It would be hard to find anyone who's worked in and around prostudios during the past 30 years who hasn't used an Eventide product.It seems that there has always been some kind of Eventide productcurrently in vogue, but unless you've collected some choice pieces, theolder gear is often relegated to some dusty corner. The result is thatyou seldom get to play with the audio toys of the past, especiallysince DAW's rise in popularity. That is, until now. Eventide has givennew life to some golden oldies by porting five of its legacy effectsfor Pro Tools. The new ClockWorks Legacy plug-ins (list price $795) areaccurate representations of the Instant Phaser, Instant Flanger,Omnipressor, H910 Harmonizer and the H949 Harmonizer.
The plug-ins operate in either Mac OS 9 or OS X, all at up to 96k,but only the Phaser and Omnipressor operate at up to 192k. Installationand iLock authorization were a breeze, and I was up and running quicklywithout any problems. Although some of the plugs will require a quickread through the manual to master, the interfaces are intuitive andmouse-friendly, allowing either broad, mouse-only adjustments, orfine-tuned tweaks using the Command key and mouse. The well-writtenuser's guide is handy in a pinch, and Eventide has even included theoriginal owner's manuals; both are in .pdf format. All of the plug-inschecked in at a measly six samples of latency and include a number ofimportable presets for those who want to see what the creators couldcome up with.
By far my favorite of the bunch is the Omnipressor, partiallybecause I own the hardware version and mostly because there's nothinglike it. It takes compression/expansion to a new level and adds a loadof fun in the process. The unit's versatility has allowed me to injectdynamics into lifeless loops, expand my way out of noise problems, putlead guitars right in the listener's face and much more. This is agreat utility compressor that can create a wide variety of interestingdynamic effects.
Basic controls include the expected Threshold, Attack and Release,but what's unique here are the Function, Atten Limit and Gain Limitknobs. From full counterclockwise to full clockwise positions, theFunction control takes the unit between gating, expansion, limiting,extreme compression and, most interestingly, dynamic reversal, where+10 dB of input results in a -10dB output and vice versa. Atten andGain LEDs, situated on either side of the meter provide the user withfeedback as to what exactly is going on dynamically. Input control isachieved by the Input Cal buttons, resulting in -10 dB, -20 dB or, ifboth are pushed, -30 dB of attenuation. The Bass button is a switchablehighpass filter across the sidechain input (frequency response is notaffected), and the three Meter Funct buttons switch the meter betweeninput, relative gain and output readings. Lastly, the Output Calbuttons allow a gain boost of +10 dB, +20 dB or, if both are pushed,+30 dB.
For the test, I took my hardware Omnipressor and put it across atrack insert in Pro Tools and called up the plug-in version on a copyof the same track in the Mix window. The track I used was a trashy loopthat had the dynamics squashed right out of it. I set both Omnipressorsto the same settings and compared them. They were close, but quitedifferent. However, this was more the fault of the hardware box beingquirky and old than a mismatch in functionality. After a bit oftweaking, I was able to match the tracks perfectly. I then fiddled withthe Attack, Release, Gain and Atten Limit controls and got similarresults from both units. Simply put, Eventide has nailed the functionsof the Omnipressor in the software version.
INSTANT PHASER (1971-1977)
One of the two mono-in/stereo-out plugs in the bunch is the InstantPhaser. The main controls include Manual, Oscillator, Envelope andRemote. These functions can be accessed manually from their individualsections on the front panel or you can switch between them using theFunction button on the far right of the unit. Manual does what you'dexpect it to do: It lets you manually control the phasing effect. TheOscillator takes the phase sweep from a slow 0.1 Hz up to a vibratoeffect at 10 Hz. The Envelope button is an envelope follower thattriggers phasing from the input signal and is controlled by thresholdand release knobs. The Remote button — as with any of the otherplug-ins that have this ability — is an upgrade from the originalversion, letting the effect be externally controlled by a MIDI ModWheel. The Depth control takes the effect from a 50/50 mix up to 100%.Sonically, the Phaser was fun to play with, although not a knockout bymy standards. This is a purely subjective opinion, but phasing as aneffect is just not something I'd use or that I've heard of as a retrotrend. Of course, your applications may be different.
