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Eventide H3000 Factory

April 15, 2013
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Fig. 1. H3000 Factory’s signal flow is sequenced by dragging virtual patch cables in the GUI’s lower-left section. Parameters for the currently selected block are accessed in the lower-right section. In this example, Pitch Shift 1’s level is set to 100% and Delay 1’s level to 23.3% in the summing mixer for the plug-in’s left channel.
WHEN THE hardware version of the Eventide H3000 UltraHarmonizer was released in 1986, audio engineers were wowed by the combined firepower of its pitch shifters, delays, filters, LFOs, envelope generators and amplitude modulators. Nearly three decades later, the two-channel multi-effects processor has been reincarnated in plug-in form, dubbed H3000 Factory.

Playtime The most surefire approach to using H3000 Factory is to place it on a stereo aux channel; while mono-to-stereo operation is ostensibly afforded, some DAWs—such as Digital Performer 8—won’t instantiate it on a mono track. Chaining the plug-in’s effect blocks together is child’s play: Simply drag your mouse from the output of one block to the input of the next, and a virtual patch cord appears in the GUI to illustrate the routing (see Figure 1). Drag-and-drop one block onto another to swap their order.

Crafting the right balance for multiple effects is slightly complicated. That’s because the plug-in doesn’t offer separate wet/dry-mix controls (or bypasses) for each effect block.

For example, I could create an awesome ADT (automatic double-tracking) effect on lead vocals by detuning the H3000 Factory’s left channel up and the right channel down, each by six cents (using two pitch shifters). The effect sounded fantastically lush and wide with the plug-in’s mix control set to 58% wet. I then patched the pitch shifters’ outputs in series to two respective delays, each synched to a different note value for my DAW’s tempo, slathered with a little feedback and filtered so its highs sounded soft. The problem was my (global) 58%-wet setting made the delays sound way too prominent; 23% sounded optimal. The solution was to patch the pitch shifter and delay for each channel in parallel configuration and combine their outputs in a mixer block where I could adjust their discrete levels independently (Figure 1 on page 52 illustrates this.)

Modulation-based effects are more complicated to set up in H3000 Factory than with most other processors I’ve used, because the modulator and the parameter(s) receiving modulation are each nestled in separate processing blocks in H3000 Factory’s GUI. For example, I created an auto-pan effect on a rock organ track by first routing the left and right channels into separate amplitude modulators—neither of which offered integral LFO controls. I patched a discrete LFO block to the modulation input for each amplitude modulator. For each LFO, I assigned a sinusoidal waveform and a different frequency (the rate at which it cycled through its waveform), expressed in beats per minute and synched to my DAW’s tempo. I gave each amplitude modulator a different gain range and set the plug-in’s global mix control to 100%. The resulting effect sounded excellent.

The benefit to having discrete LFO blocks is they can be routed to unusual and multiple destinations at once, such as the plug-in’s filters and pitch shifters. For example, on each channel of H3000 Factory instantiated on a stereo electric guitar track, I multed an LFO to both a delay block and the filter the delay’s output was also patched to. I set each delay block to a very short delay time (less than 1ms), which its LFO modulated to create a nice flange effect. I crafted a highly resonant bandpass filter in the left channel’s filter block and an extremely resonant low-pass filter in the right channel, with respective 1kHz center and corner frequencies. In each filter block, I set a 1kHz range for the LFO to modulate the center or corner frequency. The resulting effect sounded like the guitar was siphoned through an otherworldly wah-wah pedal.

Shortcomings There are no Undo and Redo functions. Some of the GUI’s graphic elements have no function or are confusing. The documentation is meager, sometimes vague or incorrect, and omits key information. If you’re not very adept at applying modulation to effects processors, you’ll probably be confused by the cursory explanations afforded this complex aspect of H3000 Factory’s functionality. Fortunately, Eventide told me they plan to improve the documentation, and will consider refining the GUI’s graphics to address the issues I’ve raised.

Is It for You? H3000 Factory’s intense building-block approach to effects processing—not unlike that of a modular synth—empowers you to create sounds ranging from conventional to bizarre. The current documentation’s inadequacy makes getting there laborious; this plug-in isn’t the best choice for those who want a streamlined, intuitive GUI and lightning-fast results. But if you’re willing to make considerable effort, you’ll be amply rewarded with sounds that transcend the ordinary.

Michael Cooper is the owner of Michael Cooper Recording in Sisters, Oregon (myspace.com/michaelcooperrecording), and a contributing editor for Mix magazine.

 

SUMMARY
STRENGTHS: Sounds great. Includes multiple processors. Highly flexible routing. Extensive modulation capabilities. Can create very unusual effects. Can synch to host’s tempo.

LIMITATIONS: No discrete bypasses or wet/dry-mix controls for effect blocks. Complex setup required for modulation-based effects. No Undo, Redo. Inadequate documentation. Some GUI elements mislead.

$349 ($175 crossgrade from Anthology II)
eventide.com

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