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Review: Eventide H9 Max

The best of Eventide, in one small package.
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For a long time, Eventide has been one of the top brands in the industry for effects processing units, dating all the way back to their inception in 1971. In fact, they were one of the first companies to even get into the digital audio processing game. In 2007, they launched their stompbox line, one of which was the H9. Fast forward to today, and the H9 is found in many people's pedal boards, studios, and DJ booths around the world. This is especially true in the techno world for DJs that use Xone 92 or 96 mixers. In this review, we will be taking a look at the unit, as well as the recent, Hotsawz update they just released. 

Sasha using the H9 at Fabric

Sasha using the H9 at Fabric

What is it?

The H9 is a multi-effect stompbox that comes in three different models; Core, Harmonizer, and Max. The first two can be upgraded to Max at any time. Max comes with 50 algorithms and 99 preloaded presets. It packs in the best from Eventide's other successful stompboxes like Space, Modfactor, Pitchfactor, and Timefactor. The H9 also has MIDI in and out, true analog bypass, and the ability to control all of its parameters via the H9 Control app available for computer and mobile devices. The new HotSawz update adds a synth algorithm that effectively turns your guitar into a synth. 

Eventide H9 Max

How does it work? 

On the surface, the H9 works like any other pedal with its two foot switches. The knob allows you to browse presets and edit parameters, which are accessible via the four different buttons. But, that's about all it has in common with other pedals. As I mentioned above, the Max comes packed with 50 different algorithms, which allows you to quickly switch from Eventide's legendary Blackhole reverb to gritty distortion with ease. Using the H9 control, you can use MIDI to control all the parameters in your DAW, purchase additional algorithms, create set lists, or edit and manage presets wirelessly via Bluetooth or USB. 

The new Hotsawz algorithm transforms your guitar or bass into a massive synth with a pitch-tracking, monophonic synth. With six stackable sawtooth oscillators, three modulation sources, and four assignable destinations, HotSawz allows you to create a wide palette of sounds that run the gamut from classic synthwave to a pulsing panorama of bouncing blips, brassy swells, and sub-bass swagger.

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What do I think? 

I love Eventide's products, both their physical products and plugins. There's a certain richness to them that comes from years of refinement. I was first interested in the H9 after seeing it being used by so many of my favorite DJs. After doing a bit of research, seeing that it packs so many different effects into one, my interest only grew. As expected, it's as rugged and sturdy as their other pedals, which I believe could survive being run over by a tank. It fit perfectly into both my DJ setup and studio effect chain and was a breeze to use. Admittedly, I didn't quite understand the new HotSawz algorithm when I first read about it, but then after seeing the demo video, I was blown away by how well it turns your guitar into an actual synth. Usually, these types of things can be a marketing gimmick, but as per usual, Eventide nails it. 

Should you buy one?

If you are looking to save space while adding something fresh to your rig and get the most bang for your buck, I would say yes.

Final thoughts?

Once again, I'm completely satisfied by Eventide's quality and attention to detail. The pedal is robust, attractive to look at, and easy enough to use that anyone can jump right in. It's just as comfortable in the studio as it is in the DJ booth, and comes filled to the brim with Eventide's legendary algorithms. An absolute winner in my book. 

Price: $699

Score: 5/5

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