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Eventide H3000 Factory Ultra-Harmonizer Native

March 12, 2013
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PREVIOUSLY THE EXCLUSIVE PLAYTHING of Pro Tools TDM users capable of shelling out a cool grand for the Anthology II Bundle, the H3000 Factory Native ($349 retail) now delivers nearly all of the same functionality in the AAX, AU, and VST plug-in formats. Based on selected algorithms from Eventide’s legendary H3000 series hardware processors—heard on countless recordings since 1988, and at times occupying the racks of guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Prince, and The Edge—the H3000 Factory Native boasts 100 original H3000 presets, along with more than 350 new ones, including 100 custom artist presets. Further, unlike the original hardware unit, the H3000 Factory allows you to automate nearly any parameter change from within your DAW, instantly sync settings such as delay time and modulation speed to its system tempo, and save everything within your session files. Software installation and authorization (which requires an optional iLok 2 key) are fast and easy, and the user manual is relatively comprehensive and comprehensible.

The H3000 Factory’s graphic interface is divided into four primary sections. Toward the top is the Front Panel, which basically recreates the layout of the original hardware processor. There you’ll find level meters that toggle between input and output, four assignable Soft Keys with an associated display and multi-purpose knob, and three buttons for selecting various page views in the lower section of the interface. The numeric keypad is merely decorative. Above the Front Panel is a Preset Bar for selecting, loading, and saving presets, and below it is a Preset Parameter Panel, where you adjust the I/O and Mix levels, and choose Tempo and Meter settings.

The real action, however, takes place on the Program Page, which has two working areas. On the left are the H3000 Factory’s 18 discrete “effects blocks,” which may be patched together in nearly unlimited ways using color-coded virtual cables, and dragged and dropped into alternative arrangements if you like. Click on a block, and its complete control panel appears to the right. There’s also an Expert page that provides a quick visual summary—along with editing options—of key parameter settings for all 18 effects blocks, and a Function page where you can easily patch various modulation sources to 28 different effects parameters (as well as set their minimum and maximum values). Those sources include internal modulators such as the two LFOs and the Function Generator, as well as ten MIDI sources, including Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, and Expression Pedal. The Function Generator is a special LFO featuring 19 different wave shapes, which may run freely, be synced to system tempo, or triggered to run through a single cycle. Side-chain connections may also be made to relevant effects, and there is even an onboard white-noise generator.

The H3000 Factory’s primary effects blocks are Delay, Pitch Shift, and Filter—and you get two of each. Delay length is limited to 600ms, but that’s more than enough for many applications, particularly creating flanging and chorusing effects by modulating delay time with an LFO or other source, and they may be synced to session tempo and edited visually using the ingenious Beat Grid, which displays bars and beats graphically in accordance with your session’s tempo and meter settings. There’s also a Beat Grid for the Pitch Shifters, which operate in either Detune (micro-intervals) or Pitch Shift (musical interval) mode. The parametric Filters are switchable between low-pass, bandpass, and high-pass, and feature adjustable Q (bandwidth). Additional effects blocks include Envelope generator, LFO (with 13 wave shapes), Ampmod (for dynamics and panning effects), Scale (adjusts modulation signal gain), and Mixer (combines two input signals).

How do the effects sound? Allowing for slight sonic differences due to factors such as the ’80s-era A/D/A converters in the original effects processor, the H3000 Native plugin delivers many of the same sounds as its physical forebears in all of their wondrous glory. Delicious delays that don’t fritz out when swept or modulated, fabulous filters that excel when automated or coupled with an envelope generator, and pithy pitch shifters pulsing with classic Eventide vibes. And, the plug-in’s astonishing number of signal routing and combining possibilities make it even more flexible when it comes to crafting complex effects, as evidenced in many of the hundreds of great new presets. From adding simple delays or chorus to a guitar track to creating synth-like sounds to designing dramatic special effects for a Hollywood blockbuster—the H3000 Factory Native can handle the job. Eventide.com

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