Can there be such a thing as too many delay plugins? My VST folder’s answer would clearly be no.
I have reviewed a few delays before, and I’ve picked up a some other ones over the years… but there is always room for more!
FabFilter’s new Timeless 3 takes the good old vintage tape delay to the next level with a brand new interface and modulation engine, various creative effects, new and improved filtering options, multi-tap delay, and more.
While I got along with Timeless 2 just fine, I have to say I find the new interface to be a massive improvement. It is much easier to work with, especially when creating complex delays. The way the delay taps, filters and modulation is displayed is intuitive, and you get instant feedback on how changes affect the sound.
That said, some of the controls are still a bit small and fiddly, and although the interface can be scaled – even to full screen – the controls and text don’t scale so this could be an issue depending on your setup.
FabFilter says they have improved the sound quality of overall feedback, the filters, and internal saturation. I couldn’t really hear much of a difference with some of Timeless 2’s presets, but the sound quality sure is top notch to my ears.
You can now use up to 6 multi-mode filters with some additional filter shapes, and FabFilter has also introduced some new options to color the feedbacked delay sound with Drive, Lo-Fi, Diffuse, Dynamics and Pitch effects. Add to that a versatile modulation system that can modulate just about anything and you’ve got a creative powerhouse delay. With Timeless 3 you get up to 16 delay taps, with an individual delay time factor, output level and panning, allowing you to create rhythmic patterns.
For a quick overview of all the new feautres in Timeless 3, take a look at Dan Worall’s excellent introduction to the plugin.
So what do I think?
Every time FabFilter releases an update to a plugin, I’m amazed at how many improvements they manage to cram into it. Version 3 of Timeless takes this delay to a whole new level. It sounds amazing and when it comes to creating creative delay effects, I don’t think there’s anything out there to match its set of features. It’s a good thing the plugin has undo/redo and A/B options, because you can easily get lost with all the sound design options (in a good way!).
Having so many possibilities for shaping your delay isn’t for everyone of course, even overwhelming perhaps. If you just need a simple delay, you’re probably going to be fine with your DAW’s native delay or a free VST. But if you want comprehensive control to create some unique effects, you should definitely give Timeless 3 a try with the 30-day free trial version!
Available for Windows and Mac (VST/VST3, AU and AAX), Timeless 3 is priced 109 EUR/$129 USD at the FabFilter shop and from distributor Plugin Boutique.