TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Review

Spark Mini Booster is now available
for the low PAL price of $99.99.

Today, we’re going to be checking out the recently released Spark Mini Booster from the guys over at TC-Electronic,a booster pedal that combines the best qualities of the company's original Spark Booster with a miniature footprint, much like the Mini variant of their popular PolyTune pedal.


The Features

Among the many highlights of the Spark Mini, the most intriguing is what TC calls “PrimeTime,” a useful little feature that automatically detects whether you want to work the pedal as if its permanently on when you hit the footswitch or simply for as long as you have the footswitch down. The feature itself works exactly as intended and never had a hiccup, even though we tried our best to wig it out with a few sporadic stomps. While that might not seem like much, this new toggle feature is actually kind of revolutionary and something we hope to see more of in the future.

Unlike the full sized Spark Booster and its 26db of boost and tone controls, the Spark Mini comes with a respectable 20db. Although the majority of that 20db is pretty much clean, it can still achieve a good amount of overdrive past the 75% mark, which admittedly sounded great when we paired it with a Marshall tube, but more on that later.

As far as the insides go, the Spark Mini boasts a ‘Discrete Analog Circuit’ which according to TC essentially means that every component is judiciously selected and put together in order to amplify the signal in the cleanest way without any degradation or variation. And as mentioned above, the new PrimeTime feature allows the user to effortlessly switch between latching (classic stompbox on/off) and momentary (effect is on while the switch is pressed down) modes, depending on how long the footswitch is held down.


The Sound

For those of you unfamiliar with what a booster pedal actual does, it’s pretty much all in the name; boosts the clean guitar signal before it hits the amp or another pedal. No wily ‘effects’ here, unless you count sending your amp into its natural overdrive or adding more attack to a certain pedal chain an effect. Anyways, like all good booster pedals worth their weight, the Spark Mini’s boost is tonally transparent, even at its peak setting, meaning you’ll only hear your guitar’s original sound and your amp, albeit with more kick. If it’s a Les Paul, it will still sound like a Les Paul, Telecaster or what have you.

We hooked up our Spark Mini with on our Marshall combo and were very pleased to say the least. Although the single control knob might seem very sparse, we were able to easily churn out a good range of sounds. A slight turn of the knob will give a small boost in volume along with a thicker bass response and brighter high-end. Cranking the baby into full drive will yield that warm, gritty overdrive that tube amps are legendary for. You can also overdrive already overdriven amps for even more distorted sweetness. Although booster pedals work best with valve/tube amps, the Spark Mini works perfectly good on transistor based amplifiers, otherwise known as solid state amps, although the quality of the sound depends on that of the amp itself. As mentioned, the Spark Mini also works great when paired with pedals. It is especially ideal when trying to add a bit of kick for solos or heavy riffs.


Final Impressions

Much like the PolyTune Mini, TC Electronic has managed to squeeze in more or less all of what made the original Spark Booster a resounding success, all in an amazingly small package. While the original featured more controls along with another 6db of boost power, the Spark Mini is no slouch. The slightly limited controls and power of the Mini might turn off users of the original Spark Boost but the added versatility of the PrimeTime feature more than makes up for what it lacks in specs – not to mention it retails for much less than its bigger brother. If you’re in the market for an affordable, one of a kind booster pedal, the Mini makes a very compelling argument. Definitely recommended.

Check out the Spark Mini in action below or purchase now!

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