Review: Eventide H9 Harmonizer Effect Processor
The following content is related to the November 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
When Eventide introduced its affordably priced Factor Series pedals several years ago (followed shortly after by its Space reverb pedal), the company brought the powerful effect-processing capabilities of its professional rack units to the masses. However, each pedal offered its own respective selection of delay, modulation, pitch or reverb algorithms, so a substantial investment was still required if you wanted the complete set of great Eventide sounds.
With the introduction of the H9 Harmonizer Effects Processor, getting access to the full range of Eventide effects has become more affordable than ever. In addition to being Eventide’s most compact and streamlined pedal to date, the H9 comes with eight of the most popular algorithms from the Factor Series and Space pedals and ups the ante with the exclusive new H9 UltraTap algorithm.
An additional 33 algorithms are available for purchase via the free H9 Controller iOS app and iTunes (the first is free, while the remainder are $19.99 each), which allow users to download any algorithm they want or need without paying for ones that they don’t.
The H9 pedal boasts a stunning streamlined, but powerful, design, packing the effect-processing capabilities of a rack unit into a stomp-box format with a compact footprint measuring just 4 5/8 inches wide by 5 1/4 inches long. Features include bypass on/off and tap-tempo footswitches, side-mounted MIDI in and out/thru jacks, pairs of stereo 1/4-inch output and input jacks, an expression pedal jack, a mini USB connector, and a jack for a 9–12VDC/500mA center-positive power source (the pedal ships with a nine-volt adapter). Although the H9 lacks the dedicated parameter knobs of the Factor/Space pedals, it provides X, Y and Z buttons and a large jog wheel/switch. In Normal mode, the wheel provides instant access to three popular or user-selected parameters, while in Expert mode it lets you scroll through all of the parameters. The jog wheel is also used for manually selecting presets when the preset button is engaged, and it functions like an expression pedal when the HotKnob button is on.
Built-in Bluetooth wireless communication allows users to control the H9 remotely with an iOS device and the H9 Controller app. The software provides access to algorithms, presets, preset lists on up to five registered H9 pedals and the iOS device, the iTunes store, pedal settings and app settings. When an algorithm is selected, the app automatically switches to the preset window, which displays individual virtual knobs and switches for each parameter, along with a virtual ribbon controller that can adjust settings for two different parameters simultaneously in real time. The preset window also offers an XY pad tab, which turns the iOS device into an XY pad controller that lets users adjust any two parameters simultaneously by moving a finger along the touchpad surface. The XY pad also includes rubberband, gyroscope and tilt settings that can create some very unusual and distinctive sound effects.
When it comes to professional-quality delay, modulation, pitch and reverb effects, Eventide remains in a class of its own. The H9 fully lives up to the company’s well-deserved reputation, delivering pristine, noise-free effects with luxurious sheen, depth and detail. The nine algorithms—two from each Factor/Space pedal, plus the unique H9 UltraTap algorithm—provide a great selection of Eventide’s most popular effects. While it will cost users an extra $640 to have access to all of the Factor/Space algorithms (minus the TimeFactor’s Looper, which isn’t available), the overall cost for the H9 and all of the extra algorithms is about $660 less than buying the four individual Factor/Space pedals.
Although the H9 stores 99 presets internally (an unlimited number of presets can be stored on the external iOS device), only one effect at a time is instantly accessible from the unit’s footswitch, and an external MIDI controller is necessary should you want to access several different effects during a song. Algorithm switching is almost instantaneous, and transitions from one effect to another are smooth and seamless. While many products include built-in tuners these days, the H9’s tuner provides better performance, accuracy and speed than most standalone tuners. Thanks to the sophisticated yet easy to use programming capabilities of H9 Controller app, the H9 places incredible power in a pedal format that dedicated sound designers and stomp-box luddites can appreciate alike.
List Price $579; optional algorithms are $19.99 each via iTunes
Manufacturer Eventide Inc., eventide.com
Provides access to up to 42 different Eventide effect algorithms from the company’s Factor and Space pedals, including delays, modulation effects, pitch shifting and reverbs.
Nine algorithms ship with each H9, including the unique H9 UltraTap, while the remainder are available from the iTunes store for purchase and download.
The free H9 Controller app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) allows users to program and control the H9 wirelessly via Bluetooth.
A large jog wheel/switch makes it easy to assign parameters, select presets or control expression pedal functions directly from the H9 unit itself.
The Bottom Line
Combining the processing power of Eventide’s pro-quality rackmount effects in a stomp-box format with wireless control via Bluetooth and an iOS device, the H9 makes Eventide’s incredible effects more accessible than ever.
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