As I mentioned in my review of Pro Tools HD Native [Tape Op #84], when I ditched my TDM rig for a native system, I never looked back - with the one exception being the loss of the TDM-only Eventide Anthology II plug-in bundle [#55, #89]. Now, four years later, I'm pretty excited to see the Anthology X native bundle finally released. I've been a fan of Eventide gear for decades, and I own hardware versions of the H910 Harmonizer, FL201 Instant Flanger, and Instant Phaser. Because we've already reviewed Anthology II in the past, to be honest, I thought a review of Anthology X would basically consist of a few sentences referencing those previous reviews and announcing the new native version and its pricing. But, the folks at Eventide have done a lot more work than just port these plug-ins over to native processing. You should really read our Anthology II reviews online, as I'm not going to go over the same ground we've already covered. Instead, I'll focus on two areas: new additions in functionality, and comparisons with the actual hardware units I own.
Let's start with an overview of Anthology X. This bundle has 17 different plug-ins. First, we have the Clockworks Legacy plug-ins: H910 and H949 Harmonizers; Instant Flanger and Phaser; and Omnipressor®. Next, we have the H3000 Factory and Band Delays. These two plug-ins alone are super deep, effectively adding up to a modular-processing toolbox with multiple delays, pitch shifters, filters, modulation, etc. Next up is UltraReverb, which is a, ummm, reverb. Then we have Octavox and Quadravox, eight and four-voice pitch-shifters with tons of control. Then there's UltraChannel, Eventide's channel strip that not only offers EQ and compression, but O-Pressor (a scaled-down version of Omnipressor®) too, along with delay and pitch-shift modules. This is a super useful plug-in. Lastly, EQ45 and EQ65 are models of the UREI 545 and 565 parametric EQ and filter set. The whole lot can be purchased outright for $999 ($59 per plug-in), while upgrades start at $199 if you already own other Eventide plug-ins or earlier versions of the bundle. I think Anthology X rivals offerings from Waves, Soundtoys, and Universal Audio; and it includes plug-ins that you will reach for on every single session.
Okay, what's new? Well firstly, all included plug-ins are compatible with every major DAW on Windows 7+ and Mac OS 10.7+. Secondly, they all have really good MIDI implementation where it matters, such as for pitch-shifting. But, my favorite new addition is the dual- Harmonizer versions of the H910 and H949. That's right, two totally separate but cleverly linked H910s or H949s. For those of you who always wished you had not one, but two Harmonizers so you could run them in tandem for stereo ADT-style effects, well now you can. I should also mention that the library of presets included with this bundle is very impressive. I know many of us want to avoid relying on presets, but they're a good place to start, and this batch is really well thought out.
So yeah, Anthology X is a great value, and we've already discussed these plug-ins in previous reviews, so I won't repeat ourselves. After I gave up my TDM rig, and since the time we last reviewed these plug-ins, I've been fortunate to pick up a few pieces of the classic Eventide hardware, as I mentioned above. I thought it would be interesting to compare the plug-ins to the hardware they emulate. To be honest, I was not expecting them to be that close in sound, but I was in for a surprise. I pulled up a track in Pro Tools, duped it, and ran one instance through the plug-in and the other through the actual hardware, and then brought both up next to each other on our API 1608 console [Tape Op #81]. I got a sound I liked with the plug-in first, then duplicated the settings on the hardware, and then I compared the two. I was kind of blown away at how alike they sounded after trying several different settings on each processor. The only real difference I heard was a high-pitched whine from my Instant Flanger, which made me realize it needed some servicing! I love these old 2RU-height black pieces of hardware, but if you really pressed me, I have to admit that the plug-ins sound nearly identical.
I'm really happy to once again have the plug-ins from Anthology X at my disposal, this time in a native format, and I consider the overall pricing to be a bargain. If you're new to these plug-ins, you can read our earlier reviews and take advantage of Eventide's 30-day demo policy before you commit to the inevitable purchase.
Bundle $999 street, upgrades $199-$899; www.eventideaudio.com