EVERYONE LIKES TIGHT RHYTHMS. Unfortunately, stompboxes don’t always listen to the drummer! Tap tempo is a big improvement, but amp sims—when used as plug-ins in a sequencer—take the art of rhythm one step further with sync-to- tempo options. This feature allows rhythmically related controls (such as delay time, flanger rate, and vibrato speed) to follow the tempo at the rate you specify (quarter-note, dotted eighth-note, etc.). These plug-ins follow the sequence tempo automatically, but you often need to enable synchronization.
With IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 3, a BPM switch enables sync-to-tempo. When you rotate the Delay knob, the value window shows the delay as a rhythmic value. If BPM isn’t enabled, the window shows delay in milliseconds.
Many processors in Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig 4 have a button (circled) that opens up a space below the rack with advanced parameters. Here, you’ll find a Tempo Sync button (outlined toward the left). When enabled, the Delay Time readout shifts from milliseconds to rhythmic values.
Several AmpliTube 3 effects have a BPM switch to enable sync.
Guitar Rig 4 offers tempo sync, but you’ll need to open up the advanced parameters. This is a Quad Delay module that also lets you sync delays to each other.
Click on the Sync button in the Waves GTR delay stompbox, and, again, the display shows a rhythmic value instead of a time value.
GTR processors include a Sync button for enabling tempo sync.
Line 6’s POD Farm works similarly, but goes one step further. When you enable sync, the display shows both the rhythmic value and the corresponding time in milliseconds. That’s handy if you want to set devices that don’t have tempo sync to the appropriate number of milliseconds.
POD Farm not only offers a sync button, but displays time in both milliseconds and the corresponding rhythmic value.
ReValver MkIII doesn’t have sync to tempo, but you can click on the Tap Tempo button, as well as set precise tempo values.
Finally, Peavey’s ReValver MkIII doesn’t have sync-to-tempo, but does offer tap tempo for some effects (which is particularly useful for live performance, where there’s no host sequencer), and it includes a readout that shows the delay time in milliseconds and as a rhythmic value. If you rotate Delay while holding Shift, you can dial in precise tempo values.
Some processors—such as stereo delays—let you set the tempo sync independently for each channel. This can give some great synchronized pingponging echoes. And don’t just stick to the usual eighth- and sixteenth-notes— dotted values impart a feeling of motion. Tremolo speed is another ideal candidate for sync-to-tempo, as is chorus rate. Check it out!