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TC Electronic Spark Booster

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Just got one of these for under £30 (mint/used) and they're only £40 new right now!

https://www.tcelectronic.com/product.html?modelCode=P0DDN

Adds just the right amount of gain for a lightly overdriven bass grind with a natural feeling compression. The mid boost is great for punching through in a mix and presents some lovely harmonic overtones.

I'm late to the party on this as it's been out a few years.... but better late than never. This maybe one of those 'always on' pedals!

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I tried one and thought the same, nothing overboard just a little bit of fur to the sound which I’m sure would really work in the mix, a bit like when you hear isolated bass from artists like John Deacon. 

Edited by Lozz196
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13 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

I tried one and thought the same, nothing overboard just a little bit of fur to the sound which I’m sure would really work in the mix, a bit like when you hear isolated bass from artists like John Deacon. 

Just listened to some of those isolated tracks you are talking about, and not to talk bad about John Deacon, but I am just flabbergasted with how right out terrible that sounded, first of all it just didn't sound good, as the actual tone of the bass, sounded like a wet fart, next the intonation was way off in many of the isolated bass tracks I heard, like no one bothered setting it at all before recording, or at any point for that matter, and lastly they were all a pure slop fest, inconsistent in every possible way, dynamics jumped up and down and were all over, not just the different sections, which could be explained by song dynamics, but between single notes, really often not hitting notes clean, extremely sloppy slides,  and really bad timing too, which clearly couldn't just be the natural flow of the songs, were talking about a serious tempo slur, especially when he was playing several fast notes in a row, almost like he stumbled over his own fingers every time he attempted to do so.

If it was me playing that bass I would feel very bad about it and demand a retake, or even ask if I could come back and do my takes another day (I assume they didn't actually had a very limited studio budget that wouldn't allow for this), cause that day I clearly just didn't seem to be able to play bass properly.

I know this sounds harsh and seems like I am just putting John Deacon down for the sake of it, but it's really just that I am honestly shocked by what I heard and how consistently bad it was between the 5 tracks of isolated bass I heard.

1 track like that could be excused, but at this point I am getting the impression that he simply was just not a very skilled bass player, but just got lucky being in a very successful band and that non of the other or their record company seemed to mind, imagine if Freddie Mercury's vocals had been this sloppy and poorly produced/mixed. 

I know, it sounds fine in the mix, but in my opinion that is despite how carelessly it was played and produced/mixed, not because of the people responsible for it, mainly John Deacon as he was the one playing it (and I guess you could argue that the producer/mixing guy actually did a good job, making something so badly played actually work), did a good job. 

Sorry for going off topic too, I am just genuinely in shock.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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It wouldn’t sound fine in the mix if it was played as unevenly and out of time as you say. Listening to solo’d parts is of very limited use. He’s a wonderful player. The ONLY thing that matters is that it works in the mix. It doesn’t exist for any other purpose.

Part of being a great player is knowing what works, and knowing when it’s done. Endless retakes and having to come back another day doesn’t get you work. Perfectionism gets you nowhere!

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On 26/11/2020 at 09:48, Ramirez said:

It wouldn’t sound fine in the mix if it was played as unevenly and out of time as you say. Listening to solo’d parts is of very limited use. He’s a wonderful player. The ONLY thing that matters is that it works in the mix. It doesn’t exist for any other purpose.

Part of being a great player is knowing what works, and knowing when it’s done. Endless retakes and having to come back another day doesn’t get you work. Perfectionism gets you nowhere!

Have you actually listened to those tracks (I mean the isolated bass tracks on YouTube)?

Of course I have no way to know the authenticity of them, and they could also be live tracks, but the horriblyness of them is very real, and it seem consistent on the ones I have been able to find.

Now listen to isolated bass tracks by someone like John Entwistle and it's a whole other deal, those sound absolutely awesome.

Also making something work doesn't mean that it couldn't be better, I guess it just speaks of how small a role bass plays in Queen tracks, as said imagine Freddie Murcry doing a similar sloppy job and the tracks would have been unlistenable. 

And I am not talking about them not being perfect, I am talking about them being right out horrible, there's a big difference.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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Yeah..... anyway.....

 

 

....about this pedal......

 

*facepalm*

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I borrowed one off a mate for a while (a Spark Booster pedal that is, not one of John Deacon's 💩 studio recordings) and I thought it was great for a low gain, touch of hair/grit/whatever. As Cetrea says in the original post, the mid boost setting really makes the bass stand tall in the mix.

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Always fancied a go on one - the original version not the mini.

Edited by krispn
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I got one (the full sized one) last year, based on a thread on here. Was very pleased with it. As others have said, it seems to just add that something to make things more interesting. Although I’m not playing bass at the moment, it’s one of the pedals I’m keeping. It can quite easily do what i used to use my BDDI/VTBass for, as in always on.

Obviously it lacks sophisticated EQ, but I’m really pleased at how it boosts and livens up the signal, without adding to much extra colour. To me it was more plug and play than my preamps. 

