Eventide Anthology II - EMusician

Eventide Anthology II

Late one night while mastering the tracks that comprise the latest release from The Wagner Logic, I encountered some of the coolest effects I had heard in a while. With my interest piqued, I called the engineer for the album—Mike Nadeau—to ask what he used, only to be told that all the sounds came courtesy of Eventide’s Anthology II bundle.
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Armed with this information, I did what any other reviewer in their right mind would do: I called up my editor and begged, pleaded, and bartered my way to a review copy so that I could see how these plug-ins would work on my own projects.

OVERVIEW

The Anthology II collection includes the original Anthology bundle, which showcases effects spanning Eventide’s 37-year history, as well as six new titles. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, presently, the bundle is only available for users of Pro Tools TDM systems. Granted, given the computational requirements of some of the effects (internal processing is done at 48-bit precision), its nice to have the extra horsepower that TDM provides. But it still sucks that users of other platforms are out in the cold, as I know quite a few DP, Logic, Cubase, and Sonar cats out there who would love to have these effects.

Any other one-sheet style info you need you can find easily over at Eventide’s website, as trees aren’t cheap and time is short. What follows is a brief overview of each plug-in (as many are unique titles) and some choice usage notes where applicable.

BREAD AND BUTTER

Don’t assume Eventide is limited to special effects. Some nice EQs, dynamic processors, and channel strip features make up a functional core.

EQ45 & EQ65: The EQ45 is a parametric equalizer built in the spirit of a vintage analog unit. It’s all here: high and low cut 12dB/octave filters, and four full bands of EQ. The bands have continuously variable bandwidth, frequency, boost, and cut. Whereas real-world gear often limits what frequency you can cover per band, these EQs give you all the flexibility you need with this app.

The EQ65 is a crossover title, which is useful for both corrective EQ and creative effect processing; specifically, there are high and low cut 18dB/octave filters and two variable-depth band reject/pass filters. As far as GUIs go, both the EQ45 and EQ65 have a vintage 1176-ish interface that, if you’re the type who doesn’t like using a mouse to rotate knobs, allows you to type in values manually.

E-Channel: This is a modern-looking channel strip (Figure 1) with a twist: Users can configure the signal path. Available components include a gate, dynamics (with side chain), and five bands of EQ. Don’t need a section? Just bypass it. Note that this plug-in is designed for CPU efficiency and constant use. More complex tasks can be handled by the following application.

Ultra-Channel: This is the Ponderosa upgrade of the E-Channel. It offers a gate, de-esser, dynamics (choice of Omnipressor or compressor/limiter with sidechain), five bands of EQ, stereo delays, and the Harmonizer micropitch shifter. No kidding. More versatile than many of its virtual contemporaries, the Ultra-Channel is a finicky sound sculptor’s wet dream.

Precision Time Align: This is a really useful little utility. Basically, it allows you to time-shift individual tracks (forward or backwards). This is cool if you don’t want to physically shift your tracks via nudge or mouse. Usage tip: I found that it was good to use it to experiment (versus nudging and undoing). Only after finding the right amount of time-shifting would I actually nudge the wave and pull the Precision from the track. This “effect” is useful for phase correction and effect generation, and turned out to be one of those the-more-you-use-it the-more-you-wonder-how-you-got-by-without-it things.

Omnipressor: This is Eventide’s main dynamics processor, and by far one of my favorite titles in the bundle. Honestly, this thing is one of the best plug-in vocal compressors I’ve used in a long time—it actually reminds me of an Empirical Labs Distressor in that application. A really cool feature is the VU-esque display. It acts as an output VU meter when the signal is below the threshold, but instantly switches to show gain reduction once compression starts. An LED shows which task the VU is serving. Used on a drum bus, the Omnipressor can create sustain, distortion, or pumping expansion effects—whatever you want. Good stuff.

SPECIAL EFFECTS

Yes, this is what Eventide is known for: effects, effects, and more effects. They didn’t let us down, either. Wrapped up nicely in this package are the following.

Octavox: Pulled directly from the best Eventide processor, it delivers up to eight voices of diatonic Harmonizer pitch shifting—and each voice has its own delay adjustment and pan control. Composers and notation-literate engineers will be hot on the built-in Notation Grid, which allows note placement via a musical staff. Dope.

