NM-1 Nova Modulator review by TC Electronic

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (22 votes)
TC Electronic: NM-1 Nova Modulator
1

Sound — 9
The amount of sounds achievable with this pedal is quite remarkable. Each effect in this unit is clean and rich, not to mention fully adjustable. I have noticed a great difference in tonal consistency when using this pedal in my effects loop. If your amp doesn't have an effects loop, you may notice certain settings sounding harsh through your amp's Overdrive. This is common of many modulation effects. This can be remedied with some tweaking of the filters with some time and attention to detail. There are certain tones in this pedal that will sound familiar to you right out of the box. Preset 9 is setup to be an Eric Johnson chorus. Most of the effects with the speed, depth, and filters set at 12 o'clock will sound very musical and usable. To harp on the creative potential with this pedal, I came across some very interesting Trower-like effects by bridging the 2 engines together. Try running your guitar into input L then running output L into input R then output R into your amp. I ran a Tri-chorus into a phaser to achieve the last audio sample... pretty cool. (Check out Audio Sample 5)

Overall Impression — 9
This pedal was sent to me on loan from TC Electronics and now I really don't want to send it back! I will have to own one of these in the near future for sure. My initial concerns with the pedal have all been proven moot as my knowledge of the functions has increased. If you want an all in one modulation solution without breaking the bank or taking up your entire pedal board, you owe it to yourself to check one of these babies out! Check out this amazing demo from the guys over at TC!

Reliability & Durability — 10
After using the ND-1 Nova Delay for several months, I can truly say these pedals are as durable as any pedal you can find. Standard pedal care should keep this thing running forever. When it comes to guitar pedals and effects I consider myself pretty savvy. This pedal gave me some trouble at first when I attempted to emulate some classic modulation effects (such as the MXR Phase 90 or EH Small Clone). It wasn't until I watched the demo that I felt comfortable tweaking knobs on stage. On the other hand, it was very easy to create beautiful and unique textures right out of the box. This is one of the most creative sounding pedals I've heard. The first time I used the pedal in concert I had some trouble syncing a hard tremolo to the song's tempo. I went back through the manual and figured out how to work the subdivision option and pulse-width parameter. As a result the tremolo effect became my favorite feature of the pedal. It is quite possibly the most versatile tremolo on the market.

Ease of Use — 9
The NM-1 is jam packed with fantastic modulation options. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the tweaking possibilities of this pedal. After reading through the manual and watching a great demo sent to me from the TC guys, I realized how simple and effective this unit really can be. Seven studio quality modulation effects: + Chorus - Familiar classic chorus, lush and rich. + Tri-Chorus - 3 stereo chorus effects combined + Flanger - Standard Barracuda effect + Through-zero flanger - Simulates tape flanger manipulation, the signal actually drops out periodically for a neat Hendrix-like effect. + Phaser - Highly versatile phasing effect, multiple filtering options for Vintage or modern phaser styles. + Trem - A hard or soft tremolo with multiple subdivision options + Vibrato - Effect heard on several Fender Twin amps. Dual engine design: The Nova Modulator is basically two pedals in one. Both engines are identical yet individually programmable. For example, engine 1 can be set for a chorus effect with a phaser on engine 2 for warbling leslie-like effects. Each engine can be bypassed for a more standard singular modulation approach. Nine user-programmable presets: One great feature of the NM-1 is that you can easily save 9 of your favorite modulation effects. This is especially useful for Live situations and conserving pedal board real estate. LFO synchronization: With the dual-engine design of the NM-1, sometimes two modulating effects can become quite obtrusive to your tone. By engaging the LFO synchronization, you can time the effects to move through the modulation waves together. LFO trigger and Tap Tempo: The LFO trigger uses the tap tempo button to let the pedal know the tempo of The Music. For example, the user can set a tremolo to the tempo of the song to keep the pulsing effect on time. This works just like any delay pedal with a tap tempo option. Auto input gain adjustment: If the user has instruments with different input signals, the amount of modulation heard could differ between guitars. The NM-1 has a quick and easy solution to this. By holding the manual button for a couple of seconds and then playing your loudest signal, the Nova Modulator automatically sets the input gain to compensate for differing input signals. Stereo in/out: Like the TC Nova Delay, the NM-1 is equipped with a stereo input and output. This can be useful for running two amplifiers and/or bridging stereo effects together. The only thing I feel this pedal should have included is a nice univibe effect. However, this sound can be achieved a few different ways by combining effects on the 2 engines (I.e. Chorus and Phaser, Phaser and Vibrato, etc.).

