Timefactor: Losing stereo signal and other reliability issues

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      This post concerns to several issues but mostly related to a problem with the stereo signal of the Timefactor. First of all, I have now my third replacement Timefactor which I picked up today. The first Timefactor went berserk scrolling patches on its own after keeping it in utmost care for about 8 months; as it was on warranty my local music store replaced it with a second Timefactor (s/n TF-08240).

      My guitar rig is in stereo, going into two Fender combo amps. The Timefactor was working great in stereo for the first few months, using both stereo ins and outs. Then suddenly it lost one channel (output # 1). I thought it was a cable issue so I tested it alone, using guitar into input 1 and going stereo to the amps; the problem continued. I checked both bank and play modes, also reinitialized the unit, all to no avail. I never updated the software and don't know what version it was running, but definitely didn't have the features of the current version.

      As I have gig commitments coming up, my local music store kindly agreed to exchange it for a new Timefactor once again. This 3rd Timefactor (s/n TF-10878, which I just registered) arrived loaded with v.2.4.2[1]. For the brand new initial test I just plugged my guitar into input 1 and outputs 1 and 2 to the combo amps. At startup, none of the effects were working, either in bank or play modes. It wasn't till I hit the middle footswitch when the effects started working (this did not happen with the two previous Timefactors). I selected the delay mix to delay A only. Stereo was working fine: on the Vintage Delay setting, the echo hits once the right channel and then the rest of echoes go into the left channel. Tested the bank presets, all knobs working fine.

      Then suddenly I lost the stereo image again, only the left channel worked. I went back into bank mode, and the stereo returned but then none of the knobs were working; I remember I was in a high bank, maybe 36- or 40- it had a short time and the delay time and feedback knobs were not making any changes. I returned all the way to bank 1:1 and the stereo returned together with the knobs working again. I switched to play mode and it's back to normal.

      When I lost the stereo image, the Filter Pong which normally bounces between the channels sounded in mono. Both the Digital and Vintage Delays sounded like dry signal on the right channel and the repeats on the left one only.

      My questions are: What could have caused the sudden stereo loss? Has anybody experienced these same issues? Is there any fix (if it's a software problem)? It looked like it's just me having bad luck with the Timefactor, however the manager at my local music store reported an unusual amount of Timefactors returned with problems. Is there any QC of the Timefactors (and the other Stompboxes) in USA when the units arrive assembled from China?

      I am sticking to the Timefactor as it's the main delay unit in my system. Its sound is excellent and has great features aside of the two independent delay lines. However I'm concerned about its reliability. I would like to have my Timefactor working reliably. Hope I don't suddenly lose the stereo image again. Your comments are appreciated – Thank you.

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