Updated by Bobby
Updated on December 16th, 2020
Made a correction to reflect the Strymon Timeline running an analog dry-thru signal, like the Volante. In both pedals, the dry signal is never converted to digital. Only the effected or "wet" signal is converted.
Strymon Timeline VS Volante
Our pick? Either one, depending on context.
The primary difference between the Strymon Timeline and Volante is the Timeline focuses exclusively on delay with a lot of digital versatility, while the Volante adds tape echo and reverb, with more of an analog and vintage control angle.
In this comparison article we're going to put the Strymon Timeline and Volante side by side to look at how the two delay pedals, seemingly similar in style and price, stack up to one another. If you're deciding between the two, this will help you identify the strengths, weaknesses, and styles of each one.
Both delay pedals enjoy strong reputations and an almost universally positive collection of customer reviews.
We'll look at how the two spec sheets compare, while also focusing on the controls and sound quality differences between the two.
Checkout our main pedal roundup for other categories and options.
There are a handful of significant differences between the Timeline and Volante.
Let's start by listing a couple for easy reference:
- Timeline is just digital delay while Volante is echo, delay, and reverb
- Timeline has 200 presets without MIDI control, while Volante has only eight presets without a MIDI connection
These are the three biggest differences between the two pedals. The Timeline is very much a dedicated delay effect though with more presets and a little more tinkering capability while the Volante gives you multiple effects and more of an analog vibe.
Comparing to Other Delay Pedals
In this section we've listed the Strymon Timeline and Volante with a couple other similar pedals just for reference. Please note that we partner with Sweetwater, and that the links help support our site at no extra cost to you.
Strymon Timeline Digital Delay
Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo
Source Audio Collider Delay & Reverb
MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe Analog Delay
Let's start with an audio demo of the two pedals side by side.
The Basic Differences
We'll start our comparison with some basic information about both pedals that don't really relate to features or sound quality. Pricing, unit size, and a couple other specs are compared here.
6.75" x 5.1"
7" x 4.5"
Typical Used Price
To buy one new, the Volante is a bit cheaper, hovering around $400 retail in most markets compared to the Timeline's $450.
However, the used price points seems to favor the Timeline by a small but noticeable margin. This is perhaps because the Timeline is the more popular of the two, thus used units are more plentiful and more inflated in the used market than the Volante.
Also note the Volante is a little wider than the Timeline and not quite as tall.
This could be a small but important difference depending on the free pedalboard room you have.
The Timeline will give you more delay modes and presets, while the Volante will give you more effects, but with fewer presets and less modes to choose from.
Features in the Volante could be described as more focused on vintage, tape echo tones while the Timeline is entirely modernized and digital.
8 (300 via MIDI)
True and Buffered (selectable)
True and Buffered (selectable)
The analog dry-thru circuit in the Volante means that the dry signal is preserved in an analog path without being converted to digital. After writing this article, I went back and looked in the Timeline's user manual (per Jeremy's comment below) and realized it also runs an analog dry-thru signal.
You can verify this on page 27 of the user manual.
This is a big selling point for folks who prefer analog pedals, even while it gives you plenty of modern tweaking ability.
In the Volante and Timeline, the actual effects are produced by a digital signal processor (DSP) which is the wet signal.
Those who opt for the Volante should also consider how much the reverb add-on matters to them. If that's something you want in a delay pedal, the Volante is probably a better choice for you. For pure delay features, the Timeline has a little more tweaking flexibility focused solely on delay.
Many of the controls on these two pedals are the same, some with some variation in language. For example, the Mix control on the Timeline is called "Echo Level" on the Volante.
Similarly, the Timeline's "Filter" knob corresponds to the "Low Cut" on the Volante's control panel.
Other controls correspond to the Volante's tape echo and reverb, thereby missing on the timeline.
Here's a breakdown of all the knobs for each pedal:
Spacing Selector (timing divisions)
Between the two, the control scheme of the Timeline is a little more comprehensive, just because the Volante spreads things out a bit more between three different effects. It'll again to come down whether you want to focus exclusively on digital delay, or if you want to spread your control around to multiple effect types.
Review Count and Community Feedback
Both of these pedals seem to have a remarkable ability to garner positive reviews.
At the time of this comparison, we found a total of 285 reviews across four different sites, and every single review was positive, which we'd consider three stars or higher.
Of all the reviews, there were only a couple we noted that came in with three or four stars.
Sweetwater, Reverb, and Equipboard
Sweetwater, Reverb, Thomann
Percentage of Positive
To summarize our comparison:
These are two extremely well-built delay pedals, with one on the modern end of the spectrum and the other leaning towards the vintage side. Both are versatile in different ways, primarily:
- Multiple delay modes and sounds in the Timeline
- Multiple effects and mixing flexibility in the Volante
Those deciding between the two should also consider that the Volante is a bit cheaper. Otherwise, the differences between them are almost entirely a matter of style and not necessarily issues of quality.
Both are good for different situations, so you be the judge of which one best fits your context and playing style.
Questions about the Two Delay Pedals
Do you have questions about the Strymon Timeline or the Strymon Volante, perhaps that we didn't address in our comparison?
If so, leave them in the comments section below and we'll do our best to answer and help out.
See you there.
Jeremy E. Schissler says
the timeline is also analog dry thru with digital mixed back on top
Thanks, Jeremy – I see it in the user manual now. Could be that I just overlooked it on some of the spec sheets. Thanks again!
For reference, it’s on page 27: https://www.strymon.net/manuals/TimeLine_UserManual_REVF.pdf