Eventide BlackHole Plug-in
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Blackhole Native plug-in (ver 1.0.1) for AAX, AU or VST is a new effect plug-in from Eventide based on their popular stomp box pedal. By design, stomp pedals are easy to use, intuitive and instant--turn a knob, punch a button--achieve a sound without thinking about it too much! Both the Blackhole pedal and now the plug-in use the underlying algorithm(s) from Eventide's super high-end DSP4000 and H8000 studio hardware effect units but constrain (as opposed to dumbed downed) the complexity, DSP usage and editing depth of those units to offer an intuitive and easy-to-use, live performance-oriented reverb processor.
Selling at $99, Blackhole has 19 automatable reverb parameters--all the usual suspects along with the cleverly designed Gravity parameter that combines reverb decay time, density and reverb type. The Gravity knob settings range from very beautiful reverbs with high densities and smooth decays to a parallel universe of striking reverse/inverse reverbs. I like the way I could set up to the 2 seconds of pre-delay time available. With Tempo mode off, pre-delay times are set in milliseconds. With Tempo mode on, session sync'd pre-delay times or manually set delays are entering by typing in or mousing up/down as beat subdivisions.
The virtual Ribbon Controller is borrowed from early synths and mimics touching and moving a finger (only with your mouse) over a large swipe strip that runs the entire width of the GUI. With RC, any number of selected parameters will change value within a pre-determined range and direction all at the same time! In terms of live interaction with a reverb plug-in, this is as good as it gets!
I also liked using the Hotswitch button for selecting a single set of pre-arranged parameter settings instantly and "on the fly". This is like having two Blackhole pedals or plug-ins running and switching between them instantly--there is no waiting for another preset to load--all controls knobs slew to new positions instantly. I found it useful for guitar solos or other standouts I would like to dramatize at certain moments in my Pop music mixes yet retain Blackhole's charm and character otherwise! Since it 'bypasses' and automatable, I worked on the exact settings of the Hotswitched parameters as I progressed to the conclusion of the mix project.
Other cool buttons are both Kill and Freeze. Kill mutes the input signal to Blackhole so that the reverb tail decays out as programmed and the Freeze mode is reminiscent of the Infinite mode in the Lexicon PCM70 hardware reverb from the mid-eighties. Freeze suspends reverb's tail, level and sound for as long as your mouse stays clicked on the Freeze button. New audio entering the event horizon of Blackhole is subsumed into the singularity of the Freeze's Higgs Field.
Much more about Blackhole and Eventide's Native versions of two classic studio effect units just out, the Omnipressor and 2016 reverbs at: www.eventide.com.
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