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  • Eventide Anthology X Effects Plug-In Suite

    (Note: Pro Reviews are Harmony Central's unique, interactive, open-ended, and "open-source" reviews. Subscribe to the thread, or check back often, as the review is ongoing - it's part blog, part forum, and part Q&A. Feel free to ask questions; if I can't answer them, someone from Eventide will. For more information on Pro Reviews, please refer to the FAQ and forum rules.)


    Eventide’s Anthology X is a collection of 17 effects plug-ins that are basically a history of Eventide hardware processors from 40 years ago to now—17 distinct plug-ins (and 1,000 presets to make it interesting). As of this post, Anthology X is on version 1.0.4 and supported formats are AAX 32-bit (Pro Tools 10.3.6 and above), AAX 64-bit (Pro Tools 11 and above), VST 32-bit, VST 64-bit, and AU; Windows and Mac. I downloaded the Windows version for evaluation.

    If you’ve used Eventide’s hardware over the years, you know they came up with quite a few ideas before other people did, like the Harmonizer. (This is a term Eventide trademarked, and I’ve been the recipient of a couple “hey, don’t use the term generically!” letters from lawyers. However, I always appreciated that Eventide’s letters were a lot friendlier than what lawyers usually sent.)

    If you haven’t used Eventide hardware over the years, that’s probably because it was often on the cutting edge of digital technology, so the prices were relatively high compared to more generic products. But all of that is moot, because now their effects are available in software. Although at $1,195 the price still isn’t exactly cheap—for example, it’s more than Native Instruments’ Komplete 10 Ultimate—at about $70 per plug-in, the value compared to hardware - especially given the innovative, unique nature of many of the effects - is off the hook.

    However keep your eye out for specials, which can be on individual plug-ins as well as the suite. If you already own a previous version, there are several upgrade options (check out the pricing overview page of the Eventide web site).

    So, there are two main goals of this Pro Review. We’ll cover every plug-in to help you decide if you want the entire Anthology, but also if a few of them really appeal to you, then you can pick up just those. I must say that having used a lot of Eventide's hardware over the years in studios that had a lot more money than me, my expectations are pretty high...we’ll see if Eventide can meet them.
    Last edited by Anderton; 03-14-2016, 10:10 AM.
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  • #2
    Here’s the roster of included plug-ins. There’s a whole lot of info on the Eventide web site, so if you want a preview of what we’ll be covering, check out the Anthology X Product Page.

    Eventide Clockworks Classics
    • Instant Phaser
    • Instant Flanger
    • H910 Harmonizer®
    • H910 Dual Harmonizer®
    • H949 Harmonizer®
    • H949 Dual Harmonizer®
    • Omnipressor®
    H3000 Multi-Effects
    • H3000 Factory
    • H3000 Band Delays
    Mixing and Mastering
    • UltraChannel
    • EQ65 Filter Set
    • EQ45 Parametric EQ
    • EChannel
    • Precision Time Align
    • Precision Time Delay
    Next Generation FX
    • UltraReverb
    • Quadravox
    • Octavox
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    • #3
      Okay...time to install!

      Anthology X uses iLok protection, which if you didn't know now accommodates a dongleless option. As someone who was very vocal when I had negative iLok experiences early on (and boy, did I ever), I have to say that since moving to the iLok 2, I pretty much forget it’s there until it’s time to authorize a new plug-in. The web site is friendlier, and I continue to use a dongle simply because if there’s a crash, I’m just a download away from being back on the air again. However, note that many anti-virus programs will reject what iLok wants to do to your system, so you'll need to disable most anti-virus and security programs before you install the PACE license manager.

      Speaking of getting started, I was initially confused about exactly how how to get started. When you go to the web site, you have the option to buy the software or request a 30-day demo version (i.e., a limited time iLok license), but it didn’t lead me to the download page so I could specify what to install. Going to Support and then Downloads provided the answer, but I think it would help if Eventide told people where to download the installer first, and then provided the authorization information.

