REVIEW: TC Electronic TC2290-DT Digital Delay

TC Electronic TC2290-DT Desktop-Controlled Plug-in 

TC’s delay units were pretty much industry standard in the 1980s, not only in studios, but in live rigs for guitar players, as well. It’s a delay sound that while being digital, had a character to itself that was quite desirable. Go looking for a vintage unit, and they command a big price. Now TC has brought the essence of that box back with a plug-in that lives in your DAW, but with a separate hardware controller that lives on your desktop.

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Download and install the software, connect the controller via USB, and fire up your DAW. Installation complete. The physical controller gives a tactile experience to all the aspects of the plug-in, which we LOVE. But, it’s all done without the hassle of scrolling or right clicking through menus and parameters and any editing functions. We’re sold on that feature alone. 

So, let’s start with the physical controller, which looks and feels like the classic 2290 rack, just without the size. Well-lit input and output meters, along will full controls of the delay, feedback, pan and dynamic as well as modulations are all found here. Now in each of those sections there are dedicated controls for further tweaking and adjustments. It may seem like a lot, but it’s quite intuitive; within a couple of minutes, we had a sound we were looking for, and it was right on the money.

Now, it can work without the controller. Let’s say you’re mixing while on vacation, and don’t want to bring anything other than a laptop. The plug-in will work via the UI for 60 days, then will go into demo mode, and do just processing, no ability to adjust any settings. Plug the controller back in, and it’s back to normal. 

Sound-wise, it’s got a lot going on. The 2290 has been the high water mark for a lot of classic digital delays, and with this unit, it reproduces those sounds faithfully and easily. One great effect that the 2290 was known for is a “ducking” delay. It’s a delay that when there’s signal going through, the un-delayed signal has forward presence, and the delayed signal sits under it. Stop playing, and that delayed signal rises up in the mix. It’s a really intelligent and especially great on guitars and synth lines. The chorus and flanging sounds are perfect for creating ambient soundscapes, too. Want that hyper clean shimmer and sparkle? No problem.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at first glance, but thankfully TC has mapped out some presets that are really, really great. The description is right on point for the application. No selecting a patch that is so far off target that it’s unusable, which can be common with presets. Call one up, with a couple of taps to the controller, it’s there. Done. If you create custom patches, those can be saved as well. TC has also been developing their TonePrint library, and sharing those with users for an ever-expanding palette.

Overall, it’s perfect. All the best delays and modulations, with a control system that’s real time and tactile. Our only question is, “TC, what took you so long?” But we’re beyond happy you made it!

PROS:

Perfect delays and modulations, physical controller is great, easy editing.

CONS:

Absolutely none.

STREET PRICE:

$299

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