Review: Eventide Space Multi-Effects Pedal

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I’m very attached to the Eventide H3000 that lives at my studio. Some of my favorite go-to effects originate in this classic double rack-space digital behemoth.

Eventide Space stompbox ($499 retail)

A great deal of the Eventide experience comes from tweaking and interacting with the hundreds of presets that come loaded in the box. They have funny names like “lush life” and “layered shift” and “my bloody valentine” and “canyon” and they cover a lot of ground from subtle, usable room verbs to ridiculous, head-up-your-arse fun-blasts that aren’t so much usable as spatial effects as they are ear-tickling time suckers that you learn to love.

Eventide’s Space is the company’s play to put a lot of that crazy sonic diversity into a stompbox small enough to stuff in a gig bag. The Space also works equally well as a piece of outboard gear.

This is a versatile piece for musicians and recordists looking to drastically expand their sonic palates in the control room and on stage.

HAUNTING, HEAVENLY SOUNDS

Firstly allow me to simply declare that this thing sounds good. That’s what counts, right? Space features 12 of Eventide’s signature reverb combination algorithms culled from the H8000FW and Eclipse V4. Most of the sounds I was able to coax from it were convincing, full range and unique, be they swirling vortexes of galactic-apeshit or far more reasonable plates and rooms.

But, secondly, I must acknowledge that – running a very busy recording studio – I don’t have time to twiddle aimlessly with mysteriously named presets like “the fluffer” or “demon call” even though they might eventually wind up blowing my mind.  I’m interested in music and lyrics and performances and sounds, yes of course, sounds. In the world of effects, if I had to choose, I’d probably opt for a BX10 Spring or an Echoplex, two ancient uni-purpose monoliths, over something like the Eventide Space. But that’s just me. I’m certain many of the guitarists and songwriters I’ve worked with and many producer/engineers with more time and inclination to explore will be thrilled to the gills with this pedal.

Space, as with most of Eventide’s products, is not a one-trick pony. It is a complex and versatile unit that offers seemingly limitless options for tweaking, perfecting and obsessing over every sonic detail. If you have some time on your hands, this piece offers more than ample opportunity for discovery. And the great thing about Space is that no matter how weird and outlandish a particular preset may seem, there is always a way to rein it in, refine and tailor it to your very specific needs and tastes.

Some of my favorite patches in this sucker were the crazy ones. My friend Nate Martinez from Thieving Irons used the Space as a guitar pedal on a session at my studio and found a beautiful delay called “Nero’s Ascent” which seems to finish with a puff of pitched up reverb. It was a heavenly sound. I found myself going to the “Hey Honey” preset quite a bit for a haunting pitched reverb that added a real mysterious color to some mixes.

The “Spicy Spring” sounds like a spring-reverb on steroids which, to spring-reverb addicts like me, isn’t a bad thing. If you wanna take your mix on a one-way trip to the 1980s, the Space can take you there. “1985 Damage” is a wacky mid-80’s styled verb that when applied sparingly can induce a little Reagan-era spatial euphoria. And if you’re looking for a little bit of that Phil Collins gated reverb for your three and half bar tom-tom fill, try the “Phil McCavity” preset, designed by Alan Moulder and Flood, which really nails the “In the Air Tonight” sound.

UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF SPACE

It takes some work to unlock all the mysteries that this thing has to offer. I found the interface challenging to master and wound up engaged in wrestling-matches with menus and lost down dark digital alleyways when I was looking for something specific like a simple slap-back or a nice transparent room. Luckily the manual is richly detailed.

Eventide Space - back panel

And that being said, for the intrepid bedroom explorer who’s happy to search through menus and limitless tweakable options in search of an amazing signature guitar sound or vocal effect, the Space is place! Hey, sometimes the destination is the journey, right?

You might not only find your sound, but you could also stumble upon myriad other sounds that inspire a new part, a new composition, a whole new approach.

One other, minor gripe I have with the Space relates to something as simple as its power supply. I wish $500 pieces of gear could come equipped with standard AC power (like in an amplifier or most pro gear) rather than the clumsy wall wart power the Space comes with. Keep it simple. Keep it sturdy. Aside from that, the Space is decked out with anything you could possibly need from stereo ¼” ins and outs, to MIDI capability.

Click for more on the Eventide Space, and to behold some Space sounds. Space is available at Alto Music, and other major pro audio retailers, for $499.

Travis Harrison is owner/operator/producer/engineer at Serious Business Studios in SoHo, where he recently engineered records for The Cosmos, Doug Gillard, and Miniboone, and hosts the BreakThru Radio Show, “Serious Business on BTR.”

And watch Annie Clark of St. Vincent exploring the sounds of Eventide Space…

  •   A versatile piece for musicians and recordists looking to drastically
    expand their sonic palates in the control room and on stage.

  • Paul Abruzzo

    I have one and think it’s a phenomenal pedal.  The only problem being that it seems to have a serious lack of headroom, which as a guitar pedal I guess is expected but when run in line mode to use as an insert effect, it can be really frustrating.  I have to really pay attention to the reverb because it breaks up if pushed too hard.  It has a peak light, but it’s only for the input.  You have to use your ears and make sure the output isn’t breaking up.  

    This has whetted my appetite for the Eventide rack units.  I’d kill for a version of space built to studio specs with acceptable headroom. 

  • George Simpson

    This is very true. I use it in line mode, in a pedal level effects loop (the set up with most headroom), not great with dirt at all. I can step on it an level goes back down to clean volume…it does have individual volume control for patches though which means i have to set that and have patches especially for dirt, but the clip light comes on and the whole thing could turn to white noise mess at any moment…..

    …but still for clean ambient sounds its great…I think the strymon bigsky has analogue dry through-no problem which i guess is an upgrade if you don’t need dyna, trem, and mangled modes.