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    piergtr
    One reason why some people like cheap FX and others don't has to do with how good your signal was to begin with. If you're using a crappy guitar, cheap cables, a lousy amp, etc, in other words, if the FX is the best thing sonically in your chain, then sure, it's possible to do some impressive FX on the cheap. The minute you decide tho that you have a sound that you actually want to be heard through the FX.....then it becomes a whole different ball game. Then you need high quality A/D/A converters in digital gear, true bypass, gain adjustment, etc etc. The problem with a Digitech or a Zoom is that my '79 custom Les Paul will basically sound the same as a $300 Ibanez (and NOT the other way around). Am I a snob because I want my Les Paul to sound like a Les Paul? I paid $475 for my Les Paul in 1988. It sounds way better than any other guitar I've ever heard. It's worth it to me to have effect that compliment, not destroy that incredible tone. The reason I came to this page is that my old TC Chorus/Flanger is sick and I was considering going with the Nova Mod as a replacement. From what I've seen so far tho...I dunno. I have a Nova Delay and I like it, but the demos of the Nova Mod sound very digital to me so far. One common denominator in every demo I've seen is that you never hear a good dry/clean sound to begin with to be able to really tell what the pedal is doing. Either the MP3 artifacts ruin the sound, or it's not a good recording, or it's not a good sound period to start with. I'm probably just going to buy the reissue of the old Chorus/Flanger again - or get mine fixed if it's possible. Anyone actually ever had both the old SCF and the Nova Mod in the same room at the same time and done a real A/B?
    rockgodman
    Hey I am in the same predicament as you were two years ago and am wondering what you ended up doing? I am thinking of buying this pedal but if it sounds digital no thanks. Il keep my warm tube tone and buy something else
    bass_monkey
    b-rock34 wrote: bass_monkey wrote: Bananaman1jovan wrote: I like my Digitech RP250 Better You cant be serious. Plus how can you compare the two? One is purely modulation, whereas the other is a cheap crappy pedal that trys to do everything and does nothing well Don't be such a gear snob. You'd be pleasantly surprised with some of the lower priced, "uncool" effects if you had an open mind. I used to have (still do, but don't use it anymore) an old DOD Tech 8 multi-effects pedal that I used for a lot of different effects. For years I tried to find all of the high quality (and usually high priced) individual pedals to recreate my DOD user settings. But, time and time again, I had to take 'em back cuz the DOD effects sounded way better. It wasn't a matter of taste, everyone agreed. The DOD finally crapped out (footswitches stopped working, etc.) after a decade of abuse, and I was forced to find replacements for the effects I was using it for, but it hasn't been easy sounding that good. I wish that thing still worked 100%, and you could watch/hear me play a gig. I'd hide the DOD and put some "cool" label effects on the ground in front of me, plugged into nothing. Then, sit back and listen to you telling me how good my effects sound...lol. BTW, try plural is spelled t-r-i-e-s, smart guy.
    I've tried enough of those lower end multi effects pedals, and have never been satisfied with them, my opinion.
    CALiS*TX
    awesome NOVA MODULATOR! going get second hand this monster... i check through video demo, read review, i started fall in love... i figure out, i doesnt need a lot analog pedal... i just add in modulation sound couple of second or minute... here my rig currently: boss ns-2 (even it kill tone, naaahh) => zoom 505II (use for modulation such chorus, flanger & delay only, soon will be replace by TC ELECTRONIC NOVA MODULATOR NM-1) => TS808 (crazy ass pedal!) => boss MT-2 (funny thingy, i set DIST at 7-8 o'clock, my TS808 will handle the "others" dist).... unless i get PEAVEY 6505, BOSS MT-2 will be place in my empty cabinet..
    tenaciousjp
    s-o-u-l-f-l-y wrote: FOOOOOLS I have a Zoom 505 II if you've ever heard of it, it's cheep as hell but after playing with is for a day for two and tweaking the effects to my style i came out with several effects that sound sweet as. Including a distortion with a delay that sounds like Vai himself.
    vai uses a TC Electronics G system... and theres NO way you could get a tube tone out of a multieffects/preamp pedal other than a tube preamp pedal like the mesa recto pedal. you could only get a digital tone like his tone.
    tenaciousjp
    cheap pedals end up with cheap results. unless you buy used or is a unheard of butique pedal that goes for 100-200 with true bypass. you cant compare a DOD or digitech unit to a tc electronics unit...
