MusicianFinder.com - Get Your Jam On  
Services for Musicians
  Home > Reviews > Recording > Plug-Ins:


Eventide Blackhole Reverb
Review by: James Linton

  WIHO  
             
  Features  Usability  Sound  Documentation & Product Support  Price
Other Comments  Contact Info  Overall Rating—Product Summary
 
             
             
   

Eventide Blackhole Reverb Plug-in

“Pigs… In… Space…” anyone that remembers that Muppet Show classic will no doubt enjoy Eventide’s Blackhole plugin. The Eventide legacy precedes everything they release, and that is no exception, with a trek into the outer reaches of the reverb universe!

This sumptuous sounding software will add a boutique spatial effect tool bag to your arsenal for years to come. Blackhole is not a traditional reverb plug-in (classic halls, plates etc.). Instead, it specializes in creating bizarre and far reaching spatial dimensions sure to peek imagination and creativity, as well as sound design.

Much of this has to do with the fact that Blackhole is based on presets from vintage Eventide hardware such as the DSP 4000 and the H8000, and if you’ve heard the Blackhole algorithm in the H9 or Space effect pedals, you’ll already have a clue as to the kinds of ethereal ambiance this plug-in will deliver. But this isn’t just a stompbox turned into a plug. It is a natural expansion of a great idea into something that is inspirational as much as it is captivating.

With a plethora of mind boggling presets, smart metering, easy programmability, and an intuitive user interface, Blackhole is a pleasure to work with. In fact, the design, sound, and functionality make this an indispensable tools for professionals in audio engineering, post production, and even the project studio.

So buckle up, pay no mind to the suspension wires dangling above our plastic space craft, and prepare for the journey of a life time. A launch into deep space awaits those who process their audio with the Eventide Blackhole.


Features

3.5 Stars

Blackhole features classic reverbs in a sense, but not in the traditional way of understanding reverb. Specifically, hall, cathedral, plate and room style reverbs can be heard, just not as expected in a standard application or naming convention. For example, with Blackhole, you wouldn’t think, “I need a hall reverb here.” Instead, you would think in terms of what kind of cavernous environment you want to place your source in, and perhaps a hall may be the flavor of reverb that a particular preset utilizes. This has to do with the fact that the Blackhole is a plug-in version of the very popular preset from the Eventide DSP 4000 and the H8000 devices, not to mention a lust-worthy preset in Eventide’s Space guitar effects pedal. Accordingly, the features are more about modification of the Blackhole sound and algorithm rather than typical reverb choices. With that said, Blackhole boasts several helpful features:

Meters: graphic representation of levels before and after the reverb effect.
Mix: for control of wet and dry signal amounts, particularly useful and fun with automation, and also useful because you don’t have to run parallel processing.
Gravity: this is another name for decay time, but it also has an inverse feature, which creates a lot of interesting reverse effects.
Size: the equivalent of choosing a room or ambience size in a standard reverb but with ridiculous head room for bigger-than-life spaces.
Pre-delay: from 0-2,000ms when not in tempo mode, which syncs with your session.
Low: controls how much low frequency is in the reverb trail, and can also be used nicely with automation to create rumbling swells. The corner is 350 Hz.
High: the mirror opposite of the low feature, this adds some nice sizzle, and is also helpful in emulating plate reverbs. The corner is 2000 Hz.
Mod depth: The modulation depth can greatly affect the reverb trail and where the space seems to be placed, or how the motion is perceived. It’s very helpful for creating space in a mix.
Mod rate: this controls the relative speed of the modulation in a reverb trail, providing a great way to subtly adjust the “splash” of a trail.
Resonance: this controls the high and low filters. It’s great for creating interesting filtering effects that are especially popular in modern mixes.
Kill: they don’t have bypass switches for no reason, and this provides a great way to audition sounds and double check your reverb trails.
Freeze: probably our favorite “feature.” This allows the input to freeze and sets the reverb trail to infinity, a great way to add specific craziness to a word or the end of a song.
Ribbon: this feature is great for modifying one or more of the unit’s knobs simultaneously, both in real time or via automation. You set a starting point and ending point for all of the parameters and by clicking one, Blackhole moves all of them to their programmed location.
Hot switch: like a toggle switch that goes back and forth between your modified effect and the selected preset.

Overall the feature set is pretty straightforward, and numerous presets serve as a good starting point as you delve into the plug-in’s usability. The only possible downside to Blackhole is its limited usability. Not in terms of capabilities, but in terms of practicality. It generates incredible reverbs and is a great sound design tool. However, it’s not the kind of reverb you’d reach for on every session—unless you’re composing ambient, new age soundtracks, of course. This is no slam on what Blackhole is good at. It’s just more of a luxury item rather than an essential mix tool (like the recently reviewed Eventide H3000 Factory, for example).


