The sound of the TC Electronic 2290 in a stompbox?

TC Electronic 2290The TC Electronic 2290 might the most legendary digital delay ever.
You can find it in countless studios and racks.
But what is it that makes this device legendary? And are there adequate emulation pedals?

Features

The 2290 has numerous features that are quite interesting.
The backside for example offers enough space to connect effect pedals in 6 different loops.
The modulation as well as the ducking effect are also pretty exciting.
But to be honest, other devices too provide these features.
And modern delay pedals can do even more – emulation analog delays or tube echos for example.
The 2290 rather is a one-trick-pony.

But its sound is unique, clear but full, digital but not sterile.

Pedals emulating the 2290

You can find plentiful pedals that are oriented towards the TC Electronic 2290.
TC Electronic also put the Flashback and the ND-1 Nova Delay on the market. Both are supposed to emulate the 2290.
Likewise, the Free Tone Flight Time FT-1Y and the Providence DLY-4 Chrono Delay are aligned to the 2290.
Admittedly, none of these pedals sound like the Original. And of course, there are some reasons why they are not able to do so.

The Original

The original 2290 has an analog preamp with much headroom.
Although it works with only 16 bits, the signal can be booted quite intensive without overdriving.
Thereby the sound becomes full and absolutely unique.
None of the pedals offer this much headroom so the signal would overdrive quite earlier.
Even if the pedals are able to emulate the pure signal, because of the weaker signal the emulation will sound thinner and less vivid.

The Preamp

A preamp of a high standard is the secret of many legendary delays.
The Deluxe Memory Man as well as the Korg SDD 3000 (rack version) for example use superior preamps which make up a large part of the sound.
The Korg SDD 3000 has also been produced as a pedal. But because of the altered preamp the sound is quite different.
The recent Deluxe Memory Man 1100-TT runs on 9V while the earlier models run on 24V. This also influences the headroom.

In my opinion it’s important to pay attention to the right power supply and a preamp with much headroom if TC Electronic ever wants to create the 2290 as a stompbox.