INSTANT FLANGER (1976-1984)
The Instant Flanger is the second mono-in/stereo-out plug-in thatprovides a nice range of effects. Controls include Feedback, Bounce,Depth, Oscillator, Manual, Envelope and Remote. Feedback adds outputback to the input, giving the user the ability to create interesting,if not out-of-control, effects. Bounce simulates the effect of aservomotor changing speed. The remaining controls operate the same waythat they do in the Instant Phaser and can be switched in and outindividually. The Depth control is different from the same controlfound on the Phase. However, here the full left and right positionsswap in- and out-of-phase signals to the two channels. When the controlis placed in the center (Doppler), there is no flanging effect untilthe frequency is varied by a control change. I used the Flanger acrossa number of tracks including guitar, vocals and keyboards and was ableto create a nice array of flanging effects, although not as wacky asI'd like.
H910 HARMONIZER (1975-1984)
The original H910 was not only one of the first digital studiotools, but also the first in the Harmonizer line, whose progeny stillgraces the racks of studios around the globe. It was glitchy and hadthe ability to drive you to madness, but when set up properly, itprovided some degree of usable and interesting time-based effects.Controls include Input Level, Feedback, Manual, Remote andAnti-Feedback. Input level, as you would expect, sets the amount ofinput signal and has an accompanying LED that lights just short offull-scale. Feedback adds output back into the unit determining thedecay times of the delay, and if taken to extremes, can send the unitinto oscillation. Manual gives the user the ability to dial in up toone octave of pitch change, either up or down, with the degree ofchange reflected in the Pitch Ratio window at the center of the box.Anti-Feedback adds some amount of frequency shift to the output signal,serving to decrease room-resonance peaks. The Manual, Anti-Feedback andRemote controls are switched in and out using the threePitch/Control/Select buttons at the bottom of the unit. The unitdoubles as a limited delay-only device, providing various delay timesby pushing a combination of the 7.5, 15, 30 and 60 millisecond buttons.This was my least favorite of the plugs, and in my opinion would havelimited use because of its glitchy and troublesome nature. There's areason why Eventide improved on it with the H949: Time marches on.
H949 HARMONIZER (1977-1984)
In 1977, H949 reflected a leap in Harmonizer function and usabilitywith groundbreaking features such as three octaves of pitch-change withmicro and random settings, reverse effects and time compression andexpansion (when used in conjunction with a tape machine). Another firstwas the Repeat button that captures and repeats up to 400 ms ofnon-triggerable audio (Cro-Magnon sampling). The controls are numerousand include Input Level with a five-segment LED meter and pitch, whichcan be controlled either manually or via MIDI. Compared to the H910,feedback control is greatly expanded: The main signal controls thesystem output to system input, delay feeds back delay outputs in theDelay/Reversal modes, and a fixed-frequency hi and low EQ providesboost/cut EQ control over the feedback signal. The Function button actsas a Shift key, switching between either the red or green labels belowand above the four buttons to the right. The red labels reflect“norm,” which is normal pitch shift that is operatedmanually, and “extend,” which permits an extension of thelength of the audio segment over which pitch change will be affected,up to 400 ms. The last is the Micro Pitch-Change mode, which operatesas advertised. The green labels reflect delay, which adds gangableamounts of delays by combining the six fixed-value delay buttons.Random causes the delay to vary between zero and 25 ms at a constantrate and pitch. The pitch is adjustable using the Manual dial. Flangedrops the unit into Flanging mode, and Reverse plays the captured audioin reverse. Another nice feature is the Algorithm Select, which givesyou the ability to de-glitch the audio, depending on the sourcematerial and pitch change used. By using the six dedicated delaybuttons on the left of the unit, the H949 can be used in delay-onlymode.
This plug is worth exploring. It is easy to get lost in (I mean thatin a good way), but just as easy to find unique and usable effects. Ofcourse, unlike the original, whatever you dial up can be saved andrecalled for future use.
Eventide has created a winning bundle of plug-ins that accuratelyrepresents classic effects of the '70s and '80s. Each plug, in its ownright, is an artful and accurate representation of the original,although some will have limited use. The value of the individualplug-ins is strictly up to the user, as some of the effects have beenfar surpassed in newer gear, such as the Eventide Orville. The abilityto automate the plugs — and on some, include Mod Wheel control— certainly makes the bundle more usable for 21st-centuryproduction. The Flanger and H949 were contenders for my favorite, butthe one plug that stands strongest is the Omnipressor, which is worththe price of admission itself. Can you tell that I'm a fan? The bundleis certainly unique and would be a nice addition to the plug-in paletteof any Pro Tools user.
Eventide, 201/641-1200, www.eventide.com.
Kevin Becka is a technical editor at Mix.
Hearing is believing: Want to try all five plug-ins forfree? Download a fully functional, time-limited demo.