We now live in a world of boutique pedals, amazing pedal switchers, and custom shop guitars, but it wasn’t always that way…
In the ’80s, pedal choices were very limited; you either used Boss, MXR, Dod, or Electro Harmonix. And turning two or more of them on or off at the same time involved a lot of tap dancing.
About this time, high-end studio effects were starting to sound really good. Therefore, if you had the tech ability, the money, and a road crew to carry the massive bulk around for you, a rack mount effects system was the thing to have.
Again, there weren’t a lot of choices; for compression, it was DBX, overdrive was either the Marshall JMP-1 or the ADA MP-1, delay/modulation/switching was the mighty TC Electronic 2290, and reverb was usually a Lexicon PCM70.
But there was also another unit that was in just about every serious guitar rack of the time, the legendary Eventide H3000 harmonizer. This provided the insane pitch shifter harmonies as used by Steve Vai, as well as more subtle sound thickening techniques, pitch shifting, and octave tricks.
Completely blown away…
This was my first introduction to Eventide, and the H3000 blew me away, as did its predecessor, the H910 Harmonizer, as well as every other Eventide rack mount studio effect I have used since.
But Eventide doesn’t only make some of the most legendary studio and guitar processors ever; they also produce incredible plugins. That’s why I decided to review the 5 best eventide plugins currently available so that you can decide on which ones you should be using and why?
So, let’s get started with the…
Eventide H3000 Factory
This is a re-creation of the unit that started it all off for me and so many other producers.
Using several of the key algorithms from the hardware H3000 Harmonizer, the sound that you get from this plugin is quite incredible. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the closest Eventide has come to transferring the legendary sound and functionality of the hardware unit into a plugin.
It features an easy-to-use modular interface that allows you to combine up to 18 effects blocks together to produce a practically limitless number of configurations. These include parallel pitch shifters, pairs of sweepable delays, filters, amplitude modulators (or VCAs), mixers, as well as modulation sources such as two low-frequency oscillators and envelope generators.
All effects can be easily manipulated, either in real-time or synchronized. This provides the versatility that allows music producers or sound designers to create any pitch-based effects they can dream of.
Featuring over 450 presets, which include over 100 artist presets as well as over 100 of the original presets from the H3000. These quickly and easily allow you to find the perfect sound for any mix or sound design project that you will ever need.
Just so close…
Being a bit of a geek and owning an original H3000, I decided to compare the plug-in to the hardware that it emulates. The results were quite amazing, basically the same sounds without the massive purchase and maintenance costs of owning the vintage hardware.
- The sound and functionality of the legendary recording studio equipment.
- Easy to use.
- Full-featured and versatile.
- No harmonizer sounds better.
Eventide H910 Harmonizer
Moving on to an emulation of another classic harmonizer, the H910. So legendary, in fact, that it holds the accolade of being the first digital effects processor ever produced.
Before we take a more detailed look, let’s cover a few basics:
What Does Harmonizer Mean?
A harmonizer is defined as a device that electronically duplicates a signal, either at a different pitch or different pitches. This allows it to, for example, re-create a melody you play on a guitar, a vocal, or any other instrument, a major third up, or at any other interval you choose.
But, there is a bit of brainwork that goes into re-creating a harmony depending on which interval you want and what key you are in. This is where ‘intelligent’ harmonizers come in, which allow for these musical adjustments.
How Does a Harmonizer Work?
Harmonizers work by either playing only the harmonized line, playing the harmonized line along with the original, therefore you hear both at the same time, or play the original plus multiple harmonies at the same time.
Now that’s covered…
Let’s go back to where it all started for digital effects. The H910 offered unique combinations of pitch shifting, delay, and modulation, and can be heard on numerous hits by artists from Bowie to Zappa.
This powerful creative tool is superb for detailing specific musical intervals and harmonies, fattening snares, spreading guitars, applying subtle organic de-tuning to synths, or adding slap-back delays to vocals.
Or take it to the extreme for unimaginable mechanical sounds and drones using self-oscillation, anti-feedback, and delay.
Basically, nothing else sounds like it; try it, you’ll be massively impressed!
- True analog modeling for faithful reproduction of the sound of the original H910’s.
- Envelope Follower.
- Perfect pitch changes controlled either manually, via MIDI, or with Anti-Feedback.
- Modify pitch by diatonic musical intervals.
- Delay melodies or rhythms to create anything from slap-back echoes to full-on feedback chaos.
