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View Full Version : DL-4, DD-20, Timefactor, or Timeline?


Jamar
09-22-2011, 09:05 AM
Which digital modeling/multi-delay stompbox has been your favorite and why?



In 1999, I was a broke college student who wasn't quite old enough to have touched the old school analog/tape stuff, & conversely I wasn't quite young enough that the affordable digital delay pedal craze had taken off yet. I CAN NOT describe how I excited I was when I got the DL-4 in 1999 b/c it was the 1st time I had access to all those delay sounds. It was the 1st game changing pedal I ever owned. I was one of the 1st guys using it, and I had people's heads turning. Remember most of us weren't on TGP in 1999. Everybody wanted to know how I was doing all these pad sounds, & loops. Now that kind of sound is as common as a person wearing a pair of jeans. Then in 2003 while visiting Nashvile, I accidentally left my 1st DL-4 in a studio. It got gobbled up some lucky broke guitar player who was probably better than me anyway. I've since owned a total of 3 DL-4s (one I lost, one I broke, one I sold) and each time I have bought one, I never once regretted my purchase.

Then in 2004, I got the DD-20. I used it the longest of the "big four" delays. It wasn't a game changer in terms of groundbreaking new sounds, but it was THE WORKHORSE delay (you know a BOSS PEDAL). The DD-20 now allowed me to sync my delay times via BPM. This was extremely helpful b/c the local church gig required me to play to a click, and I could even save one more preset than my DL-4! I always thought the DD-20 sounded deceptively good. I'd always try other delays, but come back to the DD-20 thinking that, "I want to like that other delay pedal, but this hideous DD-20 still sounds better to me. UGH!" I think there was something about way the Boss designed the DD-20 to sound that was so understated that the quality of it's delays was often overlooked by guys like us who weren't guitar forum addicts. I've owned one DD-20 and it'll probably still be working 200 years from now.

It wasn't till late 2009 that I bought the Timefactor. I was late to the Timefactor party for several reasons. The primary reason being it's price and my tax bracket, & secondly I had accepted that the DD-20 was a better delay than I wanted to be, Again I didn't feel the Timefactor was quite deserving of game changing status in terms of offering new delays sounds, even though I thought it made several great advances tonally. I was more impressed with its functionality. I now could to use 2 independent delays at the same time in a one stomp box. I could also save up to 100 presets. No more rewriting delay patches for this week's set, which is something I had gotten use to doing with my DD-20. Then with the Timefactors v3 firmware update, I was able to name my presets. That was SOOO helpful. I would write amazing patches and then 6 months later still have them. It led to me experimenting a lot more in my delay designs, b/c I could save almost everything. I'm one of those guys who thought, "The Timefactor does sound kind of digital/too pristine/sterile at times..." but for the extra functionality and the $400 I dropped on it, I learned to live with it.

Then last month (2011) I officially drank the Strymon Timeline kool aid. I feel just as excited about the Timeline now as I felt about the DL-4 in 1999. The DL-4 made me excited to play my guitar and it opened up a whole new world of sounds that I didn't have access to previously. I would say the same of the Timeline today. I won't go on a "my Timeline is awesome" rant right now, b/c they're a billion threads on TGP about it. Do the research, get your hands on one, and make your own informed decision. But I will say this, I think that time will prove it to be as innovative a delay unit as the EP-3, DMM, DL-4 were when they were originally made.

It would seem the release trend for successful modeling/multi delay pedals is roughly about every 4 years.


1999 - - - - - - - 2003 - - - - - - - - - 2007 - - - - - - - - -2011 - - - - - - - 2015 - - - ->

Line 6 DL-4 | BOSS DD-20 | Eventide Timefactor | Strymon Timeline | ?

I wonder what's next...

JohanSolo
09-22-2011, 09:14 AM
ive owned a DL4, Two DD-20s and the Timefactor.

i liked the DL4 layout but there were several flaws (which require modding)

liked the DD20 for its added functions (like line level adjust) but not its layout of 2 buttons

the Timefactor to me was perfect as its seemed to be layout somewhere inbetween the DL4 and DD20, plus it also had kill dry functions and adjustable line level which were a godsend for my amps picky parallel and 0db line level fx loop. midi connectivity and the usb update firmware feature was a mega bonus too.

they all had their pros and cons RE sound, but im not really that picky with digital delays/analog modelling and managed to coax all sorts of faux chorus/verb and mod sounds from all 3.

