Hands On - Eventide H3500 (part 4)

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You may have noticed another button in between Program and Parameter, called Function. Some programs may have so-called Soft Functions where the knob has been assigned to control one or more parameters, hopefully to make controlling the program a bit easier. Although not all presets have Soft Functions, although you can add them yourself, the Function button opens up all the possibilities of MIDI control. If you want to see what comprehensive MIDI control looks like, take a look at the ‘MIDI Control’ panel. If you’re not keen on Soft Functions and MIDI Control - but you should be! - then there is also an internal Function Generator. The function generator is a low frequency oscillator which can produce various waveforms and triggered functions. The function generator has a myriad of uses, but it’s an area where you really have to understand what you are doing to get any sensible results. I suspect that only one H3500 user in a hundred will achieve any real fluency, although it is obvious from the factory presets that amazing original sounds are available if you really want them.

The Algorithms

I bet when you first got into music you never expected to have to understand long words like ‘algorithm’. The simplest parallel I can think of is a recipe from a cookbook, an algorithm for making Yorkshire puddings perhaps. To extend my analogy, from these basic algorithms, you can alter the quantities of the ingredients - the parameters - but not the ingredients themselves. Let me finish my brief tour of the H3500 with a short description of each of the algorithms from which the four hundred and four factory presets are derived.

Diatonic Shift

This algorithm has two pitch shifters which understand the rules of musical harmony, so you can set a scale and the H3500 will adjust the semitones as necessary to fit in with a major or minor key, or indeed a harmonic pattern you have developed yourself. Diatonic Shift is mono in, stereo out, so you can set intervals of a third and a fifth and produce proper three part harmonies from a single input.

Layered Shift

This is another mono in, stereo out algorithm and provides two separate pitch shifted outputs, this time without harmonic intervention - just a straight ratio. The range of shift is -24/+12 semitones and, like Diatonic Shift, the degree of pitch change can be modulated for really wacky effects (or just subtle thickening if you prefer).

Dual Shift

This has two completely independent pitch shifters and is best used to process two mono signals at the same time. If you want stereo pitch shifting then you should turn to…