Even­tide Clock Works H910 Har­mo­nizer - the le­gend be­gins

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

To­day, we take dig­i­tal ef­fects mul­ti­pro­ces­sors for granted. Whether they’re hard or soft, th­ese jacks-of-all-trades of­fer up two or more ef­fects, of­ten with the abil­ity to route them in ei­ther se­ries or par­al­lel. In the early 70s, most ef­fects were sold à la carte, and the menu of­fered some­what slim pick­ings. Stu­dios were gen­er­ally stocked with the ba­sics – com­pres­sors, EQs, spring or plate re­verb, and tape de­lay. Gui­tarists had a few more op­tions to go for, but there were too few ped­als around to war­rant some­thing like to­day’s ped­al­boards.

It’s un­der­stand­able, then, that Even­tide’s H910 would make a splash when it was re­leased in 1974. Com­bin­ing a de­lay line with high-qual­ity pitchshift­ing and feed­back, this brushed black beauty could do the im­pos­si­ble: cre­ate in­stant, ac­cu­rate har­monies from any in­com­ing sig­nal. A soft­ware-free, logic-based dig­i­tal process, it was stuffed full of prim­i­tive RAM, but much of the ma­chine was, in fact, ana­logue. This in­cluded com­pan­der, fil­ter and feed­back cir­cuits, re­sult­ing in a dis­tinc­tive sound that you can’t recre­ate with mod­ern dig­i­tal pitchshift­ing alone. The H910 (a nod to the Bea­tles’ song One

After909) in­stantly en­deared it­self to mu­sic’s lu­mi­nar­ies. Pro­ducer Tony Vis­conti fa­mously de­clared that it “f**ks with the fab­ric of time!” and slathered it all over Bowie’s Low, He­roes and

Lodger LPs, most no­tably us­ing it for the un­usual snare sounds heard through­out. The Res­i­dents, too, em­braced the H910. Their

Duck­Stab LP is rife with it, most bla­tantly on the ul­tra-creepy Hel­loSkinny, vir­tu­ally a demo record of what the H910 can do.

Though mod­ern soft­ware like Melo­dyne can repitch vo­cals with ease, they lack the H910’s quirky char­ac­ter. Thank­fully, Even­tide them­selves of­fer vir­tual ver­sions of the H910 that metic­u­lously mimic even the orig­i­nal.

The orig­i­nal of Au­dio Dam­age’s Dis­cord4 was in­spired by the H910, and the cur­rent ver­sion still does a fine im­per­son­ation, and will only set you back $59.

Tony Vis­conti joked that the Har­mo­nizer ap­peared to be do­ing some­thing un­seemly with the fab­ric of time…

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