      I installed the VST32 and 64-bit versions, as well as all available documentation and presets - it's about a half-gigabyte download for everything. Authorizing was the standard iLok procedure—download the version du jour of the license management software, wait nervously while it puts files on your computer, reboot, open the license manager, then transfer the license to your dongle or do the hard drive authorization routine. SONAR saw there were new plug-ins, so they were available in the plug-ins menu and I was good to go.

      Approaching this kind of review requires a strategy. Some of these plug-ins are really deep, like the H3000, and I could get distracted by them for weeks. That wouldn’t exactly help the review's flow, so my plan is to evaluate each plug-in from an overall standpoint as quickly as possible, and then circle back into more applications-oriented material. Audio and video examples will be posted on our YouTube channel, and embedded in the forum posts.

      So...what to check out first? I decided on the H3000 Band Delays because...well, it sounded like fun. Let's put it through its paces.
      Last edited by Anderton; 11-16-2015, 03:27 PM.
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      • #4
        I'm a BIG fan (and longtime user) of Eventide's Anthology II, so I'm really going to be watching this Pro Review closely.
        **********

        "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

        - George Carlin

        "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

        - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

        "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

        - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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        • #5
          Phil, you won't be disappointed...

          The H3000 Band Delays is what the title implies…it causes bands not to show up on time. Well okay, I'm just kidding (although if I spent too much time playing with this effect, I could easily end up being late for appointments). Band Delays has multiple frequency bands, each with its own delay options. However, you can specify the band characteristics very precisely with lots of editable parameters, including tempo-synched modulation.

          This is an effect where the sounds pretty much tell you what you need to know. In this demo, I’m stepping through the tempo-synched effects (there are several other classes of effects, but one thing at a time…). The source material is a rhythm guitar riff, which I thought might be more interesting than just doing drums. I’ve also mixed a drum track quite a bit in the background so there’s a rhythmic reference; that way you can hear how the tempo-synching affects the sound more clearly.

          The demo starts off with the guitar by itself and the H3000 Band Delays bypassed. Then it’s enabled to the preset Liquid Reverb, and thereafter, the tempo-synched presets are stepped through one a time. You can see the preset name in the display, and the various parameters flying around as they follow various modulations.


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          • #6
            Let’s do a few more video examples showing what the H3000 Band Delays presets can do, then give a brief description of the editing options before moving on to the next plug-in.

            For this example, I used the “Legacy Presets” with drums. I think it’s obvious that the rhythmic possibilities are extraordinary. One aspect of the H3000 Band Delays I want to investigate further is control surface parameter control via MIDI, as in some ways the Band Delays plug-in crosses over from being an “effect” to being a “playable musical instrument” when you start tweaking parameters.

            Also, I didn't really notice this yesterday, but I was pleasantly surprised that the presets load so quickly. I’d think you would need to flush the memory and populate it with data, which would take time, but apparently not—in my experience up to this point, preset selection seems pretty close to instantaneous. Nice.

            Last edited by Anderton; 11-17-2015, 11:28 AM.
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            • #7
              In this video, I used the “Legacy Presets” with lead guitar instead of drums. If you compare the video done with the drums, you’ll hear similarities, but also the differences of what happens with the effects when using different source material.

              I should also add that as with most presets, these are designed to show off what the unit can do…but of course, you can dial things back to create more subtle animation and motion. I can see the Band Delays replacing conventional echo for me in a lot of applications.

              Interestingly, I’ve always been a big fan of multiband processing but it can really be a hassle to “build” your own setup with frequency crossovers, multiple process, etc. from scratch. Band Delays takes a lot of the work out of this kind of endeavor.

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              • #8
                i was playing around with the modulation effects presets last night. One point I need to mention is that the audio/video examples so far have been with mix set to effect only. That's to give the clearest idea of what the effects do, but in terms of musical contexts, the way to really "tame" what this baby can do is to use the Mix parameter as you would for reverb - about 30% of the way up provides a cool "bed" of processed sound behind the main instrument. Later on in the review as we get more into applications, I'll be including some examples of these various effects in context.

                The ability to do so much tempo-synching adds a whole other dimension, particularly for dance-oriented music because you can really reinforce the beat.

