HOW TO: Universal Audio H910 Harmonizer Plug-In Tricks, Part 2

Create "new school" sounds using MIDI and DAW automation
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Create "new school" sounds using MIDI and DAW automation
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In this follow-up to last month’s “Classic Harmonizer Effects, Plug-In Style,” we’ll cover a few “newer school” sounds that were not possible when using the original Eventide H910 hardware unit developed in 1974, long before MIDI and DAW automation. To briefly recap, the Eventide Clock Works Model H910 boasted up to 112.5 ms of delay time with adjustable feedback, ± one octave of pitch change, and a notoriously unstable clock that resulted in random modulation shifts and other “glitches.” Options included a second output, a Pitch Ratio readout, and a monophonic keyboard. The Universal Audio H910 Harmonizer Plug-In is the equivalent of a fully tricked-out hardware unit with the monophonic keyboard.

MIDI KEYBOARD CONTROL

Although the H910’s virtual keyboard may be controlled via a physical MIDI keyboard, there is no mention of how to actually do it in the manual. (The instructions are, however, contained in a FAQ on the UA website.) Just create a MIDI track and assign your keyboard controller to the input and the H910 to the output, enable record on the MIDI track, and you are up and running. This allows you to both “play” the harmonizer in real time and record the MIDI information.

Fig. 1. Set the Manual Pitch control to 1 and select Keyboard in the Pitch Control Select section. The simplest use for this is to set the Manual Pitch control to 1 and select Keyboard in the Pitch Control Select section (see Figure 1). Then, middle C3 on your keyboard is unison, C4 is an octave down, and C5 an octave up, with the other “intervals” in between. Remember that the H910 is considerably better at rendering octaves than other intervals, but that is part of its charm, and depending on how the other controls are set you can get some very wild sounds. Engage the variable Glide control to glissando from one pitch to another at various speeds, and try the Hold control if you tire of holding down the keys between changing notes.

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Another very cool technique is to use one of the above processes on a continuous pad of one or more notes (it doesn’t have to be a pad, but the effect is most pronounced with a continuous tone), creating either a static or changing harmony, and record the results onto a separate track. Then, change the “center” interval on the Harmonizer using the Manual control, and play the same key or keys as before, recording the second harmony part to an additional track. You now have “two-voice” harmony, and this can be repeated using different center intervals to create three or more voices. This can be particularly dramatic using the Glide option to glissando between notes.

Fig. 2. Click on the Auto button to bring up the Plug-In Automation dialog and the parameters you want to control. DAW AUTOMATION

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All of the H910’s key parameters may be automated within your DAW. Just click on the Auto button to bring up the Plug-In Automation dialog (see Figure 2) and select all of the parameters you want to control. Then, select one of those parameters for automation however it is done in your DAW (e.g., there’s an automation menu for each track in the Edit Window in Pro Tools 11).

Besides automating Bypass, Feedback level, and other obvious options, try automating the three controls in the Envelope Follower section, particularly the Sensitivity control. Or, mute the Line input and set the Feedback to runaway oscillation, then pop the Input in and out to add a crazy “tail” to, say, an individual drum hit or word in a vocal part. Or, engage both the delay lines and modulate the Main Output and Output 2 levels in time with your track for a quirky “shifting” effect.

The legendary H910 effects processor Of course, if you record the MIDI data for your keyboard moves, as well as automating changes to the H910’s controls in your DAW, you get the best of both. There is an entire universe of effects lurking within the H910, from oddball to majestic, and time spent exploring will be very well spent!

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