Reviewed by: Gabriel TanakaRating:5On Last modified:February 28, 2017
This review is something of a throwback. The Eventide Space has been around for a few years now, and these days plenty of builders are throwing their hats into the multi-algorithm reverb pedal arena. But we’re taking a look back and a look ahead for a few pivotal reasons. Some enthusiastic modern guitar players often get carried away with chasing the latest and greatest pedals, but that doesn’t always mean that what’s new is essentially better than what came before. Processing power is already at a level that can produce amazingly high-quality effects in the hands of the best DSP engineers. We’re at the point now that while the newest pedals may offer technically improved specs, the quality of sounds possible may not even be conceivably better by a significant degree if builders don’t have the expertise to make the most of the power that’s available.
Eventide has a reputation spanning several decades in which they have maintained their position on the cutting edge of digital effects algorithms. Their Harmonizer rack units are legendary. And their “Factor” series of pedals sealed their place as a leader in the field of digital guitar pedals. The Space was the final frontier of their large format stompbox series before the arrival of the H9 Harmonizer stompbox which can run all of the effects algorithms from Eventide’s entire stompbox lineup including Space. But the fact that Eventide still produces their entire pedal lineup should indicate that are perhaps still some advantages to owning one of their dedicated stompboxes, and Space is arguably the flagship offering from their original pedal lineup warranting this dedicated review as we assess its merits in the modern guitar pedal market.
- 12 Reverb Types: Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, BlackHole, Shimmer, Reverse, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, MangledVerb, DynaVerb, & TremoloVerb
- 100 Presets, including Artist presets
- Studio Quality Sound
- Instant Program Change
- Real-time control with 10 knobs, MIDI or expression pedal
- Tap Tempo and MIDI Clock Sync/Generate
- True Analog Bypass
- Rugged cast metal construction
- Metal foot-switches for instant Preset access
- Mono or Stereo operation
- Guitar or Line Level Inputs and Outputs
- Programmable HotSwitch
Sound & Performance:
There is a clear distinguishing factor (no pun intended) setting Eventide stompboxes apart from many others. It’s simply their ultra high-quality algorithms which are more akin to what you’d find in a high-end digital studio environment than a guitar pedal. Considering Eventide’s experience making cutting edge digital effects algorithms for their acclaimed rack processors, it’s no surprise that the reverb algorithms in Space contain a level of detail that still surpasses what you’ll find in many other reverb pedals in 2017.
Let’s talk about a few of Space’s standout reverb effects in no particular order.
I’ve always loved a good hall reverb. For big cavernous ambience or that concert hall sound, a hall ‘verb is what you need. But the general issue I have with nearly all hall reverbs is that the sound can often be too cluttered or messy to warrant much applicable use. A hall reverb can dominate your mix if you let it get out of control. Space’s EQ section gives you discreet control of the Low, Mid, & High levels for creating a well composed hall sound. In addition to having a master Decay control, you can even increase the decay of the high and low bands individually. Combining longer Decay and more High and/or Low level settings with a restrained Contour (Mid Level) lets you create potentially massive hall reverbs that won’t drown out your guitar.
Plate reverbs typically have a more controlled response than halls, adding a characteristically bigger presence to your guitar sound. Space’s Plate algorithm nails the essentials, providing a smooth metallic sheen behind your playing. The Contour knob acts as a Tone control in conjunction with the other EQ knobs’ High & Low Damping functions to dial in a range of brighter or warmer reverb tones. Essential to this algorithm is the Delay knob, letting you add a pre-delay to the ambience to place the reverb up to 1500mS away from your playing. With shorter to moderate Delay settings you can set up a nice rhythmic placement of the ‘verb to sit along with your music.
Okay, there aren’t many digital spring reverbs I find myself interested in, but the one in Space is excellent. There are parameters to set the number of springs (1-3), spring tension, and resonance. High and Low damping is present. Decay and Mix round out the parameters for dialing in traditional spring reverb effects. The sounds can get pretty splashy, particularly when using 2 or 3 springs with the Tension dialed in just right. The X & Y knobs let you added a vintage style tremolo to the reverb, and FxMix brings in some additional modulation. You can tweak these with higher tension settings to get some weird sounds, but most guitarists will probably be happy getting a solid spring reverb that’s pristinely clean and playable that doesn’t require a dedicated analog spring reverb unit to use when inspiration strikes.
Space has one of the best reverse reverbs around. Decay sets the length of the rising reverse reverb. The Size knob lets you apply additional reverb after the reverse swell. The Delay knob is a feedback control to repeat the reverse swell kind of like a reverse delay effect. Particularly interesting is the Resonance parameter which will let you achieve smoother swells or a mechanical sounding buzzing reverb swell. This is a very versatile reverse reverb.
The BlackHole algorithm is arguably the Space’s flagship reverb. This modern classic sound derived from the Eventide H8000 is a huge hall-esque reverb that’s been pushed into the stratosphere and beyond. The Gravity and Inverse Gravity modes adjust the decay response of a gargantuan ambience. The Size increases the depth to cosmic proportions. A Feedback parameter lets it trail into infinity. This is a killer ‘verb for ambient guitarists as it’ll suck your guitar into the vacuum of space, in a musical way that is.
The Space’s Shimmer algorithm is one of the best shimmers I’ve ever heard. It gives you twin voices spanning -2 to +2 octaves. The pitch shifted ‘verb is incredibly smooth and glitch-free, not surprising considering Eventide’s leading expertise in digital pitch shifting. The sounds are surreal and beautiful for some of the most majestic shimmer reverb you’ll ever experience.
