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PROS: Excellent sound quality, insane quantity of effect options.
CONS: The app, which is iOS only, is really needed to fully utilize the pedal.
Imagine every great Eventide algorithm in one box – color us impressed. So let’s get into it; the LCD display is a bit of a throwback, and the knobs on the pedal are programmable to allow for navigation and editing, although it’s not the easiest setup we’ve ever encountered. It can be connected to a computer via USB, and there is a free app for iOS devices that connects it via Bluetooth. The app, though, is super easy to use, and a lot more user friendly and portable.
This version of the H9 (the MAX!) has every effect option and variation ever made by Eventide: reverbs, delays, modulations, filters, distortions, intelligent harmonizers, compressors, EQ and even a looper. Whew! The best versions of these effects are in here, hands down. With the “SpaceTime” setting, it brings two delays, modulation and reverb all at once. The presets are useful and musical, and can be as subtle as a classic spring reverb, but can also reach beyond expansive soundscapes. Modulations go from small clone, to hyper atmospheric dimensions. The tap tempo provides excellent syncing of delays and echoes, and can even be set on the app, as well as with the pedal’s footswitch. With such a vast selection of effects, and the editing possibilities, it’s a tweaker’s paradise!
The only area that’s kind of weak are the distortions, especially for guitar applications. They’re not bad by any means, they just seem to be outshined by all the other effects. If this pedal is being used in an effects loop, they aren’t going to be much help either. It’s not just a guitar pedal though, with presets that are optimized for bass, keyboards as well as vocals.
Eventide has visual mode called X-Y editing. Basically foregoing the knobs, it allows the user to select a preset, and then use the iOS device’s display to drag a cursor across the screen, which alters that parameter. Now to switch between presets “on the fly” the large control wheel is fine, but since there are MIDI connections, it would be a snap for users to connect the H9 to a MIDI controller. Considering that some pedalboard switchers have MIDI connections, a setup like this makes the H9 even more useful, and can live among analog pedals easily. Nice touch.
Its street price is $699, which can be equivalent to two or three boutique pedals, which in most cases, could be one trick ponies. One of these H9 Max’s could easily replace a wide number of pedals, clean up a pedalboard, your overall tone, and getting the best selection of effects ever made. Can you say no-brainer?
-Can employ all of Eventide’s stompbox effects
-Simple one-knob user interface
-Free H9 Control app for iOS devices or Mac/PC
-Pre-loaded with 45 classic algorithms
-99 selectable presets
-Includes new UltraTap Delay
-Stereo I/O and MIDI I/O, plus expression pedal and aux switch inputs
-True bypass circuitry