I only just got interested in the timeline (i managed to avoid all the hype this long and literally showed no interest/refrained from watching clips)
i just cant seem to find any info on whether it can do killdry and adjustable in/out levels

Jamar
09-22-2011, 09:23 AM
good thought's Johan.

As for your Timeline questions. It can be set to kill or leave the delays trails per preset. You can adjust the output level (+ or -) 3dB per preset too. All of this info is available in the Timeline Manual PDF on the Strymon's webpage. I downloaded the PDF, did a word search for keywords on features I was looking for, and found out in a hurry.

telepunk
09-22-2011, 09:24 AM
This is a very good, fair narrative assessment. I see so many comments here claiming the Timeline is just the "flavor of the month." There are also many people who claim it is the "last delay anyone will ever need." Your post points out the truth, which lies somewhere in between. It is a game changer in the progression of multi-delay units. Sure, it has its cons just like any product will. Nothing is perfect. Also, there will likely continue to be innovation and progression in digital multi-delays. But, I beli eve the Timeline is the new "king of the multi-delays" for now.

Eagle1
09-22-2011, 09:38 AM
Timefactor by a mile.
It integrates with a simple system providing rack mount performance.
Don't judge it if you are not up to date with the firmware, the newest version is a different pedal from early incarnations.
Timeline has issues with levels, spillover and killdry that rule it out for me, and that is before is activates the built it EQ screwover when you use it in front and turn it on.

WoodyStrat
09-22-2011, 09:42 AM
I really don't have experience with the other units but the DD-20 is just an amazing, practical piece of gear! I have no wants in terms of sounds or features. I have no delay GAS either. I guess I got it right with the DD-20. So I voted for DD-20 but since I have not used the other units (I have used other Line 6 delays,) I am scewing the poll.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 09:43 AM
This is a very good, fair narrative assessment. I see so many comments here claiming the Timeline is just the "flavor of the month." There are also many people who claim it is the "last delay anyone will ever need." Your post points out the truth, which lies somewhere in between. It is a game changer in the progression of multi-delay units. Sure, it has its cons just like any product will. Nothing is perfect. Also, there will likely continue to be innovation and progression in digital multi-delays. But, I believe the Timeline is the new "king of the multi-delays" for now.

I'm glad we're on the same page, Telepunk. I would agree with your " 'King of Multi-Delays' for now" comment.

Eagle1, what about the TF does it for you?

Tbone135
09-22-2011, 09:44 AM
I still use a DMM and a DD-3, where am I on the timeline? Is it like a BC thing?

Jamar
09-22-2011, 09:45 AM
I really don't have experience with the other units but the DD-20 is just an amazing, practical piece of gear! I have no wants in terms of sounds or features. I have no delay GAS either. I guess I got it right with the DD-20. So I voted for DD-20 but since I have not used the other units (I have used other Line 6 delays,) I am scewing the poll.

Nah man, you can't screw the poll. The poll is already screwed this is TGP! :D

T-Bone, I currently also own a Maestro EP-3 and a 90's reissue DMM (on my board with my Timeline). I'll have to make another timeline graphic for ya. The one above is just for digital multi-delay/model stompboxes.

cribcage
09-22-2011, 10:01 AM
I see so many comments here claiming the Timeline is just the "flavor of the month."

It may or may not be just a flavor of the month, but it definitely is a flavor of the month (having been dethroned only slightly by the Empress Compressor). Somebody opened a thread polling for the best pedal "ever" and the Timeline scored multiple mentions before the thread hit its second page. Somebody else opened a thread asking how to get NES tones out of a pedal and bingo, "Timeline!" was suggested. Maybe it's a great pedal, but the Kool-Aid effect is comical.

voorhiessa
09-22-2011, 10:04 AM
Which of those would you say is the best value for the buck?

joeleric26
09-22-2011, 10:10 AM
After years of faithful service I've got my DD20 on Ebay. It has been a great, great pedal but the Timeline finally bumped it.

jordanchristie
09-22-2011, 10:12 AM
Love my Timefactor! It takes care of all my delay needs....but I have no need for all the unique sounding bells and whistles of the Timeline.