    b-rock34
    By the way, the DOD wasn't that cheap. Back in it's day, it was the competition for whatever BOSS GT model that was current. Who knows probably the GT-3 or something (hell, maybe the GT-1). So, that's more in the realm that it was in.
    b-rock34
    Bass monkey, I know, but those multi-pedals usually have a couple of very usable effects (especially when tweaked). That DOD Tech 8 had a lot of usable stuff, though, so I never automatically write them off.
    joshjohnson1983
    Hey guys thanks for the comments, but I don't think this is the place to argue about Zoom 505s and Digitech RP250s and such.
    pawnluv
    Zoom 505 you gotta be kidding me, sooooo digital sounding. Grwat pedal if you are just starting out though.
    normaljeans
    I also own a Digi RP250, and you know what? It's easy for me to use, sounds decent and was relatively cheap. It brings me loads of joy, much like a small child on Christmas morning. Isn't that what guitar equipment is all about? :o
    s-o-u-l-f-l-y
    b-rock34 wrote: bass_monkey wrote: Bananaman1jovan wrote: I like my Digitech RP250 Better You cant be serious. Plus how can you compare the two? One is purely modulation, whereas the other is a cheap crappy pedal that trys to do everything and does nothing well Don't be such a gear snob. You'd be pleasantly surprised with some of the lower priced, "uncool" effects if you had an open mind. I used to have (still do, but don't use it anymore) an old DOD Tech 8 multi-effects pedal that I used for a lot of different effects. For years I tried to find all of the high quality (and usually high priced) individual pedals to recreate my DOD user settings. But, time and time again, I had to take 'em back cuz the DOD effects sounded way better. It wasn't a matter of taste, everyone agreed. The DOD finally crapped out (footswitches stopped working, etc.) after a decade of abuse, and I was forced to find replacements for the effects I was using it for, but it hasn't been easy sounding that good. I wish that thing still worked 100%, and you could watch/hear me play a gig. I'd hide the DOD and put some "cool" label effects on the ground in front of me, plugged into nothing. Then, sit back and listen to you telling me how good my effects sound...lol. BTW, try plural is spelled t-r-i-e-s, smart guy. I've tried enough of those lower end multi effects pedals, and have never been satisfied with them, my opinion.
    FOOOOOLS I have a Zoom 505 II if you've ever heard of it, it's cheep as hell but after playing with is for a day for two and tweaking the effects to my style i came out with several effects that sound sweet as. Including a distortion with a delay that sounds like Vai himself.
    b-rock34
    bass_monkey wrote: Bananaman1jovan wrote: I like my Digitech RP250 Better You cant be serious. Plus how can you compare the two? One is purely modulation, whereas the other is a cheap crappy pedal that trys to do everything and does nothing well
    Don't be such a gear snob. You'd be pleasantly surprised with some of the lower priced, "uncool" effects if you had an open mind. I used to have (still do, but don't use it anymore) an old DOD Tech 8 multi-effects pedal that I used for a lot of different effects. For years I tried to find all of the high quality (and usually high priced) individual pedals to recreate my DOD user settings. But, time and time again, I had to take 'em back cuz the DOD effects sounded way better. It wasn't a matter of taste, everyone agreed. The DOD finally crapped out (footswitches stopped working, etc.) after a decade of abuse, and I was forced to find replacements for the effects I was using it for, but it hasn't been easy sounding that good. I wish that thing still worked 100%, and you could watch/hear me play a gig. I'd hide the DOD and put some "cool" label effects on the ground in front of me, plugged into nothing. Then, sit back and listen to you telling me how good my effects sound...lol. BTW, try plural is spelled t-r-i-e-s, smart guy.
    nevin021s
    want it. now. new rig I want: Line 6 DL4 Nm-1 Vox wah and either dump down 200 for a twin tube classic, or stick with my ds-1 and make do.
    death23
    I Heard What it is Capable of and its fine tunes , its a good buy people . Would Suggest you buy it off a retailer , perhaps a stock market or a musical retailer such as your local Guitar Clinic . And if you don't have enough money ask your parents
    bass_monkey
    Bananaman1jovan wrote: I like my Digitech RP250 Better
    You cant be serious. Plus how can you compare the two? One is purely modulation, whereas the other is a cheap crappy pedal that trys to do everything and does nothing well