It is hard to admit I was wrong, but I have to man up and confess I made a slight error in my review of the original H9. I was dead on about the cool things you could do with the x/y pad option on the iOS interface, as demoed here. But, I posited a big advantage of the pedal was being able to cherry-pick algorithms from each of Eventide’s Factor pedals with out having to pony up for all four to access them. Why pay for a bunch of sounds you won’t use—right? That makes sense, but, as I discovered, there is another way to look at it.
Having had a chance to play with the H9 Max—a pedal loaded with every algorithm on all the Factor pedals and then some, I realized my theory was fine if you were able to try every algorithm available and knew exactly which ones you liked. I realized when exploring the Max there were algorithms I hadn’t had a chance to hear and thus didn’t know I would like: things like HarPeggiator, which creates instant arpeggios out of a single played note, and Sythonizer, which creates synth-like tones without a special pickup needed. Exploring things like Reverse delay, Pitch Undulator, Resonator, and the cool Looper, I realized there were many algorithms I might never have considered without the opportunity to spend some serious time with them. Granted you can demo an algorithm for five minutes before deciding whether to buy it, but with some it is not until I dug deep into their considerable depths that I found inspiration.
Having purchased an iPad since I started working with the original H9, I enjoyed the ease with which I could switch among the algorithms and presets, as well as the direct manipulation of parameters through the algorithm GUI or the x/y pad. I have also been marveling at how warm these effects are, with no trace of digital harshness.
Crunching the Numbers
If you just can’t make the Max ‘s price point, he H9 Core ($399 street) and original H9 ($499) street are still good places to start. But, when you consider at $699 ($300 over the Core, or $200 over the original) you are getting $900 worth of algorithms (if purchased separately at $20 a pop) the Max starts to look like a real bargain.
Worried that, like so many who fall in love with this pedal, you will want to put two on your board and can’t afford $699 x 2? (Still $700 less than the cheapest Eventide rackmount—the Eclipse). You don’t have to purchase a second Max; you can add all your algorithms to a Core and have two Max’s for a grand.
Ultimately it comes down to your pocketbook; if you can swing it, there is no reason not to buy the Eventide H9 Max.