Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer
Before they began making stomp-boxes, guitarists such as Steve Vai would use Eventide rack-mount processors during live shows and recording. Now the power from their expensive studio mainstays is available in stomp-box format. Their most impressive offering being the Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer®. Its on-board DSP (digital signal processing) is at least as powerful as the processors in their rack-mount units.
The H9 Max Harmonizer® has a smaller footprint than Eventide’s Factor pedals but it has the ability to run all of Eventide’s effects. Unique to this pedal is the advanced preset librarian (H9 Control) which works with a computer, iPad or iPhone (sorry, no Android yet). The H9 communicates with H9 Control via Bluetooth and can be used in real-time during a performance. Its easy and fun to build a custom preset list with a touch screen and then to send any changes you’ve made to the hardware. Similarly, you can tweak a preset in the hardware and transfer it to the control editor for archiving. The software is not necessary to operate the hardware but does add a new dimension to sound sculpting.
1/4” input and output jacks are on the back of the unit. The effects in the H9 range from massive and complex to lush and evolving. When possible, use the stereo output! Your tone will thank you for it. Having stereo inputs is also great for using the unit with synthesizers and drum machines. For further control, there is an expression pedal/ auxiliary switch jack as well as USB and MIDI I/O.
To The Max
The H9 is available in three different flavors. H9 Core (25 bread & butter presets), H9 Harmonizer® (9 effect algorithms and 99 presets), and H9 Max (49 algorithms and 500 available presets). Each hardware unit is the same, they only differ in the amount of algorithms (think of an algorithm as a dedicated effects pedal). When you add an algorithm to the H9, its like purchasing a new pedal. Algorithms are sold on the App Store. and once you buy a certain amount, your pedal automatically gets upgraded to H9 Max. The great thing about the H9 Max is that it not only has every effect from each Eventide Factor pedal, but also H9 Max exclusives. In addition, Eventide keep releasing new algorithms (SpaceTime, Crush Station, Sculpt, etc.). Max owners get each newly released algorithm for free.
Getting new free algorithms a few times a year may not seem like a big deal but remember, each algorithm is like an entirely new stomp box. Once you grasp this concept, the hefty price tag of $699 is a bargain. However, if you’re on a budget you can always start with a Core (which comes with a coupon for one free additional algorithm) and then work your way up to the Max.
The Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer® is exploding with legendary effects. Iconic reverbs, chorus, delay, modulation, pitch-shifting and distortion effects are all here. The unit can only produce one effect at a time, but several of the algorithms are combinations of multiple effects. For example, Eventide’s newest algorithm, Pitch Fuzz, combines fuzz, three pitch shifters and two delays for an amazing range of tonal shapes.
Ease of Use
The H9 has an unassuming look considering all the power packed under the hood. The large big knob is encircled a by a Light Ring and five radio buttons. The Light Ring gives visual feedback as you dial it up or down. Select and load presets, adjust parameters, and use it as an on-board Expression Pedal. It also allows you perform tempo changes and other housekeeping duties. The X,Y, and Z buttons give you top-level control of any parameters you’ll want to adjust on the fly. The Hot-knob button is a custom parameter patch that allows the large encoder wheel to control any combination of parameters simultaneously. All factory-supplied presets have something special programmed into the Hot-knob button but you can program it in any way you see fit. Rounding out the top of the unit are two foot-switches. They let you change presets, tap tempo, and bypass with your feet during a live performance. Alternatively, you can use the H9 Control app to adjust any parameter in real-time.
But How Does It Sound?
A stomp-box can claim to do it all but unless it sounds good nobody is going to care. Not surprisingly, the Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer® boasts the highest quality effects I’ve ever heard. It will easily spark your creativity, and give you the ability to replicate any effect you’ve ever heard. From rhythmic delays to reverse reverbs and arpeggiators, ripping distortion, and even a looper; its all here. The only issue you may find yourself with is wanting two H9’s. And good news on that front too. H9 Max owners Max Out with any additional Core they buy.
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