Remember the first time you used an Eventide H3000? In 1988, that was the hottest effects processor out there! In 2006, the H3000 is considered "vintage" by my favorite repair shop in Los Angeles, but it still sounds great and contains many unique presets. Eventide has not sat on its laurels and has continued releasing updated processors like the H3000SE/B, H4000, H4500, Orville, etc... and now we come to the H7600. This is still a stereo box which looks and acts very similar to the trusty H3000, but once you get into this box, it becomes apparent that we have entered the 21st century. The H7600 boasts over 1000 presets, each preset its own unique algorithm! Those presets are based on unique combinations of 230 effects modules, which can be used to create your own custom presets. Physically, the H76000 has all the ins and outs (including instrument- level jacks and word-clock connections) that the modern studio requires, and Eventide even simplified user programming by including its own software development tool for PC and MacOS X (Yay!).

Enough tech talk-how does it sound? This box is definitely an Eventide Harmonizer®. That means the choruses, flangers, phasers, band delays, and reverbs all sound like your favorite Eventide effects-only cleaner and easier to program. Oh yeah, the Harmonizers and pitch- shifters are sick. Wanna make a male voice sound female? Wanna make a trombone sound like a piccolo trumpet? Wanna make a human voice into a robot? How about a 16 mm projector followed by a jet fly by? Harmonizers, reverse reverbs, equalizers, stereo spreaders, tone generators, hum and noise removers-it does all that. Not only that, but you can sample and loop 87 seconds of stereo audio and apply these effects to your loops. I spent almost a whole day in my studio dialing up sounds and making mental notes of how I could use certain presets.

While mixing pop and R&B music, Eventide's micropitchshifter algorithm and stereo enhancer can almost always improve background vocal stacks. There are a few new variations of the micropitchshifter in the H7600, each with its own character suitable for specific applications. My go-to acoustic guitar reverb for pop ballads is a tweaked H3000 hall reverb, and the H7600 delivers a huge improvement in terms of both original and new reverbs, especially in stereo width. I haven't heard any software plug-ins that compare to most pro outboard reverbs or effects boxes, especially this particular unit. I found myself printing effects into my DAW to free up the H7600 for more effects. The H7600 even inspired a few way-out effects for a gospel record I'm currently mixing. It's been a long time since an outboard box actually gave me new ideas for sounds.

The only step up from the H7600 is the H8000FW, which is like having two H7600s in one box with eight channels of processing for surround and multi-channel applications, plus FireWire. If you haven't been out-of- the-box for a while, do yourself a favor and find some inspiration with a great outboard processor like the H7600. The street price of the H7600 is around $4000, and based on the history of Eventide's other products, it will long outlast your next several digital workstations. ($4495 MSRP;

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

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