                Before moving on to the next effect, in the next post we'll take a quick look at the H3000's Band Delays interface. If you want to dive really deep into any of the plug-ins we'll be discussing, documentation for each plug-in is available as a download form the Eventide site. If you've installed Anthology X, the manuals install into the Documents/Eventide// folder on your computer.
                Last edited by Anderton; 11-18-2015, 11:41 AM.
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                • #9
                  The interface has to unify three main elements in addition to preset management:
                  • The 8 filters themselves. These are parametric, with multiple filter types (low pass, band pass, all pass, high pass or shelving). Their frequencies can also respond to MIDI notes.
                  • Beat mapping + delays, which provides the pulsing effects you heard in the previous audio/video examples.
                  • Levels for the different bands, as well as for delay feedback and the wet/dry mix.
                  The interface has three sections, with the bottom third having three tabs to access different editing options.



                  The top third is basically about program management. This is where you assign parameters to soft keys for quick access, and take advantage of the "snapshots" that let you choose from 32 different presets within a single session, making it easy to create "variations on a theme" for instant recall.

                  The middle third covers parameters that relate to the particular preset, like sync to tempo, feedback/ wet/dry mic, input and output levels, and the like.

                  The main programming action happens in the lower third. The screenshot above shows the Program tab, which in the lower right, provides a 3D graphic overview of where the filter bands fall in a graph of gain vs. frequency vs. timing. Although it's fabulous eye candy, it's actually informative when you're creating sounds. Toward the left, you also have a graphic representation of delays translated into musical values and which are quantized to sub-beats. You can also edit parameters for a single voice (filter), sort of like the Inspector function in Cubase, SONAR, etc. in that you can see a voice in detail without having to switch to the Expert tab.



                  The middle Expert tab gives a detailed look at all filter parameters. One of my favorite features is that the filter frequency is given as a musical note name as well as a frequency. (Attention all other manufacturers: Please steal this idea. Just don't tell Eventide I said that ) Delay is handled a bit differently, as it's not quantized so you can dial in very precise values up to the maximum of 2.4 seconds. As to playing notes via MIDI, this tab provides MIDI note modes. There's what you would expect - a 1:1 correspondence between notes held down and filter frequencies. A Gated mode enhances this by letting audio pass through the filter only when notes are held down. However, there are also functions that are more like arpeggiators - Ordered mode sends notes to filters in the order received until all keys are released, which resets the order back to starting with filter 1. Circular mode is like ordered mode, but doesn't reset to notes just keep going to the next available filter.

                  The Function tab isn't about functions in the sense of functionality, but Function generation for providing modulation as well as setup for the Soft Keys. This is also where you map MIDI controllers to parameters - basically, like a synthesizer's modulation matrix.



                  I think most people reading this probably understand how matrix modulation works, but if not, here's an article that explains the basics. Suffice it to say that the modulation capabilities are deep, useful, and just as responsible as the delays and filters in providing unique sounds.

                  So, this is probably enough for an overview of the H3000 Band Delays unless someone from Eventide wants to chime in and point out some hugely important aspect I missed. I do have one "convenience feature" request: in the Expert tab, it would be helpful to be able to right-click or ctrl+click on a voice number and have a context menu that allowed for copy, paste, and reset. The lack thereof is certainly not a problem, but would speed up programming somewhat if you wanted to make relatively minor variations on multiple filters.

                  Let's see...which plug-in to do next...
                  Last edited by Anderton; 11-18-2015, 01:58 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Next up: The Instant Flanger, introduced back in the 70s (1976, IIRC) when Eventide was known as Eventide Clockworks. The Instant Flanger has a lot of mythology and folklore around it, with the main debate in pro audio geek forums regarding whether or not it was used on the drums in Kashmir. However, the fact that there is this debate is a pretty good indication that if nothing else, the Instant Flanger sure sounds like the drum sound on Kashmir.

                    In the 40 years since the Instant Flanger was introduced, we've had numerous flangers appear on the market, including my own Hyperflange+Chorus (whose main claim to fame was having an 88:1 sweep range). So, it's easy to understand someone looking at this post and going "yeah, yeah, when is Craig going to get back to the good stuff?" However...

