decay and tone knobs are parked at noon, and there’s no pre-delay. Again: impressive, especially at this price. If you told me these tones were produced by a far pricier outboard unit, I’d probably believe you.
Editing Is Optional
These default tones are more functional than freaky. The lo-fi setting actually sounds quite rich. The modulation setting is relatively subtle. And, speaking of subtle, there’s the ambient setting: a mostly-dry blend that’s perfect for adding just a touch of air to close-miked cabinets. The one oddball is shimmer—an octave-up effect whose transpositions are remarkably smooth and detailed.
But you can get weirder if you want, thanks to TCE’s free TonePrint software for Mac, PC, and iOS. If you just pay attention to TC’s marketing, the feature attraction here is the ability to download presets created by celebrity guitarists. Well, okay. But if you’re enough of a sound sculptor to edit reverb via software, the truly exciting part is access to a deep-yet-user-friendly editor that can customize tones in exquisite detail. The TonePrint system works like a charm. To edit and load sounds from a computer, you just connect the included USB cable. From an iOS device, no cables are needed. It’s not a wi-fi system, as on, say, Eventide’s H9 pedal. Instead, you hold your phone or tablet near your pickups. The device emits an audio tone, which the 2 X4 interprets as patch parameters. The system is fast, fun, and, in my experience at least, flawless.
It can also be nonexistent, if you prefer. All the complex stuff is only visible if you opt to connect to an external device. There are no confusing labels or multi-function knobs on the hardware. Many, if not most, players will get everything they need just by spinning the big, obvious knobs. That’s why I give the HOF 2 X4 a maximum “ease of use” rating, even though its software editing can get quite complex. The pedal is only as tricky as you want it to be.
TC Electronic’s TonePrint software permits deep editing, including of the roles of the touch-sensitive MASH switches.
The HOF 2 X4 runs on standard 9V power supplies, and it comes with an adapter. Rear-panel functions include old-school MIDI I/O jacks, buffer bypass, and a 100 percent wet option for using the pedal as a send effect. There’s also a 1/4" expression pedal jack, but you may never need it—which brings us to a final killer feature.
The pedal employs TC Electronic’s signature MASH switching. The four footswitches aren’t simply on/off toggles, but pressure-sensitive controllers you can assign to most edit parameters. You might, for example, click on a reverb patch, and then control its wet/dry blend via foot pressure. Or you could pilot the decay time, the modulation depth and rate, and so on. You can assign up to three parameters per switch. Again, it’s your choice whether to choreograph complex controller scenarios, or just ignore pressure sensitivity.
Everything about the Hall of Fame 2 X4 Reverb is exceptional. The reverbs are rich and varied. The large controls and simple interface are a delight. The deep editing options and built-in MASH control are fantastic features, but you can pretend they don’t exist if you want to keep it simple. The build quality is remarkable for the price—and the price is pretty damn remarkable as well.