Quadravox: This is a less resource-intensive version of the Octavox. It’s just like its big brother, but is limited to four voices of pitch-shifting. On vocals, it’s important to have an on-pitch singer as your source; pitch-shifting a pitch-corrected voice can result in some artifacts . . . but you can’t fault the plug-in for that. Both Octa and Quadravox work wonders with guitar or keys for traditional or even experimental settings.

Instant Phaser: This simulates a single-function analog processor featuring a sweeping filter bank. The sound is straight out of a classic rock LP. Think Jimmy Page and Kashmir and you’re on the money. Simple, and real effective.

Instant Flanger: A re-creation of one of the first hardware products to faithfully simulate tape flanging, this plug-in provides the ability to choose or combine modulation sources, including the LFO, input signal (envelope follower), or manual sweep (which can be controlled by MIDI, if you’re so inclined). For guitars, look no further—this is as easy to set up as a stomp box, but with much higher fidelity.

H910 & H949: For you true old-school processing geeks, this recreates the very first Harmonizer-brand effects processor. While you won’t be using this on every track, it’s outstanding in weird, out things like beat breaks, magic carpet vocals, or wild guitar solos. For more control, there’s the H949, which took pitch changing even further by introducing the world’s first intelligent de-glitching algorithm. With controls for inserting pitch-shifting into the feedback loop of a delay, radical new effects became possible. Keep away from those on hallucinogens. Or don’t.

H3000 Band Delays: Derived from the H3000 Band Delay algorithm, this plug-in also has one of the coolest visual graphics of the bunch. The 3D band display moves back and forth depending on settings, creating a hypnotic pulse that can transform the most learned of recording aficionados into cats watching a ball of yarn. This plug-in features eight voices of tempo-based filtered delays with pan and volume controls. All eight filters are fully parametric with configurable low/band/high pass or shelving choices and a bandwidth control. Band Delays deploys an extensive Function Generator for modulation offering 19 wave shapes, as well as MIDI control, and includes all of the original Band Delay presets found in the H3000. Badass.

H3000 Factory: Based on the well-known hardware unit of the same name, this is almost an entire bundle all by itself. The H3000 (Figure 2) gives you the power to route any combination of 18 effects blocks, including delays, amplitude modulators, envelope followers, pitch-shifters, filters, and low frequency oscillators. Get ready for sleepless nights when you start tweaking this monster (think of it like Propellerhead’s Reason in this regard). The Function Generator features 19 wave shapes, a white noise generator, MIDI control, and a side chain input. All delays and LFOs can be locked to system tempo. Each delay can be looped and offers a low pass filter. The filters are selectable band pass, high pass, and low pass with variable Q, and can be swept and modulated without audible artifacts.

Reverb: Contained within are halls, plates, rooms, chambers, and ambience from Eventide’s H8000 unit. As many reverb algorithms require tweaking to fit a particular project, Eventide has included two user-adjustable EQs (one before and one after the reverberator), a compressor (which can be placed either before or after the reverberator), twin delays, and a crud-making bit reducer. The tails are smooth and decay nicely; I really liked some of the rooms and halls for electric guitar and other instruments where a subtle “space” effect was needed. Since digital reverb algorithms are often development-intensive, each vendor tends to have a sound or flavor to their products. Eventide’s Reverb provides a nice alternative to the Lexicon or T.C. Electronic products commonly used in many studios.

CONCLUSIONS

If your budget allows for only one processing bundle, Anthology II should be on your short list. While it is a touch less broad in terms of compression and equalization—and even that point can be debated—it simply blows most of the competition out of the water when it comes to effects processing. My only request is that we get these plugs outside of the Pro Tools realm. I know it’s the standard and all, but lots of us out there are using other DAWs these days. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

PRODUCT TYPE: Effects plug-in bundle including EQs, dynamic processors, and channel strips.
TARGET MARKET: Pro Tools TDM users looking for a comprehensive plug-in bundle without spending an arm and a leg.
STRENGTHS: Great sounding effects. Flexible internal routing in Ultra-Channel and Reverb make them very versatile. Lighter versions of Octavox and Ultra-Channel are greatly appreciated. Comparatively low price point. Available as upgrade for existing Anthology or Massive Pack owners.
LIMITATIONS: TDM only. Somewhat steep learning curve on some plugs.
LIST PRICE: $1,195
CONTACT:www.eventide.com