I admit it: I’m addicted to delays. This shameless addiction has superseded my desire to eat non-Ramen products, or fix whatever keeps that damn “check engine soon” light on. And Eventide’s new TimeFactor is not helping me kick the habit.
The TimeFactor is one of those rare products that works exceptionally well for both studio and stage. You can store your favorite settings (there are nine stereo and dual-mono delays that function as two independent effects, with a maximum of 3000ms per delay) and then recall them via MIDI; note the four 1/4" jacks (two ins/two outs)—making the TimeFactor ideal for those who, like myself, like to use stompboxes as outboard gear.
But what makes the TimeFactor a true studio tool is its sound. Porting the delay effects from such prized studio pieces as the Eclipse was surely no small feat, but I hear the same clear and articulate tails, and the same believable and warm tape emulations. Add into this three bypass modes (complete with true bypass) and a Killdry feature that assigns a wet out to your mix control, and you can see the relevance to studio freaks.
My only complaint: no dedicated librarian/editor. But I’m told one is forthcoming, and will be downloadable using the TimeFactor’s USB port—a clear indication that Eventide has made provisions for the TimeFactor’s continued evolution. Bravo, I say.
Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pedals
(prices vary per pedal, www.ehx.com)
With all the feature-rich, tweakable plug-in effects available, why would anyone opt to use pedals? Simple: They just don’t sound the same, especially when it comes to Electro-Harmonix—makers of the legendary Big Muff, Small Stone, and HOG.
Responding to those of us who want to record stereo effects tracks, EH has unleashed a fleet of stereo-out versions of some of their classic models. While most of these pedals have a mono input, being able to, say, run your Pulsar out in stereo avoids that sterile synced sound—instead providing a malleable, ready-to-pan tremolo. This is something any guitarist can appreciate.
The one exception to the “mono in” rule is the Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai. I have one word to anybody who thinks they can find a more musical pedal: Fuhgeddaboutit. It may not be the world’s cleanest delay, but has the most character of anything in my rig. It’s not just your average delay; the SMMwH boasts reverb, reverse echo, and loop modes on top of your multi-tap. You can custom-tailor your sound to meet your every lo-fi proclivity, making this especially attractive for left-of-center, experimental musicians.
I know, I know—we’re just whetting your tongue here. Stay tuned for an upcoming issue of EQ where we dive into using pedals as outboard effects. Methinks the new EH line will get a lot of play while we prepare.
Korg Pandora PX5D
There are a lot of effects in this diminutive package—100 user/100 preset programs, to be exact. But that’s not the only thing that makes the PX5D attractive to the recording musician: It’s also a very cool USB interface.
This affordable processor is a valuable asset for the recording guitarist on the go. The PX5D, my laptop, and a pair of headphones travels with me to and from band practice, functioning mainly as a way to lay down riffs quickly as I write.
As an interface, it’s a handy tool for demo’ing guitar tracks, or recording remote. But as a processor it’s a powerful little puppy that produces some pretty high quality sounds—and they aren’t all just “me too” effects. The PX5D offers strikingly customizable amp modeling capabilities, right down to cabinet structure. It also lets you “virtually” switch pickups and (perhaps my favorite) gives a feedback effect that ranges from a sludge-y shriek to a colorful ’60s style swell—without standing in front of a cranked amp. As someone who relies on feedback, this is super cool (and I’m sure the couple in the hotel room next to me were thrilled I didn’t bring my stack of Sunns).
The best part? You can use up to seven of the effects simultaneously, so leave your pedal board at home; and the included librarian/editor helps keep everything nice and organized when you’re working “in the box.”