                    The Instant Flanger had a distinctive sound, and it still does today. Although I don't have the hardware version here for a direct comparison, what I remember from using it in the past is what I'm hearing now. There's a certain richness and definition that, for whatever reason, you don't get with "today's typical flanger." I'm partway through creating a video for this so you can hear what it sounds like, as this requires more that just stepping through presets. Meanwhile, here's what's on offer.



                    First, let's consider what the Instant Flanger doesn't do compared to the tape flanging it was emulating. There's no through-zero flanging, where the "delayed" signal actually gets ahead of the dry signal. This isn't possible with a digital delay because it can't go forward in time, so the only way to obtain through-zero flanging is to delay the dry signal sufficiently so that the flanged signal's minimum delay is shorter than the dry signal's delay. Regardless, the Instant Flanger comes pretty close.

                    Also, there's no sync to tempo - remember, this was well before MIDI brought the world of synching to tempo to us. Where the Instant Flanger excels is that it includes an Envelope Follower, LFO control, and manual control, all of which can be in play simultaneously. This is a big deal, as it lets you avoid the repetitive "whoosh-whoosh-whoosh" of today's typical flanger designs.

                    More importantly, though, this means the Instant Flanger can be more about manual control, which was what tape flanging required back in the day. Tape flanging was a somewhat unpredictable effect because the motors in tape decks, whose speed was varied to create flanging, had inertia so the response was always somewhat "loose." Of the modern crop of flangers, Virsyn's VTape comes closest to tape flanging but it doesn't emulate the Instant Flanger's distinctive, "early days of digital audio" vibe.

                    Before getting to the video, here's what to expect. The big control in the middle controls the flanger sweep. If the Instant Flanger had only one control, this would be it. The remote control to the right makes it easy to control via MIDI, like from a synthesizer's mod wheel. The two controls at the extreme right adjust the envelope follower characteristics. While primitive - you can adjust only threshold and release - it's very effective.

                    The Oscillator Rate control is the LFO rate, which although not labeled goes from "slow enough" to "fast enough." But it's the three Effect Modifier controls toward the left that differentiate the Instant Flanger from the norm. Feedback does what you'd expect, but Bounce emulates the "hunting" effect of a motor changing speed, and Depth Doppler is...well...you'll just have to listen to the audio/video example. It's sort of a wet/dry mix in the sense that the extreme CW and CCW positions mix the dry and processed signal 50/50, but the left and right outputs have in-phase and out-of-phase cancellation respectively when CCW, and the opposite when CW.

                    My overall take is that the Instant Flanger is an interesting combination of "vintage high-quality digital" sound quality with features that are not a part of today's flangers, which generally have more traditional implementations. Although I didn't expect to get much use out of "just another flanger," this isn't just another flanger - I'll be reaching for it when I want the Instant Flanger sound, because no other flanger sounds quite like it.
                    Last edited by Anderton; 11-20-2015, 05:00 PM.
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                    • #11
                      This video demonstrates the main Instant Flanger controls. I've used automation in SONAR to control the parameters; the automation lanes are labeled so you can see what's causing the sonic changes in the video. I've overlaid a tint on the controls that correlates to the color of the automation lane data.

                      The basic order of sounds is the manual control sweeping over the full range with one max Depth Doppler setting, the same sweep with the other max Depth Doppler setting (the middle setting doesn't do anything), and then a repeat with feedback up not quite all the way to illustrate how this affects the sound. The Instant Flanger has quite an effect on stereo, so if possible, listen to the video over headphones or at least a system with good stereo separation.

                      I didn't include the "bounce" control because basically, it just "smooths" the control signal. However I did find this is very useful with the "Remote Control" option to eliminate stair-stepping with external MIDI controller 1 (mod wheel) sources. I also didn't include the sound of LFO modulation because that's such a common effect.

