Aguilar TLC Compressor Pedal  » Electronics  »
4.5
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  • I bought my TLC used on eBay for over $180, so they maintain their value
  • The TLC, despite its boringness, is my favorite pedal for what it does


    • by M. Berg
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      For musicians, compressors are boring. Everyone jamming on guitars and basses in his or her bedroom dreams about stuff like distortion, delay and phasers. Nobody talks about his dream compression pedal. Heck, most people don’t even knows what a compressor does, and the folks who do know can’t really explain it to the layman without using words like “squash” as a verb. However, compressors are very important – especially for the bass guitar. Aguilar Amplification understood this, and created an incredibly easy-to-use compressor pedal that every bassist without a rack compressor should have; they made the Aguilar TLC Compressor.

      The Aguilar TLC (which stands for Trans-Linear Circuit) does what a compressor should do; it controls the dynamics of your bass guitar to cleans up the tone and dial in a bass sound. It can make you loud and not


      thunderous. It can bring out every subtlety of the vibration of the string, or it can smooth the sound out and give your bass a nice round, fat bottom end. The Aguilar TLC does this with four knobs, a blue light and true bypass switching. It also has a nifty compartment for the 9-volt battery; unlike any other stomp box battery compartment I’ve ever seen.

      Another thing that’s attractive about the Aguilar TLC is that it’s considered to be a boutique pedal. It’s getting pretty popular though, so you may want to jump on the bandwagon so you can say, “I had a TLC compressor before it was cool, man!” Since it’s a boutique pedal, it has a pretty nice design. It’s a bright blue aluminum box with thick sides. There is something about it when I hold it in my hand that makes me not want to drop it. Not that I should drop it, but I just have a sense that it’s fragile… not sure why I get that feeling, because the box is sturdy. Full disclosure. Lastly, it has a boutique pedal price tag, which puts it around $200 – way more than a Boss compressor, which might set you back like $50. I bought my TLC used on eBay for over $180, so they maintain their value.

      I said the TLC is easy to use, and I wasn’t lying. The four knobs on the Aguilar TLC compressor are: Gain, Threshold, Attack and Slope. Many compressors also have a ‘release’ control, but it has been omitted from this circuit. What do the knobs do? Attack will determine when the compressor kicks on after the ...


      • Aguilar TLC Compressor Pedal
      note is plucked. Threshold sets where in the signal the compression starts. Slope determines how much the signal is compressed, and Gain makes up the loudness that is inherently lost in compressing the signal.

      How does it sound? Well, it doesn’t really have a sound, per se. It sort of just does something. You need to work at it to understand it. Read articles on compression, check out sample settings and learn what each knob does to your sound. But once you get this figured out, you’ll be able to give your bass guitar a characteristic sound all its own; or you can emulate your favorite bassists. From slap to Motown, compressors are what will give you that particular sound. After that, using the EQ is just the gravy on top. It has a true-bypass switch, but I

      put it at the front of my signal chain so whatever signal is inherently lost in the bypass gets made up by a buffered pedal later.

      The TLC, despite its boringness, is my favorite pedal for what it does. Without it, my other pedals wouldn’t sound as good. I feel the Aguilar TLC makes my bass-playing stand out on stage or in the studio. Compression is often overlooked, but very important for tone chasers. To be honest, I don’t feel like I could upgrade from this pedal, and if I ever become a bass player with rack-mounted effects, I might still eschew a rack compressor for my TLC. A compressor has been permanently erased from my GAS list. This pedal really takes the bass to the next level. The Aguilar TLC Compressor should be a bass player’s second pedal, after a direct box/driver.




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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in November, 2013. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1627111622080930/k2311a1127/11.27.13
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