There are effects processors, and then there is Eventide. Highly respected for its top quality processors, with a price tag to match, Eventide has been a name that only guitarists and other players with deep pockets have had the luxury of having in their racks. With the introduction of Eventide’s ModFactor (Modulation Effects) and TimeFactor (Twin Delay) stomp boxes, the price barrier has been broken, but what about the quality? Read on, fellow shredders!
The Eventide TimeFactor and ModFactor stomp boxes are physically identical pedals, except for their colors and knob labeling. Along the back there are two 1/4” unbalanced input jacks, Left (Mono) and Right, with 500k ohms of impedance. A single toggle switch allows you to switch between Guitar level and Line level for both inputs. The two outputs, also Left (Mono) and Right, as also unbalanced 1/4” phone jacks, switchable between Amp and Line level. This configuration offers great flexibility—you can put the processor between your guitar and amp, or onto an amp’s effects loop, or even an aux send/return on a mixing console.
Next in line are two more 1/4” phone jacks, one for hooking up a three-way auxiliary foot switch and one for an expression pedal. Next, there is a USB Type B jack for hooking up to a PC for MIDI and fir mware updates. Finally, there is a 9VDC adapter outlet for hooking up the requisite wall wart to power the unit; battery power is not an option.
Along the right side of the unit are two standard MIDI 5-pin DIN connectors—MIDI In and MIDI Out/Thru. On the top of the unit are 11 knobs, an LED ‘billboard’ to show the current parameter being changed, bank selection, etc., and three metal foot switches labeled Active on the left, Slow/Fast for the ModFactor or Repeat on the Delay Factor for the middle, and Tap on the right.
Bypass and MIDI
It’s also worth noting that the two Factor pedals have three different types of audio bypass: DSP Bypass, Relay Bypass, and DSP+DLY Bypass. The DSP bypass is an electronics bypass of the effects processor. The Relay Bypass will ‘hard wire’ bypass the audio signal path. The DSP+DLY bypass allows the current effect to be bypassed without abruptly killing the tail of the effect that’s still playing.
The addition of MIDI and USB ports is another very cool feature for a stomp box. It’s possible to do things like set your DAW’s host to send patch change information to the pedal or dump out your custom edited patches as System Exclusive (.syx) files. Total recall of patch information without having to touch the unit on a per song basis for a stomp box is just oh so nice. Do note—only USB or MIDI is active, but not both at the same time.
Now let’s dig in and see what differentiates each pedal.
The ModFactor has a total of ten effects to choose from: Chorus, Phaser, Q-Wah, Flanger, ModFilter, Rotary, TremoloPan, Vibrato, Undulator, and RingMod. There are 40 user presets.
Each of the individual effects offers two to four different types of effects. For example, the Chorus offers a Liquid, Organic and Shimmer type, and the Phaser has Negative, Positive, Feedback and BiPhase types. Each effect has access to two LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) to modulate the sound.
The ModFactor has two rows of knobs, six along the top and five directly below those. The top row consists of Intensity, Type, Depth, Speed, Shape, and Xnob. The Xnob parameter modifies a parameter that’s unique to each effect. The bottom row which controls the second LFO consists of D-Mod, S-Mod, Mod Rate and Mod Source. The fifth and final knob is to toggle between tempo on and off (in musical divisions such as 1/64th, 1/8 dotted, 16th triplets, etc.) or in milliseconds, which is very cool. For classic-type modulation effects, the top row of knobs is all you’ll need. The bottom row of knobs allows the second LFO to modulate the first LFO, which is very cool.
These effects are truly a cut above the ‘average’ stomp box. While I thoroughly enjoyed all the effects, it was the Undulator effect that really makes this pedal scream “Eventide” to me. This liquid, over-the-top effect just rocks for slow, atmospheric playing on the guitar.
The TimeFactor has 10 delay effects: Digital Delay, Vintage Delay, TapeEcho, ModDelay, DuckedDelay, BandDelay, FilterPong, MultiTap, Reverse, and Looper. Most notable is the Looper mode, which gives up to 48 seconds of mono recording time. Do note—high sound quality is only available in the 6- and 12-second mono recording mode; the 24- and 48-second mode takes a quality hit to extend the recording time past the 12-second recording buffer. There are 20 user presets.
The TimeFactor also has two rows of knobs, six along the top and five below that. The top six consist of Mix, Delay Mix, Delay Time A and B, and Feedback A and B, allowing independent adjustment of the two incoming delay lines into the unit. The knobs in the bottom row—Xnob, Depth, Speed and Filter—are specific to each of the previously mentioned effects algorithms. The fifth and final knob toggles between tempo on and off in musical divisions or in milliseconds, all the way up to 3000 milliseconds.
Delays are by far my favorite effects, and I own and use a lot of them, both in hardware and software, so it takes something a little special to make me go ‘wow’. With the TimeFactor, I had a real hard time keeping that smile off my face. Dense, warbly, spacious and rich, these delays have that Eventide signature sound written all over them. If you’ve ever wanted a delay that offers great special effects features as well as plain-Jane delay effects, this is the pedal to get.
I have only one serious gripe with these amazing pedals. Why only 20 user presets on the TimeFactor and 40 user presets on the ModFactor? Even my old Yamaha FX550 guitar processor from 1995 has 50 presets plus 50 user editable programs. With such a good amount of settings and control, these Eventide units just beg to have at least 100 preset locations. Or maybe I’m just too spoiled by the high count of presets in Eventide’s top-tier processors?
Eventide has always had that little bit of something special to its sound. These new arrivals bring some of that special sound closer to the budgt-minded among us—and not just guitarists will be delighted by these pedals, as they work equally well with other instruments and synthesizers.
Sound sweetening has never been so good, or so affordable. These boxes are highly recommended by this keyboard- and guitar-slinging author.
Prices: $499 each
More from: Eventide, Inc., One Alsan Way, Little Ferry, NJ 07643. 201/641-1200, www.eventide.com.
Devon Brent lives and works and plays in Jacksonville. After months of PC articles and reviews, just being able to enjoy playing guitar was one heck of a relief.