The main difference between a standard mass production effects pedal and its boutique counterpart lies in the fact that latter aims to deliver a much more refined experience produced by top quality hardware. However, when you're dealing with effects such as boost, it's hard to add that new twist to what is essentially a bare bones design in the first place.
The TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster is a pedal that chose to bring quality core performance which is exactly what you would expect from a good booster pedal, but it also brings some new features in other places where you generally don't expect to see them.
TC Electronics packed this quality booster circuit into a very attractive enclosure. The layout is what we are all used to by now. Slim body, one dominant knob that is also your main control point, and a stomp switch. The only difference in this case is that the switch is not your standard unit. Instead, it features their PrimeTime technology.
In simple terms, it has two modes of operation. You can either activate the pedal by pressing the switch like you would any other, or you can press and hold the switch to activate the pedal for shorter periods of time. While it might not seem to be all that practical on paper, it's actually a pretty great tool when you're using the pedal as a solo boost or similar. That type of versatility puts the device shoulder to shoulder with most of the great pedals we have today.
Controls come in form of one knob that you use to add gain to your signal. This is the very same design that most vintage boost pedals have, and a good portion of modern ones as well. Boost is the type of effect that can do just fine with such rudimentary interface. After all, that is one of the things that makes it so attractive to numerous guitar players around the world.
TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster is a fully analog pedal that delivers one of the best boost effects you can find at the moment. It's crystal clear for the most part, adding no changes to the timbre of your guitar, while it's perfectly capable of infusing the signal with 20 dB of additional gain.
The PrimeTime stomp-switch works as advertised, and it's pretty reliable all things considered. This combination of great performance and increased functionality makes TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster one of the more competitive booster pedals on the market.
No matter how silly it sounds, it's really hard to add a new twist to something as simple as a boost pedal. If you try hard, you can easily change what this pedal is all about and that defeats the purpose altogether. TC Electronic managed to introduce something new while also sticking to what makes boost pedals so great in the first place.
The end result is a pretty capable package that promises to deliver a lot of versatility to whoever is using it. Best thing of all, it's priced at a point where it's a bargain, to say the least.