Bryan T
09-22-2011, 10:12 AM
I got a DL-4 the week they showed up at my local Guitar Center. I used it for over a decade and loved it. If I get another delay, it'll be the Timeline. I see it as the natural evolution of the DL-4.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 10:16 AM
Which of those would you say is the best value for the buck?

The DD-20 probably is the best bang for the buck in my book.


Love my Timefactor! It takes care of all my delay needs....but I have no need for all the unique sounding bells and whistles of the Timeline.

This is the classic rookie mistake when observing the Timeline. Don't let the Timeline's bells and whistles overshadow its innovation within it's more traditional modes/settings. Case and point, people see Timeline's ice demo and think of ONLY using the Timeline for ice/crystal delays. The digital delay setting on the Timeline is the one that I've used the most. That particular model has several features that you won't find on other digital delays. It's extremely versatile and sounds much sweeter to my ears for traditional digital delay tones. In addition to that, it's also capable of generating usable non-traditional digital delay tones all within that one "digital machine" model/setting. I'm getting what I would consider better tones out of the Timeline than what I could coax out of the Timefactor or any other delay pedal at the moment. Not to say that the Timefactor sounds bad. In fact, I think it sounds great. I just prefer the Timeline.

telepunk
09-22-2011, 10:47 AM
I agree that the DD20 is the best "bang for the buck"

telepunk
09-22-2011, 10:51 AM
It may or may not be just a flavor of the month, but it definitely is a flavor of the month (having been dethroned only slightly by the Empress Compressor). Somebody opened a thread polling for the best pedal "ever" and the Timeline scored multiple mentions before the thread hit its second page. Somebody else opened a thread asking how to get NES tones out of a pedal and bingo, "Timeline!" was suggested. Maybe it's a great pedal, but the Kool-Aid effect is comical.


I totally agree with the Kool-Aid thing, but that's just TGP, not the Timeline. I feel the same way about the Tim/Timmy. It is a great overdrive pedal that has stood the test of time. It deserves to be on any "best of the best list" for dirt pedals. But, good GRIEF it gets boring when EVERY OD/Dirt suggestion thread includes 10 recommendations for the Tim/Timmy on the first page. Paul is a great guy, and he makes a great product, but-as he will even point out-his pedal is just one of many that are very good.

Codyh630
09-22-2011, 10:59 AM
I have both the DD20 and the Timefactor and they are both great pedals. The Timefactor is so versatile but the only issue is that it takes a lot of time to get to know and it's hard to set things on the fly. It makes up for it with having so many presets.
I think the Timefactor is a better pedal, but the DD20 scores big on the convenience factor of it. Really simple to use and great sounding if you need a couple different delays in your set and none of them are too crazy.
That's my $.02 at least. haha

thesooze
09-22-2011, 11:04 AM
After years of faithful service I've got my DD20 on Ebay. It has been a great, great pedal but the Timeline finally bumped it.

This is me, too. I voted Timeline.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 11:23 AM
I totally agree with the Kool-Aid thing, but that's just TGP, not the Timeline. I feel the same way about the Tim/Timmy. It is a great overdrive pedal that has stood the test of time. It deserves to be on any "best of the best list" for dirt pedals. But, good GRIEF it gets boring when EVERY OD/Dirt suggestion thread includes 10 recommendations for the Tim/Timmy on the first page. Paul is a great guy, and he makes a great product, but-as he will even point out-his pedal is just one of many that are very good.

Well said!

analogic
09-22-2011, 12:00 PM
I've owned the DL4, DD-20, and Timefactor at various times (among many other delays), and recently bit the bullet and ordered a Timeline.

