Review: FabFilter Timeless 2
For those not familiar with Timeless, here is some info from the product page.
FabFilter Timeless 2 is an ultra-flexible tape delay plug-in with time stretching, the best possible filters, and user-friendly drag-and-drop modulation.
FabFilter Timeless 2 key features
- Two delay lines (5 ms to 5 sec) with host tempo sync and panning.
- Feedback, cross-feedback and phase inversion.
- Tape delay or time-stretching behavior when changing the delay time.
- Mid/side processing.
- Freeze buffer option.
- Over 300 presets.
- Tap feature.
- Two state-of-the-art multimode filters with filter panning and 11 characteristics.
- Interactive filter display.
- Endless modulation options, with all the 16-step XLFOs, XY controllers, envelope generators, envelope followers and MIDI sources you will ever need.
- Easy drag-and-drop modulation with 24-slot modulation matrix.
- Modulation source signal visualization.
- Interactive MIDI Learn.
- Unique per-component presets.
- Smart Parameter Interpolation.
- Extensive help file with interactive help hints.
- Undo, redo and A/B switch features.
- Available in RTAS, VST, VST 3 and AU formats for Mac OS X and Windows.
Delay + lots more
Timeless is a tape delay effect, which basically means it records the input signal and then plays the delayed signal a number of times, like an echo, echo,.
Let’s take a look at the user interface.
The parameters to control the delay effect are located in the top left of the user interface. There are two delay lines (input from left and right channel) with delay time controls that can be synced to the host tempo or set manually. To get the effect to repeat multiple times, the feedback controls allow you to route the processed output (delay lines -> panning -> filters) back into the delay.
With version 2 of Timeless you can now also use a mid/side mode in which the stereo signal is converted to a mid (mono) and side part, allowing you to process the mono and stereo parts separately.
The delay operates in two modes, tape and stretch. The tape mode acts like analog equipment, i.e. when shortening the delay times, the pitch will go up. In stretch mode however, the pitch will remain the same, no matter how long or short the delay time gets. This is done by applying some smart granular techniques.
A new feature that was added to Timeless 2 is the Freeze buffer option. This allows you to “freeze” whatever is in the buffer (so no new input will be added to the delay lines) and mess around with it… Fun!
Next to the delay parameters you have 2 multimode filters, much like the ones in Twin 2 and Volcano 2. They feature FabFilter’s 11 filter characteristics and a lovely interactive filter display. You can route the filters in serial, parallel, and per channel modes.
The bottom half of Timeless 2’s GUI is where you can create effects that go way beyond a simple delay. Most parameters in Timeless 2 can be controlled by various modulation sources: XLFO (comprehensive LFO), envelope generators and followers, MIDI sources and an XY controller.
Modulate the filter parameters, delay time, feedback, or even other modulation sources, with easy drag and drop connections.
What else? The usual FabFilter goodies are also present in Timeless 2: interactive help, undo/redo, A/B switch, MIDI learn, separate presets for the various sections…
Below you can check some audio clips to give you an idea of the type of things Timeless 2 is capable of. Every demo starts out with a few bars of the dry loop, after which you will hear Timeless 2 in action (no other effects/processing used).
So what do I think?
If there is one thing that I consistently tend to use lots of it is delay effects. Sometimes it feels like I’m covering up too much of the original sound, but I can’t help myself; I just love this type of effect.
I frequently use freeware plug-ins (e.g. ET-200, Atlantis, P1 Tapedelay, BionicDelay) as well as my beloved OhmBoyz, which tends to make its way in most things I do.
So why would I want to use yet another delay effect? Sure enough, there is some overlap with other plug-ins I use, but Timeless 2 still manages to bring new and fresh things. I loved it from the minute I checked the presets. Chorus & flange, reverb, fx, resonaters, rhythmic effects, and tons more. From basic delays to crazy weird fx, it’s all there.
Besides being incredibly versatile, it is also easy to operate. Just do yourself a favor and go check the demo. I am pretty sure you will be impressed with what it can do.
Timeless 2 is available for Windows and Mac, for 99 EUR / $139 USD / 84 GBP.