With the TimeFactor, Eventide has chosen to package the best of its delays into a box suitable for the studio player/producer and the gigging musician.
Initial impressions are very positive - it´s immediately apparent that this is a high-quality piece of kit. Build quality is spot-on, with nice smooth-feeling pots, a very clear layout, decent rubberised grip feet, a sturdy casing and a great informative dot matrix display that keeps you in touch with every move you make while you´re tweaking or navigating the simple menus or preset banks.
It´s really great to have a display of this size and clarity, especially on a device that´s probably going to be living in the dark down by your feet at gigs for most of its life!
It´s worth noting that there´s a ‘catch-up´ mode that ensures there are no audible jumps between stored/ edited values when changing presets/ parameters. Very nice! This useful attention to detail also applies to changing presets, as there´s no audible cutoff of sound between selections. Smooth transitions all the way, then.
General operation of the TimeFactor is simplicity itself. First you select the line or amp level using the selector on the back, then you connect your instrument either in mono or stereo. (Outputs can also be calibrated for line or amp level and there´s a peak level indicator, too.)
This is a very ‘hands-on´ box and a tweaker´s delight. There are 10 rotary encoders and one multi-function dial for changing sounds, saving presets and showing the BPM counter. There are also nine delay types, and you have the ability to store 20 presets in total (in 10 lots of two pairs), enabling two different sounds to be quickly selected in a gig for two different sections of a song, for example.
On top of this, there are independent delay times and feedback selectors for each of the two delays (called A and B) within a preset, plus a filter control (mainly used to change filter cutoff/ type) and a speed control. Both provide different functionality depending on the preset selected. And then there are the depth and blend controls that mix delay A and B in varying amounts.
Another nice touch is the ‘kill dry´ option (accessed from the system menu), which pulls the dry sound completely out of the wet/dry mix. This can help when you´re using the unit with a send/return effects loop.
Selecting presets is a breeze using the preset encoder dial, and it´s nice that this button can also be pressed for saving and to reveal the current tempo of the delay being used.
The Xnob´s function changes depending on the type of delay selected. For example, when using the Vintage Delay it can increase or decrease the bit depth for emulating old analogue delay pedals with nasty converters! In the Tape Echo mode, the Xnob adds hiss, while in the Band Delay mode it changes the filter resonance.
The three sturdy footswitch selectors on the front can function differently according to the mode you´re in. In main play mode, the active switch kicks the effect on and off, while the middle switch - labelled Repeat - instantly captures the sound that the pedal is currently making and loop it infinitely. The tap tempo does exactly what you´d expect.
Further to this is the 12-second Looper mode - this works like a dream. The three foot switches function as transport controls in this mode for recording, playing, overdubbing and stopping. Very handy indeed.
So how do the effects sound? We´d have to say that, in general, the vibe is warm, natural and classy; in fact, it´s everything we´ve come to expect from high-end Eventide effect units. The only real downside is that it´s difficult to get any serious grit out of the box, and you might also be disappointed to learn that there´s no option to battery power it.
However, the range of delays on offer is very comprehensive and should suit any style of music or instrument you can think of. They all sound great in mono, mono/stereo or stereo and are very wide and musical - they´re beautiful, in fact!
What´s more, the delays really do sound like you expect them to. The Vintage Delay is suitably ‘old´ (especially when crushing the bit rate) and we love the fact you can dial in the amount of hiss/wow/flutter in the Tape Echo mode.
The Mod and Filter Delays are stunning - the Mod Delay can add everything from subtle chorusing through to wobbling mayhem. The chorusing/ mod sounds are both lush and very analogue in texture, as are the filters.
In fact, there´s nothing digital-sounding about this box, and there are no weak delay types, either. The TimeFactor is simply a high-quality, great sounding and very versatile pedal.
For a more detailed review of the TimeFactor, check out issue 198 of Future Music magazine.