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Strymon Timeline Pedal Review

Strymon Timeline Pedal Review

Strymon says the TimeLine is inspired by studio-grade outboard delays, and the pedal’s super-functional and get-down-to-business control layout is a reflection of the muse.

At this point, most guitarists familiar with

Strymon are accustomed to having the

company knock their socks off. In the last

couple of years, this Southern California-based

group of hardcore pedal geeks has garnered

raves in these pages for their Blue SkyReverberator (July 2010) and El Capistantape-delay emulator (November 2010). The

company’s latest weapon for sonic tweaking,

the TimeLine delay, is every bit as impressive.

And if you’re a studio hound—home,

pro, or otherwise—the TimeLine is worth

your undivided attention.

Pure Function

Strymon says the TimeLine is inspired by

studio-grade outboard delays, and the pedal’s

super-functional and get-down-to-business

control layout is a reflection of the muse.

The gunmetal gray box may look busy compared

to other stompbox delays, but given

the enormous wealth of functions within, it’s

actually quite streamlined. The seven knobs,

arrayed asymmetrically on the right side of

the pedal, modify the delayed signal in both

basic ways (time, repeats, mix) and more

radical ones (grit, filter, and modulation

rate and depth.) An eighth knob accesses

additional parameters for each effect. Twelve

delay types can be selected with the Type

knob on the left, which can also be pushed

to save presets. The three footswitches serve

dual functions, enabling you to activate two

preset banks, control the looper’s play and

record functions, and tap out tempos.

Worlds of Echo

There’s no way to cover everything the

TimeLine can do in a single review, but

while it’s a pedal of formidable power, its

intuitive enough that you can jump right

in and conjure about a trillion cool sounds

immediately. The 12 delay “machines,” as

Strymon calls them, include the dTape tapeecho

simulation that’s at the core of the El

Capistan pedal, the company’s dBucket analog-

delay emulation, and a digital delay—all

of which will delight discerning traditional

tonehounds. But the less-conventional delays

are where the real fun starts. Dual delay adds

a second set of repeats that lend a spacious,

reverb-like ambience that fans of Radiohead’s

Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood will

adore. The Ice setting is similarly cosmic,

though it does the cool trick of slicing and

dicing the delayed signal and playing them

back as though they were shards of a broken

mirror. And with a capo on the 7th fret of

my Danelectro Hodad 12-string, the simplest

folk arpeggios became a celestial choir.

The Filter delays enable the addition of

a synchronized low-filter oscillator to the

delayed signal, as well as resonance adjustment

that lends a synth-like tweak and a

little mid-’70s Jerry

Garcia vowel tone

to the repeats. The

Swell setting gives

your repeats an

almost volume-pedal

like bloom. Trem

lends a cool pulsating

warble, while

Reverse, when used

on bendy, Eastern-flavored

lines with

a longer delay time

and fewer repeats,

is a vehicle for

mind-bending psychedelic


The dTape and dBucket machines have

their own unique set of functions that are

assigned to the Filter, Grit, Depth, and

Speed controls. For instance, in dTape mode,

the Filter control becomes a Tape Age emulation,

while the Speed control emulates Tape

Crinkle at various levels of decrepitude.

Other delays use the Filter, Grit, and Depth,

and Speed knobs in a more straightforward

manner. But they are highly editable in

other ways through use of the Value knob,

which can be depressed to give you access

to another level of performance-modifying

options. The Ice mode, for instance, has a

an Interval control that enables to you to

tailor the pitch intervals of repeats from

one octave down to two octaves up, with

everything from major thirds and minor

sevenths in between. I used this function to

craft very song-specific harmonies. All such

settings can be stored as presets, as well.

The Verdict

While the TimeLine is an amazing tool

in live contexts, many players will find it

incredibly expressive in the studio, too. In

addition to the deep functionality of the

unit at the most immediately accessible

levels, each delay machine can seem almost

infinitely tweakable to suit a musical situation.

All this processing power isn’t cheap,

but given that this Strymon may lead you

to abandon every delay in your collection

except perhaps your bar-gig unit, it could

well be worth every cent over the long haul.

Buy if...
you have a producer’s ear for delectable delays and an insatiable appetite for echo in all its forms.
Skip if...
simply using your existing delay unit’s tap-tempo functionality makes your brain hurt.

Street $449 - Strymon -

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