The Stereo Chorus Flanger (SCF) was the first TC pedal ever made. It first hit the market back in 1976, and the SCF has been made by hand in Denmark ever since…
In the 70’s effect pedals were very noisy, which was what inspired TC to develop the SCF. The goal was to create a pedal that didn’t generate loads of background noise and hiss. The mission was accomplished and the SCF became known as ‘the sound of silence’. Today, the SCF is the only TC ‘legacy’ pedal still in production. Let’s take a deeper look and listen.
Essentially, the SCF combines three effect types. All of them modulation effects: Chorus, Pitch Modulation and Flanger. Operation is simple as you simply flick a 3-way switch to choose the effect type you want. From then on, the three control knobs are the same regardless of the effect type you’ve selected.
First, you have a SPEED knob that defines – well – the speed of the modulation going on. Second, you have a WIDTH knob, which is equivalent to the DEPTH knob on many other modulation pedals. Finally, you also get an INTENSITY knob that works a bit differently in each mode. For chorus it sets the wet/dry mix balance, for flanger it sets the feedback and in pitch modulation mode it increases the intensity of the effect amount gradually.
Given the history behind this pedal, let’s find out if it really is silent. It sure is – even compared with modern pedals, this almost 40-year-old design keeps up with the best in terms of sheer engineering. So, it doesn’t add noise to your signal, but what does it add then?
The possible variety of settings is infinite, so I decided on a methodical approach for the sound tests. I will focus mainly on the chorus effect. While being slightly illogic, I simply decided to apply 1) gentle, 2) medium and 3) heavy amounts of effect. The way I set that up was to simply dial in all three knobs at 25%, 50% and 75% respectively. I am aware that this does not necessarily translate in to more or less effect on all parameters. Still, I think it does the job for demonstrating purposes, but give it a listen and see if you think it makes sense. I hope it does
NOTE! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. You simply can’t judge low-end material on laptop, tablet or phone speakers…!
NOTE! If you are on a mobile device, please turn it to landscape mode to see the knob settings of the pedal for each audio clip.
This pedal is very versatile. Many chorus (or flanger) pedals simply have two controls (speed/range and width/depth), which is just fine in most cases. However having that INTENSITY parameter makes the SCF much more flexible. Add to that the flanger and Pitch Modulation modes and the potential tone-creating possibilities within the modulation scope are virtually unlimited.
Build quality is second to none. Hand made in Denmark, this pedal is solid as a rock. The knobs have a nice and firm feel, and in general the pedal just has that high-end quality feel to it.
There are a few design-related topics that I have not mentioned yet, and now seems to be the time. The SCF comes with a fixed power cable, which means you don’t have to feed it via a battery or from an external power supply, which is essentially great. That said, you may need to add a power strip to your pedal board as the SCF requires its own socket – which may be a pain.
You will also find a small Input Gain knob on the SCF so you can tailor it perfectly for the input of your bass and your playing style, which is also contributing to maintaining the very impressive signal to noise ratio.
It should also be mentioned that the SCF features an External Bypass control that allows you to bypass it from an external relay switching system.
Finally, you have the option to go stereo out of the SCF, but I guess that would be a very rare situation for bass players – for guitarists it probably makes a lot more sense, though.
Considering the age of the design this pedal was extremely innovative, which is probably less surprising if you factor in the nature of the company that reinvented tuning (polytune) and added a whole new dimension to digital effects with the TonePrint pedals. Maybe also due to the age of the original design, this pedal is rather big compared to modern trends of mini and micro pedals, taking up more of your precious pedal board real estate.
The SCF is available from $225 (2015) as new and can usually be picked up for a little less on ebay. Still, not the cheapest pedal around, but not overly expansive either.
I guess the thing is that compared to TC’s new range of pedals, the price seems steep, but compared to boutique brands, it’s really not that expensive. Sound and feature wise I would not hesitate comparing it with similarly priced (or even more expensive) pedals – keeping in mind that there are also many great-sounding, cheaper alternatives available out there.
Overall, I love this pedal. The sound, quality and versatility is top-notch, and with only a few obstacles to drag it down, I rate the TC SCF at an impressive total of 85.4.
Built like a tank
You may need a power strip
Takes up some space on your board