I'm still using the Timefactor currently as my workhorse delay, though I always try to find an excuse to use another delay pedal when I can. At times I'll have two, or even three other delay pedals in my rig with the Timefactor despite the fact that the Timefactor (for practical reasons) is much more useful live. So I guess its flaw, for me, is that it never "wows" me. I use it when I need to dial in something fast, or call up a preset mid-song, but whenever I get the chance I try to use another delay that has more personality, vibrancy, and nuance, like the DMM, or recently, the Strymon El Capistan. I've also found that it colours my tone in an unsavory way, and adds a noticeable bit of noise to my signal.

I probably won't be able to sell off my Timefactor like I did my other pedals, I think I have too much affection for it. It really did a service for me that no other pedal has really managed to do, and I've recorded crucial material with its algorithms that I'm not sure I'll be able to dial in with the Timeline.

I thought the DL4 was passable, though utterly unreliable and a bit of a drag to use. The DD-20, as the initial poster stated, is a weirdly awesome pedal that is oddly under-appreciated. I found it incredibly useful, and a lot of the delay sounds were surprisingly great, especially the Tape setting, which despite having nowhere near the parameter controls as the Timefactor still sounded better to my ears. I hated the layout, and especially those horrible boss footswitches, which is probably what contributed to me selling it off. Still though, despite it's drawbacks, sound-wise, it can compete with the Timefactor, which is something I never really thought was possible.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 12:39 PM
...its (timefactor) flaw, for me, is that it never "wows" me. I use it when I need to dial in something fast, or call up a preset mid-song, but whenever I get the chance I try to use another delay that has more personality, vibrancy, and nuance, like the DMM, or recently, the Strymon El Capistan. ...

Thank you for putting into words what I couldn't. I feel the exact same way about the Timefactor. I loved it's functionality, but it never "wowed" me.

The DD-20, as the initial poster stated, is a weirdly awesome pedal that is oddly under-appreciated. I found it incredibly useful, and a lot of the delay sounds were surprisingly great, especially the Tape setting, which despite having nowhere near the parameter controls as the Timefactor still sounded better to my ears. I hated the layout, and especially those horrible boss footswitches, which is probably what contributed to me selling it off. Still though, despite it's drawbacks, sound-wise, it can compete with the Timefactor, which is something I never really thought was possible.

I too hated the DD-20's layout. I still prefer it's tape sound to the Timefactors. Eventhough either doesn't sound especially like real tape delay to my ears.

Great post, Analogic.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 04:27 PM
Anybody else have any thoughts?

MrSoGood
09-22-2011, 04:34 PM
I really don't have experience with the other units but the DD-20 is just an amazing, practical piece of gear! I have no wants in terms of sounds or features. I have no delay GAS either. I guess I got it right with the DD-20. So I voted for DD-20 but since I have not used the other units (I have used other Line 6 delays,) I am scewing the poll.

+1...but I didn't vote and screw up the poll since I haven't played the other two. Can you set the tempo in bpm on the Timeline and Timefactor like you can on the DD-20. I love that feature, works great for click tracks.

JohanSolo
09-22-2011, 07:32 PM
+1...but I didn't vote and screw up the poll since I haven't played the other two. Can you set the tempo in bpm on the Timeline and Timefactor like you can on the DD-20. I love that feature, works great for click tracks.

affirmitive RE : tap tempo in bpm for the TF

Road King
09-22-2011, 07:42 PM
I went through 2 DD20s before getting my Nova. I know it's not on the list but I think it deserves and honorable mention. IMO it sounds better than the DD20. Never tried the others that are on the list.

Jamar
09-22-2011, 08:06 PM
Yeah that original list is by no means definitive. I just listed ones that I owned and liked. Other honorable mentions: The TC Electronics Nova Delay & the Empress Superdelay.

ERGExplorer
09-23-2011, 01:44 AM
Least intuitive yet most powerful delay on my board: Yamaha UD-Stomp. It manages to cop both digital and analog delay and modulation sounds, and since it can have 8 lines simultaneously, in any combination of parallel and serial, it blows most things out of the water.

The cons? It's hard to adjust the huge possibilities on the fly. It's discontinued.

