TC Electronic Pipeline Overview
The Pipeline Tap Tremolo from TC Electronic is a pedal intended for use with electric guitar. It provides a tremolo effect which works strictly by varying the volume in a repeating, and some would say wavelike, pattern. The shape of the pattern can be controlled via the mode switch. Set it to Vintage mode for a sound reminiscent of a classic amplifier with tremolo built right into its circuitry, or switch it to Square mode for sudden, strobe-like effects. Switch into TonePrint mode to beam in different tremolo types edited by you in TonePrint editor software. For instance, TonePrint Mode will allow you to mix two different pulses together for esoteric curve shapes, or to approximate classic opto-tremolos, such as the Univibe.
A subdivision switch allows you to apply tremolo in various values, such as eighth notes or sixteenth-note triplets, though a Custom mode allows you to program a sequence of subdivisions for eccentric patterns. These sequences can be manipulated and beamed into the pedal via the TonePrint Editor.
A volume knob provides 6 dB of boost to offset any loss the ear might notice due to volume fluctuations, while Speed and Depth knobs let you tailor the tremolo even further. Press the bypass switch for about 1.5 seconds and you’re now in Tap Tempo world, a land in which you control the tempo, syncing it to the band at whim. To suit all manner of musicians, the bypass switch can be adjusted between true bypass (for pristine tone over shorter cable runs) and buffered bypass (for preserved signal integrity over longer cable runs) via an internal DIP switch.
Controls at a Glance:
DEPTH Knob: The DEPTH knob controls the intensity of the tremolo effect. Turning the knob clockwise increases the volume difference between the effect’s peaks and troughs to produce a more intense pulsation, while turning the knob counter-clockwise shifts the sound toward a gentler vacillation, with smaller volume differences between peaks and troughs.
VOLUME Knob: The VOLUME knob varies the output level from unity gain to 6 dB of additional boost. The additional boost compensates for the ear’s tendency to perceive an overall drop-off in volume when the tremolo effect is activated. So, if the volume seems to drop when you switch on the pedal, turn the VOLUME clockwise until the perceived volume sounds closer to the unprocessed, dry volume.
SUBDIVISION Knob: The SUBDIVISION knob lets you set the tremolo to rhythmic subdivisions or patterns versus the active quarter note tempo. The SUBDIVISION knob can facilitate quarter notes, quarter note triplets, eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets, as well as a CUSTOM setting that lets you access the Sequencer function. This lets you set up a string of changing subdivisions.
MODE Selector Switch: The MODE switch alters the circuit operation to suit different situations: Vintage gives you the classic tremolo sounds like those found on Fender and Vox amplifiers. Square offers a tremolo sound with a more intense, strobing, on-off quality, while TonePrint provides TonePrint-based LFO waveforms and custom subdivision sequences.
BYPASS/TAP TEMPO Footswitch: To turn the effect on, tap the footswitch. To turn the effect off, tap the footswitch again. Additionally, you can put the pedal into Tap Tempo mode by holding the footswitch for approximately 1.5 seconds, after which the indicator LED will change from red to green to let you know the Pipeline has switched into Tap Tempo mode. Once in Tap Tempo mode, you can tap on the footswitch to program in the tempo of the song. Two taps of the FOOTSWITCH are sufficient to program the song tempo. The pedal will always refer to the last two taps to set the tempo, so tapping eight times will not make the tempo more accurate. To exit Tap Tempo mode, just leave the pedal alone for a while and it will automatically return to regular play mode.