Tech Talk

Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Review

Could it be the perfect DJ and Studio companion?

Since their inception in the 1970s, Eventide have been at the forefront of the external FX pedal market, captivating the minds (and ears) of musicians and audio engineers around the globe. With the traditional effects pedals being separate units, for a delay, reverb, harmonizer, etc. you’d need a large board/space to have these all set up ready to go, not to mention a lot of cables.

Building solidly on their world-class foundations, their top-of-the-range effects pedal, the H9, combines all of these effects into one unit. It’s not only a tool for guitarists and synth players, but a powerhouse that can sit at the heart of your music studio or DJ booth.

DJs are always looking for new ways to mix and enhance their sounds, to differentiate themselves from the often monotonous (but still effective) stock mixer effects which we’re all familiar with. For those who want to try something new, with full customisation, the Eventide H9 could be the one pedal to rule them all.

Price: £649
Available: Now, since 2015
Closest competitor: None, really.

For anyone familiar with external FX pedals, the Eventide H9 is of a similar ilk. A hard metal exterior makes the unit feel super strong, and the giant rotary knob in the middle allows you to cycle between all of the effects quite easily. I must admit though, the unit is a little overwhelming when you first use it. But, once you’ve downloaded the companion app (available on iOS and Android, as well as Mac and Windows) it becomes a lot easier to use. The H9 connects via bluetooth, and opens up an entirely new world of possibility, where you can see the 52 effect algorithms and over 500 presets much more visually. It is much easier to create and tweak the presets within the companion app than on the device itself too.

With so many different effects, algorithms, and combinations, this is a FX pedal that takes time to explore and understand. It is certainly not a “plug and play” device like the RMX 1000. However, once you’ve fine tuned your favourite FX and saved them to the device, the giant rotary knob is all you really need to use when performing. The echo, delay, reverb, chorus, pitch shifting, and distortion all sound crystal clear, enhancing the audio rather than crucifying it.

The H9 also has some exclusive effects not available on other Eventide products; UltraTap Delay, Resonator, EQ Compressor, CrushStation, SpaceTime, Sculpt, PitchFuzz, HotSawz, Harmadillo, and TriceraChorus.

In use
Firstly, the sound quality on the H9 Max is incredible. It complements the mix, and found it works better with more stripped back music, where it adds a subtle enhancement rather than overpowering the track. If you’re just looking for a delay to echo out for example, then this probably isn’t for you, however you can easily set that up.

A great feature is that there is tap tempo, so you can set the tempo to what you’re playing and the FX is dialled in perfectly rather than more avant-garde options. With the companion app, you can tap on your phone or even directly type in the tempo you’re playing at making it incredibly simple and versatile.

There’s almost endless customisation, and when used for synth breakdowns and loops you can get really creative. Harmadillo is a personal favourite, taking the low and high bands and modulating them in opposite directions, creating a phasey, distorted sound reminiscent of vintage guitar amps.

The giant rotary knob makes applying (and removing) the FX easy. I tended to leave the send at about 3/4 so that when you fade out there is still the remnants of the FX being played. This is fantastic for echo/delay/reverb where the tail of the sound makes blending between sounds seamless.

The Eventide H9 Max is a serious bit of versatile kit. Whether you’re wanting to enhance your DJ mixing, recording synths, or anything generally in the studio, the H9 Max combines multiple effects into one convenient unit. While it is a little daunting to use at first, if you’re willing to take the time to learn the depths of this beast – it will help you stand out against the crowd.

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