In the first two parts of the H949 Harmonizer tale, you learned how the H949 built upon the legacy of the H910, offering de-glitched pitch-change for improved accuracy and a bevy of new features. With expanded options like Random delay mode and MicroPitch, the H949 set the standard for faithful, fine-tuned double-tracking emulation and pitch correction, which saved a lot of time in the studio when re-recording was not an option. Even in live sound, a brave engineer could use it to perfect pitch on the spot, in front of a live audience! But beyond being an intelligent pitch-shifting tool, with options like Repeat, Delay, and Flange, artists and engineers could achieve huge, layered sounds that soared to harmonious—or cacophonous—new heights.
The H949 has been a go-to device for engineers on classic songs and albums by the likes of Prince, Frank Zappa, the Ramones, and artists of today like Ty Segall. We reached out to a few of the H949’s devoted users for their take on what has made this box so special, and integral, to their processes for over four decades:
Pitch Shift / Identity Shift
For some, perhaps the most powerful aspect of the H949 was the effect it had on the human voice. One person could suddenly transform into a whole cast of characters, which opened new doors and creative possibilities for musicians and sound designers alike. In 7.2, you saw how electronic musician and trailblazer Suzanne Ciani used it to pitch her voice up and down instantly. For her, this chameleon-like potential was empowering. Watch Suzanne discuss how the H949 inspired her alter-ego, “Steve,” and helped create the sound of the famous Xenon pinball machine (the first-ever pinball machine to feature a female voice):
Being able to alter the pitch of one’s voice allowed voice actors and radio ad producers like Bob Harper to be an alien, a cowboy, or anything imaginable in no time and to the great satisfaction of his clients! Bob recounted how he has been “saved” by the H949 in many situations in a recent interview, which you can check out here.
Crafting the Classics
To learn more about how the H949 shaped iconic sounds of bands like the White Stripes, the Ramones, and Brian Eno, check out our interviews with Joe Chiccarelli and Ed Stasium:
That’s all for the H949 Harmonizer! Stay tuned for Flashback #8!
Discover more from the pros:
- Joe Chiccarelli on the Gear Club Podcast
- Vance Powell on the Gear Club Podcast
- Suzanne Ciani on the Gear Club Podcast
- Susan Rogers on the Gear Club Podcast
- Full Playlist of H949 Interviews (including Susan Rogers, Ed Stasium, Suzanne Ciani, and Joe Chiccarelli)
- Reflecting on the H949 Harmonizer® with Bob Harper and Steve Donato
Check out our previous flashbacks!
- Flashback #1: The Instant Phaser
- Flashback #2.1: The DDL 1745 Delay
- Flashback #2.2: The DDL 1745A Delay
- Flashback #2.3: The DDL 1745M Delay
- Flashback #3: The Omnipressor®
- Flashback #4.1: The H910 Harmonizer®
- Flashback #4.2: H910 Harmonizer® — The Product
- Flashback #4.3: H910 Harmonizer® — “Minds Blown”
- Flashback #5: FL 201 Instant Flanger
- Flashback #6: HM80 — The Baby Harmonizer®
- Flashback #7.1: The H949 Harmonizer®
- Flashback #7.2: H949 Harmonizer® — The New One
- Flashback #7.3: H949 Harmonizer® — Bending, Stretching, and Twisting Time
- Flashback #8: H969 Harmonizer®
- Flashback #9.1: Broadcast
- Flashback #9.2: Dump & Go – The Profanity Delay
- Flashback #10: Thinking Outside the Black Box