Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Giving the Time Factor some love


I'm playing at a conference over new years and I've been putting together presets for all the songs since rehearsal starts later this week. Until recently, I hadn't spent much time with the Time Factor. I spent a few hours with it when I got it and made a few presets I liked but since then I had just been tweaking the tempos and going between quarter and dotted eighth notes based on the song. I decided it was time to get to know this thing better. Here's what I learned (these aren't all specific to the TF... they will work on any delay):
Dual delays - The time factor can do two delays in parallel (they don't delay off each other, just the dry signal). When I first played with it I experimented with using two different rhythms for each delay. I tried things like dotted eighth and quarter notes and all sorts of rhythms that don't line up with each other. I know some people use this well but it always ended up sounding like garbage to me. It gets weird delays that are a sixteenth note apart and things like that. I decided I didn't need two delays and forgot about it... until now. I found a new use - accenting beats with the second delay. I'm using two delays on a few songs now, but I make sure the rhythms line up. Quarter and half notes, triplets and quarter notes, quarter and dotted half notes. What that does is keep the smaller of the two rhythms constant but puts an accent on certain beats. I also came up with a cool way to do dotted eighths. The first delay does a single repeat on a dotted eighth, the second delay does 5 or 6 delays on a dotted eighth then I set the first delay to be a bit louder than the second. The result is a fairly strong first repeat then a trail of quieter repeats. Muy bien!
Band Delay - This is the delay that has a moving filter on the repeats (like having a wah on the repeats). I originally dismissed this as a weird gimmick, mostly because the built in preset for this mode IS gimmicky, but I've grown to like it. On a few songs I'm turning the filter all the way off and just using the delay. It's a little smoother (by that I mean less attack on each repeat) than the other modes. You can also change the resolution and darkness of the repeats to a certain extent. This delay (with the filter turned off) is actually what I expected the "vintage delay" to be. I was looking for something to come close to the "Lo-Res" setting on the DL4 and on paper the vintage delay mode should be it. I think band delay is actually the better substitute. I also played with leaving the filter on a low setting so there's a slow subtle wah in the background. On one song I set the filter to a pretty fast speed (about the speed of a quater note on the song which is around 75 bpm) but still on a really subtle setting. I gives almost a tremolo effect on the repeats.
Modulation - I'm not a fan of pitch-based effects so I've been really slow to appreciate modulation in delays. It finally happened though. I like a small amount of modulation in a lush delay. I was playing with a delay for "Yes We Will" by Justin Bender (song is on his myspace). It's a pretty open song and a lot of it I just play on the down beat of the measure and let the delay fill in the other 3 beats. I found a good tape delay set to dotted eighths and I figured I'd turn on a little modulation just to see what it sounded like. Whoa! It totally filled everything in. The mod on the tape delay tries to simulate the stretching of a tape delay so it's not modulating in a uniform tempo, I really liked it, especially on this open of a song.

3 comments:

Phillip said...

I had made up my mind to buy a Damage Control Timeline, but this post (and several threads on The Gear Page) have me seriously considering the Timefactor. Maybe I could buy both... Crap!

lespaulplayerdoctor said...

ditto with phillip....

I really need to sit down at a Guitar Center and play every delay in the store until I find my perfect one. For now the DD20 is perfect....

but wow.

Mike said...

I will say the time factor has a stronger attack on each delay than I was used to with the DL4. The DL4 let me make a kind of drone sound in the background. With the TF you hear the rhythm of the repeats. I still don't know if I like that or not. I suppose it cuts through more. I know the damage control lets you chose how much the delays smear together. Other than that, I love the TF :)