Those are some of my personal favorite reverbs that Space has to offer, but there are some other gems in here. The Room is particularly nice, simulating the indispensable qualities of a guitar being played in a small to medium sized acoustic space. MangledVerb adds distortion to reverb for some cool gritty textures. The TremoloVerb adds aggressive tremolo modulation to chop up your trails and includes several waveform options. ModEchoVerb adds echo with modulation for a killer multi-effect (gotta try the flange mode!). DualVerb combines two reverbs in one algorithm for complex reverb sounds; ou can activate a Freeze on either or both reverbs for huge layering possibilities. The DynaVerb combines Eventide’s Eclipse reverb with an Eventide Omnipressor variation for dynamic reverb effects and gated reverb; you can even use the Omnipressor alone as a compressor or limiter.
An underestimated aspect of many reverb pedals that plays a key role in what makes Space’s ‘verbs sound so good in use is the EQ section. The placement of your reverb in a mix is vital for achieving a balanced sound that doesn’t cause a conflict in the frequency spectrum. This applies whether you’re playing solo guitar or in a full band setting. Many reverb pedals are severely lacking in this area. You’re often limited in the tone adjustment area and are left with a generic Mix control for setting how much reverb you want. Space’s flexibility in this area gives you vital control for a reverb that will nearly always sit perfectly with your instrument.
Performing with Space
There are several noteworthy options that make Space a reverb well-suited for live performance. If you generally don’t use much reverb or just need a decent spring or room ‘verb sound, these features may not much use to you. But if you’re a guitarist who’s looking to take your atmospheric guitar-scapes to new heights, you’ll most likely appreciate what Space has to offer.
There are two operating modes for live performance: Play and Preset Mode. Preset Mode lets you use the foot-switches to select and recall presets. Play Mode gives you a couple handy real-time performance options: Tap & HotSwitch. The Tap function lets you tap in a tempo and generally works with the Delay to create custom offset reverb for rhythmic placement. The HotSwitch lets you instantly recall a second set of parameter values for creative reverb adjustment on the fly. This is particularly useful for creating sudden Freeze effects or changing from a mild to more intense reverb sound. You can easily select between Play and Preset Mode by simply pressing and holding the right foot-switch for a moment.
If you need more live flexibility, there are still more options to dive into. The Aux Switch jack lets you plug in up to 3 momentary foot-switches for taking control of various functions. For example, you could access the Space’s onboard foot-switches to scroll through and select presets and the Barn3 OX System to access the HotSwitch and Tap functions. There’s also an expression pedal input that lets you control multiple parameters in real-time. And that’s not to mention the MIDI possibilities which let you take full control of Space from an external MIDI controller or other MIDI source. You’re in for a long voyage once you blast off with this pedal.
Space as an Outboard Processor
Considering that Eventide is well-known for their iconic rack gear, it’s worth exploring the possibilities of Space for outboard reverb processing. The stereo inputs & outputs have options for guitar/amp configurations or line level signals so you easily apply Space in a mixer’s send & return loop. You can also set up external effects with most DAWs (like Ableton Live) to use Space in a production environment. You can activate Space’s Killdry function to eliminate any dry signal at the outputs. Then crank the Global Mix parameter and use the mixer or DAW to set how much reverb from Space is blended in with your audio material.
Space Vs H9
As mentioned previously the Space came out before the H9, and the H9 Max contains all of the algorithms from Space (plus the H9 exclusive SpaceTime, a unique delay, reverb, & modulation algorithm). So are there any distinct reasons to go with Space over the H9? There are a few noteworthy advantages, the most important of which is the tactile control the Space stompbox offers without needing an external app. If you like the twist and turn functionality of using real knobs as opposed to a mouse or touchscreen, you’ll appreciate using Space. It is indeed easier to get the creative process going when you don’t have to launch an app to intricately adjust the pedal. In that regard, the Space and other Factor series pedals offer a quicker, more intuitive approach to sound design. Also, if you primarily need just reverb sounds, the Space will more than cover that sole duty. And if you weren’t intended to spring for the H9 Max to get all of the available algorithms, you’ll appreciate the fact that all of the Space’s reverb sounds are included right out of the box. The biggest advantages of going the H9 route are its smaller size, vast array of algorithms, and getting SpaceTime if you think you’ll want that extra reverb algorithm.
Considering that the H9 holds its own against other reverb pedals available today, it needs to be understood that the Space is right up there with it and may even be a better option if you just need reverb sounds and will appreciate quick access to the extensive parameters available. And while some reverb pedals are now offering flashy features like speaker emulation and more algorithms, the quality of Space’s sounds still edges out most of the competition, often by more than a marginal degree. It’s highly unlikely that Space’s algorithms will being sounding stale anytime soon, and this pedal remains one of the best reverb pedals on the market for ambient obsessed guitarists.
The Eventide Space is a masterpiece of exceptional reverb algorithms and offers enough interstellar possibilities to be your go-to ‘verb of choice for a long time to come. The sounds produced indicate an attention to sonic detail that most builders can’t come close to rivaling. The vast array of knob parameters give it a depth and ease of use that eclipses other multi-algorithm reverb pedals. The vibrant and clearly visible 12 digit screen makes navigating and creating presets very intuitive. It can be argued that Space contains perhaps the best hall, plate, and shimmer reverbs you’ll find in a multi-algorithm reverb pedal, and let’s not forget the innovative BlackHole reverb. The biggest competition for Space isn’t other builders’ reverb pedals, but Eventide’s own H9, and the matter of which is the better option for reverb seeking guitarists comes down to whether or not you want Space’s tactile knob control or H9’s smaller size and SpaceTime algorithm. Either way, Space stands as reverb pedal that every guitarist should experience, and the quality of its sounds warrant no less than a perfect score.
That concludes our Eventide Space review. Thanks for reading.