Eventide TimeFactor Review – Best Twin Delay Effects Pedal?


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Rating:
4.5
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Last modified:October 7, 2016

Summary:

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The TimeFactor was one of the original stompboxes Eventide released when they first brought their legendary effects expertise to the realm of guitar pedals. Featuring 9 of Eventide’s best studio grade delay effects and a Looper, the TimeFactor is potentially the ultimate delay toolbox for covering all your delay needs on stage and in the studio. The emphasis is on being able to easily dial in twin delay lines for all the available delay algorithms, a real godsend for guitarists (or any musicians for that matter) that prefer the rhythmic complexity of using multiple delays at once. This pedal could be the ultimate solution for pulling off “Edge” style dual delays. Is it the best twin delay effects pedal available? Let’s get on with our Eventide TimeFactor review and find out!

Features:

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Eventide’s 9 best delay effects plus a Looper.

Twin delays with up to 3 seconds of delay each.

Support for instrument and line level connectivity.

External Expression Pedal and Aux Switch jack for external control.

TimeFactor supports up to 50 Banks/100 Presets. Instant access to any 2 presets at a time.

Bright, easy-to-read Billboard display.

Extensive MIDI functionality.

Software upgrades via USB.

Visit Eventide for more info about the TimeFactor Twin Delay Stompbox.

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Sound & Performance:

It’s amazing how some things get better with age. The TimeFactor has been around for several years now, having garnered accolades among its dedicated users. There have been several significant upgrades to this pedal that make it even better than it was when it was first released, rendering some of the early reviews of this pedal insufficient. One of the most notable upgrades is a drastic increase in the amount of presets available – 100 total – up from only 20 when the pedal debuted. This is a serious boon for those who like to save a large number of presets for various songs and/or music projects. You can also now name your presets, extremely helpful when managing those 100 presets. Countless little updates have also been made to the TimeFactor to enhance sound quality, including more pristine looping audio fidelity, improved Tape Echo, improved Vintage Delay, and more. And Eventide has consistently improved MIDI implementation with each update. While the TimeFactor was a stellar product when it first launched, Eventide has made numerous improvements at the request of their user community, a shining example of their dedication to continued excellence and consistently improving the user experience. Companies that replace their existing products every few years – rendering previous models obsolete – should take notes from Eventide on how a digital effects pedal is done right.

But ultimately what it all comes down to is sound quality and just how easy this pedal is to use. (The TimeFactor is built like a tank, so reliability should be a non-issue.) Despite the depth and complexity that a beast of a pedal such as this offers, most guitarists want to spend time making music, not programming. Fortunately, Eventide set a new standard for easy tweak-ability by featuring 11 knobs across the surface of the pedal that provide instant access to the pedal’s adjustable parameters. You can easily dial in the delay time and feedback for both delays as well as blend them to taste with your dry signal via dedicated control knobs on the top row. The bottom row of knobs covers modulation with Depth and Speed, various Filter effects, and other algorithm specific parameters with the Xnob control. The knob on the bottom left is for turning the tempo on and off (BPM or Milliseconds), scrolling through delay machines, and saving presets.

The TimeFactor has 3 footswitches and 2 modes: Play and Bank. Play Mode provides 3 functions for the currently selected delay preset: Active/Bypass, Repeat, and Tap. Play Mode is pretty straightforward to use with Tap providing a responsive tap tempo for precise delays and the Repeat offering infinite repeats of the last phrase played when pressed. Switching to Bank Mode requires simply holding down the Tap footswitch for a couple seconds. You can then scroll up through banks by pressing Tap while the other 2 footswitches select either preset A or B from the currently selected bank. Once a preset is selected, you can hold down Tap again to return to Play Mode if you want.

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In case you’re wondering, no, you don’t have to scroll through all 50 banks to find the preset you need. The TimeFactor lets you select the range of banks you want to use, perfect for live gigs that require only a small range of presets. You can name presets and set precise tempos for each preset to be instantly recalled by a couple taps. Even more convenient is that you can use MIDI from a foot controller/effects switcher to recall any of the TimeFactor’s full range of presets. You could essentially leave the TimeFactor in Play Mode to have instant access to the Repeat and Tap functions while selecting presets via MIDI instead of Bank Mode.

