Quick Pick: Eventide ModFactor - EMusician

Quick Pick: Eventide ModFactor

EM reviews the Eventide ModFactor, a modulation-effects stompbox that packs a lot of power
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With power to spare, the Eventide ModFactor delivers studio-quality modulation effects in a compact form factor.

The sign of a good effects pedal is that as soon as you plug in your instrument, it inspires you to create. That is certainly the case with Eventide's new modulation-effects stompbox, the ModFactor ($399). Developed from the roots of the company's classic effects while pointing to the future, it gives performing musicians (particularly guitar players) studio-quality modulation effects, even onstage.

Weighing just over 2 pounds and housed in a small, sturdy cast-metal chassis with a brushed black surface, the ModFactor connects to a 9 VDC power supply (battery power isn't an option). The top panel is laid out in three sections. The upper section has ten dedicated control knobs, a rotary encoder you can push like a button, and Tempo and Peak LEDs. The middle section has a list of effects and a scrolling display indicating the selected effect. On the lower section are three footswitches with associated LEDs.

Back-panel connectors include pairs of unbalanced ¼-inch inputs and outputs, ¼-inch expression-pedal and aux-switch jacks, a USB 2.0 type B socket, and the power jack. Switches for input level (guitar or line) and output level (amp or line) are also on the back, and MIDI In and Out/Thru jacks are on the side.

MOD SQUAD

The ModFactor provides ten modulation effects: chorus, phaser, flanger, vibrato, rotary, panning tremolo, ring mod, Q-Wah (a resonant autowah), ModFilter (an evolving filter), and Undulator (two delays with frequency-modulated tremolo). Using the footswitches, you can instantly access any 2 of the 40 user presets at any time. Use the top six control knobs to adjust the selected preset's main parameters and the bottom four to control LFO ranges. Hold down the rotary encoder to quickly save your changes.

You'll use the footswitches most often in Play mode and Bank mode. In Bank mode they recall pairs of presets; in Play mode they control preassigned aspects of each effect. To switch between modes, simply press and hold the footswitch on the right.

In Play mode, the left footswitch toggles between Active and Bypass functions. The center footswitch is labeled Slow/Fast; pressing and releasing it toggles Slow mode on and off. Slow mode reduces the LFO rate, creating a cool Leslie-like effect. Holding down the switch engages the Brake function, which ramps the LFO down to a dead stop, then ramps it back up again when you release it.

It takes only a few stomps to get used to the ModFactor's flow. My only niggle is that you cannot step down through the banks unless you connect an aux switch. However, you can program the footswitch to scroll through a limited number of banks instead of all 20.

Many small touches, such as USB software updates and expression pedal control, show that Eventide clearly built this stompbox for players. For example, you get two kinds of bypass: the default DSP Bypass sends audio from the inputs directly to the outputs without any processing, and Relay/True Bypass completely disconnects the electronics from the signal path.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SOUND

For my first test, I connected the ModFactor between a Telecaster and an old Gibson amp. The default Bank 1:1 setting produced a nice shallow chorus, and switching to Bank 1:2 gave me a deeper, richer chorus. Stepping through the sounds further, I especially liked the flanger, vibrato, and rotary effects. Slowing down the speed with the Slow/Fast footswitch and tapping various tempos was a pleasure; it made me feel like I was actually playing the pedal.

Next I hooked up the ModFactor's second output to my trusty old '66 Magnatone M-10 amp. Stepping again on that Bank 1:2 chorus, the true stereo effect simply blew me away. I must have played open chords for 20 minutes straight (see Web Clip 1).

After that, I ran a Fender Jaguar Baritone guitar into a good preamp and got great results with some deep stereo flanging (see Web Clip 2) and phasing. I also connected a high-string electroacoustic guitar; I was impressed by how thick the ModFactor's effects sounded on such a thin-sounding instrument. Then I took an EBow and played with the Undulator presets; again, inspiration took over and I captured some wild sounds (see Web Clip 3).

Although intended primarily for live performance, the ModFactor is also a serious and flexible studio tool. With its line-level connections, you could easily route it to the send/return loop of a mixing console or recording setup. The ModFactor is equally at home onstage or behind the glass.

Value (1 through 5): 4
Eventide
eventide.com