Flashback x4 vs Nova Delay


I recently purchased the T.C. Electronic Flashback x4 to replace my T.C. Electronic Nova Delay. I took the Flashback x4 on trial, as I was looking for some different functionality that my Nova Delay didn’t have. I was getting more and frustrated with not having easy access presets on the Nova Delay. So I tried the Flashback x4 hoping that with its added preset switches and size, that I would still like the tone and sounds I would be able to achieve.

I used the Nova Delay for quite a while, and it has great digital delay tones. Super clean, crisp and excellent at the dotted eighth sound. What I kept running into with it was that it wouldn’t always save my presets correctly. I would have to rebuild my sounds a lot. I also found myself really only using one preset. I had one sound, but because it’s a pain in the butt to change between presets, I would never cycle during a set, or even venture into new sounds or tones. I would always stick with old faithful. Another drawback I was never happy with was the modification to current settings. Because there are no preset switches and 10 programmable presets available, the values to each parameter are really hard to measure or change on the fly. It’s a digital reading, and so to remember where your setting is, you have to memorize what the last number was if you want to adjust it. And they were always really sensitive and not accurate, so a small twist would produce frustrating results. So finally, I wanted to give something else a try. Even though I would be sacrificing the nice small footprint of the Nova Delay, I decided to try the big, blue Flashback x4, hoping that the tones would be similar, if not even identical.

On first try, I really enjoyed the simplicity of the Flashback x4. It is really is to navigate and function. For my pedals, I’ll always lean towards visual and simple. Multi-effects or a lot of options gets me bogged down really quickly, especially if the options are layered. So having 3 presets on the top layer are really good for me. Love that. I also am a huge fan of being able to select my sounds and options from a dial and see what setting I’m on (if not a preset). The oversized dials are really nice for me, as I can make adjustments with my feet. I love being able to do just about anything live without bending over to make those adjustments.

So here’s the breakdown:

Looper – great functionality, easy to use. Love the undo functionality. (takes last recorded take, and removes it, while keeping other layers recorded before it. nice)

TonePrint – won’t use it…I like to get my own sounds and have the option of adjusting them.

Delay tones – so far, I have loved the tones I’m able to get from it. For the digital delay sounds, it’s basically the same and undistinguishable from the Nova Delay. The analog and tape sounds are warm and smooth. I wish that the pitch would shift when you alter the delay time, but I can get that out of my El Capistan, and better, so not a huge loss. One to highlight: the 2290 setting has really crisp response, and will give you that U2 sound if you’re ever shooting for that. Great for dotted eighth. The warmer sounds from the lo fi, tape, tube, analog and analog w/mod are awesome. Love the options there. Once you pick which sound you want, it’s really easy to get the results you hear in your head. The different settings available all have a great quality to them. None of them sound cheap in my opinion.

Presets – easy to save. easy to recall. I don’t need 10. I won’t use 10. I need a couple that are easy to get to. 3 is about perfect for me…4 might be nice…

Subdivision – this is a little goofy, but once you know what you’re doing, not a big deal. There’s a switch that dictates what your delay subdivisions are, so if you’re using live setting and using the tap, you have to remember where your switch is. But it saves your settings to a preset, so if you remember which preset does which, you’re gonna be okay.

Ultimately, the simplicity to the pedal is what wins out. I love how easy it is to use and take sounds that I have in my head and replicate them with the pedal. It sounds really great. Every time I’ve used it I’ve been really impressed with the tones and what I’m able to do with it. It made so much more sense to me than the Nova Delay. In fact, I literally tested it for about 10 minutes and knew that it would replace the Nova Delay. It’s easy, sounds AWESOME, and has what I want, not to mention it’s a lot of fun to use. It was a no-brainer for me.

I would highly recommend this pedal if you’re looking for something new and fresh or to even replace something like a Line6 DL4 (I’ve gone through 2 of those…). I like the analog feel with dials instead of digital readouts. Overall, the Flashback x4 wins by a longshot in my book. So far, best multi-delay I’ve used and experienced and beats out the Line6 DL4, Eventide Timefactor, Boss DD-20 and the T.C. Electronic Nova Delay.

Just my opinion…


9 thoughts on “Flashback x4 vs Nova Delay

      1. Glad to hear it! A lot of them are a waste of time – just minor tweaks to the existing modes such as analog delay with a slightly tweaked modulation or different sweep on the delay time. For the 4 patches I have 3 oddities and 1 which is a boss Dm-3 model for old times sake and they all actually see use.

  1. I’ve had them both and I can say this: NOVA is 10 times better than flashback x4 in terms of quality sound. There is no comparision….. .

  2. just curious why you say this beats the Eventide Timefactor. I own a Line6 DL4 and am currently trying out the Flashback X4…have already found some BIG issues (e.g., lack of global tempo using tap, no control over modulation, MIDI implementation is not ideal), though it does offer some great features. I would love to hear your thoughts on this vs. the Timefactor, as I really was thinking that was the one delay pedal to beat, even at a price tag of $150-200 more than the X4.

    1. For me personally, I don’t run into those issues. I don’t use modulated delay currently (I get that from my El Capistan, which gives me tape modulation and warble), and I don’t need MIDI implementation. I could see the global tap being an issue.

      I had a buddy who had the Timefactor, and it was okay. I wasn’t crazy impressed with the sounds it made for the money. It seemed overly complex and too layered. I’m not a “menu” guy.

      That said, I would probably say there are better delays out there compared to the X4. If I had the money, I would get the Empress Super Delay. That’s really what I’m looking for, and this is the closest thing to a knock off for me. Simplicity wins out, and the tones I’m looking for are accomplished with the X4.

      My one caveat would be this. If I didn’t have the El Capistan I would probably be more driven to get a different delay unit that was a little more robust than the X4.

      I hope that helps! Let me know your thoughts. Curious what you’re looking for.

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