The Baby Harmonizer®
The first Harmonizer, the H910, released in 1976, was designed to sit in a rack in the studio. Within a couple of years, major acts with big budgets like Led Zeppelin, The Mothers of Invention, and Van Halen began to tour with them. Costing nearly $10,000 in today’s dollars, the H910 was not economical for the average musician or engineer. This was the era of primitive logic chips and it took an abundance of them to simply delay audio as 1s and 0s by a fraction of a second.
In 1978, our founder, Richard Factor, took on the challenge of designing an ‘affordable’ Harmonizer, one that a guitar or keyboard player might take on the road.
The Eventide HM80 Harmonizer, released in 1978, was a very versatile special effects device designed to bring several time-related processes into the repertoire of the individual musician. The HM80 enables users to produce time modification effects in the categories of Time Delay, Pitch Change, Reverb, Capture & Repeat, and Reversal. In addition to these basic capabilities, the effects can be used in various combinations, and other facilities such as mixing the input and output signals are provided as a convenience for users who don’t have (or don’t want to use) a mixing console.
The HM80 featured guitar in, amp out, as well as performance features including expression pedal control of pitch and an auxiliary switch jack for switching the repeat function on/off. While it wasn’t a ‘stompbox’—the boatload of early power-hungry chips gave us pause about putting AC at the feet of a guitarist—it predated the introduction of the first delay stompbox, the Boss DD-2, by nearly five years.
At about half the price of an H910, HM80s found their way into the hands of a few gigging musicians, composers, and educators who, for the first time, could exploit the new world of digital audio effects live.
Interested in more HM80 Harmonizer® history? Check out our Flashback blog.