REVIEW: Eventide TimeFactor


Eventide effects have always been something to aspire to for me. Eddie Van Halen uses their harmonizer to split his signal to two amps with a light detune effect, and Steve Vai’s ‘Passion and Warfare’ album was a virtual shrine to Eventide’s harmonizer and delay patches. Just check out ‘Love Secrets’ and ‘Alien Water Kiss’ for a hint of what you can do with Eventide gear when you put your mind to it. The TimeFactor moves some of the company’s high quality delay effects out of the rack and on to the floor for your stomping pleasure. Let’s check it out.

DELAY-LAY-LAY-LAY-LAY

The TimeFactor is that rarest of pedals that is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, satisfying both plug-and-play philosophers and unstoppable tinkerers. It features 10 effects: DigitalDelay; VintageDelay; TapeEcho; ModDelay; DuckedDelay; BandDelay; FilterPong; MultiTap; Reverse; and Looper. DigitalDelay gives up to 3 seconds of delay, with independent delay time and feedback controls for two complete delay chains, allowing you to set up complex rhythms. VintageDelay is a more straightforward delay effect with a slightly rolled off top end. Tape Echo simulates all the lo-fi goodies imparted by vintage tape based delays; Mod Delay adds chorusy modulation effects; DuckedDelay lowers the level of the repeats when you’re playing, and turns them up to their normal level when you stop. Band Delay applies modulated filters to the delay; FilterPong bounces between the two outputs with filter effects; MultiTap allows you to set up to 10 delay taps with different time, diffusion, level and spacing; Reverse is a trippy, psychedelic backwards effect; and Looper offers up to 12 seconds of looping with dubbing and speed control, for wild sound-on-sound excursions.

Controls include delay time and feedback for both outputs; Depth, Speed, Filter, and a control labelled Xnob for controlling various parameters, such as crossfade in DigitalDelay and Reverse modes; simulated tape hiss in TapeEcho mode; and various filter parameters in some of the other modes.

The pedal has multiple routing options, including mono and stereo signal chains. There are inputs for an expression pedal, for realtime control of parameters such as delay level or speed, plus an auxiliary switch input for further control of parameters. There’s a USB output (you can download upgrades online), and MIDI Out/Thru and In.

STICK AROUND FOR THE AMBIENCE

I used the TimeFactor in a jam with a drummer (my mate Denis from high school – hi Den if you’re reading this). Although I was using an Ibanez Universe UV777BK 7-string guitar to reach a little bit into the range of a bass, the TimeFactor was indispensable in filling out the sound and keeping things from sounding too sparse. It also allowed me to clearly hear how the pedal performed at full volume.

I plugged the TimeFactor into my Marshall DSL50’s effects loop, while using a Roger Mayer Voodoo Blues and Vision Wah in the amp’s front end. The delays were lush and full, and never sounded too ‘digital’ – I’d rather my delays be organic and musical than clinical and robotic, or at least to have the choice! I especially liked the TapeEcho setting with quick cascading repeats for some Eric Johnson vibe – it’s a hard tone to try to pull off if the sound is too cold. The tap tempo function allowed me to instantly set perfect delay times for skittery electronic rhythms in the filter based modes. FilterPong sent us into a spacey, King Crimson style jam, as delays bubbled and swirled from nowhere then faded back again gracefully. DuckedDelay was great for slow, delicate single note melodies, and the Looper allowed us to build a rhythm bed to jam over.

Back home, I happened to be reviewing the Randall RM100 modular amp and a Hughes & Kettner TriAmp for Mixdown magazine, so I fed the TimeFactor with my DigiTech Bad Monkey overdrive then sent each output do a different amp (on their clean channels) for some wide stereo warmth. If you have the luxury of access to multiple amps, try it out for some awesome U2 textures. 

Scroll down for a couple of great demo videos by ProGuitarShop that will let you hear just what you can get out of this pedal.

THE TIDE IS TURNING

The TimeFactor offers a huge range of control over many parameters, but it never gets in the way of creating music. It might even inspire you to create something new. Eventide have scored gold with this one, whether you need to create U2-style chiming rhythm beds, Hendrixy backwards psychedelia or Vai excess. For those who always wanted some of that high quality Eventide delay sound, but couldn’t afford the stack of notes for an H3000 harmonizer or were put off by rack gear in general, the TimeFactor is a great little gadget.