I think the Yamaha MagicStomp has a few settings which allow the 8 simultaneous lines of the UD-Stomp.

telepunk
09-23-2011, 10:31 AM
since it can have 8 lines simultaneously, in any combination of parallel and serial


Wait, so instead of "dual delay" for example, it can do "octo-delay"? Like eight delays at once? That would be crazy.

Eagle1
09-23-2011, 11:48 AM
Th MS has the UD capability's but both those units sound a bit digital IMO

Jamar
09-23-2011, 04:34 PM
Yeah both the UD and MS never sounded as pleasing to my ears. I only tried them out a couple of times. They just weren't for me.

Reckedtrek
09-23-2011, 08:58 PM
The UD Stomp is probably THE best modulation delay, and I've yet to hear any delay come even close. It has up to 8 delays all modulated EQed and panned wherever you want them. you can even pan the dry signal. It's just sick. It's not as versatile as the TF and the TL maybe, but it gets alot of sounds those two can't. It's a shame the pedal is so overlooked.

Having said that, I go with my TimeFactor as a general gigging delay and like it better than the others I've tried taking all things into consideration.

Jamar
09-24-2011, 11:03 AM
The UD Stomp is probably THE best modulation delay, and I've yet to hear any delay come even close. It has up to 8 delays all modulated EQed and panned wherever you want them. you can even pan the dry signal. It's just sick. It's not as versatile as the TF and the TL maybe, but it gets alot of sounds those two can't. It's a shame the pedal is so overlooked.

Having said that, I go with my TimeFactor as a general gigging delay and like it better than the others I've tried taking all things into consideration.

wow, bold words. perhaps I should youtube this guy with new ears.

ERGExplorer
09-24-2011, 12:03 PM
Although I'll not defend the MagicStomp, since I don't have much experience with it (it lives on the back of the shelf in the Closet of Misfit Effect Toys), I do believe the UD-Stomp to be very lush if one uses the controls which are available.

I feel fortunate to have worked my way through the manual, which is really more of a tutorial than most manuals. I can understand someone hitting a few presets and not getting it... which was to my advantage when I decided to get one upon the strength of the reviews, manual, and the available demos of the time.

The fact you can add your choice of modulation effect (chorus/flanger/phaser/tremolo/vibrato) to any of the eight parallel/serial lines just pushes this into the realm of madness. Again, the largest negative to the unit is the difficulty in adjusting it on the fly.

Any of you who feel it's a dud in regards to tone, and who want to unload theirs, let me know....

Eagle1
09-24-2011, 03:25 PM
I unloaded this years ago .
It is all very well doing a lot of things but the converters are crappy and the tone is lofi an nasty. You need a H 8000 if you want to do this nicely .

Resonate01
11-08-2013, 08:58 AM
There are 3 delays on the market now that I have/have had and would pick over any delay:

-DL4
-DD20
-Nova Delay.

The DL-4 has it's flaws clearly but it's one of my fav units ever for it's algorithms and layout. Love it's lofi analog tones even though it's a digital pedal.

The Nova is one of my fav pedals because of it's layout. It's so open and live. Really easy to use as well.

DD20 is what I currently use, I love it to death. Altering great tones and ease of use is the way to go for me.

As for the TF and Timeline, they're both great pedals but I can't justify paying 400+ bucks for them when I'm totally happy with my DD20. For me it's all about ease of use on stage and the DD20 blows them out of the water in that department.

slap_back05
11-08-2013, 09:01 AM
Well it's been over 2 years, is the Timeline still a 'flavor of the month'?

scholl4148
11-08-2013, 10:04 AM
It's been 10 years and I still love the DD-20. It's about time for an updated version from boss, though

Jamar
11-08-2013, 11:24 AM
It's been 10 years and I still love the DD-20. It's about time for an updated version from boss, though

agreed.

Kluch
11-08-2013, 11:43 AM
It's been 10 years and I still love the DD-20. It's about time for an updated version from boss, though


Yep... I keep saying I'm going to invest in a timeline or timefactor someday... hasn't happened yet

Jules-RM
11-08-2013, 11:52 AM
I prefer cascading delays, I had a TimeFactor for years and found a DD7>Echo Puss setup to be a lot more intuitive and creative. The only thing I miss is presets.