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April 2017 Giveaway

Hands-on Review: Eventide H9 Harmonizer Multi-effects Pedal

If you’ve ever been interested in Eventide’s amazing time-based and ambient effects, their H9 Harmonizer multi-effects pedal is a “greatest hits” list taken directly from their ground-breaking ModFactor, PitchFactor, TimeFactor, and Space pedals. Pre-loaded with 15 algorithms from those four pedals, the H9 also has two algorithms that are unique: Ultra Tap and Resonator. All of this processing power is housed in a surprisingly small, modernist-looking, white box with an efficient, minimalist feature set. Welcome to the future.

I must admit that knowing the H9’s potential made me really anxious to hook it up. All too often, great multi-effect pedals suffer from presets that are over-blown and basically useless, in an attempt to showcase everything that the pedal is capable of. Kudos to Eventide for avoiding this pitfall. They created 99 great-sounding presets that are tailored to guitar and run the gamut from subtle to extreme. Using the four-page Quick Reference Guide, I was able to navigate the presets and make quick parameter adjustments as soon as I plugged in. Out of the box, the H9’s input is optimized for guitar level but is easily adjusted to accommodate input levels from other stompboxes, an amplifier’s effects loop or a mixer’s effects send. While the input level is global for every preset, the output level setting is programmed into each preset individually. This allows for maximizing each sound without sending too much level to your amplifier; this is especially handy for the thick, detailed algorithms and presets with long delay and reverb tails.

With my trusty Strat plugged into the H9’s input, I took the output to a Mesa/Boogie TransAtlantic TA-30 Combo, first through the input and then through the effects loop. I used a variety of clean, crunch, and overdriven sounds and the H9 performed spot-on no matter what I threw at it. Even with huge amounts of gain, through the TA’s effects loop the H9’s rich reverbs and complex multi-tap delays stayed clear and distinct. Splitting the signal stereo with the TA and a Fender Deluxe, the various chorus presets were lush and evocative, thickening single notes and making chords swell. Presets using the Crystals algorithm are positively dizzying. Delays and Tremolos can be synced by either the tap-tempo footswitch on the H9 or via MIDI. The indicator light on the tap-tempo switch pulses in time, allowing you to lock in on-the-fly.

The H9’s simple control set is well thought-out. The four parameter buttons, two footswitches, and single knob are all multi-function, offering lots of sound-shaping without having to peruse too many menus. Every parameter in the H9 is available on the front panel but deeper edits are easier using the free H9 Control App. Connect via USB or Bluetooth to your Mac, PC, or iOS device and create, edit, and store as many presets as you can dream up and load them into your H9. If you want even more flexibility, additional algorithms can be auditioned and purchased through the H9 Control App.

This review only scratches the surface of what the H9 can do. This is one of those pedals that I could continue finding new sounds and uses for them. The best part is that the H9 sounds so good that I’m compelled to do just that. Killer effects, deep features that are easy to access in a pedal that integrates into your existing pedalboard without messing with your tone; that’s the Eventide H9 Harmonizer Multi-Effects Pedal.

Don Carr

About Don Carr

With a three-decade career as a professional guitarist in Nashville, Tennessee, Sweetwater's Don Carr has a long list of album credits in multiple genres of music. His resume includes hundreds of radio and television appearances, as well as thousands of live performances in America and abroad as lead guitarist for the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. Don provides Sweetwater with professional insight through product demos, reviews, how-to’s, and group instruction. He is also the first-call session guitarist for Sweetwater Studios.
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