Eventide has always been the pinnacle of FX processing in my eyes and ears, dating back to when I first heard one on a Steve Vai album. A few years later, in college, I was able to use a DSP4000 for the first time, and in regards to my obsession, one might say the rest is history. I later was able to get a DSP4000 of my own, which I bizarrely found in a dentist’s basement in Hartford, CT, and that became the secret sauce to so much of my music, even if it didn’t move off the “Blackhole” algorithm too frequently. Now, of course, Eventide makes plugins for many of their algorithms (they’re fantastic, as expected), and although I can now have as many instances of Blackhole as my melancholy heart desires, there’s always something magical and exclusive to the hardware. Enter the H90 Harmonizer, Eventide’s new flagship FX pedal. The H90’s predecessor, the H9, took all of the algorithms in Eventide’s other pedals and put them all in one box alongside a software editor. I used the H9 for years not as a pedal, but as a rack FX unit that was permanently patched in. The H90 goes further down this line with more I/O options, new algorithms, and the ability to run two algorithms simultaneously in whichever order or routing you want. As you can imagine, it makes me a very happy Matt and my love for it has been documented.
PUTTING THE H90 TO WORK
With the Eventide H90 Drums pack, I aimed to create a special set of loops and one-shots that harness the beautiful Eventide algorithms that are more often used on melodic material. One of the new algorithms in the H90 that got used heavily is “Polyphony,” which is a stereo pitch shifter with delay utilizing Eventide’s proprietary SIFT (Spectral Instantaneous Frequency Tracking) technology to get incredibly clean pitch shifting. Using polyphony on kick drums, while certainly frowned upon in some circles, sounds so cool… phase be damned. Alternatively, you could keep the mix at say 50%, pitch each channel up a fifth and an octave, pan both delays hard left and right with 1/8th note and dotted 1/8th subdivisions respectively. Now you have a nifty percussive pattern to play with that won’t affect your original kick, but instead builds around it with recontextualized shifted kicks filling in the gaps. Add the SP2016 Reverb in the next FX slot and you immediately have some cinematic ambience to the whole thing… and that’s just from a kick drum. As you can imagine, it’s quite easy to fall down the wormhole (pun intended: “Wormhole” is crazy cavernous reverb algorithm) with the H90.
H90 Control software editor
As for how I’ve integrated the H90 into my Pro Tools system, it’s really quite simple. In my patch bay I’ve dedicated a stereo pair of inputs that run between my interface and the H90, and then additionally, the H90 is connected to my computer via a USB cable which allows the connection to the software editor, H90 Control, as well as simultaneously receiving MIDI Beat Clock from Pro Tools. This allows all of the time-based FX in the H90 to be tempo-synced to Pro Tools if I so choose, which is, of course, very handy in the creation of loops. Because of how I have everything hooked up, I never actually have to physically touch the H90 itself. I simply route whatever I want to send to the H90 out of an output of Pro Tools, use H90 Control for all of my FX programming as if it were a plugin, and then just pipe it back to Pro Tools. Essentially, I get a near-plugin experience with the sound and proprietary algorithms of the hardware. The ease of this also encourages me to constantly use the H90, and frankly, it’s exciting and inspirational every time. It really does sound that good.
PROCESSING THE RAW DRUMS
As far as source material for the Eventide H90 Drums goes, much of it came from a variety of drum machines, as the synthetic nature of them lends itself well to FX processing—often a bit better than live drums, for instance, since it’s a fuller range of frequency. However, while there certainly are some processed live drums in there, field recordings and studio recordings of different percussive hits were also processed heavily by the H90, giving them a very hyperreal feel. The kick drums are sometimes ridiculously deep, the claps are unnaturally wide and spacious, the highs are literally higher, and the lows are literally lower. It’s an incredible HiFi-sounding library, and I’ve never heard any other like this one.
With over 60 algorithms shipped with the H90, there’s so much sonic exploration to be had and it’s really a sound designer’s dream. Some of the other algorithms I used heavily were delays such as “Band Delay,” “Bouquet Delay,” and Filter Pong; modulation FX such as the multiple phasers and flangers, which is fantastic and play with the stereo field, as well as basically every pitch shifter available, as they all have a different sound, and in some cases, desired artifacts. I discovered a special affinity for the new “WeedWacker” algorithm: essentially two stereo tubescreamer-style overdrives ran in series. It’s not polite. Since it’s stereo, I’d often run WeedWacker after an algorithm that affects the stereo field, such as MicroPitch, which would then accentuate the stereo width further by saturating the sides.
The Eventide H90 Drums sample pack has so many beautiful sounds in it and I implore you to download it to add some brand new and very special drums to your music. Remember: like everything else in Sonic Drop, it’s FREE with your Pro Tools subscription or Support + Updates Plan (for perpetual license holders). Check the Sonic Drop tab in Avid Link (version 2023.3 or later) for a list of all the latest Sonic Drops. This is also where you can play audio samples and manage your content downloads— watch this video to learn more.
Lastly, I’d like to give a huge thank you to Eventide for continuing to make breathtaking FX that not only take your music to the next level but also inspire you to write in ways you never may have thought of previously. Everything Eventide makes is incredible. I use it all, and have designed a ton of presets for their plugins over the years as well (yes, there’s actually a preset called “MATT FLANGE” in the Tricerachorus plugin), and it’s certainly worth your while to demo them if you haven’t before. If you’re a hardware junkie like me, then aside from the other pedals they make (I literally have them all), you must take a look at the H90. It’s just that good.
Thanks Eventide for everything.