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Eventide ModFactor review

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by CicadaSilence, Sep 27, 2008.


  1. Brief aside: Although I primarily play bass, as far as gigging out goes, I've been playing guitar just as long, and if a pedal can't serve with both bass AND guitar rigs, then it's outta here. No problems on that quarter with the ModFactor.

    I'll address sound quality first, because that's pretty much the only place I could find fault with the unit. While it's sounds are very, very good, I AB'd them against a couple analog units, and you can tell there is a difference in tone and timbre. Not glaringly, obviously bad, by any means, but the analog units (Morley PFL flanger, Moog Ring Mod, and EBS envelope filter) were definitely a little more rich and full. In a live environment, I doubt anyone would notice or care. That said, there are certain things that just can't be done on an analog unit, and that's where the Eventide shines.

    For example, with the ModFactor, you can modulate your modulation... basically, you can modify the waveshape of the up-down swoosh of a phaser (or flange, or ring mod, or...) by an independent "invisible" up-down swoosh. So you can get some really nifty drunken stagger waveshapes going on. You can control any parameter via expression pedal, and there are a ton of different waveforms to choose for the modulation and the modulation of the modulation. Sine, Triangle, Ramp, Peak, Random, Sample and Hold, ADSR, Envelope...

    You can control any and all parameters with an expression pedal. This is damn-near crucial for me. Nearly half of my gigging pedals have some kind of foot interactivity, beyond bypass... I treat my pedalboard almost like another instrument, or like a logical extension of my bass. I try and cop a lot of synth tones, and to me that equals interactivity.

    There are so many sounds in this thing, and the different ways you can modulate them turn them into other effects. For example, you can set the lowpass filter to expression pedal control for a wah effect, or sync it to a tap tempo and change the wave form for a sample and hold filter. You can map the sweep of a flanger or phaser to the expression pedal for weird resonant sweeps. Speed up and slow down tremolo rates. Random pitch vibrato. It goes on and on...

    Presets.... I love anything with presets. I love being able to tweak, but it's fun to NOT have to tweak, too. Especially with a pedal this complex; I've already lost three really awesome settings because I forgot to save them, and there are just so many parameters to tweak it's easy to forget what the hell you just did. They're pretty easy to get to, and although some functions are lost when in preset mode, you can call up a preset and switch back to manual mode to gain those features back. It takes a few seconds, unless you have the add-on footswitch. The add-on allows you to map a set of functions, bank up or down, tap tempo, brake, half-speed, etc., and seems a pretty crucial piece of gear if you plan on using this thing to the fullest of it's abilities. I'll pick one up eventually, I'm sure.

    Mine didn't come with a manual, so I downloaded the .pdf file, and honestly, it's pretty anemic. It explains how to navigate all the features of the pedal, as far as calling up presets, accessing various modes, etc., but doesn't tell you squat about the sound models themselves. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Undulator, (dual delay lines, chorus, and a trem, but that's ALL the manual tells you!) IThe Undulator mode is capable of some amazing sounds, but I don't know HOW it's making them. Programming the effect is pretty much like shooting blindfolded. I've gotten some beautiful string pad sounds, a faux MAX/MSP effect , and a weird, almost backwards delay Slow Gear kinda thing...

    Anyway, in summation; LOTS of great sounds, versatile is it's middle name, very interactive, and presets to save your hard work. No noise; in fact, my tone seems a little clearer with the ModFactor in line. Tap tempo! It's already made it's way onto my live board.

    CONS:

    * Not quite as full and lush as analog effects, but I wasn't really expecting it to be. I can live with the tradeoff, as the difference is fairly subtle.

    *THE MANUAL. You'd think that Eventide, a company renowned for it's rack units, would put forth the effort to make a more comprehensive manual. There are a lot of different sound models, and some of them would benefit greatly from a little extra explanation.

    * Perhaps TOO complex for those of you into the plug-and-play aspect of pedals. This one requires some alone time to get acquainted with.


    Any specific questions, feel free to ask.
     
  2. electricimprov

    electricimprov

    Mar 15, 2008
    So Cal
    Thanks for your thoughts. I just picked up one of these myself. I'm going to ease into it and take my time going through all the parameters. That Undulator is something else though.
     
  3. dubsymmetry

    dubsymmetry

    Mar 13, 2008
    cool review!

    just as a sidenote since you said the sound quality on analog units is better and you gave the moog RM as an example: the things below (except there´s no adsr) can be done with the moogerfoogers, and with the new digital expr. pedal you even get presets.

    (just to clarify, I haven´t seen or heard a modfactor and I don´t work for or endorse moog)

     
  4. That's a good point; I'd forgotten about the new Moog expression processor.

    Someday, I'd like to have all the Moogerfoogers set up on a big rack so I can tweak everything like an analog synth.

    I actually sold my Moog Ring Mod to fund the ModFactor purchase.

    In the "bang-for-your-buck" and transportability categories, the Eventide slays the competition.

    But if I had the cash and the wherewithal I'd definitely pick up a huge pile of Moog gear.


     
  5. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    I hope you don't mind if I add my own thoughts on my Modfactor.

    You're right that the little 'preset changed' dot isn't really enough. It seems like a future firmware could include a setting where if you called up a new patch without saving the current modified patch, the screen could print "Save?" and you could press fs 1 to save or fs 2 to ignore and continue with the patch load. They could call it 'programming mode' and theoretically you wouldn't enable it during performance.

    The manual is odd. I did have one in my box, but it's like they copied the content of the decent Timefactor manual, replace 'Time' with 'Mod', and then spent about 10 minutes on the Modulation-specific sections. Well maybe that is a little harsh, but instead of the table of modulation variations, what about a sentence or two to describe each one? Then again heck, maybe the permutations of the two LFOs are so varied that printed descriptions would be too narrow anyhow. That being said the manual shouldn't be a deal breaker for someone considering this pedal.

    It's ironic to me you call the sub LFO invisible because when I was first fumbling through this pedal's knobs I was having trouble hearing exactly what the "bottom row" of knobs did. Then I turned on the filter animation and I saw the pedal in a whole new way. You can see the effect of the sub LFO in the animation, and seeing the animation will "lock in" cognitively what's happening audibly.

    I don't know if you've looked at this yet, but given your comments about the exp pedal and aux switches, you really might want to look at the MIDI capabilities of this pedal. Then the question will be not what parameters do you map to THE expression pedal, but rather HOW MANY exp pedals do you want to use with the Modfactor!
     
  6. dubsymmetry

    dubsymmetry

    Mar 13, 2008
    certainly true, I always say to myself: "why the f# do you have to carry so much sh#t around" - until I´m set up and have my sound ; )
     
  7. Thanks for the review this is on my GAS list. I was holding off because there was no buzz on the forums here.

    A> What pedal are you using with it? They recommend the Ernie Ball VP Junior 25K Active Volume Pedal.

    http://www.eventidestompboxes.com/ModFactorDemo_Bass.html

    B> Would the Time factor work well for bass?

    Bump
     

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