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

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

  1. BeauZooka


    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    Sorry, I didn’t notice the out of stock thing. :wacky: Hopefully they will get some in soon.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  2. BunchyMutt

    BunchyMutt Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I don’t care at all. I’ve been waiting for a good price, I wasn’t in any hurry, I know they’ll honor the price of it was a mistake
    BeauZooka likes this.
  3. green3101


    Aug 31, 2016
    Hi guys,

    I have a spark booster and have been loving it.

    I've only had a chance to use it at home due to lockdown here in the UK, so just using it through a small practice amp.

    My question is, has anyone experienced any low end loss with it at all when using it on a gig/recording?

    I usually blend any dirt I use, either with a dedicated blend knob on the pedal itself, or via an external device.

    Interested to know people's thoughts.

    I use it on the middle switch setting. Both treble and Bass at neutral, volume at about 10:30 - 11:00 and the gain at about 2:00

  4. BeauZooka


    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    I use it on Fat mode put the bass knob around 2:00. Tons of low end available!
  5. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    I've heard lots of great thing about this very affordable pedal, and every demo I have watched of it featuring bass has pretty much confirmed this to me.

    I seriously ponder on getting one and will most likely at some point, even though I actually really am very happy with the job my Joyo Orange Juice do for me currently, which is a seriously sized down clone of the discontinued Tech 21 Oxford, analog preamp/overdrive Orange amp style emulation, with simplified controls to accommodate it's meticulous size, that can go everywhere from perfectly clean, over just slight breakup, all the way up to a medium gain kind of distortion, and very responsive to playing dynamics, that I have set to a low gain overdrive and placed in one of the effect loops of one of my Boss LS-2, blended with clean signal from the other effects loop of the LS-2, at an about "55% Orange Juice low gain overdrive/45% clean signal" ratio or so, as an always on thing, just giving me a touch of tube like grid, adding a hint of snap, edge and subtle grind and generally slightly enhancing harmonic content of my bass signal.

    But I imagine that the regular full size version of the TC Electronic Spark Booster might very likely be capable of doing a very similar job for me.

    Not sure if it could actually do a better job for me than my current Orange Juice/LS-2 setup, but I am very curious to find out, hence most likely will order a Spark Booster in the not too distant future.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
    Zbysek and BeauZooka like this.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    There's your problem. Like @BeauZooka said, Fat mode is the way to go!
    BeauZooka likes this.
  7. MartinB


    Jun 7, 2017
    Birmingham, UK
    With those settings on Clean mode, there'll be some roll-off below ~80Hz. Turn up the Bass knob to about 2:30 to counteract it.
  8. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    Does anyone know if the Spark Booster inverts the phase of your signal when active? I'm shopping around for a light overdrive to run in a parallel effects loop with some other pedals that are all in-phase when active.
  9. 600 Ohms

    600 Ohms Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    I have one coming... I also tried the Mojomojo, but it was too much gain for what I want.
    Zbysek likes this.
  10. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    Says $59, right now, but holy jeebus, they used to be $99. I paid $80 for mine used. I actually have two big Sparks and two Spark minis, and I can’t sing the praises of these pedals enough.

    I could make a whole pedalboard just out of Sparks and Spark minis.
    Zbysek likes this.
  11. 600 Ohms

    600 Ohms Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Sweetwater told me they have something like a few hundred on backorder! Can you imagine? That led me to buy a used one.
    amper likes this.
  12. 600 Ohms

    600 Ohms Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    For anyone who has used both a Mojomojo and a Spark, is the fundamental character of Spark's overdrive different than the Mojo? How would you describe it. Mine won't be here till Friday...
  13. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I personally have a sneaking suspicion that the Spark and the MojoMojo (and Dark Matter and Rottweiler) are all the same circuit, with varying levels of gain and slightly different EQ.

    From lowest gain to highest:
    Spark (3 different EQ settings, Clean/Fat/Mid Boost)
    MojoMojo (2 different EQ settings, Flat/Bass cut)
    Dark Matter (2 different EQ settings, Flat/Bass cut)
    Röttweiler (2 different EQ settings, Flat/Mid scoop)

    The MojoMojo and Dark Matter sound identical, except the Dark Matter has maybe 25-33% more gain. So, the MojoMojo with the gain knob at 12:00 sounds like the Dark Matter with the Gain knob at 09:00.

    The Spark is a little harder to compare, because the eq structure is totally different. Same for the Röttweiler, which also has a stupid amount of gain. I’d be more specific, but I honestly really haven’t used my Spark and MojoMojo to try a direct comparison of them, as I bought them really to do different things, and their character, as I recall, is slightly different.
    600 Ohms likes this.
  14. 600 Ohms

    600 Ohms Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    The Spark is really great. Much more what I was looking for. It might not be perfect but it is very good. The nature of the overdrive is less mushy than the Mojo. I can see what the fuss is about.
    Zbysek, BeauZooka and amper like this.
  15. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011

    They are not!

    Sure a lot of pedals adds a led that lights up the tube, it's there for shows, and for people like you that don't think that tubes work unless they light up like a light bulb, but that doesn't mean that the tube in such pedals doesn't actually work it's magic, and you would know if you actually knew what you were talking about.

    Even tube overdrives/preamps that utilizes starved plate voltage has their place, and in fact you usually will actually get more coloration from the tubes in such a circuits, the character of the tubes will just be slightly different run on lower voltage than they originally were designed for (typically starved tube plate voltage will give the tubes a bit less warm, slightly brighter, slightly less compressed and slightly grittier character compared to if they are run in a circuit utilizing proper high plate voltage), doesn't mean that that is necessarily a bad thing though or that it in any possible way sounds objectively worse, and it certainly doesn't mean that the tubes doesn't actually work, it will just be slightly different, which as said absolutely has it's place too.

    Also far from all pedals that utilize tubes utilize starved plate voltage, a fair share of them do actually run the tubes at proper high 200V to 300V plate voltage.

    The thing is that you can't just assume that these pedals run at the same voltage as the power supply they come with puts out, even the pedals that utilize starved plate voltage often has the voltage ramped up internally.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
    aekisz likes this.
  16. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    Just buy a valve amp, son.
  17. BeauZooka


    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    Tube bass amps are usually expensive and/or heavy. Not everyone wants to go that route.
  18. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Ok Dad, so you finally decided you'll buy me one for my birthday anyway.

    Thank you Dad, I love you.
    mattwear and BeauZooka like this.
  19. The Spark booster is the one piece of gear I'll never part with. It's very, very good.
    Marihino likes this.
  20. Primary

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