“It's so incredibly sophisticated with its drive and vibe duo that you forgive it’s digital”: Eventide Riptide review

Two classic effects, one classy unit. Is it time you got swept away in the Riptide's stereo combo of overdrive and Uni-Vibe?

Eventide Riptide
(Image: © Eventide)

Guitar World Verdict

The Eventide Riptide packs a walloping punch of Uni-Vibe swirls and crunchy overdrive in one pedal that sounds even more present and detailed in stereo.

Pros

  • +

    Overdrive and Uni-Vibe in one pedal; Stereo operation.

  • +

    Dual voicings per effect.

  • +

    Crisp and detailed Uni-Vibe swirl.

  • +

    Thick overdrive.

  • +

    Ability to save five onboard presets (127 more via MIDI).

Cons

  • -

    Some may prefer the analog sound of standalone UniVibe and Overdrive pedals.

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Say the name Eventide and what comes to mind is the company’s much-lauded H90 Harmonizer and H9 Max processors. 

I know it was a NASA-sized undertaking to cram the company's astronomical multi-effects and pitch-perfect harmonizer technology into those pedalboard-friendly stompboxes, but now Eventide has introduced the Riptide – a more down-to-earth, compact 2-in-1 pedal with an onboard overdrive and Uni-Vibe effect that can be run in stereo. 

Eventide is making an audacious move by combining two classic effects – effects that many musicians generally use as standalone stompboxes – but more intriguingly, two effects that the company doesn’t have any bragging rights to yet. So how does the Riptide fare? Read on. 

Similar to the pedals in Eventide’s streamlined dot9 series, Riptide’s advanced functionality is buried under the hood and simplified to good old-fashioned knob twisting and button pushing on its surface. Its controls consist of Vibe (Mix for chorus/vibrato), Speed and Intensity, for “Vibe” – while the “Drive” section includes Drive, Tone and Level… all easy to comprehend so far. 

The bonus here is that Riptide has dual voicings per effect that are accessed by pressing the LED buttons just above their corresponding Drive and Vibe footswitches. The color of the LED (green or red) identifies the voice selected. For Drive, green designates a dynamic, mid-focused “Screamer” crunch, while red introduces a smoother, crunchier boost.

On the Vibe side, green ushers in a vintage Uni-Vibe swirl, and red delivers a deeply phased vibe. For even more versatility, there’s an LED Swap button allowing you to change the order of the signal chain (Vibe into Drive or Drive into Vibe) and any combination of parameters can be mapped to an expression pedal.

Eventide Riptide

(Image credit: Eventide)

Riptide can also be set up in either Preset or Perform (manual) modes. In Preset mode, there are five onboard slots to save presets (expandable to 127 via MIDI) that you can toggle down with the footswitch and view from the Preset LED ladder.

In Perform mode, the respective Drive and Vibe footswitches simply turn the effects on and off, and what’s useful is the footswitches are dual-action latching or momentary. The pedal offers multiple bypass options with buffered, relay, DSP+FX or kill dry, and also provides MIDI support over TRS or USB.

The rear panel has a mono/stereo switch and guitar/line level switch along with input and stereo output jacks, exp jack and USB input. Finally, Riptide’s “Catch-up” mode lets players dial in their sound when toggling between presets/parameters, and more preset editing options are available using Eventide Device Manager (EDM) software.

Off the bat, the Riptide sounds so incredibly sophisticated with its drive and vibe duo that you forgive its digital heart ably replicating an analog circuitlatory system. Both effects have a different texture for sure, and a much faster response than any vintage unit, and it’s kinda cool to have both in one pedal.

What Drive may lack in warmth, it makes up in heaps of thick and layered crunch that can approach distortion along with a full-sounding bottom end. It’s more detailed and rich than most guitar processors that offer a multitude of overdriven colors.

Riptide’s Green-Vibe sounds smooth and expressive, and while it doesn't have the complexity of a vintage Shin-ei Uni-Vibe, the Riptide spins with a pronounced psychedelic swirl. I also dug the Red-Vibe voicing that generates a deep liquid swirl, chewy chorus and throbby phase sounds.

But what makes the Riptide head and shoulders above other pedals is its ability to run its Uni-Vibe in stereo and your ability to hear the wonderful nuances of being able to swap the order of effects. Was I swept away? Yeah, you could say that.

Specs

Eventide Riptide

(Image credit: Eventide Audio)
  • PRICE: $299 / £329
  • TYPE: Overdrive and Uni-Vibe
  • CONTROLS: Vibe, Speed, Intensity, Drive, Tone, Level, individual footswitches for Drive and Vibe, guitar line level switch
  • FEATURES: 2x overdrives, 2x Vibes, full stereo operation, five onboard presets, 127 more available via Eventide Device Manager (EDM), Midi compatibility
  • CONNECTIONS: 1/4" input, 2x 1/4" outputs (mono/stereo), expression pedal input, mini USB, center negative DC input
  • POWER: 9V DC, drawing 300mA 
  • CONTACT: Eventide Audio

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.