- Includes Eventide’s H910 Dual Harmonizer® recreating the technique of using two H910 units in parallel, creating lush doubling effects.
Before I get into my favorite reverb plugin from any manufacturer, let me answer a question that I am often asked…
Why Is Selecting Reverb Important For A Good Mix?
Reverb lets you put every element of a mix in the best position in relation to every other instrument.
There are two general schools of thought on the best way to do this; the first is to establish a ‘scene’ for the whole song using a single reverb, such as room or hall, then apply this in varying amounts to the different instruments to put them all in their place in the mix.
This works well on more traditional mixes for pop and rock songs, etc.
The second is to just use whatever reverb you want on any particular instrument to get the effect you want. This is a more experimental and often more interesting approach that can create incredible results on the right tracks.
Read our blog post on mixing with reverb for more tips!
The best of the best…
UltraReverb combines the best reverb effects from Eventide’s legendary hardware with full multi-effect capabilities within a single plug-in. It easily allows you to create anything from standard acoustically natural to other-worldly reverbs.
It realistically emulates every aspect of a real physical environment, from complex early reflections to the natural increase in echo density over time, as well as the super-smooth Gaussian decay of any reverb tail.
Featuring over 300 presets, including many designed by top recording professionals, producers, and engineers, there really is no easier way to quickly get the perfect reverb to put any instrument exactly where you want it to be.
- Nine superb reverb effects – Hall, Chamber, Room, Plate Reverb, and Ambience.
- Over 300 presets.
- Includes stereo delays, independent, three-band parametric equalizers, and a compressor.
- Reverb Tail Randomization.
- Uses a lot of processing power.
Eventide Instant Flanger MK II
Want to recreate the great sound of vintage tape flanging in your DAW? Then the Instant Flanger Mk II is exactly what you need. It’s an authentic emulation of the original 1975 studio unit that was used on “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie and “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper.
It’s a great vintage flanger option for stereo sweetening, double tracking, subtle modulations, or even extreme flanging effects. From taking small-sounding mono guitars and thickening them to sound huge, to making even the most digital-sounding synth really get fat, flanging is every engineer and producer’s best-kept secret, and no one does it more authentically than Eventide.
- Three flanging flavors – Shallow, Deep, or Wide.
- Bounce effect, which mimics the effect of a tape machine “hunting” for its proper speed.
- Side Chain function to trigger the Envelope Follower from any source in the mix.
- Low Cut to remove low frequencies from the flanged signal.
Coming to the end of my review of the 5 Best Eventide Plugins, do you need a high-quality, all in one, plug-in channel strip that includes Eventide’s legendary effects?
Whether you’re mixing or mastering in any genre, Eventide’s UltraChannel is the ultimate tool to bring your mixes to life.
This highly versatile channel strip features FlexiPath%u2122 routing, which allows you to drag and drop to reorder the signal path of the O-Pressor, compressor/de-esser, EQ, and Gate components for unlimited flexibility.
UltraChannel features infinite options to generate the exact tone, frequency characteristics, and dynamics you need for any music production. These include their incredible micro pitch technology from the flagship Eventide H8000 to thicken as well as increase the stereo spread of any vocal or instrument.
The easy-to-use interface lets you dial in the exact sound you want, or use any of the over 200 factory presets as a starting point. These ensure that you’ll get your kick drum, snare, guitars, bass, piano, strings, synth pads, as well as the vocals and background vocals fitting perfectly in the mix.
- Versatile signal path setup using FlexiPath%u2122.
- Transformer Emulation for creating soft saturation.
- Micro Pitch Shift and Stereo Delays
- 5-Band Parametric EQ.
- Uses a lot of processing power
Most of these plugins have the same compatibility, but if you are particularly concerned because you use an unusual or older system, please check the Eventide website for specific details before purchase.
- Windows 8
- AAX 32/64-bit, VST2 32/64-bit, VST3 32/64-bit
- macOS 10.9
- AAX 64-bit, Audio Unit 64-bit, VST2 64-bit, VST3 64-bit
So, which of the 5 Eventide Plugins is the very best?
This is a difficult decision because all of the Eventide Plugins I’ve reviewed basically cover different functions; they are, therefore, all the best at what they do. But, if I had to pick one that I could not live without, it would be the…
Featuring an easy-to-use layout and nine superb-sounding reverbs, this high-quality reverb plugin will get you the perfect reverb for any vocal or instrument in no time at all. Highly recommended.