Publish date:
Social count:

Intelligent Devices Releases Marshall Time Modulator Digital Plug-in
June 15, 2009

CONTROL TIME ITSELF! - with The Marshall Time Modulator (now available in a convenient, cross-platform plug-in size).

Once in a while something is created that is so good, so unbelievably useful, it becomes "timeless." The original Marshall Time Modulator is one of those creations.

Before there was much "digital" anything, before records were considered anachronistic and nostalgia evoking, back when "Dark Side of the Moon" was new and Hip-Hop was a distant dream, Stephen St. Croix had an idea: What would happen if you took the longest analog delay line possible, gave it the greatest signal to noise ratio in a piece of outboard gear, and then allowed modulation over such a wide range that it could effect sound in ways sublime AND outrageous. Something so utilitarian and necessary that it could fit in equally well on Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life," or as the means of giving extra gravitas to the sound of a bad acid trip. Stephen called it: The Marshall Time Modulator. You'll call it "indispensable".

We’ll say this much: there is no flange like it, and hasn’t been for the past 35 years. Until now.

Two separate delay lines (Delay A and B), in a ratio of 1:2 or 1:4, each with their own volume, phase, pan and a joint feedback control are processed with analog modeling algorithms to capture the sound and quality of the original hardware.

Once modulation is added, the delay lines can be continuously swept over the range from minimum to maximum time over the LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) rate. This is a function of the interaction between the Time Delay, Preset, Time Modulation, LFO Shape and LFO Speed parameters working together.

The magic of the Time Modulator is in the unusual ways components were pushed beyond their limits and  used in manners never intended. The digital plug-in captures the unique sound of the hardware by modeling the behavior of the original. The results go way beyond the sound of a simple modulated delay line.

From subtle thickening, to reverb-loving "spin", to the sound of vinyl left out on the hood of an '84 Camaro in the Black Rock Desert in the last week of August, the Marshall Time Modulator plug-in has all the bases covered - and then some.

Here are some condensed points of interest:

Stephen St. Croix (aka Steve Marshall) and Edmund Pirali spent a great deal of time creating a digital model of how the Time Modulator works. Remember the original Time Modulator "misused" a lot of components in a manner never intended. This created some very "interesting" characteristics that only Steve knew about. Steve and Edmund then spent time modeling this behavior and testing it against the original hardware.

• The plug-in is modeled on the second generation Time Modulator Model 5402.

• Plug-in presets include recreations of patches from the original hardware.

• Although the original hardware was mono, the plug-in comes in three "flavors," allowing the creation of complex stereo effects:

TimeModulatorMM: mono input, mono output: Useful for single-point sources that you'd like discretely processed and placed.

TimeModulatorMS : mono input, stereo output: Excellent for "stereofying" mono sources and adding shimmer and excitement.

TimeModulatorSS : stereo input, stereo output: Nice for effecting things "in-place" or radically messing with the stereo image.

The functionality and behavior of some of the parameters is different based upon which flavor is being used. As an example, the PAN/WIDTH control acts as a PAN control in TimeModulatorMS and acts as a stereo WIDTH control in TimeModulatorSS.

• There was no "MIX" control in the original hardware.

• In the hardware, Delay A’s output was ALWAYS out of phase w/ input. Now phase on each A and B output can be controlled independently.

• The plug-in takes the two original LFO shapes (Sine, Square) and adds four more: Triangle, Saw, SSC and Random. The SSC shape was designed by Steve as the shape he would have ideally liked for the time modulator LFO if the technology had existed at the time.

•  Delay A and B outputs are "panable" or "widthable" (again depending on the flavor used)

Look for the Marshall Time Modulator plug-in and more on the Intelligent Devices pro audio website:

Fully functional 8 day demo downloadable without registration.

Chris Mandra
Product Specialist
Intelligent Devices
W: 410 902 0091