H9 first impressions

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    • #110995

      Hi all,

      I finally received my H9 from Sweetwater today and I've had a lot of fun fiddling all evening. I've only owned a Timefactor before this so I spent a lot of time auditioning and tweaking sounds. Here are my first impressions. 

      Getting Started

      The pairing process is dead simple. The H9 is always discoverable and pairing it to my iPhone and iPad were a breeze — the one piece of info you need to know is your PIN (hint: it's the last four digits of your serial number). Pairing it with multiple iOS devices worked fine, which was a pleasant surprise. The iPhone app is nice to have in a pinch, but turning knobs was tricky and often made the window scroll to the other page of knobs by mistake, so I soon switched to using the iPad instead. The screen real estate on the iPad makes for a much better experience.

      iOS App

      Though the app doesn't seem to follow some common iOS style or behaviour (e.g., login screen), it is very usable when compared to fiddling with a stomp box or a complex menu system you'd find on other hardware. After a bit of exploring I was able to get a handle on what each tab was for and how to use it. Not having to lean down and turn a knob when I wanted to tweak something was a new and welcomed experience. The text above and below each knob changes depending on what value you set, which makes the more complex algorithms easier to navigation (I'm looking at you, Ultratap). Really big win: configuring global settings. This is always a pain to do on complex pedals (H9 included, if you're working on the front panel), but the iOS app makes this easy. Oh, I almost forgot — naming presets is great.

      Auditioning Algorithms

      Like I mentioned before, I've never played with any Pitchfactor or SPACE algorithms so I really, really appreciated the "Try" functionality in the store. It let's you try out the algorithm and any of its presets (or make your own) for five minutes per day. Five minutes goes by fast, but it gave me a chance to try out a few things and helped me figure out what algorithms I'll likely purchase in the future. Kudos to whoever came up with this from Eventide.

      UltraTap Algorithmn

      This is the flagship algorithm for this pedal and I was having a hard time imaging how to use it from the demos Alan played (by the way, thank-you thank-you for all the demos you play — they are much appreciated). It's a delay that goes about delaying very differently. After wrapping my mind around it, I found sounds that blew me away. Turning tempo on, setting length to 1 bar and taps to 16 made for an extremely succinct 16th note delay sound. After adding a trigger setting with the chop knob and I was in heaven.

      H9 Font Panel

      It's a tight package and they've packed a lot onto the front panel. Lots of hidden functionality, like holding both switches to access the tuner or holding the preset button to save a preset, but it's all pretty intuitive. The big black knob feels good to turn and has a satisfying click to it. It takes longer to get from the bottom to the top, but it allows for finer grain control of each parameter. The X, Y, Z knobs are surprisingly useful. Each can be individually set to "Normal" (locked to one parameter only) or "Expert" mode (press to scroll through all parameters). Seems reasonable to always lock X and Y to the most important parameters and leave Z in expert mode so you can access any parameter as needed. I don't see myself needing to fiddle too much directly on the pedal as the app is much easier, but it's nice to have the option in a pinch. One thing I absolutely could not do on the front panel was change the algorithm of a preset. If you're building new presets directly on the pedal it looks as though you'll need to find a preset with the algorithm you want, tweak it, then save it to a different preset bank. Another thing I found to be tricky was configuring the HotKnob min/max values. Eventually I was able to do it, but I can't remember how I got there and would need to fiddle next time I wanted to set it.


      So far, this pedal has felt to offer more possibilities than any other single effect stomp box I've used. There's a lot of ground yet to cover and I'm looking forward it. With all it can do, I can see myself buying a second H9 for my board — I'll likely want to do two things at once. I do miss the Timefactor looper and hope Eventide releases it and other new algorithms like UltraTap in the future.

      Anyway, that's it for me.


    • #124608

      Thanks for that Jordan… good to read some real world experiences with the H9. Please continue if you make any more interesting discoveries.

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