New gear day – Eventide Pitchfactor
Just by chance, I mailed one of my favorite local dealers Blackwood Guitars to ask them that when the Pitchfactors did indeed arrive, how much would they be, since (if I may admit to a bit of a GAS frenzy this year) I was seriously toying with the idea of buying one from the U.S. online since I was not sure if I could wait till July when they had last said they were expecting them. I got a reply saying that two of them had *just* arrived the day before and I immediately asked them to reserve one for me, which they kindly did.
Here it is, on top of my 20 year old Passion & Warfare tab book. You can see that it is about 2.5 times the width of a BOSS pedal. The first thing I did was to hook it up and dig around for the Steve Vai Ballerina patch so I could play that cute little ditty from P&W, and it sounded exactly like the record (sonically at least, since I flubbed it all over the place and don’t know at least half of the tune…).
Anyway, first impressions with physical gripes first:
Hmm.. this is my first Eventide stompbox; no interest in the Modfactor or Timefactor. Helloooo?! Eventide?! How much research did you do into pedalboard conventions? Input jacks go on the right side (as you face the pedal), *not* the left. Almost every pedal ever created has the input jack on the right so they all link up nicely in a chain in one direction. Eventide’s bizarre design decision to put them on the far left will mean lots of crossed over cables. Add to this that the 4 input and output jacks (this is a stereo pedal) are too close for the user to be able to use space-saving flat-head jacks and this stompbox might end up hogging a lot of real estate on a pedalboard, and having an ugly mass of crossing over wire coming out of the back of it. Again, on the ‘conventions’ theme, Eventide goes against the grain by covering most of the base of the unit in some grippy rubber. Great if you are using it standalone, but if you want to mount it on a pedalboard with any kind of velcro, Dual Lock or similar, then sorry, but it just ain’t gonna stick. Better to have some removable little rubber feet or something. These might seem like minor complaints, but they add up to big inconveniences for gear obsessives who want their boards to be perfect. Final gripe is on the power supply. Why do these guys (TC Electronic also take note) insist on using some non-standard voltage or current draw that means you have to use their own cheap shitty PSU instead of being able to plug it to a Voodoo Pedal Power or TREX Fuel Tank? Must try harder.
Anyway – since I spent so much time whining, I didn’t have that much time to spend learning how the thing worked, but a bit of rooting around amongst the various bits of different-sized card and photocopied paper (guys, just stick them into the one user manual) got me access to the presets which I started churning through. Having had a BOSS PS-5 as my last harmonizing device, the sounds emanating from the PitchFactor were a bit of a revelation. None of the PS-5’s metallic artificial sound, but sweet sounding complementary notes with good separation on the voices. Caveat – doesn’t handle chords or multiple notes well (which I believe is common to all guitar harmonizers) and you will hear some weirdness if you try to play such as the device tries to figure out what you meant. I will spend more time delving around with it this evening (having just read the manual on the way in today I now know how to unlock the other 80 presets) but I liked the Crystals effects, the diatonic one will be of great use to me, the Harpeggiator looks like you could waste many years playing with just that alone, the Quadravox sounds suitably Brian Mayish and so forth – in other words, first listens to the included sounds are very positive and I think it will be some time before I have to learn how to program the thing myself given the richness of what is already included.