TC Electronic Spark Booster. Underrated champion of low-gain overdrives

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by _godspeed_, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. My quest for low-gain tube-like overdrive is over as of today!

    It all started with JHS Charlie Brown(too much gain, too much low end loss), then Barbershop(not enough gain, raspy and farty with flats), then Aguilar Agro(too much gain, too much low end loss) and finally Aftershock. Actually I'm pretty happy with my Aftershock, but I just wanted plain simple "always-on just at the edge of breakup overdrive". Spark was coming up all the time, when someone was asking about low-gain overdrives here in Effects section. I really liked what I heard on YouTube and few clips I found online. It was just the question of time when one will show up on my local Craigslist at reasonable price and it finally did!

    What I can say? Aside from booster with a huge headroom, it's a very capable low-gain overdrive that can easyily into moderate gain territory. Very transparent at CLEAN setting. Basically it gives you that "your tone + more" vibe. Quite tubey with rich harmonic presence in the mids and very dynamic - as you dig harder, it starts breaking up just right(for my taste). Sounds great with both rounds and flats. That was my biggest problem with Barbershop - it sounded great with rounds, but went "kazoo" with flats. I noticed zero low end loss and clean settings, but some loss with FAT and Works great with compressor in front of it, giving you even tighter, "tubier" tone. I think everyone should just try one.

    This pedal is criminally underrated as @mmbongo put it and I totally second that. I'd guarantee that if TC Electronic would simply change name of this pedal to something like "Spark Overdrive", it will immediately get huge attention from bass players. It's quite affordable if you buy it used, but I wouldn't mind paying full price for this pedal.
    Winton, amper, Zbysek and 13 others like this.
  2. slapagroov


    Apr 24, 2007
    Fort Myers, FL
    Seriously thinking of buying one. I want something for going to a di. I've actually been using an Analogman King of Tone and it's been surprisingly good. I'm looking for something more transparent with a little grit. I've been patiently waiting for the GK Plex. Maybe this will help my bide my time.
    AndrewTaran likes this.
  3. Then TC Spark is right up your alley :)
    slapagroov likes this.
  4. Kenova


    May 5, 2010
    Zagreb (Croatia)

    Bought this beauty today, oh my god it is good little toy, everything I ever wanted is here, little boost with preserved core bass tone and added a little bit of grit. I always hated overdrive and distorsion pedals because they suck so much low end and color tone, it’s disaster. This is beautiful, can’t wait to record some videos with it. Good job TC!
    Winton, amper, Zbysek and 4 others like this.
  5. veryvery


    May 23, 2016
    I really like mine. I don't like fuzz or overdrive on bass--not usually, anyway--but this gives me a mild overdrive that's just enough.

    For example, on my fretted bass I can get a nice "Valley Girl"-like tone from it, among other things.
    DJ Bebop and Kenova like this.
  6. Kenova


    May 5, 2010
    Zagreb (Croatia)
    We have sam taste in overdriven sound. I don’t know how this pedal is not more popular for bass, it does some things much better than some higher priced stuff. I tried Aguilar Agro, thin sound with very metallic drive. SansAmp is very scooped and so colored it hurts. MXR DI M80 is boring with grainy and metallic distorsion. OCD sucks lows so much....
    Zbysek and veryvery like this.
  7. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    The Spark is one of the pedals that never leaves my board. My lead guitarist also has it, it is a kick ass pedal!
    amper, Zbysek and Kenova like this.
  8. I like the ehx bass soul food, just saying
    javi_bassist and Kenova like this.
  9. How does the Spark work with a solid state amp, such a Gallien Krueger rb700i?
    Unemploid likes this.
  10. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    I have the Spark Mini with a Crown power amp and it works great.
    Zbysek, kesslari and Kenova like this.
  11. filler83


    Jan 5, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    Looking for a pedal that does this low gain tubey warm sound. Was looking at the TC spark and the EHX hot tubes. How do these compare and which would you recommend?
    Kenova likes this.
  12. Spectre1966

    Spectre1966 Striving For Mediocrity Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Wallingford, CT
    The TC Spark is basically a booster pedal....unless I’m mistaken it doesn’t color the sound at all.
    Maybe the TC Spectracomp would fit the bill...I use mine pretty much to add a little boost and color to my bass before it heads to the rest of the effects.

    (EDIT: I stand corrected. I use the mini booster and that is strictly a booster. The regular one does color the sound.)
    amper, Liko and Zbysek like this.
  13. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    I watched some demos on youtube and it sounds very well on bass.

    Nowadays I don't need a booster pedal but if I ever need one, this is very high in the list.
    Kenova likes this.
  14. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    This is exactly why they should change the name. People don't realize the Spark can be a full on overdrive as well as a pure clean boost.
    Kenova likes this.
  15. Kenova


    May 5, 2010
    Zagreb (Croatia)
    This one, I was looking the same thing as you and most important thing was NOT LOSING LOW END!!! And this pedal does exact that, no loss of low end, it the tone of your bass, very transparent but boosted, clearer and drive is beautiful, very subtle if you want or saturated if that's your thing, but it's not going over the top .
    Zbysek and Newbilong like this.
  16. filler83


    Jan 5, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks. So just it be clear you are recommending the spark?
    amper, Lowbrow and Kenova like this.
  17. Kenova


    May 5, 2010
    Zagreb (Croatia)
    With all my heart, for me it's always on pedal.
    Zbysek and El Spearo like this.
  18. Tandark


    Jun 16, 2015
    Looking to add an extra push of gain on top of my Rumble 500 combo drive channel, the EQD palisades I bought for guitar isn't quite doing for me (can't give a reason why), sounds like the spark might be a very cost effective option?
    Kenova likes this.
  19. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    Are we talking the full size version or the mini?
  20. Full size.
    Low Commotion, chechunka and Kenova like this.
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