Samick Motherlode

December 2014
more... GearEffectsSound SamplesReviewsChorusFlangeMulti-EffectPhaserMarch 2009Eventide

Eventide ModFactor Review

Eventide ModFactor
Download Example 1
Basic chorus with high feedback setting
Download Example 2
Undulator effect
Recorded with an Ibanez Prestige RG into a '67 Marshall Superbass w/ Bogner 4x12. A Heil HM20 was used into a Line 6 Toneport, no mod.
After the boom of small, controllable distortion devices, musicians decided that they wanted more. Spatial tones created by large organs, concert halls, and backup orchestras were envied by the common musician and demand grew for inventions that they could use to create their own ambiance. They were the second generation of single effects for guitarists, with a sudden explosion of portable and reliable chorus, rotary speaker, delay, panning, phasing, and other time-based effects in the mid-seventies.

Finally, guitarists could simulate their own orchestras of multiple guitars at once, rattling huge cavernous halls, and ultimately coax sounds out of their instruments that they had not previously thought possible. One of the companies dedicated to this cause was Eventide, which emerged in 1970 and became famous years later for their extraordinary pitch shifting and reverb processors. Not only were their designs coveted by musicians of all genres, but Eventide became synonymous with the “clean” effect, meaning that their designs represented the pinnacle of what modern technology could achieve when applied to flawless effect processing design.

Having made waves in the stompbox fray with their highly manipulative TimeFactor and PitchFactor pedal, Eventide is now presenting the ModFactor, an effects pedal combining several modulation effects into one device. Make no mistake: the ModFactor is an impressive piece of machinery. Offering ten different effects that can be twisted and processed through ten separate parameters, a seemingly endless amount of modulation effects can be squeezed out of the modest-sized unit. After you’ve dialed up a pleasant concoction of whirled chorus, space age ring modulation or smooth vibrato, your creation can be saved into one of the forty available banks in the device.

Several of the models offer stereo options to enhance results, so Eventide provided not only dual outputs but dual inputs on the back of the unit, as well. Input and output levels can be changed quickly at the mere flick of a small switch on the back panel, and you can choose between a standard guitar input or line level input. The output stage can be changed to accommodate an amplifier’s front end input, or a line level one. This way, players can achieve a smoother response and greater clarity when running the effect in an amplifier’s effects loop. Eventide also provides two different ways of controlling the item from an outside source, using either a USB port or MIDI ports on the side panel.

It is difficult to know where to begin with the ModFactor. A lot of “all-in-one” effect systems on the market promise great sounds out of the box, but sometimes can disappoint by really only providing a few models that shine (and the others, not so much). The ModFactor tackles ten different effects: Chorus, Phaser, Q-Wah, Flanger, Modfilter, Rotary, TremoloPan, Vibrato, Undulator (a classic Eventide custom creation), and RingMod. After cycling through the basic presets that the ModFactor is programmed with from the factory, it was clear that Eventide still is at the top of their game after all these years. They have a reputation for designing effects that, while giving the player unprecedented control, are easily capable of providing a great, usable sound almost immediately.

This is particularly evident with their chorus effect, the first effect that the ModFactor shows off. The Intensity control basically acts as a mix between the wet and dry signals, and reacts this way with most of the other models (for the TremoloPan model, it can react as either a Drive or Edge control). Type switches between different modes of the selected effect, which in the case of Chorus are Liquid, Organic and Shimmer. A variety of other parameters can be modified to tailor the sound, including depth, speed, modulation rate and shape (wave forms such as Sine, Triangle, Random, Ramp, Square, Sample/ Hold). Rates can be adjusted with the convenient Tap Tempo footswitch.

While every effect in the ModFactor sounds fantastic, certain effects are particular standouts over others: the Vibrato is one of the smoothest, most natural representations I’ve ever heard. It’s surprising how thick and warm it is, and how it actually changes the pitch of the tone rather than “sitting on top” of it. Also, a tip of the hat goes to Eventide for the striking Undulator effect (see clip 2). This famous setting has a very organ-like quality to it, combining several different effects together to create its unique tone: two delays, two detuned voices (choruses), an FM modulated tremolo, and a slight volume swell. This setting is, simply put, a blast to play. If you are in the market for some great synth-like, futuristic Mellotron-in-space tones, the ModFactor comes highly recommended.

The Final Mojo
Just like any other effect type, modulation is a very personal thing. Guitarists can be as touchy about Chorus as they are about their overdrive tone. Some players love analog, and hate digital; others the exact opposite. A large number dislike the effect altogether. This might be an unfortunate consequence for the folks at Eventide—some players might not realize they should be checking this pedal out simply because of a bad lingering taste in their mouths that is the result of having played many poor choruses, phasers and flangers over the years. To each his/her own, though—if you don’t like modulation, this might not be the pedal for you. Traditionally, the effects that the ModFactor contains have been best used sparingly. Somebody who does not need ten different mod effects, with a phaser that has four different modes, might be a little intimidated when seeing this pedal for the first time. However, as the old saying goes: there’s always room for change, and the Eventide ModFactor might be the wave that turns the tide in your mind.
Buy if...
You need a high quality, versatile modulation pedal, and want a few more unique tones underneath the hood for experimentation.
Skip if...
Modulation in your music is something that is not worth shelling out for.
Rating...
4.5

Street $399 - Eventide - eventide.com