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Review – Eventide H9

February 25, 2014
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Five killer stompboxes in one compact package

The Eventide H9 stuffs all the processing power of the PitchFactor, ModFactor, TimeFactor, and Space into a smaller package and duplicates their controls in an app.
It’s been almost four decades since Eventide began making rackmount Harmonizers, from the first H910 to the current flagship, the H8000W. Along the way, the company has spun off numerous products that harness Harmonizer technology, most notably the PitchFactor, ModFactor, TimeFactor, and Space.

Now you can add a fifth stompbox to that line, the H9 Harmonizer, which offers a new approach to stereo effects for stage and studio use. Although it is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, the H9 does just about everything those four stompboxes do, and more.

White: The New Black Clad in a rugged white-and-black steel case, the H9 strips its front panel down to essentials. It sports a single rotary encoder knob surrounded by an LED ring, two footswitches, five illuminated buttons, six indicator LEDs, and a six-character LED display—just enough to use when you’re performing. The back panel has two 1/4-inch inputs, two 1/4-inch outputs, an expression pedal input, a mini USB port to connect to your computer, and a connector for the included 9V wall wart. Two jacks for MIDI I/O are on the side, and Bluetooth connects to iOS devices. The audio jacks are unbalanced, but unlike on other Eventide stompboxes, the input and output levels are continuously variable.

Although you can use the H9’s front panel to select and edit presets (if you have the patience), a free editor/librarian app for iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X makes editing much easier. H9 Control graphically duplicates all the front-panel controls found on the PitchFactor, ModFactor, TimeFactor, and Space and includes a GUI for H9 Harmonizer as well (see Figure 1). The app has some functions the hardware lacks, including an onscreen ribbon controller and an X/Y pad that offer better realtime control than onscreen knobs. H9 Control also lets you save and organize presets, purchase new algorithms, and access help files, among other things.

Effects Aplenty An Eventide algorithm is a collection of signal-processing elements and the parameters that control them. Those elements may be pitch shifters, delays, reverb, ring modulation, or even step sequencers, and a single algorithm may combine multiple elements. A preset is based on a single algorithm and contains the specific parameter settings that define the effect it produces.

Fig. 1. H9 Control reproduces the front panels of every Eventide stompbox it emulates, with ten knobs and six switches per screen, as well as a ribbon controller. On a computer or iPad, every control appears almost exactly as it does on the original device. On an iPhone, the same controls are split into two vertical screens that you can switch between.
The H9 comes standard with 99 internal factory presets based on ten included algorithms. Thirty-three additional algorithms are available for purchase, and H9 owners can choose one for free. If you want more, you can download them from H9 Control’s Store screen for $19.99 each, either by making an in-app purchase in iOS or using Amazon Payments on your computer. Preview any algorithm by loading its presets into your H9 for five minutes or by listening to recorded demos.

The H9 accurately reproduces all of Eventide’s stompbox effects except one; an improved version of TimeFactor’s looping algorithm should be available soon. Four years ago, I bought a PitchFactor because its complex effects are exclusive to Eventide, and I love the way it sounds. I compared its presets to the same presets on the H9. Parameter for parameter, they matched up perfectly and sounded identical, though the H9 was slightly quieter.

Pedal to the Metal The H9 delivers tremendous multi-processing power at a reasonable price. It sounds fantastic, and it improves on its award-winning predecessors in so many ways: It’s more compact, convenient, versatile, expandable, and cost-effective. What’s not to like?

Former Electronic Musician senior editor Geary Yelton lives near the top of a mountain in Asheville, NC.

SUMMARY

Strengths Studio-quality effects. Extremely versatile. Easy to upgrade. Syncs to MIDI Clock. Terrific iOS integration.

Limitations No power switch. No balanced I/O.

$579 MSRP
$499 street
eventide.com

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