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What recommends this pedal is its ease of use, taking into account how complex it is. You can immediately change its parameters, and alter its use with the help of the iOS app. While it’s sad that this app only works on iOS devices, it does compensate a lot in functionality. If you don’t have an iOS device you can use an Eventide Factor effects pedals that can be easily manipulated with their control panels.
Once you get everything pre-programmed you can use the pedal as a traditional stompbox, and you will be able to control it all with one foot. You will have to spend some time to create all the settings you want, but that is also part of the pleasure of using this device. You will constantly find yourself going back to the app to make some changes, even if the list seems perfect.
It’s way easier and faster to do it, and it comes as a pleasure for most people. You will be able to keep the settings that you want, export and import sounds, and make every change as you wish. Shareable between multiple units, the effects found on one H9 unit can be downloaded onto another.
While the tracking function is good, there is some latency in the sound. Eventide doesn’t specify a thing about this, but the latency ranges between 2 and 5ms, which is not that much, but it is the equivalent of the listener staying 5 feet further away from the amp.
This latency coupled with the fact that the device usually takes about a second to load each algorithm may be bad news for those more impatient. Scrolling through 50 effects will take a while if you want to get to have a feel for each of them.
Main features explained
Being a strong unit built in a metal jacket, the H9 pedal comes full of multiple algorithms that were already present in 4 previous Eventide Factor pedals. These include the Tape Echo (which is a delay that can offer saturation, wow, and flutter controls), a Vintage Delay (again offering delay, some modulation, and filter controls), a Chorus and a Tremolo, the H910/H949 algorithm (which focuses on pitch and delay), Shimmer, and Hall (which includes reverb, modulation and some EQ control).
Alongside these options, you also have the exclusive H9 algorithm, which is the Ultratap, for the times when you need 64 different delay taps to use, and 64 is a huge number for something like this. The unfortunate thing is that algorithms can only be used one at a time. As long as you have one of them running at a time, you can’t use another on top of it.
The good news is that most of them come with multiple effects built in them, and that means you will have something like a pitch and delay combination. While this is not a true multi-effects processor by the classical definition, it still provides that service.
If you are getting the H9 Core variant, you should know that it only comes with the H910/H949 algorithm at first, and any others will have to be purchased separately. In any case, no matter the type of H9 you purchase, you will still have the possibility to buy separate downloadable algorithms via the free app.
To use this app you need an iOS device (version 5.0 or higher, no matter if it’s an iPad, an iPhone, or anything else), and you will have to sync the pedal with the device via Bluetooth to make the download.
Speaking about the app, it does more than just allow you to download some algorithms. You can also use it to create presets and to have real-time control of the pedal. You should note that there are certain predetermined parameters blocked together to form a specific effect such as pitch plus delay. These are called algorithms and can only be used per se.
However, there are some ways to modify the presets, for example using the 2 footswitches labeled Active and Tap, each coming with a corresponding red indicator light. The algorithm parameters can be accessed and modified using the 3 buttons labeled X, Y, and Z. furthermore, you can find in the center of the pedal an encoder knob that can also be pressed as a switch, and this knob presents many functions.
The most important of these functions is that it allows you to change the value of the parameters. On the top side of the pedal, you can find the LED display that shows 6 characters, and there are also 4 indicator lights that show you the signal level and the Bluetooth connectivity status. The Presets button can be used to change the preset and to switch the operating mode of the pedal.
Guitarists will be pleased to find out about the Kill Dry setting which can be used in a parallel effects loop in order to avoid phasing problems. This is an important feature that often gets forgotten by other premium effects pedals.
In terms of connectivity, this pedal should offer you enough flexibility to achieve what you want. This implies the use of ¼-inch stereo ins and outs, coupled with MIDI In and Out, and USB connectivity. You can also add an expression pedal through the ¼-inch pedal jack.
Ease of use
When you have so many algorithms and buttons to work with, all into such a complex pedal, there might be a steep learning curve until you get to know how this pedal really works. The bad part about all of this is that it doesn’t resemble many other Eventide previous models, especially the Factor ones, which it borrows a lot from.
The good news is that the iOS-based editor is really useful and can make your life a lot better, as it is thoughtfully laid out, and has a fun GUI. There can be some improvements made when it comes to the preset list and the method that you use for updating the pedal, as these aren’t as refined as the digital interface you use.
Furthermore, the pedal comes with no blank presets, and that can be considered an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you prefer it. The idea is that you will always have to save changes over factory settings, basically writing over them. The process works as follows: you choose an existing preset (one that you don’t want to keep), and you do that using the desired effect algorithm.
Then modify the preset as you wish, and save it as a new preset. Using this method you can create a new list of all your favorite presets and you can do that in the app, and then export them back to the pedal. Of course, you can also save the initial list of H9 presets in the app, and that way, if you want to keep every one of them, you get to save them.
You can make a preset list for different sets, and download the desired effects for the gig you want into the pedal instantly. Bluetooth connectivity is a big plus as it allows for control from afar.
One function that doesn’t really appear in other models is the ability to select how many presets the pedal can hold, and you can choose a maximum of 99 presets. There are situations where you only need something like 2 presets, one for a blues-rock gig, and another one for metal (if you can be the kind of person that plays those two styles).
The X, Y, and Z buttons come with pre-determined functions but they can be redesigned for each algorithm if you want to. By assigning the X button to take control over the wet/dry effect, depressing it and turning the encoder allows you to precisely control the level of this function. You can also precisely tune the parameters depressing the other buttons, and this is simple enough to use.
The pedal also comes with a Master mode available, which will let you access the most intricate functions by holding all the three X, Y, and Z buttons down. This makes things trickier for you, so you can’t do that while playing live, but when you have the time you should play with this. When you get into the Master mode, you can control every available parameter in the algorithm.
But to do that you need to continuously depress the button. Holding down the Z button will let you control the Master mode while the X and Y buttons only let you control their specific parameters. You need to know that the Hotknob button is only the representation of an expression pedal when you use it with an encoder.
When you scroll through the presets you can use 2 separate modes. With the Preset button illuminated, if you move the encoder you get instantly changed presets. If the same Preset button is not lit, you can queue presets one at a time in a sequence.