Without anyone really making much fuss about it, we suddenly live in an age when we can run effects more or less however we want.
Eventide is a company known for hardware first. But they’ve taken that DSP power and moved it to a variety of platforms. So you can buy a reverb box, or a whole advanced studio rack, or you can buy something like the H9 that’s a stompbox-style pedal that runs whatever effects you like. Or you can buy desktop plug-ins – outright or by subscription.
The breakthrough is that Eventide have quietly taken some of their best-known effects and offered them as iOS apps. They run both on iPad and on iPhone (with a single app purchase). They’re not the cheapest effects out there, but they’re vastly more affordable as apps – enough so that you could buy a midrange new iPad and these apps and still save some money versus a lot of comparable hardware.
Wait – doesn’t that threaten Eventide’s business model? Well, no – recent years have shown that the trend has gone somewhere else, that delivering software renditions may actually generate more demand for hardware. (Look at the free modular platform VCV Rack and giveaways from Eurorack manufacturers like Befaco and Erica Synths for an example of how that dynamic can play out.)
The truth is, once you know an effect, you can be comfortable using it in multiple contexts.
Anyway, these apps are terrifically useful on the go. They’re great if you’re playing with iPad or iPhone synths and generators and want to add effects – including if you’re familiar with the desktop renditions. And they make nice try-before-you-buy versions of these tools if you’re thinking of investing in hardware.
Let’s review what’s out there. There are now some five effects apps, and the stable is growing. (There’s also a controller app for the H9 stompbox.)
iTunes links / US prices:
Blackhole Reverb, the company’s signature “ambient” reverb, is vital for all sorts of creative sound designs – or just making enormous synthetic sonic caverns for your sound. US$19.99.
Ultratap Delay is one of the more unique multi-tap delays around, capable of various sounds from futuristic elaborate echoes to more conventional reverbs. (In fact, I keep replacing other tools with this one in the plug-in version.) US$14.99
Also – galloping. Like a horse. Well, listen. (Note that I can just swap to other Eventide videos – it’s the same algorithms under the hood.
MangledVerb is newer and perhaps deserves more attention – combining Eventide’s wild reverb with distortion is a genius idea. You can launch something into space and then… destroy that space. I already loved it as a plug-in, but it’s suddenly logical to have that ribbon with touch. US$14.99.
Rotary Mod is a strong Leslie speaker emulation, but since you can now run whatever you want through it, has loads of other instrumental and production applications, too. US$7.99.
MicroPitch is a fine resolution pitch shifter and harmonizer, based on the H3000. But like the others here, it’s also a creative instrument, and Eventide is all about this world of delays and pitch shifting that inevitably leads to an “I just fell into a wormhole” trip. Just trust me on this – grab it, turn some knobs. US$9.99.
Blackhole Reverb is the one most people might be inclined to go for, but I might suggest even starting with MicroPitch to get the hang of Eventide’s pitch world – and MangledVerb to work with a unique reverb. All of these are exceptionally good, though.
Just having these around makes the iOS ecosystem more powerful – but you could also toss these on an iPad and use them in the studio. They’re a perfect fit for Eventide’s performance-oriented, exploration-minded controls.
I think the lesson for the larger industry is the potential use of making DSP algorithms so flexible. Even with so-called “cloud-based” services and whatnot, I can’t think of another effect maker that currently offers this kind of choice across platforms. It’ll be interesting to see whether Eventide remains that edge case or if others try something similar.
But for the mangled/delay addiction, well, you can sort of never get enough.
I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while; it’ll be funny if I wake up to a new Eventide app tomorrow after doing it.
What about you – how are you managing the various Eventide plug-in and hardware and now app options? Do you swap between those platforms? Got favorite iOS effects apps of your own – and maybe I missed something and there are others doing cross-platform work like this? Let us know in comments.