Hands-on with the Strymon Timeline pedal
Founded in 2008, Strymon make some of the most interesting effect pedals on the market. For delay alone, there are three on offer – the Brigadier (analogue bucket delay type), El Capistan (tape echo type) and the flagship pedal featured here, Timeline.
The latter is a stereo delay that features twelve different delay types, a 30 second looper, true bypass and the ability to access two hundred presets. With three stomp switches offering on/off, tap tempo, preset scrolling and tapping (sic) into the looper, it's relatively straight forward to use on the fly. Above the switches are nine dials that offer delay type and control over parameters such as time, repeats, mix, speed and depth so reaching down and tweaking in use are as possible as on a simpler analogue delay pedal. To finish off, all changes made can be seen on the top left LED readout.
The twelve delay types are pleasingly varied, ranging from digital, tape and bucket types through to more unusual ones that make it impressively expansive. Among the unique options are duck (delay volume increases when you stop playing), reverse (the backwards repeats evoke reverse tape effects from years ago), filter (synth and wah-like sounds), pattern (complex multi-tap repeats are possible), trem (the vintage to modern 'wobbles' will appeal) and ice (adds different pitches to the delay). While all the types on offer are great, really expensive sounding delays are possible with ice, trem, filter and dual (two independent delays in series or parallel) which venture into jaw dropping territory (ice in particular is extraordinarily cinematic).
To engage the looper, hold down the tap switch then press on the A pedal to record and B pedal to play. To overdub press on A again. Perhaps unusually, even when looping is engaged (and effected by the chosen delay) your live playing on top is delay effected too – most commendable. With an external foot controller you can also access reverse, undo/redo and half speed functions.
The 200 presets are organised in 100 banks of two presets; press A and B pedals simultaneously to go backwards or B and Tap to go forwards. A and B pedals will then access presets A or B. If you want to turn delay off you have the option for it to stop dead or cascade naturally on until it's finished via the relevant pedal – both important options, depending on the musical scenario.
Overall, there seems to be nothing that Strymon haven't fitted into this little silver grey metal box. If delay is your thing, be it Edge rhythms, Hank Marvin through to Lukather leads or David Torn-like ambient soundscapes, we can't think of a one stop option better than this!
RRP - £399
9 short examples played using a Musicman Luke guitar and Sansamp classic pedal plugged into the Timeline with stereo outputs selected. Drums courtesy of Toontracks Superior Drummer.
1 – LO-FI
2 – ICE
3 – DUCK
4 – SWELL
5 – TREM
6 – FILTER
7 – dTAPE
8 – DUAL
9 - REVERSE
- Twelve delay machines to choose from: Digital, Dual, Pattern, Reverse, Ice, Duck, Swell, Trem, Filter, Lo-fi, dTape, dBucket.
- Seven front-panel tone shaping knobs: Time, Repeats, Mix, Filter, Grit, Mod Speed, Mod Depth.
- 24 bit 96kHz A/D and D/A converters.
- 32 bit floating point processing.
- 115dB typical signal to noise ratio.
- stereo inputs and outputs.
- MIDI input and output.
- Switchable I/O configuration; stereo out or mono with delay feedback loop insert.
- Dimensions: 6.75" (w), 5.1" (d).
- Power: 9 volt/300mA power supply (not battery powered)