TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal Review: An Affordable and Versatile Clean Boost

Tired of endlessly trying to tweak your old overdrive pedal to get it to work as a clean boost?

Well, fret not — the TC Electronic Spark Booster is here to offer you an affordable and versatile boost for any pedal chain. There's a reason why this tiny monster is the standard among guitarists, including notables such as Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and Scott Ian (Anthrax).

There are many features to love about the Spark Booster, and price is just the first one that comes to mind. But if you don't want all those extra features and want to save a few bucks, TC Electronic has got you covered too — enter: the Spark Mini.

Here's my honest TC Electronic Spark Booster pedal review — keep reading to find out if it's the right choice for you and your pedalboard!

TC Electronic Spark Booster: Our Take

TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal

Average Overall Rating: 5/5

What I love:

  • Affordable
  • Voicing switch
  • Gain control
  • Two-band EQ
  • True bypass

What could be improved:

  • Doesn't include power supply or cables

The TC Electronic Spark Booster is not your average run-of-the-mill boost pedal. While at its core it retains the one-footswitch, one-dial workflow, the Spark manages to stand above its competitors thanks to... well, a few extra perks.

For starters, the Spark Booster features a two-band EQ through the two bottom knobs. This is an active EQ — meaning it will only affect your tone whenever the pedal is switched on. That way, you can set up a nice warm tone for when you're playing rhythm and switch over to an edgy, treble-heavy lead sound at the press of a button!

Similarly, the TC Electronic Spark Boost also comes equipped with a gain knob that's entirely separate from the usual level dial. Despite being advertised as a "clean boost" pedal, the Spark Booster is capable of adding some light overdrive too — if you wish to do so, that is.

And, last but not least, there is the three-way toggle switch for choosing between the different boost characteristics. Of course, you've got your classic "clean" preset, but the team at TC Electronics also threw in "fat" and "mid" voicings for when you really need that extra tone.

But not everything good about the Spark Booster is in plain sight — especially in terms of circuitry. Thanks to its premium true bypass technology, this tiny boost can avoid the nasty passive cable length problem that many budget pedals have.

So what are the drawbacks?

The only con in my book is that the Spark Boost doesn't come with an included power supply. Similarly, you have to spend a few extra bucks if you want patch cables included in the box.

Other than that, to be honest, I couldn't find a single thing I didn't like about this one. Considering it's only a 79-dollar pedal, the TC Electronics Spark Booster is everything I could ask for a boost pedal, and more. Sleek, reliable, and versatile, this tiny powerhouse is a no-brainer in any pedal board.

And, if you're looking for a more affordable (or more compact) alternative to the Spark Booster, then the Mini version will be right up your alley — but I'll talk about that a bit further down below.

Features of the TC Electronic Spark Booster

TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal

Boost pedals may seem like simple devices at first — but there's a whole world of features hidden behind them. From boosting range to circuitry, there are a lot of factors to consider!

If you're looking for a deeper dive into the Spark Booster, then here are its key features broken down into three sections:

Volume boost (5.0)

Most boost pedals are just fine with providing a slight 5-10 dB volume boost — but that's not the case with the Spark Booster. The team behind this tiny monster went ahead and included a full 26 dB level range! More than enough for any situation, huh?

Naturally, using a 26-dB boost will usually be overkill, but having the option to really crank up your volume just feels good.

Onboard controls (5.0)

When it comes to extra knobs besides the level control, I can assure you that the TC Electronic Spark Booster delivers more than enough. Gain controls, two-band EQ, and a three-way preset switch are the name of the game here.

It's hard to find a boost pedal that allows for the same level of control and tone sculpting as the Spark Booster. But if you don't really mind these extra features, just set the two tone knobs at noon, leave the voicing at the clean setting, and enjoy the classic one-knob boost experience!

Materials (5.0)

And, last but not least, I have to mention build quality and materials. The Spark Boost doesn't fall behind here, as its top-notch true-bypass circuitry allows for reliable boosting for years on end.

The whole thing is covered with a durable die-cast metal casing, and a one-screw compartment allows you quick access to the battery. In short, this thing is built to last for ages.

Should I Get the Mini or Full-Size Version?

TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal

Now, what if you want all the quality of the Spark Boost but don't really need all those extra features? Well, the team at TC Electronic has got you covered: cue in the Spark Mini Boost.

Unlike the full-size version, the Spark Mini pedal is focused on providing the classic one-knob workflow most boost pedals use. Forget about tone controls or voicing presets — just a clean boost pedal will do the job for a lot of people.

The Spark Mini still offers, however, the much-appreciated 20dB of boost and spectacular build quality of the full-size version.

And, what's more, the Mini version includes a versatile PrimeTime footswitch that allows for either standard latching or momentary operation.

So, if you're looking for a more compact or more affordable boost pedal that still retains the sound quality of the full-size Spark Booster, then definitely take a look at the Mini Spark.

Alternatives to the TC Electronic Spark Booster

Boost pedals are everywhere. There are hundreds of options in the market, and picking just one can be a daunting challenge.

Yet, I believe there are only two true competitors to the TC Electronic Spark — the Xotic EP and the Keeley Katana. Here's a quick rundown of each one in case you aren't yet sold on the Spark Booster:

TC Electronic Spark Booster vs Xotic EP Boost

Xotic EP Boost

The Xotic EP Boost is very similar to the Spark Mini, providing only one level knob and one footswitch. The key difference is that the pedal is based around a classic EP-3 preamp, giving your guitar tone that vintage and expressive sound.

However, the Xotic EP booster pedal can get expensive — even more so than the full-size Spark Boost.

TC Electronic Spark Booster vs Keeley Katana

Keeley Katana

The Keeley Katana is pretty much the opposite of the Xotic EP, as it aims to give you a transparent boost at an affordable price.

Simplicity is the name of the game with Keeley Katana clean boost pedal!

Honestly, I'd still go with the Spark Mini before the Keeley Katana, but it's still worth checking out.

Final Verdict

TC Electronic Spark Booster Pedal

Picking a great pedal isn't an easy task — but the TC Electronic Spark Booster certainly makes it much, much simpler. Filled to the brim with features, the Spark Boost is nothing short of a no-brainer for almost any guitarist and pedal chain.

But not everything is about having more dials than the competition, I know that. Luckily, the Spark Booster doesn't fall behind in terms of price, build quality, boost range, and circuitry either! There's just no going wrong with this one.

And if you're looking to save an extra few bucks, but still want a completely clean boost that's extremely versatile, then the Spark Mini will be the perfect choice for you.

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