I keep getting questions about what the big green pedals on my board are. And since they’re kind of an under-the-radar pedal, I figured I’d give them a review here.
The name of the pedal is the Timeline, by a company called Damage Control. Now, at first I didn’t give this pedal a second thought because, well, it’s called the Damage Control Timeline and it looks like this:
Now, I have grown to love the look of this pedal because the tone is such that right now, I could not ever picture myself parting with it. (By the way, ‘could not ever picture myself parting with it’ are meaningless words from a guitarist.) But let’s be honest here; it kinda looks like something I could put my GI Joe’s in to drive around………er…… ‘could have put my GI Joe’s in’, when I was a kid, of course. Seriously, I haven’t played with GI Joe’s in years……..legos is a different story. But even the name sounds like a GI Joe vehicle. You know: “Cobra’s gaining on us, boys! Quick, into the Damage Control Timeline!” “But sir! Rampart’s down!” “Rampart? I’m going after him! Cover me! Aaaahhhhhh!” (Uh……sorry, I’m not really sure what’s happening right now……..okay, on with the review.)
So, when I looked at the pedal and heard it’s name, I thought it would probably be very gimicky. But, after trying out the Eventide Timefactor, Boss DD20, TC Nova, all the usual suspects, I finally decided to give the Timeline a try. Now for years I owned the T-rex Replica. Amazing sounding delay, but not a lot of features. I was always searching and trying out delays for one that could match the Replica in sound, but had more features. I had kind of given up hope that it existed (without springing for a $2000 TC2290), until I played the Timeline.
Now, there’s 3 things that set the Timeline apart:
1) Incredible delayed sound quality. Warm and modulated, to crisp and old rackmount, I have yet to hear a delay sound like this. There is depth and weight to the delayed signal. And a ‘grit’ control to take you from the really digitally sounds to the really dirty analog/tape sounds.
2) And this is what made the deal for me–it keeps your dry signal completely untouched. Your dry signal just goes straight through the pedal in bypass mode and effect mode. No processing, no converting, no touching! (No touching!)
3) It has (with external midi pedals) over 1,000 presets. I hook up a Rocktron Midi Mate to it, and it gives me access to 128 presets. I program my whole set list into this thing wherever I play at.
And it has all the usual things, too, that you look for in a multi-delay pedal such as this: tap tempo, delay spillover, modulation, 20 second looper with infinite overdrubs, true bypass (well, I’ve seen it advertised as true bypass, but it does have spillover…..so maybe it’s some crazy new technology, but I’m skeptical. In any event, the tone to my humble ears is completely the same whether the pedal is on or off).
So here’s the videos to give you an idea of what it sounds like and what it’s capable of:
Video 4 (The looper demo. I start by actually looping tracks over each other, then I end with just keeping the record button on and just playing. The pedal records everything I do and keeps it quantized with the original loops. You can also tell that I don’t tap off the first loop perfectly in time; but the pedal quantizes it to tempo quite nicely.)
Video 5 (A loop I recorded and then let play. And I kind of mess with the knobs to show what they do. Pretty simple to use as a looper…..and not bad for a delay pedal. Obviously, if you want to store loops and really record stuff, a dedicated looper is preferable. But this is really cool to have in a delay pedal. I actually use the looper live, as it quantizes very nicely if you have a drummer who has even fairly good time.)
So hopefully those videos give you an idea of the pedal. Like I said, I just completely adore this delay. And the question will be asked about why I have two, and the answer is that I have one for delay sounds, and one for modulation sounds like reverb and chorus, as well as looping. You can also run the delays into each other for some cool stuff. And one of the best features about this delay is that they are so under-the-market-radar right now that you can pick them up used for not much more than you’d spend on a DD20 or DL4. Although, you do have to get an external midi pedal to get the full potential out of this thing.
Now, I have to review the bad about this pedal as well. There’s not much, but they’re important enough to note:
1) It’s ugly. You learn to like the sound of it because it ends up just looking like tone, but it does have a very distinct ‘toy’ look to it.
2) It’s an enormous pedal. It really, really is.
3) It runs on 2 Amps. Yes, that’s right. Amps. Most pedals run at anywhere from 100-200 milliamps. So it definitely needs to run on it’s own factory adapter.
4) For some reason (and this is my only real complaint with the pedal), they decided to put this huge led in the middle of the pedal that they call ‘The Magic Eye’ instead of a beats per minute readout. I could definitely have done with a smaller led to keep track of the tempo, and a digital readout for beats per minute.
But, the pedal sounds so good, is so versatile, and the fact that it’s one of the few multi-delays out there that doesn’t touch your dry signal, it’s absolutely more than worth it for me. But for some people, it admittedly will not be.
So, there’s the review and some demo videos of my new favorite delay pedal. And I do resist the urge each day to dig out my GI Joe’s and take them for a spin in it.