Eventide Eclipse Digital Effects Processor
$2,995.00; street, $1,995.00
Originally published in Guitar World, April 2010
If you truly want to sound like a pro, the Eventide Eclipse is highly recommended.
Common sense suggests that if you want to perform your best, you need to use what the pros use. After all, Jimmie Johnson didn’t become a four-time consecutive NASCAR champion by racing in a Kia Rio. One particular product name that consistently shows up when you check the racks of leading guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Brian May, Robert Fripp, John Petrucci, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen is Eventide. While Eventide is known best for its outstanding diatonic Harmonizer effects, its rack processors do pretty much every effect very well, especially reverb and modulation-based effects like flanging, phasing and chorus.
The legendary H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer was a permanent fixture in many guitarists’ racks during the Eighties and Nineties, but Eventide’s Eclipse provides five times the processing power in a unit half the H3000’s size, and it boasts state-of-the-art specs like 96kHz sampling, 24-bit resolution and a signal-to-noise ratio that’s as quiet as Jimmy Hoffa at a chess match. While it’s an incredible studio processor, the Eclipse is also easy for guitarists to use onstage and offers a wide variety of guitar-friendly effects like preamp distortion, looping, rotary, tremolo and auto wah, in addition to studio-quality reverb, delay, compression and EQ. It even has as a tuner.
The entire design of the Eventide Eclipse oozes luxury and high performance—from the front panel’s miniature power switch, pulsating illuminated Tap button and smooth-action data knob to the housing’s rugged matte finish. The unit powers up to a reassuring computer-style beep, and the large display illuminates two lines of data in sharp, bright green text on a black background.
The Eclipse is essentially two powerful effect processors in one, so it can generate true stereo effects or two independent effects simultaneously. It has 112 different algorithms for programming effects—29 delay types and a looper (including all the effects from Eventide’s best-selling TimeFactor stompbox), four dynamics, 13 filters, five Plex (the feedback network of a reverb), 10 preamps, 12 pitch shifters, seven reverb types, 10 modulation effects from ModFactor, 12 combinations and five utilities—and ships with 511 presets, including a variety of popular presets identical or similar to those found on Eventide’s H3000 and DSP4000 units (such as several legendary Steve Vai presets). Some of the presets are offered at high and low sample rates, with the lower sample rates providing twice the amount of delay time. For example, the maximum delay or looping time is 10 seconds at 96kHz and 20 seconds at 48kHz.
A memory card slot allows you to save or backup your own custom presets to a CompactFlash card, and you can access an additional 500 presets with a card installed in the slot (a 16MB card has more than ample memory for 500 presets). Other pro features include a seven-pin MIDI Input jack and remote power input for providing power to a MIDI foot controller (like a Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro), two 1/4-inch jacks for connecting expression pedals or footswitches directly to the unit and Neutrik combo (1/4-inch/XLR) analog input jacks.
While a lot of great effect processors have emerged over the years, nothing sounds quite like an Eventide. The Eclipse’s reverbs, in particular, seem especially ideal for guitar, with thick, rich tails that make notes and chords sound bigger and more magnificent. The distortion, fuzz and overdrive algorithms all sound as fat, organic and harmonically complex as the best analog and tube effects.
Harmonizer and pitch-shifting effects have always been Eventide’s strong suit, and those effects in the Eclipse are as good as it gets. The pitch-shifted effects sound remarkably natural over a plus-orminus one-octave range, but even notes shifted up or down two octaves sound more like instruments than the product of electronic processing. The detuned chorus effects are especially impressive and sound much better with guitar than traditional delay-and-modulation-based chorus. Using the diatonic Harmonizer effects to their full advantage requires users to select the desired key and scale in advance, so you need to do a bit of premeditated programming if you want to play Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden covers or use four-voice Harmonizing to create a five-guitar army by yourself.
The Eclipse is exceptionally deep, providing a wide variety of parameters that users can modify in detail. As a result it can be somewhat confusing and laborious to program, but a helpful Hot Keys feature lets you assign up to 12 parameters for each program that you can access quickly from the soft keys located beneath the display. The numeric keypad makes it easy to load any of the hundreds of available presets in an instant, and the large tap button is especially helpful for live performers who need to dial in perfectly timed delays quickly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you truly want to sound like a pro, the Eventide Eclipse is highly recommended. And while it’s pricey, when you consider what it costs against the price of many boutique pedals that offer neither as much versatility nor such immaculate sound quality, the Eclipse is a smart and affordable choice for discriminating tone enthusiasts.
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