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Review: Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer/Effect Processor — Video

Review: Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer/Effect Processor — Video

PLATINUM AWARD WINNER

The Eventide H9 is a revolutionary pedal that packs a ton of processing power and professional quality effects into a compact stomp box format.

Of course, the most powerful version of the H9 is one that is loaded with all 45 of Eventide’s algorithms available for the unit, but many musicians balked at paying an additional $700 for remaining 35 algorithms that weren’t included as part of the H9’s initial purchase price.

Fortunately Eventide decided to simplify the process by offering the H9 Max for those of us who simply have to have it all. In the process Eventide also cut musicians a very sweet deal as the H9 Max comes fully loaded with all 45 H9 algorithms but costs about $500 less than buying an H9 and purchasing algorithms for download individually.

Since the H9 Max is identical to the H9 with the exception of its full selection of algorithms, I’ll focus more on algorithms and sounds in this review. For more in-depth details about the hardware, please refer to the H9 review in the November 2013 issue of Guitar World.

FEATURES The H9 Max is a professional-quality pedal featuring true stereo 1/4-inch inputs and outputs, a 1/4-inch expression pedal jack, mini USB connector, side-mounted MIDI In and Out/Thru jacks, and bypass on/off and tap tempo footswitches. Preset selection and parameter programming can be controlled via the Hotknob, presets, and x, y, and z switches and a large jog wheel/switch on the top panel. However, those who like to dig deep into programming effects will prefer to use the free H9 Control app, which allows users to control the H9 Max remotely with an iOS device or computer via Bluetooth wireless communication.

The H9 Max’s algorithms come from Eventide’s acclaimed Factor series and Space pedals and also include three H9 exclusive algorithms—UltraTap, Resonator, and EQ Compressor. TimeFactor algorithms are delay-based and consist of Digital Delay, Vintage Delay, Tape Echo, Mod Delay, Ducked Delay, Band Delay, Filter Pong, MultiTap, Reverse, and Looper. Modulation algorithms come from the ModFactor and include multiple types of Chorus, Phaser, Wah, Flanger, ModFilter, Rotary, Tremolo, Vibrato, Undulator, and Ringmod. The PitchFactor algorithms consist of Eventide’s legendary Harmonizer effects and include Diatonic, PitchFlex, Quadravox, Octaver, HarModulator, Crystals, MicroPitch, HarPeggiator, H910/H949, and Synthonizer. Space reverb algorithms consist of Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Reverse, Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb, and DynaVerb.

PERFORMANCE Eventide effects are truly in a class of their own, especially when it comes to the delay, modulation, pitch/Harmonizer, and reverb effects found in the H9 Max. These are professional-quality, high-resolution, sophisticated effects that until only a few years ago were once the exclusive territory of expensive rack-mount units with powerful processors. The quality and variety of effects packed into the compact H9 Max pedal is simply astonishing.

The PitchFactor algorithms are simply the best pitch shifting and Harmonizer effects available. The tracking is lightning fast, and the pitch accuracy is dead on. I particularly love how easy it is to program natural-sounding six-string bass, baritone, and 12-string guitar sounds. The TimeFactor algorithms cover ever type of delay a guitarist could want, from sparkling digital effects to warm tape echoes. The ModFactor algorithms are very useful and can save guitarists a ton of money otherwise spent on dozens of standalone modulation effects pedals (although only one algorithm can be used at a time). The Space reverb algorithms bring true studio-quality sound to the stage, and the reverbs are equally useful in the recording studio as well.

The H9 Control app greatly simplifies the process of programming effects and makes it easy to select a desired preset in an instant but the pedal operates just as seamlessly without being tethered to an iOS device. The pedal itself stores 99 presets, but users can save an unlimited number of presets on their iOS device or computer. The Bluetooth connection is very reliable. Being able to control the H9 Max with an iPad on stage brings incredible creative and expressive power to guitarists who love to improvise or make extensive use of effects. Perhaps the best benefit of the H9 Max is knowing that you’re not forced to compromise since Eventide’s entire library of algorithms is available whenever you want or need it.

LIST PRICE $799
MANUFACTURER Eventide Inc., eventide.com

Contains all 45 Eventide TimeFactor, ModFactor, PitchFactor, Space, and H9-exclusive algorithms for less than purchasing individual algorithms. The free H9 Control app allows an iOS device or computer to communicate with the H9 via a wireless Bluetooth connection.

A large jog wheel/switch makes it easy to select presets, adjust parameters, or control expression pedal functions directly from the H9 Max itself.

THE BOTTOM LINE The fully loaded H9 Max is by far the best bargain in professional- and studio-quality effects ever offered by a stomp box-format effect unit, providing literally hundreds of effects with superb sound.

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