Eventide made its name back in the 80s with a line of studio-quality rackmount effects, and now the best sounds have been crammed into three stompboxes. Review by Huw Price
The ModFactor‘s effects are divided into 10 categories – Chorus, Phaser, Q-Wah, Flanger, Mod Filter, Rotary, Tremolo Pan, Vibrato, Undulator and Ring Mod. Just about every conceivable parameter is assigned to one of 10 control knobs, and you can assign any of these parameter controls to an expression pedal – individually as well as simultaneously.
Next, the Type control whisks you through the various effect permutations. For instance the chorus can be Liquid, Shimmer or Organic, and the phaser can be Negative, Positive, Bi Phase and Feedback – quite an eye-opener if you associate phase pedals with a single knob or you mentally divide chorus pedals into ‘digital ’80s’ or ‘soupy ’70s’. The parameters will also teach you a lot about how these effects actually work. There are 40 user presets divided over 20 banks with two presets in each, but the number is unlimited if the ModFactor is MIDI-connected to a computer – and you can sync the ModFactor to a MIDI clock.
Plug in, and it’s obvious we’re not dealing with bucket brigade chips or noisy analogue technology. This is real studio quality sound with no discernable colouration of the dry signal. The tones can be lush and pristine or extremely odd, depending on what you want.
Some effects require a bit of explanation. Mod Filter is a set of modulated filters where Intensity controls a combination of base filter frequency and Q width, while Depth controls the frequency offset of the left and right channels to create a stereo image. Undulator is a classic Eventide effect combining two delays, two detuned voices and an FM modulated tremolo. The Q-Wah effect is a wah pedal-meets-auto wah.
Eventide's new pedals do indeed have the sonic character of the fabled rack gear, but they're far easier to use. The emphasis is on studio quality - clarity, user-programmability and vanishingly low noise. If you're a fan of scuzzy lo-fi analogue effects the Factor range really isn't for you, but if you appreciate clean processing and are content to get your dirt elsewhere, these pedals offer a world of fun for experimental musicians and recording engineers alike.