Crystals is Eventide’s latest port of its iconic H3000 Harmonizer algorithms into a simpler plug-in GUI – similar to their Blackhole, MangledVerb, Spring [Tape Op #137], MicroPitch, along with others from their Anthology [#111] library, and it’s a keeper. It’s a combo of reverb, pitch shift, and granular synthesis – in short, a method by which sounds are broken into tiny grains and are then redistributed and reorganized to form other sounds. I’ve long been a fan of the H3000, and have reviewed several other granular synthesis plug-ins in Tape Op, so check those for an in-depth explanation of granular synthesis. I think Crystals could become my new go-to for granular effects as it’s so easy to use. I really like Audiority GrainSpace [#121] for instance, but its UI is a little dense, and not as intuitive as Crystals. Eventide has distilled the processing down into pitch, reverb, and reverse delay controls along with some mixing and blending options for two independent processors, so it’s really easy and intuitive to dig in and create some unique, or even more importantly, useful sounds with this plug-in. The GUI’s emulated ribbon controller lets you modulate several different parameters at once, allowing you to set up musically useful real-time performance options with Crystals. I installed this plug-in while in the middle of working on a loop-based, ambient album in Ableton Live [#126] and found myself using it over multiple tracks to add dynamic and evolving textures that really livened up the mixes. Crystals excels on these types of tracks as you can get reverb time up to 100 seconds and delays up to four seconds! There is also a four-octave range on the pitch shift algorithm. The single FLEX button allows you to shift both voices up one octave, and the MIXLOCK feature keeps the mix control fixed as you move between presets. Crystals is available for both Mac and PC, but also iOS, so it’s truly cross-platform – a trend I can really appreciate. With a little bit of luck, Crystals will also become part of Eventide’s excellent Anthology bundle in future versions.

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Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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