 

Edited by dave_bass5
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Yeah I was always a fan of boost pedals. I really like the Hudson Broadcast for that transformer driven boost. Just makes things sound a bit more ‘3-D’ 

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9 minutes ago, krispn said:

Yeah I was always a fan of boost pedals. I really like the Hudson Broadcast for that transformer driven boost. Just makes things sound a bit more ‘3-D’ 

The problem i used to have was I liked some of the pedals on all the time, but also like them doing something a bit more. Buying two was never really practical.

My all time fav was my Cog Knightfall as it had two gin channels, but sharing the same EQ. So it was a nice always on, and then a bit more of the same when needed. 

Edited by dave_bass5

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5 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

My all time fav was my Cog Knightfall as it had two gin channels, but sharing the same EQ. So it was a nice always on, and then a bit more of the same when needed. 

Two gin channels- always a winner! Yeah my Broadcast was the two channel version.

Edited by krispn
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2 minutes ago, krispn said:

 

Two gin channels- always a winner!

Yeah, although i prefer a two rum channel pedal 😂

Mind you, at the price the SB sells for, two is still cheap.

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17 hours ago, dave_bass5 said:

I got one (the full sized one) last year, based on a thread on here. Was very pleased with it. As others have said, it seems to just add that something to make things more interesting. Although I’m not playing bass at the moment, it’s one of the pedals I’m keeping. It can quite easily do what i used to use my BDDI/VTBass for, as in always on.

Obviously it lacks sophisticated EQ, but I’m really pleased at how it boosts and livens up the signal, without adding to much extra colour. To me it was more plug and play than my preamps. 

 

From my limited experience with one I’d say that’s pretty much spot on. If I compare it to my gear it’s like turning the valve drive on my ABM600 on to full from off - same sound just with more life and harmonics.

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This is an awesome pedal imo... Albeit I've taken it off my board for a little. I use it in front of my valve amp as a boost for heavier sections and like noted above, it doesn't add colour, just more of my amp. 

I have the max version as I find the toggle and the eq pretty useful. 

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So pleased to have read this thread!  I have the TC Spectradrive pedal and had been using 'Natural Drive' - that was OK but a bit too fuzzy for my liking so most of the time I left it switched off.  I had a proper read of the toneprints available and it seems that 'Clean Boost' approximates to the Spark Booster.  I had previously ignored it because I didn't want a clean boost!   So I beamed 'Clean Boost' into the pedal, boosted the mids a little, cut the bass a tad and - yum, there it is - the drive I've been looking for :)   Really fattens it up in the way I want it to. 

Another score for Basschat!  :D 

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38 minutes ago, Paul S said:

So pleased to have read this thread!  I have the TC Spectradrive pedal and had been using 'Natural Drive' - that was OK but a bit too fuzzy for my liking so most of the time I left it switched off.  I had a proper read of the toneprints available and it seems that 'Clean Boost' approximates to the Spark Booster.  I had previously ignored it because I didn't want a clean boost!   So I beamed 'Clean Boost' into the pedal, boosted the mids a little, cut the bass a tad and - yum, there it is - the drive I've been looking for :)   Really fattens it up in the way I want it to. 

Another score for Basschat!  :D 

Thats to only tone print I could get to work for me when i had mine, and it happened to be ideal in its own right. I just wish there was the ability to adjust EQ for the drive section independently.

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12 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Thats to only tone print I could get to work for me when i had mine, and it happened to be ideal in its own right. I just wish there was the ability to adjust EQ for the drive section independently.

Actually this isn't an issue for me, luckily.  I don't really use effects as such, just want to fatten my core tone and then leave it on all the time.  It has the compressor that I like plus a DI so it is the only pedal I need other than a tuner. 

Now there's an idea - stick a tuner in it!  They could call it a Spectradrivecompolytune.  I reckon that would fly off the shelves.  As long as it wasn't in a wooden box.

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1 minute ago, Paul S said:

Actually this isn't an issue for me, luckily.  I don't really use effects as such, just want to fatten my core tone and then leave it on all the time.  It has the compressor that I like plus a DI so it is the only pedal I need other than a tuner. 

I think it is neutral enough to not really need any extra EQ, but the lack of EQ stopped me using any of the other drive tones prints. 

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Was totallly unaware of this TC booster. As per YouTube demos I'd say it's one of the few overdrive pedals without a blend control that I'd use on bass. This sorta' respects the bass' timbre, I like that kind of OD that allows you bass to still "blend thru" the saturation at a nice ratio. I've got a Guma Drive kit coming my way (Xmas project with my brother -domotics circuitry designer and occasional drummer-), but if I have to be honest I have much more day to day use for this kind of overdrive tone (even this particular pedal with no blend control) than the CMOS style really. NICE usable bass OD, and at that price, a no brainer. Too bad I'm mostly a multiFX guy (altho' single "my tone in a box" kinda' use), these days you can get all sorts of great single pedals for CHEAP. Since I'm using multiFX mostly as preamps (fat compressed crunchy style, either picked or plucked) I know I could get away with this Spark Booster and a DI box for gigging or even recording (I've used a SansAmp RBI since forever, don't fear the pedal + DI layout at all). Thanx 4 sharing! 👍👍👍

Edited by andruca
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