Eventide’s Five Decades Of Dominance

17 Oct 2016

Eventide is one of the recording industry’s most respected brands, and like many pro audio companies, it came from humble beginnings with bright ideas. The company was founded in a New York City basement in 1971, and their first products, the Instant Phaser and Instant Flanger, took state-of-the-art (for the time) time-based processing technology and made it musical, hassle-free and, as their name suggests, instant. Musical tastemakers were quick to embrace the sound of Eventide’s new audio processors, and you can hear these early effects on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ and on David Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’, among many other classic recordings.

Another one of Eventide’s early products was the H910 Harmonizer®, which is still regarded a studio stalwart to the present day. It was the world’s first commercially available digital effects unit, and gave engineers a world of different sounds in one box. Since then, Eventide’s studio processors, stompboxes and plugins have been heard on countless hit records by many famed artists, producers and engineers.

“Eventide’s mantra has always been "the next step," says Nalia Sanchez. “At our founding there was simply no digital audio. In the late sixties a new type of transistor, the JFET, was introduced, and our founder Richard Factor came up with the idea of using this new piece of analogue electronics to simulate tape flanging. He used that technology to design the Instant Phaser in 1971. A few years later, shift registers and D-A converters were introduced, making a simple digital delay possible. Next, Random Access Memory (RAM) became available, and the H910 Harmonizer® was developed as a result. Later, TRW introduced a chip that could multiply two digital numbers really fast (way before DSP chips) and we took the next step: reverb. And so it goes. When new technology becomes available, we try to use it for something new; we take ‘the next step.’”

As part of the Focusrite Plugin Collective, we teamed up with Eventide to bring you the 2016 Stereo Room plugin, a reverb derived from the original SP2016 rackmount unit, which offered parametric control of the reverb effect. The original 2016 Stereo Room was an EPROM: a hardware chip that could be used to expand the hardware’s capabilities, which plugged into a socket inside the unit. As such, Eventide claim it as the world's first audio plugin. Stereo Room was crafted to simulate a seemingly simple thing that most engineers desire: a great-sounding room. Delay lengths, reflections, and other properties of the virtual space were carefully considered in the room modeling, and the result is a very natural-sounding and distinctive reverb. The ‘position’ control in particular was an important innovation, giving recording professionals the ability to realistically move the listener within the simulated room.

To find out more about the Focusrite Plugin Collective, simply head to https://www.focusrite.com/plugin-collective.