Usability

4 Stars

We tested Eventide Blackhole in a Pro Tools 11 HD Native environment as a plug-in on our studio’s custom-built Windows PC (Intel Xeon 10-core 2.6 GHz). Installation was a no-brainer, as the plug-in used our iLok 2 for authorization.

The Blackhole plug-in performed exceptionally well, never caused a crash, and was very light on CPU usage. For audio professionals this is an obvious advantage but even for those with a modest amount of CPU power Blackhole isn’t the kind of plug in you would normally use on a ton of tracks anyway, so have no fear!

We found the workflow within Pro Tools to be straightforward, with easy access to presets, as well as to automation. This enabled us to dive in and get lost in the abyss of the Blackhole.

We appreciated that presets were logically divided into three groups: Divine, Inserts, and Sends.

Eventide Blackhole Presets

The preset group’s functions coincide with their names for even easier operation. On top of that, new custom presets fall just beneath the stock presets, like the one we created and named “Circular Hall 2.”

Eventide Blackhole Custom Presets

When we started selecting presets, it was a breeze to quickly scroll through and discover many amazing sounds. The interface is extremely immediate in nature, with all the adjustments one could hope for laid out mirroring a simple analog interface.

The Ribbon feature was especially cool to use (that glowing, blue, vertical line in the plug-in’s interface). We could slide the ribbon indicator along its path or simply automate even the most random of adjustments.

Eventide Blackhole Ribbon


Sound


4 Stars

The overall sound quality of Blackhole was impressive and very smooth. This plug-in does one thing extremely well: generate hug,e cavernous reverbs and spaces! For lack of better way to put it, you will never need another plug-in for huge spaces once you’ve tried this plug-in on your tracks.

The transitions from wet to dry as well as reverb trails are extremely transparent and unobtrusive. We found that even when used with extreme decay, a track didn’t get lost or overtaken. Blackhole sat well in the mix and added exactly what was needed when deep space exploration was needed.

At a first glance, you might think of Blackhole as merely being a plug-in version of the Eventide Space pedal, and to a certain extent, if that is what you desire, you won’t be disappointed. Still, if only thought of as guitar effect, a huge opportunity for sound design and creative effects will be missed.

For example, we purposely focused on vocals and just about anything but guitar in our testing phase just to see if it was applicable beyond that sphere. We love it! One shining example was our use of Blackhole on a mix featuring San Francisco Bay-area artist, Natalyn Daniels.

The track called “Grounded” was in dire need of something “different” for the ending, and without hesitation we used Blackhole to make the final statement. Check out the mixed, vocal-only ending to hear what Blackhole can do:

Eventide Blackhole Sample

If you listen closely to the vocal-only segment, you can hear how we automated the high filter to come up as the reverb trail fades. It was a very subtle yet effective artistic device. Additionally, notice that the reverb did not overtake the full mix in spite of its extreme decay and wetness.

 

Demo of the Eventide Blackhole Reverb plug-in courtesy of Eventide.


Documentation and Product Support


3.5 Stars

Like the best companies, Eventide has extensive online documentation, an in-depth user manual, and links to useful videos.


Price


3 Stars

Blackhole sells for $199, which is priced well for the project studio, is also half the cost of a Space pedal, but there are quite a few similar plug-ins priced much lower. For the working mix engineer, though, this is an Eventide tool that will be used sparingly, but joyously.


Contact Information

Eventide
www.eventideaudio.com



   
   
Category Value Rating
Features 20% 3.5 Stars
Usability 25% 4.0 Stars
Sound 25% 4.0 Stars
Documentation & Support 10% 3.5 Stars
Price 20% 3 Stars

Overall: 3.6 Stars, which earns it a WIHO Award!

3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended

 

 
  Evaluation Short-List
 
  • Valahalla Shimmer
  • Waves R-verb
  • Relab LX480
  • Rob Papen RP-Verb
   
   

 

James Linton, owner of Soundwaves Productions and Soundwaves Recording Studio in Gilbert, Arizona, is a noted producer, mix engineer, and recording artist with many independent, national and international credits. Contact him via www.soundwavesrecordingstudio.com or www.facebook.com/soundwavesaz.

   
             
             
  About Us    Advertise with Us    Contact Us
 
   
  © 2017 MusicPlayers.com LLC. All rights reserved.