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Hands On - Eventide H3500 (part 3)

My suggestion to a novice operator, as you will be the first time you come across one in a studio, is to try and get hold of a list of the factory presets....


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My suggestion to a novice operator, as you will be the first time you come across one in a studio, is to try and get hold of a list of the factory presets. There is a quick reference guide which briefly describes all the presets (four hundred and four of them remember). When there so many presets available it takes far too long to try them all out - over an hour at ten seconds apiece. I think the next step in the development of equipment has to be some means of preset management so you are not reliant on the presence of a piece of paper or booklet to find quickly the preset that suits your purpose. Maybe the opening screen of the H4000, if and when it appears, should say, “What sort of effect do you fancy?”, and guide you through to the right one.

Of course, the first thing you’ll want to do with the H3500 is to try out the presets. Press the Program button and take the knob for a spin - you’ll see the preset names flashing by in the display. When you have found one that takes your eye, press the load soft key. That is the leftmost key which in the current operating mode will have ‘load’ shown above it in the display. You’re bound to have selected something interesting, but when you can tear yourself away try another preset selection technique: hit the Program key then press the up arrow or down arrow on the keypad until you find the right program (or just key in a number), then press the Enter (ENT) button. Numeric keypads are not popular with everybody, but for most purposes you don’t have to use this one if you don’t want to. If you do want to enter delay times - for instance - numerically then just punch them in. Any mistakes can be cancelled by the CXL key. Numeric entry, once you get used to it, is far quicker than keeping a nudge button, like you see on most equipment, pressed down until the correct value comes along. By the way, the other soft key in the display shown during program load operation is called ‘Origin’. This displays the algorithm from which the preset was made. Just the thing for doing a bit of ‘reverse engineering’ - figuring out how a sound was created so that you can more easily make your own.

Once you have tried all the factory presets (probably half a day later) you will obviously want to see how you can tailor them to your own ends. This is where the Parameter button comes in. Give it a gentle press and you will see that the four soft keys have changed their function. Unfortunately with a small display like this, the parameter names are abbreviated, but if for example you have selected Preset 101 ‘Layered Shift’ , then the soft keys will read ‘l coarse’, ‘l fine’, ‘l delay’ and ‘l fdback’. It doesn’t take too much imagination to realise that you are dealing with the left channel and you are being invited to adjust the coarse and fine pitch shift, the delay and the amount of feedback. Just hit the appropriate soft key and adjust via the knob or keypad. Pressing the Parameter button repeatedly will bring further easily usable parameters to your attention. Eventually you will tire of all this (I think we are talking about some years into the future) and you will be ready to call yourself an expert on the H3500. This is good, because among the parameters of each program you will find the so-called Expert mode (one day equipment will be so complex that you have to work your way up through a series of levels, like on your GameBoy!). Expert mode opens up another world of parameters which - take my word for it - are pretty tricky. Obviously Eventide’s programmers are messing about in Expert mode all the time, and they get good results. But for mere mortals - and people who want some time left over for making music - will probably miss out on these delights. Still, you now know they are there, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the time you can spend.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004

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