Eventide harmonizers have come of age with the "Ultra Harmonizer". At a price much less than that of its predecessor, the H969, the H3000, at around $3000, is possibly one of the best buys around. The unit used for this test drive is the H3000B, which includes a tape controller board. More on that later. The H3000 is the same basic machine.
Pitch shifting is just the surface of this machine. The H3000 includes stereo inputs, a reverb section, a delay section, and a "Patch Factory" to play with. In a nutshell, what Eventide has done with the H3000 is taken the best of digital audio processing programs, combined them into one machine and then made all of the important parameters of each section available to the user for programming. This last item is the most impressive.
The unit comes with many factory installed programs stored in memory. Each of these programs is based on one of fourteen algorithms. Think of these algorithms as "master" programs that others are written from. Following is a brief rundown of the 14 algorithms.
Diatonic Shift: Pitch change for the musician. This one gets harmonies straight. If you're producing music, you'll like what this one does. There's not much use for it in commercial or promo production.
Layered Shift: This algorithm takes the left input and gives you two separate pitch shifted outputs. Each output has its own controls for pitch, delay, feedback, and mix level. Dual Shift: This algorithm offers two completely independent pitch shifters. The first uses the left input and output, the second uses the right input and output. Each has its own controls for pitch, delay, feedback, and mix level. This is just like having two separate pitch shifters. Stereo Shift: Like the dual shift but for use with true stereo inputs. When adjustment to pitch, delay, feedback, or mix is made, it affects both outputs simultaneously. Reverse Shift: This is a one-input two-output algorithm like the layered shift except the output is played backwards in segments as long as 1.4 seconds. You have independent control over feedback, pitch, mix, and the length of the sampled segment for both outputs. This is definitely one for creating weird effects.
Swept Combs: Delay heaven! This algorithm gives you six independent delay circuits, each with up to a 1/4 second delay and controls for feedback, left/right pan, mix levels and more. Much more! Use the left input to get six separate delays or use left and right inputs to get three separate delays for each. Introduce six independent sweep generators and you can spend a week playing with this one.
Swept Reverb: Much like the swept combs algorithm but with a reverb network added for greater fun! Again, six separate sweep generators with independent rate and depth controls add more than you'll have time to play with.