I usually talk about how a pedal sounds first, but I’ve been so impressed with the design and functionality of the TimeFactor that I’m doing it backwards. As for the TimeFactor’s array of delay algorithms, they’re really in a class of their own in terms of sound quality and playability. The DigitalDelay setting is pristine and vibrant, providing clear replications of your playing. VintageDelay lets you degrade the delay quality by lowering the bit depth, resulting in warm low-res delay effects. TapeEcho is another standout with its convincingly analog vibe, complete with Wow, Flutter, and tape Saturation controls for capturing classic tape delay tones. The DuckedDelay is Eventide’s take on a dynamic delay that reduces the delay volume while you’re playing and swells up into the mix in the spaces between. The ModDelay, BandDelay, MultiTap, and Reverse delays cover a range of interesting delay sounds if you want something a little less traditional.The TimeFactor offers a full range of MIDI implementation for controlling various parameters in a live performance situation with an external MIDI controller. There’s also a dedicated expression pedal input which allows you to control the functions of multiple knobs in realtime for all manner of modulated delay insanity.

The TimeFactor’s Looper offers robust mono looping capabilities which make it a great jam companion for coming up with new ideas or a solid tool for adding looping to your performances. With the TimeFactor set to Autoplay and the Dubbing Mode to Latch, I added layer after layer without experiencing any graininess or distortion. Of course, if you do plan on pushing the looper to such extremes, applying some Decay will reduce the volume of your previous layers to free up room in the frequency spectrum so your loops don’t get muddy.

Perhaps the biggest strength of the TimeFactor for many guitarists will be having twin delays that can be used with all 9 of the pedal’s unique delay effects. This delivers rhythmic delays and syncopated echoes beyond those offered from any other dedicated delay pedal. Both delays can be set to any of 27(!) note divisions or you can adjust the delays in milliseconds from 1ms to 3000ms. Either delay can be set to No Delay or have its mix volume set to 0 if you just need single delay lines.

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Series vs Parallel Operation

Having fully programmable twin delays is great, but one of my only real concerns about the TimeFactor was whether or not they could be used in series as well as parallel. The delays typically operate in parallel which is to be expected from a stereo delay pedal. For guitarists who prefer to use 2 delays in mono and feed one delay into the other, there is an easy solution to achieve series operation with the TimeFactor. Use an extra patch cable to create this signal chain: Guitar → TimeFactor Left Input → TimeFactor Left Output → TimeFactor Right Input → TimeFactor Right Output → Amp. Be sure to set the Dly Mix to “A10+B10” for a consistent volume level on both delays. Now Delay A will feed into Delay B.

Good results can be achieved by starting with dotted 1/8th notes on Delay A and 1/8th notes or 1/16th notes on Delay B. Keep the Feedback low to feel out the rhythm you’re looking for. Boosting Feedback A will let the rhythmic delay pattern repeat while boosting Feedback B will serve to create an atmospheric wash of ambience behind your playing. Parallel operation sounds great with the DigitalDelay, VintageDelay, and TapeEcho effects in particular. Also, the Reverse delay in series flips your playing backwards and forwards for some inspiring ambient effects that I’ve never heard before. Keep the Xnob control at higher settings when using Reverse for smoother results. Since you’re feeding one delay into another, leaving the various modulation settings, including Wow and Flutter on TapeEcho, relatively low will produce (arguably) more musical results. (Disclaimer: there is no mention of using this series operation “hack” in the TimeFactor manual, so do so at your own risk and be sure to set the Delay Mix, Feedback, and (Tape Echo) Saturation low as you experiment. But with that being said, using the pedal this way has great potential to help many a guitarist find their signature delay sound.)

The TimeFactor is a delay pedal powerhouse and is still a force to be reckoned with. Of all the pedals that feature 2 or more delay lines, I still find this one easiest to dial in. (Also, check out the Eventide H9 Harmonizer for all these great delay effects and more.) Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The Eventide TimeFactor is a formidable delay pedal that offers a myriad of rhythmic possibilities across a diverse range of stellar delay algorithms. It sounds fantastic and is easy to dial in thanks to its thoughtfully placed surface controls. Whether you just need a simple mono delay that sounds warm and expressive or a stereo echo machine with multiple delays cascading in a synchronized, syncopated rhythm, the TimeFactor covers both extremes and all the space in between. If you’re looking for the best twin delay effects pedal, definitely give the TimeFactor an audition.

That concludes our Eventide TimeFactor review. Thanks for reading.

 

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Comments

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  1. I think I’m in love! This is gorgeous! If ever you want to delay the competition for me to win this one, now is the time ;)

  2. Brent Johnston says:

    An impressive assortment of delays. (Psst… Visual Sound’s Dual Tap Delay is also deserving of this list)