NM-1 Nova Modulator Review

manufacturer: TC Electronic date: 11/14/2008 category: Guitar Effects
TC Electronic: NM-1 Nova Modulator
The TC Electronic NM-1 Nova Modulator effects pedal puts seven studio-grade modulation effects into one compact pedal with two sturdy footswitches! You can control and combine TC's great chorus, phaser, tremolo, flanger, and vibrato effects for new and amazing tonal textures!
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Ease of Use: 9
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review (1) pictures (1) 24 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
NM-1 Nova Modulator Reviewed by: UG Team, on november 14, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: 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.). // 9

Sound: 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) // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

- Josh Johnson (c) 2008

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