Harmonizer Hardware

i’ve been using a free harmonizer/pitch-shifter plugin to process vocal and trumpet recordings at home, but i’m interested in picking up a hardware version (probably a pedal-style unit) to use in a live setting. unfortunately, just about all of the vocal-focused harmonizers i can find only really allow 3rd-5th-Octave intervals, but i’m looking for interested in something that allows me to use other intervals. i don’t know anything about the world of “guitar pedal” pitch shifters/harmonizers - that may be appropriate, but i’m not sure.

what experiences have people had with hardware harmonizers? what are their pros and cons?

Love the eventide pitchfactor. Has all kinds of configurability for smart harmonizing. Was the only pedal I kept after the big pedal purge of 2015.

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Of course the ‘standard’ - as used by Jon Hassell (Hassell’s sound is famously based on 5ths & 7ths on the trumpet), Eno ,Fripp & many others back in the day was Eventide.

I’ve only used the software versions but I understand that the H9 pedal - which people seem to really like - also can have the algorithm (the h9 has a kind of ‘app store’ arrangement)

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Can’t recommend the Pitchfactor enough. After the H9 came out you can pick them up for pretty cheap. They do excellent delays, reverb, or Whammy style effects as well.

BTW - fairly sure all the Eventide Algorithms are based on similar code - so you are looking for the hardware ‘container’ that gives you the best value

For many years I used a Boss ME-80 for my guitar, which has a harmonizer among many other effects. It only does thirds and octaves, but you can set any major key, so you can do some cool modal stuff with a little creativity.

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The H9 indeed contains more or less the same exact algorithms as the 'factor series boxes (and then a few more, besides), but if you’re only really looking for pitch shifting, a used Pitchfactor is a better idea since it has hands-on control of every knob whereas the H9 requires you to use an app or click a few buttons to access all the parameters from it’s single knob.

As for their algorithms, they’re beautiful on vocals, instruments, basically anything that’s monophonic. There are a handful of situations in which the algorithm works “okish” with polyphonic sources but in general as long as it’s monophonic, it’ll track and shift and shimmer and glisten and tune and tweak to your heart’s content. As @junklight said, Eventide is the gold standard for portable pitch effects.

If you want to go one notch higher, the Eventide H3000 and Eclipse v4 are rackmountable hardware units that go far beyond the stompboxes in terms of flexibility and algorithm design, allowing much more customization and flexibility, but of course they are larger and costlier.

All Eventide gear is extensively MIDIable in realtime for even further pedalboard interaction or DAW integration, too.

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Has anyone played with the EHX Pitch Fork?

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I had a pitchfork and a micro pog. They both tracked pretty well. I’ve seen horn players use them too. Definitely more affordable than the Eventide stuff although they are the longtime standard.

An ehx HOG would also be pretty wild.

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I love my TC Helicon VoiceLive 3. The Harmony feature can be based off of MIDI notes or set to a pretty wide range of intervals. I’ve only ever used it for vocals, but I’m itching to run my Prophet through it.

Definitely overkill if all you want is harmonies, though—it’s got amp simulators, reverb, chorus, all sorts of stuff.

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I’m using the Red Panda Tensor with my wind instrument sounds. I can also say that the EHX Pitchfork is worth looking into.

I use an H9 but the cheap (99 euro) TC Electronic Quintessence should not be underestimated. It’s got Toneprint, so you can define your own intervals. It’s really fun. My only niggle is when you rotate the Harmony knob to switch between interval presets there’s a brief moment of silence.

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Might be worth looking into older rack-mount vocal FX if you have the space. I got a TC Helion Voiceone at a car boot sale for £50 a few years ago… cost £1000+ in the 90s :smiley: and is extremely editable vs pedal units i’ve seen. don’t know for sure if it does the intervals you want (or what an interval even is tbh, i just use mine for weird time+pitchstretched feedback noise hah) but I imagine so, you can push the settings pretty far

I’m keen to resurrect this topic. I have multiple Eventide pedals: Pitchfactor and a couple of H9 Max but still it’s really difficult to get the Hassell or Sam Gendel effect. The Pitchfactor is much more delay based, pitched reverb or maybe delays into reverb? Sam Gendel also makes use of a Boss SG-1 which is a big part of the sound. Also worth considering the sound source: plucked/impact over breath control.

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