If there is but one type of effect that TC Electronic is famous for, it’s reverb. All studio geeks are familiar with TC reverbs, so let’s fire up the Hall of Fame Reverb and find out if it performs as well on the pedal board…
Even if you don’t know the classic TC reverb algorithms, you have definitely heard them – either in albums or in blockbuster movies. Most professional recording studios have used either TC or Lexicon reverbs (or both) for decades as have film production teams from Hollywood to Bollywood and back again.
Reportedly, the fundamental reverb algorithm used for Hall of Fame is taken from TC’s high-end System 6000 signal processor. Yes, the one used by all those pro audio guys. So with that in mind let’s build up our expectations and get started.
The Hall of Fame has 4 knobs and a 2-way switch – plus the obligatory footswitch and on/off LED. The DECAY knob sets the size of the space you want to crate and the FX LEVEL determines how much of it you blend into your dry tone. In case you feel the urge to sculpt the sound of the room a bit, you can use the TONE knob to darken or brighten the reverb tail – it will not mess with your dry tone. Finally, use the fourth knob to switch between 10 different reverb types or select the TonePrint slot (more on that later).
The 2-way switch allows you to chose either a long or short PRE-DELAY. In short, a long PRE-DELAY setting will give you the attack of the dry tone and build up the reverb tail with a slight delay, whereas a short setting will bring up the reverb right away. In a way you could say that with the short setting, you’re more ‘in the room’ if that makes any sense…
With 10 different types of reverb under the hood, there are a lot of sound examples in this review – 40 to be exact. While I have used a somewhat methodical approach in the sense that each individual type is being demoed, it would make no sense to do every type with, say, a 25% DECAY /25% FX LEVEL / 25% TONE – then 50% and 75% or similar. Each type is so unique that some would shine with some of the settings and others would just be a big blurry mess.
Also, even though I would in rare cases apply some extremely subtly reverb to low notes, it would probably be best suited for review purposes to use it in a more obvious and not least audible way, so I decided to create a short groove and play a few solo phrases. I try to go easy at first so the reverb is audible after the first phrase and at the end, I cut out everything so the reverb tail get to ring out on its own. That is where you should listen for the subtle and very fine details in each of the reverb types.
While I do try to start out with some rather subtle tones, the starting points and how each demo develops are very different. I recommend that you simply browse through the sounds to get an idea of the nature of each of the reverb types. Then come back here and move on to the below sections…
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.
As heard in the above sound clips, the Hall of Fame is immensely versatile. It’s quite an accomplishment to have been able to fit in so many great-sounding reverbs into a standard-sized pedal. As expected, I loved the ‘classic’ reverbs such as ROOM, HALL, PLATE and AMB. What took me by surprise was the very cool-sounding MOD (modulation on the reverb tail), LOFI and TILE types that really have an edge that has something different to offer.
And even with all of this in mind, there is the TonePrint feature. I have touched upon it briefly in the beginning of the Flashback Delay review and if you are not familiar with the concept, please take out a minute to read the opening the Flashback Delay review.
As with the Flashback, there are tons of artist TonePrints to be found free of charge on TC’s website – and a lot of them are actually created by bass players, including Gary Willis, Mark King, Jon Thorne, Dave LaRue, Carles Benavent, Chris Minh Doky, Roger Glover and many more. And you can download the free TonePrint Editor to open a whole new world of hidden parameters that you can tweak in any way imaginable. Probably a feature most suited for the true control geeks among us, but having such a powerful editing tool as part of the package is indeed giving the Hall of Fame an advantage over the competition.
Adding those two things together – the pedal with 10 types of reverb, plus the TonePrint artists and not least the TonePrint Editor – you will be hard pressed to find a more versatile reverb pedal.
Hall of Fame Reverb is rock solid. I have had it on the board for 2-3 years and never had any issues.
Design? Well, you like red, or you don’t. No seriously, the design choices are good. The limitation on a four-knob pedal is always to find out which control parameter(s) to take out and in this case, you could have wished for a dedicated PRE-DELAY knob, but having the switch and a simple long/short setting is really working out very well. And again, if you need that deep control, just fire up the TonePrint Editor and knock yourself out.
The Hall of Fame also features stereo in and out, which is probably most useful to guitar players with two amps on the stage, but it’s nice to have and you could use the extra output to feed a tuner as explained in this tip.
You can use a standard 9V battery and if that is your preference, the battery access is really nicely thought out. There is one big screw underneath and you can use any coin or reasonably thick plectrum to loosen and tighten it. I have not have much use for it as I always run it on a power supply, but it’s still a nice feature. One of those small things that indicate that nothing has been left to chance in the development.
Today (2015), you can pick up a new TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb from around $140. You can find cheaper reverb pedals and certainly also much more expensive ones, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one. And if you do, chances are that it will be significantly more expensive, which brings me to this conclusion. The price/quality ratio is indeed very high, and at the end of the day isn’t that what defines Value for Money?
If you have read all of the above, you can probably sense that I really love the Hall of Fame. And if you listened to the sound clips, I hope you agree that it is one great-sounding and hugely versatile pedal.
High build quality
Great value for money
TonePrint Editor and artists
Easy battery access