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                      • #12
                        ...and before moving on to our next plug-in, here's another video on the Instant Flanger that demonstrates the envelope follower options. The Depth Doppler and Feedback controls work as they did in the previous video, in order to change the sound of the effect. However, note what happens when you change the envelope follower release time, and how the flanging effect tracks the drum's dynamics. The Threshold control is set to a fixed value - generally once you find the "sweet spot" for an envelope follower's threshold, you'll tend to leave it there.

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                        • #13

                          Up next: The Quadravox, a four-part harmony generator. With pitch correction tools like Antares Auto-Tune, Celemony Melodyne, and other pitch processors that can also create harmonies, it’s easy to forget that Eventide was the first to introduce harmony generation. The Quadravox generates up to four harmony lines, which can be parallel or conform to a scale; you can pan each line in the stereo field, as well as add delay (tempo-synched or not). We’ll do the audio examples first, then in the next post, explain more about the various options this effect offers.

                          The first audio example starts off with a dry vocal, adds a harmony that conforms to A major, then segues into isolating the harmony line. You can hear that like most pitch-shifting algorithms, the quality diminishes as you get further away from the original pitch. There are steps you can take to improve this, like setting the Quadravox to processed sound only and running it in parallel with the dry sound. This way you can add EQ to take off some of the high end when shifting up, or boost the highs a bit when shifting down. All in all, if you mix the harmony behind the dry signal—where it should be—Quadravox does a credible job of harmony generation.



                          But…listen to the next example, and what it can do with drums! Here the ability to add tempo-synched delay and panning turns a “normal” drum part into a throbbing, cinematic-type drum beat. Note the fader on the left, which changes the Quadravox drums level to mix it in with the dry sound.



                          The final Quadravox audio example (which uses the same drum loop as the previous example) steps through some of the Sequences presets, but this should be enough to give you an idea of the truly off-the-wall rhythmic effects you can obtain with this effect. Of course, the Quadravox isn’t limited to processing voice or drums—you can also do guitar harmonies and such—but we’ll have plenty of opportunities to show off some of Eventide’s other harmonization options as the review progresses.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                            I'm a BIG fan (and longtime user) of Eventide's Anthology II, so I'm really going to be watching this Pro Review closely.
                            Me too _

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                            • #15
                              Before moving on to the next plug-in, let’s cover some Quadravox fine points.



                              Referring to the control cluster in the upper right, the Quadravox has a “live mode” which trades off lower latency for faster operation (in standard mode, there’s 40 ms of essentially “look-ahead” time). Pitch Tracking is what allows for harmonies, but turning it off is also helpful with non-pitched sources like drums—although using pitch with non-pitched sources can create useful effects. The Instrument drop-down menu has presets that optimize detection and crossfading for different signal sources, while Low Note instructs Quadravox not to bother looking for pitches below what’s specified. Crossfade affects the pitch-shifting algorithm, so playing with this can improve the “smoothness” of the transposition, while Random does what you’d expect—adds slight random offsets (good for chorusing and such).

                              Moving clockwise, the Snapshots feature is like what we already described for the H3000 Band Delays. It’s an Eventide staple that makes it easy to change settings on the fly. Next there’s a block of controls that let you specify the key and scale when doing harmonies, along with tempo sync options for the delays.

                              The Notation Grid is one of the most interesting aspects of the Quadravox. You can place a voice vertically with respect to pitch and horizontally with respect to delay, as well as quantize delay times to tempo (or not). Although the grid doesn’t do anything you can’t do by simply changing parameter values, the ease of use and graphical feedback makes it the preferred way to create and edit specific effects quickly and easily.

                              Loop Delay is another outstanding creative feature, as you can loop the entire group of notes in the grid and add feedback. The loop can cover the entire grid, or just a portion. Note that although the individual voices also have a feedback feedback, if there’s a pitch shift the feedback will shift pitch on each successive repeat (the “bell tree” effect). The loop repeat just repeats the notes at whatever pitch they’re set to on the grid.

                              Finally as to the voice parameter section, it’s pretty self-explanatory—turn voices on and off, set levels, pan in the stereo field, set delay times, and adjust pitch in either semitones or cents.
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