My first introduction to Eventide electronics coincided with a flight over a glacier in Anchorage, Alaska in a small two-seater Piper Cub. As I looked over the pilot’s shoulder, I noticed a colorful moving map on his dash. It was an Eventide avionics map display, and it proved instrumental in helping us avoid catastrophe as we navigated the fog and heavy winds. Only later would I learn that the same company that helped guide me in the air also offered something I could use on the ground. Eventide has been around since 1970, with a modest beginning that involved tape search units for multi-track recorders that later led to their groundbreaking H910 Harmonizer. Since then, they have continued to offer well-regarded high-end studio effect units with a hefty price tag. But with the introduction of its Stompbox Series, Eventide offers the same studio-grade effects found in its rackmount modules at a fraction of the price. Our review centers on the ModFactor, which, with its Chorus, Flanger, and Q-Wah, is perhaps the most practical to the majority of bass players. Eventide also offers the delay-oriented TimeFactor and pitch-modulating PitchFactor.
This unit is well constructed. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a stompbox that can’t take a stomp. Not the case with the ModFactor; it’s built like a tank. I don’t make a practice of abusing my effects pedals, but I don’t like to worry about being delicate with them either. All knobs and switches here were rugged and durable. The ModFactor features 10 of Eventide’s top modulation effects: Chorus, Phaser, Q-Wah, Flanger, ModFilter, Rotary, Tremolo, Vibrato, Undulator, and Ring- Mod. Once an effect is selected, using either the control knob or the toggle switch, the top knobs control the primary parameters, such as INTENSITY and TYPE (the unit has four distinct types of Phasers, for example), while the lower ones control secondary limits like SPEED and DEPTH. In all, 10 knobs assist users in managing amazingly deep sets of parameters, one of the strongest attributes of the ModFactor. This ability to change even the most subtle nuances of sound comes with a bit of a learning curve, but those interested in this unit are likely not to mind the homework, realizing that the benefits outweigh the time it takes to develop familiarity with the menus. As the introduction to this review indicates, Eventide is a forward- thinking electronic company, perhaps best demonstrated by their slogan, “Obsolescence is so 20th Century.” To that end, they’ve added a USB port that allows users to keep current with Eventide’s software development, offering some peace of mind that this purchase won’t end up at the bottom of your closet in two years when they come out with a new version.
As you might notice, the last half of the above-listed effects are more traditionally employed by electric guitarists, but don’t let that stop you from trying out the Tremolo or Vibrato at your next rehearsal. For my purposes, however, I primarily focused on the first four, all of which are friendly to bass frequencies. To test the unit, I plugged in a variety of basses, including a delicious ’55 Fender Precision (on loan from a friend) into a Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0 12T combo. With that bass, the juxtaposition of old and new technology provided a nice backdrop to test the sound and utility of the ModFactor. The interface was welcoming, with easy-toread graphics and a layout that made sense, even in its complexity. I began with the chorus, switching between presets at first but then making finer adjustments via the knobs. Thanks to my Boss RC-20 Loop Station, I could make these changes while still listening to my bass part, which made the learning curve less steep. True to its word, the Eventide offers incredible flexibility. You can subtly alter each effect, tailoring the sound to suit your needs in and out of the studio. As far as stompboxes go, the ModFactor is designed to allow use of only one effect at a time, although you can switch between two banks at any given moment.
After testing the Chorus effect, I went through the same process with the Phaser, Flanger, and Q-Wah, all of which sounded natural and hi-fi, although I would strongly encourage players to opt for an expression pedal to control the wet/dry mix on any of these. The Q-Wah, in particular, is juicy and inviting, but if you want to keep some low presence while you play that funky music you’ll need some dry mix added to your sound. Adding an expression pedal to the unit is a breeze, though, and Eventide recommends the Ernie Ball VP Jr. 25k ($85) or the more affordable M-Audio MGear EX-P (approx. $30).
Despite its remarkable features, the ModFactor is not for everyone, but then not many things are. This unit will appeal mostly to players who want a remarkable quiver of studio-grade effects in a rugged and small package with the ability to tweak them on every level. For some, that’s just too much work. For others, the flexibility allows for creating truly unique sounds, and who doesn’t want that? —Rod Taylor
Pros Quality studio sounds and tons of flexibility Cons None
Number of modulation effects 27
Number of factory presets 100
Options Expression Pedal
Weight 2.2 lbs
Made in China
Warranty One year limited