TC Electronic G-Force

Multi-Effects Rack Unit

Made by TC Electronic

Description A programmable matrix effects unit with pitch shift technology and the usual plethora of modules to fool around with. This unit boasts a 24-bit A/D conversion and D /A. TC Electronic premier guitar FX processor.
Posted By Theresa Dobbs (3289)
Directory Equipment: Effects
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Overall Rating: 4.5 (of 5)
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Member Reviews


On 2/19/2003, Theresa Dobbs (3289) posted:
Overall Rating:
The choice to use the G-Force was apparent when considering space as a criteria. I considered using an Eventide H300SE (2 space) for pitch shift, chorus, and sampling, a Lexicon PCM70 (1 space) for 'verbs, and a Korg A3 (1 space) multi-effects. The G-Force technology and sound quality just won hands down for portability and cost. The Eventide is the "Pitch Shift King" and size does matter. Lexicon is the "Verb God" but what else is in the box? The Korg A3 is still a great multi-FX box but I just wanted another toy! (The Korg is a 16 bit technology box and it's pitch shift algorithms are not as developed as G-Force). So, if one can find a good median in a single spaced box...go for it! You won't get fired for buying TC Electronic or the G-Force.
Model Year: 2001
Price: $0.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center-Central Dallas
Features:
24 bit A/D and D/A, this unit touts super quiet circuitry and auto impedance sensing Hi-Z unbalanced on the inputs. A real nice feature for those people who are less versed in the fine art of impedance matching their gear. (Just throw it together and go types.) The outputs are also balanced outs and need to be bridged when inserted into an unbalanced input, shorting the ground and shield grounds respectively furthest from the unit. A single-spaced rack unit in a half-deep chassis, is a real surprise in such a small package. AC powered with a 10yr backup battery internally, this unit remains in standby when the power switch is pressed for 3 seconds. The rear (real power switch) turns the unit off. Some of the features are: S/PDIF Digital in/outs for pure digital processing, external control input to use momentary, alternating or continuous type pedals to control effects. A full routing matrix (4 x 8) whereby you may place any effect anywhere within the matrix in any order, in any combination. 255 effects ROM presets with 100 additional RAM user presets. As if this was not enough, there is a PCMIA RAM card slot to use for downloading and uploading data and additional presets or system updates for an additional 9 banks of 100 user presets (depending on the size of card; 2MB max). Any feature is accessible via the front panel push buttons, from there, you can easily use the arrow keys to select a parameter and use the jog wheel to change the parameter in real time. TC Electronic has a Tap feature that allows the user to rhythmically "tap" in a rate without trying to second guess in milliseconds what the delay, Chorus, flange, phaser, tremolo, pan, and modifier settings should be. There is even an onboard tuner. The eight effects are organized in "blocks" and they consist of a phaser, tremolo+pan, pitch shift, the delay has 5 sub-algorithms! (Stereo, Dual, Dual two-tap, one-tap, and quad-tap), drive, chorus/flanger (based on the TC 2290 and the 1210 Chorus/Flanger), and reverb. The parameter list is impressive. Bandpass filtering, multi-tempo, are just a couple of parameters that show off the detail of TC Electronic engineering. In addition to effects, theG-Force provides a gate, compressor, filters (parametric EQ, resonance, wah, and formant). Under modifiers the list continues... you can program the envelope follower used on effects, ADSR's 1 and 2 to play short sequences triggered by an input, LFO's 1 and 2 for various purposes (e.g. rate, depth, tempo, curve, pulsewidth, phase, etc). As one can surmise, this unit is highly versatile when it comes to multi-effects.
Sound Quality:
My unit is inserted into the FX Loop of a Mesa Boogie Triaxis. I chose this routing over the serial routing based on sound comparisons. When the unit is directly in the path between the Triaxis and power amp, the user has no control over bypassing the G-Force. Although the G-Force does have a "bypass" feature, it still must go through a conversion process. TC Electronic vehemently denies any tonal or timbral changes, but I my ears told a different story. The resolution of the D/A & A/D converters are good, but when using such a device in an analog (tube) environment it almost certainly defeats the whole reason of using analog (tubes) in the first place. When routing the G-Force through the Triaxis FX loop, the user now has better control over eliminating the processor completely and not having to worry about any additive or subtractive changes to the preamp/amp's sound. If the Triaxis had a Wet/Dry mix, this would have be optimal, but the preamp does not have any control and is all or nothing, causing poor control over the amount of wet signal returning to the preamp. The G-Force however, has a mix control but is really designed to control individual mix levels rather than the overall mix levels. I personally would recommend a parallel setup over series, but in a limited rack setup, an outboard mixer would add space and weight. Individual sound quality: reverb algorithms are good, with nice tails. The reverb has some very natural sounding reverbs and some outlandish ones as well. Chorus/flange sounds are TC Electronic famous (TC 2290 and 1210). Great algorithms, they are lush, full, sparkling and pristine sounds abound. This is what this company does well. Then comes another TC Electronic algorithm that they are famous fortheir delays (TC 2290). The pitch shift tracks well and incorporates an "intelligent pitcher" which enables voices to be within a scale you are playing. The pitch shift sounds convincingly like an Eventide.
Ease of Use:
With 255 preset locations and 100 user-defined locations, this unit HAS STORAGE CAPACITY! Don't forget the PCMIA Card. (9 banks of 100). The unit is so flexible that it can be a daunting task to learn all it's features and capabilities. Devoting time to the MANUAL is a good idea but not necessary. The unit is intuitive enough for most common-sensed individuals. (Want to tweak the delay parameter? Press the delay button.) Finer details require you to delve into the BOOK. You can go from boring to absurd in 5 seconds. The choices are mind numbing. The arrow keys are a bit awkward and unresponsive at times. Storing your "new" preset is quite easy, maybe too easy. You can inadvertently overwrite an existing preset before you know it. Overall the unit does compare favorably with similar units on the market. (Lexicon, Eventide, etc).
Durability:
This unit is built well enough to withstand continued use in live settings. (addendum 02/2003) After considerable use, the G-Force exhibited some pecular problems that relate to heat. In a smaller rack system, the LCD panel darkened over a period of time from heat and becomes unreadable unless the contrast is re-adjusted. TC Electronic has a reputation for building durable and reliable gear for years. Their line is used in most studios and touring companies around the world, I can't imagine the local and regional gigging pro would encounter any more problems than those mentioned. The G-Force is light enough to not pose mounting problems in rack systems. If and should you need to repair the rack ears, they are individually replaceable. Case construction is adequate and the faceplate made from aluminum extrusion.