Eventide’s audio effects have been long been considered objects of desire by musicians, engineers, and producers. Going back to their first harmonizer, these units have been employed on dozens of classic recordings, as well as live—by the lucky few who could afford them. Their stompbox series, though still not cheap, made these effects accessible to a much wider range of sonic explorers. Avant-guitarists like Noveller, Eivind Aarset, and Stian Westerhus soon began exploring the tonal possibilities of the self-explanatory Pitch-, Mod-, and TimeFactor pedals, as well as the reverb-centric Space stomp. For me, the problem remained that, while each pedal has numerous incredible sounds, there are way more than I would be likely to use. To assemble the particular effects I want would require purchasing the entire set, an outlay of $2000—the same price that puts even their budget rack unit, the Eclipse, out of my range. Enter the H9…. There are plenty of great demos on YouTube, but here is one that concentrates on using the iOS control for experimental sounds. I’ve Got (algo)Rhythm Eventide’s new H9 pedal let’s you access algorithms from all the stompboxes in a solid housing half the size of the Factor pedals. It comes with four choruses and two tremolos from ModFactor; legendary harmonizing effects from the original H910 and H949 rack units and the classic Eventide Crystals effect, from PitchFactor; Tape Echo and Vintage Delay from TimeFactor; Shimmer and Hall from Space; and an H-9 exclusive—a 64 tap delay called UltraTap. Alan at Eventide demos some of the many classic sounds. Additional algorithms can be purchase ala Carte for $20 each. This may seem a bit pricey but the H9 comes with a free coupon for any other single algorithm of your choice. And, if you act now!—that is, by December 31, 2013, you can download the new Resonator algorithm, an expanded version of an effect in the H-8000, for free. Keep in mind, it will be quite a while before you have explored all the sonic possibilities of the fifteen you start with—especially when you discover the amazing amount of tweaking available. If you bought all the currently available algorithms it would cost you $740, which, with the $499 (street) for the H9 would still bring you in under the price of an Eclipse. But, unlike with cable TV, you don’t have to pay for things you don’t think you will use. You can hear examples of every algorithm and/or download a trial version at the app store, making it easy to decide which ones you need. Control Freak Eventide has made programing the H9 as simple as possible, given the limited pedal real estate. Pressing the small Preset button on the right lights it up and lets you scroll through presets using the big black scroller/switch. No need to load the preset when you get there, it loads automatically when you stop scrolling. X,Y, and Z buttons access three parameters for instant adjustment with the scrolling knob (you can program different parameters if you choose). Holding down any one of these buttons accesses further parameters. The Hot Knob button turns the big scroller knob into a switch that will toggle between two entirely different sets of parameter programs. The Active footswitch engages and bypasses the effect, while the right footswitch, labeled “Tap” works as a tap tempo switch if you hold it down for a couple of seconds. Otherwise it steps through the programs, which you then have to load through stepping on the Active switch. I won’t bore you with a complete manual of hardware control procedures. As good a job as Eventide has done in thinking all this through, and as helpful as it might be in an emergency, we all know it is a pain in the ass to seriously program a complex multieffect like the H9 through buttons and screen levels. Fortunately, Eventide offers a software app for Mac or Windows so you can program all your effects easily on your computer screen through USB. You can then load them into separate set lists. This way if you are off to a gig that requires vintage effects, like tremolo, reverb, and tape delay, you can load them into a set and program the footswitch to cycle through only those three effects. (All your other effects will still be in there). If your next gig requires ambient washes of Chorus, Crystals, Shimmer and Ultra Tap delays, you can program them to your liking in another set list and load them in a cycle-able group that ignores all the other presets. For some users it gets even better… . Phoning It In Lucky iPhone and/or iPad owners can download an app that allows them to program and/or control the H9 directly from their mobile device through Bluetooth. This is where the fun truly begins, especially for modern guitarists. For one thing, you can access any preset or algorithm pretty quickly on the gig, without a bulky MIDI pedal (yes, the H9 accepts MIDI in, out, and through). Any H9 owner can control multiple parameters with an expression pedal, but iOS device owners can do it with a swipe of the finger across a simulated ribbon controller on the effects GUI. And only iOS users get to control two sets of parameters with a cool, pulsating, simulated x/y pad screen (see below and the first video above). Yes, I know, guitarists typically need both hands to play, but of course we modern players are not typical. We often put the instrument on our laps or tables and throw an EBow on it. Imagine then being able to manipulate the sound through various pitch, delay, and/or modulation parameters by moving your finger around on your iOS device. Actually, I found I needed only to engage some distortion for more sustain and I could get really cool effects by modulating two pitch controls with they x/y pad. Conclusions Despite all the technology involved (and there is much more than covered here), I was able to get up and running with minimal reference to the manual (thanks to helpful Eventide videos by the lovely and articulate Adrienne Humblet. Are there downsides to this device? In certain circumstances the power supply added some digital trash to the sound. You may need to find a way to isolate it from the power sources of your other effects. This can be true with many devices and clean power is always important. Also, you can only run one effect at a time, but should you choose to circumvent this by purchasing a second H9 (or a third, or fourth…), any additional algorithms you buy can be run on up to five units. Overall, I was gobsmacked by the fabulous sound, creative potential, and ease of use of the H9. I have reviewed the Factor series, and as impressed as I was with the some sounds in each, I couldn’t bring myself to spring for $2000 to have all those sounds by buying all four. Now I don’t have to. For its innovative, inspirational sound, ease of use, and forward-thinking control options, at a reasonable price point, the Eventide H9 garners the first Guitar Moderne Great Gear Award.