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Review: Eventide ModFactor and TimeFactor

December 1, 2008
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Eventide TimeFactor

Eventide TimeFactor

For more than 30 years, Eventide has been known for its high-end studio rackmount effects units. Their expensive components and trusted Eventide algorithms don't come cheap, with the lower-end models around $2,000. But now the company has ported many of its classic effects into two stompboxes with sub-$500 price tags. The ModFactor and TimeFactor pedals offer flexible ways to get the Eventide sound into your live rig without having to bring an expensive rack unit to the club.

THE SPIN ZONE

The similar-looking blue (TimeFactor) and green (ModFactor) pedals have a wealth of great effects, that could be “must-haves” for the right person. ModFactor offers lush chorus, phaser, flanger, vibrato, ring mod and tremolo/pan effects, each of which sounds clean and studio-ready. The fantastic rotary effect has a wealth of options, especially with the center push button dedicated to adjustable Fast and Slow settings. The ModFilter and Q-Wah offer everything from classic wah-wah (try attaching an expression pedal) to freaked-out sonic destruction, and they sync to MIDI Clock. DJs will love the Undulator auto-gate effect. Each effect is deeply controllable with the front-panel knobs, which include Wet/Dry, Shape, Depth and Speed controls for both the main and secondary modulators (the second modulates the first for changing the rate over time). With many mod sources available for each effect, there are a lot of ways to make the effects move around. And an LFO Sweep Display bar moves back and forth across the LEDs in time.

HISTORY REPEATING

The TimeFactor has basically the same design and interface as the ModFactor but is dedicated to delay effects. It rocks 10 very useful effect types that can get you anywhere you need to be delaywise, and like the ModFactor, when synced to MIDI Clock, it becomes a killer instant remix tool. You get everything from simple digital and vintage delays to FilterPong, BandDelay, ModDelay and Reverse. For the loop-happy, there is a Looper program with 12 seconds of mono recording (at quarter-speed you get a maximum of 48 seconds); the three push buttons become record, play and stop for the Looper. If you're using a stereo source, the signal will unfortunately be summed to mono for recording, and there's no Undo for removing a bad overdub. But loop times can be synced to MIDI Clock for DJ phrase looping, and once recorded, a loop can be overdubbed infinitely with several Dub modes.

Both pedals are as high in quality as the larger Eventide units in terms of components and algorithms. I tested them on a Rhodes piano, a monophonic synth, a stereo digital piano and in a stereo-send capacity from my FireWire mixer, as well as with Bay Area guitarist Chris Haugen (see the Web clips). On all settings, the pedals were whisper-quiet, with all the sleek, artifact-free sound I remember from the bigger Eventide rack units I've encountered. On keyboards, they're a great way to “stereo-ize” a mono keyboard such as a Rhodes, which sounded huge after some stereo chorus. Also, perhaps my favorite was using the TimeFactor to add some delightful slapback delay to vocal tracks; I'd love a pair of them for a live vocals rig.

JUST THE FACTS

Both pedals sport three push buttons and 10 knobs, plus an 11th, endless rotary knob. The rear panel holds two ¼-inch inputs with a Guitar/Line switch for impedance control and two ¼-inch outputs with an Amp/Line level switch. Aux Switch and Expression Pedal ¼-inch inputs let you change patches externally or control various parameters fluidly with your foot, and a USB port allows you to update the unit's software via a host computer. In fact, there is already an upgrade available, as well as Mac and PC installers for the utility. Both pedals also feature deep MIDI implementation with MIDI In and MIDI Out/Thru ports on the right-hand side. Many parameters can be synced to incoming MIDI Clock, all parameters can be recorded out to a sequencer and/or controlled dynamically via MIDI, and in a pinch the pedal can actually operate as a cool 11-knob, three-button MIDI controller. There are a ton of preset settings, and you can save as many as 40 new presets into banks.

While the Looper isn't the most able of the pack, that's not really the focus of these units. These pedals are here to provide the great Eventide effects artists have loved for the past 30 years in a small box you can toss into your gig bag. Although I would have loved some great Eventide reverbs inside the TimeFactor, there is no missing the point that these are some seriously high-quality effects boxes that could benefit performers of all kinds.

Go to Remixmag.com to hear exclusive clips of the Eventide pedals in action.

EVENTIDE

MODFACTOR AND TIMEFACTOR > $499 MSRP EACH

Pros: High-end, noise-free effects with plenty of hands-on control. 40 preset slots each. Deep MIDI functionality, including MIDI Clock sync and MIDI control.

Cons: No reverbs in either box.

Contact: www.eventide.com

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