Strymon Timeline vs Free the Tone Flight Time

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by scottl, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. scottl

    scottl Member

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    So, I'm at NAMM and I had the opportunity to play the Free the Tone Flight Time delay pedal. Being a 2290 lover, I was attracted to its looks and promise of sounding similar. My pedal board has had a Strymon Timeline on it for a couple of years now. I decided to pick up a Flight Time since I was impressed at NAMM. In addition, with full disclosure, I was offered artist pricing. Made the decision even easier.

    When the Flight Time arrived, I automatically removed the Strymon and added the new delay. Since then a couple of quirks had me bothered enough that I removed the Flight Time this weekend. I then head to headed the Timeline and the Flight Time to decide who stays on the board.

    Here are my thoughts, pros and cons ( I did extensively attempt to maximize tones with settings).

    Strymon:

    Pros - a ton of algorithms (Eventide type stuff), deep menu of adjustability, ease of switching presets and banks without the need for a midi pedal, good tap tempo that works, stereo (although my board is mono), high quality sounds, analog dry mix.

    Cons - Digital delay algorithm sound quality seem to be lacking something on top as compared to Flight Time ( I compared dry to delay with both pedals), delay does not show actual numerical settings for mix, feedback, etc.


    Free the Tone:

    Pros - Tonally, the Flight Time delays sat better in the blend and had more 2290 like fidelity. Just more depth. Cool 2290 style readouts that dispay actual numbers for feedback and mix, etc. Smaller footprint. Useful 2290 type features that I don't use. Analog dry mix. Possibly better than Strymon since I felt the unit mixed the dry and delay with more fidelity.

    Cons - Preset switching sucks. Hold down one button for two seconds, then switch preset, then rehold button again. Strymon is instant. Banks change then actual button to access preset. Tap Tempo is not good. If you tap faster than about 220ms, the button doesn't recognize the tap! NAMM unit and mine both have shortcoming so it is not mine, but an issue with all. Unit is mono. Unit does not do cool algorithms like Eventide or Strymon.


    So, at the end of the day, the Flight Time went back on the board, I felt the 2290 style delays had much better fidelity. Noticeable. Enough so that it overcame the more clumsy preset switching. Since I mainly tap tempo longer delays, the issue with it is not as important. Unfortunately, I have no room for a midi switcher or the preset issue is a non-event! I also use a Strymon Big Sky, so I have access to soem of the cool spacey algorithms there already.

    There you have it......
     
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  2. crev71

    crev71 Member

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    I don't miss my Timeline at all, yet. That said I'm probably gonna get an H9 to pair with my Flight Time for all my weirder delay/verb/mod desires.
     
  3. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I would contact the company and let them know what's going on. If they have a problem they are not aware of, maybe they will fix your unit free when they make the correction to the total production.
     
  4. crxshdxmmy

    crxshdxmmy Supporting Member

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    If you're really into digital delay, there are better choices than the TimeLine... but the the Flight Time looks revolting IMO. That notwithstanding, what's the MIDI functionality like? Maybe you could make preset switching and tap tempo better with a controller of some kind.
     
  5. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Nothing that can readily be fixed on the Flight Time, IMO. Unless they make the two switches on the Flight Time control presets directly! I would welcome that. You lose tap tempo though if you assign that way.

    My #1 criteria for digital delay is an all analog dry path. My delays run to my amps loop and there is a huge tonal loss if a pure digital unit goes there, in my case. Both the Strymon and Free the Tone are analog dry. As is the TC Flashback and the Chronos. Any others?? Looks are OK for me.... I have a 2290 and it reminds me of it. Mid is ok on it, but I have no room on my board for a controller! :(

     
  6. Holzar88

    Holzar88 Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice comparison. Thanks!
     
  7. scottl

    scottl Member

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    You are welcome!

     
  8. Michael_V

    Michael_V Supporting Member

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    I've owned both and if I had to use one, it would be the Timeline. Reasons would be ease of use live, flexibility and programmability, and sound quality.

    I use a lot of pristine digital delay, and for me Timeline sounds perfect in a band mix while the Flight Time sounded much too hard and was overpowering even at very low mixes.
     
  9. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Agree on the Timeline being versatile and easy to use. It does sound great too. I almost put it back on the board!

    I do totally disagree on the Flight Time being overpowering or hard sounding. I did nto get any of that when comparing. Just be aware of the mix and feedback settings..... Also, were the pedals after all dirt or was the delay getting a little dirt from the amp on them? My delays are after all dirt.

     
  10. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Flight Time sounding hard and overpowering? I disagree on that, it's very much a rack unit made for a pedalboard. It's a matter of how you have it set up.
     
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  11. 1198SP

    1198SP Supporting Member

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    Anyone like to share their favorite settings for the Flight Time?
     
  12. Michael_V

    Michael_V Supporting Member

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    The Flight Time was in the usual position for delays in my rig: after dirt and in front of a very clean amp.

    It wasn't that the repeats were distorting. It was that they were hard, which most people would consider the opposite of a delay that sits in the mix. Keep in mind, this is in the context of a large multipiece band. I had to roll the mix level down into the single digits to get it to sit in the mix and behave like I would normal expect a digital delay to behave.

    For reference, I've owned and used live a lot of digital delays: Timefactor, Timeline, H9, Nova Delay, DD-5s, DD-7, DD-20, DBD, Deeelay, and a host of others, and the Flight Time is the only one that sounded like this live.

    YMMV.
     
  13. Teleman76

    Teleman76 Supporting Member

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    I agree with your assessment Scott. Having played both now extensively I agree with the pros and cons of each unit you listed. The FT is on my board now. Could be I used a 2290 rack mount unit for years and the FT resembles it a lot. I agree the preset switching sucks big time on the FT!
     
  14. hucklebee

    hucklebee Supporting Member

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    That's great perspective. Can you expand on the "set up" part.
     
  15. TimeSnow

    TimeSnow Member

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    The mono and crappy preset integration are deal breakers for me.

    It does sound nice though.
     
  16. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

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    I've found that it sits better in a mix dialing the mix back around 30 (plus or minus to taste), and also using the filters to soften the top end a bit helps a lot too. I do think it's a pedal that you really have to understand to get the most out of.
     
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  17. hucklebee

    hucklebee Supporting Member

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    Have only worked with it for 2 weeks, but I really like what it has to offer.
     
  18. Gary Brennan

    Gary Brennan Old cavorting member Gold Supporting Member

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    Any external tap tempo possible on the flight Time via momentary footswitch, not via midi?

    Could you use it for creating chorus fx?

    GB
     
  19. forallofusPLENTY

    forallofusPLENTY Member

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    in my bedroom i enjoy my (timeline) delay in STEREO

    when I play out I use a 2 amp system:

    wet amp (mono delay/tubevibe, etc) and dry amp (for note attack and CLARITY)

    can't really haul 3 amps about (dry + stereo split/effected)

    as it is I always bring one amp and use the house amp for wet (into fx return w a kingsley preamp or into the front w the royal overdrive)

    (a total of 2 amps)



    the flight delay seems a FANTASTIC mono option and when I can allocate funds for such (or a CORNISH mono delay: yowza) one will be on my board...


    the midi feature negates any "switching issues" discussed

    decent pricepoint

    it is UGLY, fer sure fer sure, though



    sound QUALITY is all about FREEING d TONE, man
     
  20. Stanley

    Stanley Supporting Member

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    Anybody tried the Flight Time 2?
     

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