Drag-and-drop modulation assignment makes modulation setup a snap in Timeless.
Software designers Floris Klinkert and Frederik Slijkerman are known for the great-sounding filters in their filter effects Volcano and Simplon and their virtual instruments One and Twin. Timeless ($129) brings stereo, cross-feedback delay to the mix and incorporates the latest ergonomic advances in FabFilter's graphical user interface. The drag-and-drop modulation routing scheme from Twin is of particular note, because Timeless is all about modulation. The plug-in comes in RTAS, VST, and AU format for the Mac and RTAS and VST format for the PC.
One of the best things about Timeless is that it's easy to grasp. You start with a pair of delay lines, feed those into a pair of filters, and throw in some modulation, and you're done. That makes it a snap to dial in your favorite delay setups and combine them with FabFilter's filtering technology. If you've worked with any of FabFilter's other plug-ins, a few minutes looking over the Timeless control panel tells you pretty much all you need to know.
Wait a Second
Timeless's two delays are arranged in parallel at the beginning of the signal path, after an input-level control. One delay processes the left stereo channel, while the other processes the right. Direct and Cross feedback knobs set the amount of each delay's output that is fed back to itself and to the other delay. You can invert either feedback signal. Each delay also has a control for panning its output between the right and left channels.
You can sync delay times to host tempo or leave them free-running. In a nice touch, when delay time is tempo synced, you select a note value — quarter note, for example — and then use the Delay Time knob to adjust that value continuously between one-half and twice the note length. You can, therefore, smoothly modulate the delay time even for tempo-synced delays.
The delays have two modes of operation: Tape and Stretch. In Tape mode, changing the delay time produces a momentary change in pitch (think Echoplex). In Stretch mode, there is no pitch change.
You can lock the delay times and the feedback settings together for the two delays so that the affected parameters have the same setting for each. Alternatively, if you adjust any knob for one delay while holding the Alt key (Option on the Mac), the corresponding knob on the other delay will be adjusted relatively.
A Little Less
Timeless's two resonant multimode stereo filters hold no big surprises for anyone who has used FabFilter products. They have lowpass, bandpass, and highpass modes with 12, 24, and 48 dB slope. You get the same six filter characters as in Twin — FabFilter One, Gentle, Raw, Tube, Metal, and Easy Going — and they sound significantly different from one another. FabFilter One, Gentle, and Easy Going have a smooth, transparent sound, whereas Raw, Tube, and Metal are each edgy in their own distinctive way (see Web Clip 1).
In Timeless, the filters process the delay outputs, and three signal configurations are available: Serial (both delays feed the first filter followed by the second), Parallel (both delays feed both filters), and Per Channel (each delay feeds its own filter). The filters feed Timeless's output section, which consists of separate wet and dry amount and pan knobs. You can use the Dry Enable button to switch the dry signal off, and that setting is not saved with presets. That comes in handy for auditioning presets when Timeless is used as a send effect and you don't want any dry signal from the send bus.
And for Motion
Timeless has two tempo-syncable multiwaveform LFOs and an ADSR envelope generator for modulation, and any Timeless knob is a potential target. All built-in modulation is routed through Modulation Slots, of which there are 24, accessed in groups of 8.
You can use Slot drop-down menus to assign sources and targets, but it's much easier to grab the handle associated with any source and drag-and-drop it to the target knob. That sets up the next unused Slot with the modulation routing, and you then use Slot controls for amount and polarity. In addition to the LFOs and ADSR, modulation handles are provided for MIDI Aftertouch, Velocity, Mod Wheel, Pitch Bend, and Note Number (keyboard tracking). Full-featured MIDI Learn is also supported for automation and control-surface mapping.
Timeless is a timely addition to the FabFilter product line, and it comes with a generous collection of presets ranging from classic to arcane effects (see Web Clip 2). Modulating the delay lines opens a host of processes not possible with filters alone. You can grab demos of all FabFilter products in a single download, and bundle prices are available for various combinations. The demos are definitely worth a trip to the FabFilter Web site.
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