We took a look at the brand-new Eventide H90 Harmonizer. It’s an incredibly versatile multi-effects unit that harks back to the classic Eventide Harmonizers of the past but with a firm view on modulation innovation.
Eventide was founded just over 50 years in the basement of the New York Sound Exchange recording studio out of pure necessity. These weren’t business guys coming to cash in on the latest trends in recording technology, they were just some people who wanted to be able to rewind their Ampex tape machine to a specific spot without having to rely on a person to do so, and in doing so were set on a path of developing great sounding, interesting bits and piece ever since
One of the coolest things about Eventide is that they’re a company that has consistently innovated since its inception, always paying heed to its past, whilst continually pushing sonic concepts forward with its designs. The Eventide H90 Harmonizer is pretty much one of the few multi-effects pedals we’ve come across that’s actually good.
Funnily enough, this attitude of innovation has seen the company stride forward and build a world of diverse but strangely coherent equipment such as their own RAM chips, aeroplane mapping systems, and digital voice logging machines for emergency services and the military.
Without diving too deep into the huge array of cool effects units and innovations Eventide has come up with, we can guess most people involved in audio have come across either an original rack-mounted Harmonizer in a studio, made some sounds with the plug-in version, used the H9 pedal, or even worked with the massively multi-featured flagship studio box the H9000 (Accordingly priced at almost $14 grand AUD).
In any case, you’ve most definitely heard an Eventide Harmonizer – they’ve appeared all across recorded music since the 70s, appearing famously on snare drums on Bowie’s Low album, on AC/DC’s Back in Black, all over Van Halen guitars and across pretty much any demonic voice emanating from a possessed person in a horror movie from the mid-70s and beyond.
The H90 is set up as a footswitch-based effects unit and would gladly fit on a pedal board, but this thing would easily be at home sitting next to your mixing desk, strapped across an insert send.
The H90 contains all sounds from the previous H9 pedal, with a whole bunch of new tones, including 62 effects algorithms that are stackable, programmable, and customisable, along with four ins and outs; a stereo in and out, and a couple of send and returns so other pedals can sit within the path of this thing. There’s also 2 inputs for expression pedals/control voltages, MIDI in and out, and USB in so you can save settings to a computer if that’s what you’re into. Plus a really accurate tuner built in too!
There’s more than 100 alterable presets here and you could spend a very long time sitting around tweaking this thing if that’s your preference, or you could plug it in and take it on the road. We had a pretty hard time finding any tones that sound bad in this thing, and say you wanna use multiple settings, either your own or tweaked presets, within a song, it’s easy to set up your own program sequence to easily switch on the fly.
The options within this thing are truly massive – there’s of course a harmoniser, delays, pitch shifting, reverbs, overdrives, phasers, flangers, rotary speakers and so much more – it’s a modern psychedelic sound piece that the reverb alone I feel puts many other modern digital reverb pedals to shame.
Often when you’re faced with a wall of presets like this box presents you wonder how you could even make decent use of most of them, whereas with this box it’s more like you’re waiting for the opportunity to use them on a song.
Eventide H90 Harmonizer is a small box absolutely stuffed with effects and features, from vintage sounds that hark back to the early days of Eventide, to completely brand new modulations that haven’t appeared on a record yet. The H90 is a diverse pedal from a trailblazing company that always pushes ahead but never forgets about its past either.
We highly recommend trying one out if deep, weird, psychedelic tones are your thing. Or even if you’re a little more conservative it can do that too. Could it replace the expensive H9000? Not quite, but at this price it’ll get you a decent part of the way there.
The Eventide H90 Harmonizer retails for $899US, or about $1400AU and is out at all places you’d buy quality audio equipment. For more information head over to Eventideaudio.com.