Product

Marshall Time Modulator Model 5402

What links David Bowie, Darth Vader, Stevie Wonder, and Joy Division? Serviced, with brand new delay modules. These are incredible devices and unlike anything else we've found - go from subtle phase shifting to wild flanging to completely out there, speaker-shredding crazy.

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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Serviced, with brand new modules. Used by David Bowie, Martin Hannett/Joy Division, Stevie Wonder, and to create Darth Vader’s voice on Star Wars. These are incredible devices and unlike anything else we’ve heard – go from subtle phase shifting to wild flanging to completely out there, speaker-shredding crazy.

Serviced, tested and in full working order.

Description

The original Marshall Time Modulator A-5002 is extremely uncommon and featured two analogue delay modules with a maximum delay of 52 ms. each. The later 5402 includes one of the original 52 ms. delay modules (used for flanging effects) and a second  400 ms. delay module – this extended delay time unleashes many additional effects and sounds.

This 5402 has been fitted with two brand new delay modules – these alone cost $1500 – and has had a full service and calibration by one of the few techs in the UK with significant experience with these. It has a brand new custom built power supply. The total restoration cost was over £2250.

It took me years to find an MTM for our studio – few were made, and even fewer remain in perfect working order. Being a modulation freak and admirer of the sonic landscapes of Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Martin Hannett it was always very high on my wish-list.

Designed in the late seventies by Steven St. Croix, these all-analogue units were way ahead of their time with sonic performance that remains exceptional to this day. It is a truly legendary effect that represents the pinnacle of analogue circuit design – see below for some of the history of how it began as a bet (yes, really).

Our studio MTM A5002 was used by Reinhold Mack on the recording of Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (not the one for sale here). Tony Visconti used one on David Bowie’s late 70s recordings (eg the main ‘Ashes To Ashes’ riff). Stevie Wonder used his on ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ and ‘Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants’ and an MTM that was used in the signal chain to treat James Earl Jones’ voice to create Darth Vader’s distinctive flanged voice effect. Martin Hannett used his so extensively in the studio (most famously with Joy Division) that Martin Moscrop of A Certain Ratio told us they used to refer to it as the Marshall Time Waster…

Given its history and recording pedigree, it should be more than clear that this is a very versatile and fabulously-deep box of tricks that will surprise and inspire you: by no means is this just another me-too flanger..

Not always the simplest effect to operate: the various delay/phasing/flanging type effects from this analogue rack seem limitless and – unlike other modulation/delay racks we’ve used – controls interact in unusual ways and are not necessarily intuitive. It rewards perseverance with some amazing sounds, but treat it with extreme caution and operate at modest volume levels – the levels of feedback that can emanate from this thing can destroy speakers, not to mention your ears!

Supplied with a brand new custom power supply set for 240v for UK/EU.

Intelligent devices have this to say about it: (they make a Marshall Time Modulator plug in version – find it here)

Before there was much “digital” anything, and before records were considered something anachronistic and nostalgia evoking, back when “Dark Side of the Moon” was new and Hip-Hop kind of a distant dream, Stephen St. Croix had an idea: What would happen if you took the the longest analog delay line possible, gave it the greatest signal to noise ratio in a piece of outboard gear, and then made the modulation of it possible 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”.

From the Studio Electronics Marshall Time Modulator page(they service and supply parts):

The MTM is an analog effects unit that Steve developed in the late 70’s. It doesn’t truly modulate time (you can’t go back and buy Apple stock for $15!) It does however modulate and manipulate audio delay time, producing many unique and amazing effects. The input signal passes through two analog delay lines. The delay time is adjusted by manual control, a wide range LFO circuit, or (for most effects) a combination of the two. Dry and delayed signal are combined, with feedback added to taste.

This simplified description may sound quite dull, but the sounds produced by the MTM are utterly amazing. Effects include positive, negative, and resonant flanges, cardboard tube echo, automatic double (and triple) tracking with pitch and delay dithering, circus vibrato, arpeggio, pitch quantizing, and many more. The MTM was used on many hit records.

In an interview with the Device Newsletter in 1979, Steve said that he developed the very first prototype in 1975, to win a bet. He brought it into a studio to try it out in session, and everyone was blown away. The AES Convention happened to be a few days away, and everyone encouraged Steve to produce a finished demo model and show it, which he did. His booth was mobbed at the AES and the Time Modulator instantly got lots of great press. Initial prototype runs were produced, with early batches going to Stevie Wonder and Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis. Wrestling with improvements and tweaks, it was another two years or so to before Steve went into production. But when the 5002 Time Modulator was finally released it scored rave reviews in Studio Sound, REP, and Modern Recording, and sales took off.

The 5002 was followed by the 5402, which featured a new control set and greatly extended delay times. Steve also developed the AR-300 Tape Eliminator, which simulated delay at various tape “speeds”. It included a tape-like EQ curve and natural sounding tape compression — just like the boxes released today. Of course, he beat all the new guys to it, by 20 years or so!

It’s worth repeating that these were analog boxes, totally free of quantization noise and other digital artifacts. The MTM had a signal to noise ratio of 95 db! This was an amazing and unheard of feat, that most modern gear still can’t equal. Steve was a real perfectionist.

Condition

In excellent cosmetic condition with only minor wear to the face. The top of the case is clean with some scuffs and scrapes. Please see photos or get in touch if you require more information on condition.

Tax

For sales in UK this item is on the margin scheme for second hand goods.

Voltage Information

See description for more information.

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