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Eventide Anthology X Effects Plug-In Suite

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  • #1
    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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    • #2
      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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      • #3
        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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        • #4
          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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          • #5
            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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            • #6
              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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              • #7
                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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                • #8
                  We interrupt this look at the UltraChannel to bring you the following: "Today Eventide announced the release of the H3000 Band Delays plug-in for AAX, VST, and AU. This unique multi-effect plug-in, originally included in Eventide’s Anthology X bundle, is on sale for $99 until December 31, 2015. (Normally priced at $199.)"

                  For more information. check out the Eventide Band Delays landing page.
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                  • #9
                    Before moving on to the next plug-in, I most certainly agree with Phil O’Keefe’s assessment that this is indeed a very useful “one size fits all” channel strip plug-in. Here are some thoughts about the UltraChannel after testing it out for a while - the high points, and some suggestions for improvements.

                    MAJOR COOLNESS FEATURES
                    • The Micro Pitch Shift is tremendous. It’s like a compact “short delays laboratory” for adding ambience, depth, and width. One interesting technique: with significant amounts of Depth and/or Width, you’ll hear a bit of a “slapback” echo, which of course is expected. However if you want the Depth and Width benefits without a delay, set the Mix parameter to processed sound only, then nudge the track forward in time to have it sync up time-wise with the other tracks.
                    • The option to send the Stereo Delays feedback through not just EQ but also the O-Pressor, Compressor, or Gate is genius. I can see some people using the UltraChannel solely for delay because this is so useful and allows creating sounds you can’t get other ways.
                    • Being able to change the module order adds major flexibility to the UltraChannel. A lot of channel strip plug-ins (probably even the vast majority) don’t let you do this.
                    • I have a possibly perverse affection for the Omnipressor, so appreciate the inclusion of the O-Pressor in addition to the more conventional compressor. When we cover the Omnipressor later on you’ll understand why I dig it so much.
                    • The Transformer option is subtle, but can add that extra little “something” that makes a track stand out, especially when overdriven. Short story: Wendy Carlos had an early Akai digital recorder. When I had the opportunity to visit and heard it, I couldn’t understand why it sounded so much more “musical” than other ones I’d heard. The answer was she had simply added input and output audio transformers.
                    • I like the way the metering focuses on the higher levels so you can really see what’s going on. One of the reasons I use SONAR is because of the ease of restricting meter ranges to the levels of interest; this feature is similar.
                    • Despite the plethora of controls it’s not a big, sprawling plug-in that takes over your UI but is compact and graphically efficient.
                    SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
                    • Release the Micro Pitch Shift as a stand-alone plug-in for the next Anthology version. Of course you can just drop in the UltraChannel and ignore the other modules, but a separate plug-in would be a nice extra.
                    • The parametric EQ ranges are restricted; the five bands cover 5 Hz – 800 Hz, 100 Hz – 2 kHz, 500 Hz - 8 kHz, 1 kHz - 20 kHz, and 5 kHz to 20 kHz, so you need to think ahead about which bands you want to use. For example, suppose with an amp sim you want a notch at 8 kHz to take out some fizz, but also a high shelf to add a little “air.” So, you use bands 4 and 5 respectively. Now you want to add a slight cut at 3.5 kHz to reduce harshness, which you do with band 3, but also want a fairly narrow boost at 2.5 kHz to add a little more midrange. Bands 1 and 2 can’t cover that range. In practice this hasn’t been a problem but in some corner cases, you might want the EQs to all cover the maximum range instead of overlapping (although there may be a technical reason why it’s done this way).
                    • For the Low and High cut options, I’d like to see more than 6 and 12 dB/octave slopes. I use really steep slopes (e.g., 48 dB/octave) quite a bit to clean up the low or high end of various signals.
                    • I wish the sidechaining accepted external inputs in Windows, not just the Mac.
                    Overall, even though the UltraChannel may not have the “sex appeal” of a unique device like the H3000, it’s a great addition that in my opinion adds considerable value to Anthology.
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                    • #10
                      Here's a heads-up: The UltraChannel is currently on sale for $80 off. From a promotional email Eventide sent out today:

                      "Last month we offered H3000 Band Delays for 50% off. Well now we’re upping the ante this time by offering UltraChannel at a ridiculous 80% off. Why would we do this? Remember our “Free UltraChannel” promotion from a few years back? You either own the plugin, are mad you missed it, or have friends that envy you. Pass the word along that for only $49 this is a must-have tool for mixing and mastering.

                      And, yum, there’s icing on this cake! If you own UltraChannel (even if you got it for free) you qualify for special upgrade pricing to Anthology X."
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                      • #11
                        H3000 Factory

                        ​We've already covered a variant of the H3000's talents with the section on the H3000 Band Delays, but the full-blown H3000 Factory is the crowning touch of the Anthology X plug-in Suite. Because it's the most complex and versatile effect in the suite, I've been spending some time getting to know it before posting more to this thread so I could be a bit more concise in mapping out a strategy of how to cover it. This is a complex and somewhat quirky processor that tons o' fun, but also labor-intensive when it comes to creating sounds.



                        The most important aspect is that this is a modular processor, with virtual patch cords that connect modules arranged as 18 blocks. Serial, parallel, and serial+parallel connections are possible. The modularity applies to both audio processing and "control voltage"-type modulation sources and processors. Although you can move the blocks around, this is more for making sense out of a program than anything else; you can't, for example, have four filter blocks instead of two. However if you wanted to have a parallel patch, you could place one filter above the other, while for a series patch, you could have one follow the other. Ultimately, though, it's the patch cords that determine the flow, not the positioning.

                        In addition to these "movable" blocks, there are also additional "input" sections. These are left and right audio inputs, a noise source, a "full scale" control voltage (i.e., fully positive or negative) which you can then scale with subsequent modules, a side chain input which unfortunately works only with AU and AAX plug-ins, a Modulation Knob (more on this later), and a Function Generator that provides a considerable amount of modulation horsepower.

                        The eight audio processors are two Delays, two Pitch Shifters, two "VCAs" (called Ampmod), and two Filters. Modulation sources in addition to the input sections mentioned above consist of two LFOs and two envelope followers, however, you can also use MIDI modulation as well as do real-time control using the big H3000 knob--this is actually a whole other area which we'll cover later on.

                        Furthermore, there are two "scalers" and four 2-in, 1-out mixers which are suitable for controlling audio or control signals. Finally, there are two output blocks for the left and right channels.

                        How you combine all these raw materials together is another matter altogether, and I must say that the documentation is sketchy at best. I was able to figure out most of this, but only because I'm pretty familiar with both signal processors and modular synths. Also, there are some rough spots with parameter control; for example when trying to set frequencies, I found it very difficult to do fine adjustments, and often just gave up and typed in a value. Of course that works perfectly well, but sometimes you want to be able to scroll through values smoothly to hear what you like.

                        The true power of the H3000 factory comes into play when you understand the relationship between the Program. Effect, and Function tabs, which we'll get into next.
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