BLACK HOLE Ambient Study Inspired with Eventide H9 MAX

Whereas most reverb effects are designed to emulate real spaces or plates, Black Hole is intended to create more abstract spatial effects for use in sound design or experimental music.

Spaces and Times

The reverb controls on offer mix the familiar with the weird. The Mix, Size, High and Low EQ and Pre-delay parameters all do what you expect, but the Gravity knob is not quite so commonplace. It turns out to be the Black Hole’s equivalent of decay time, but it also switches the algorithm from a conventional reverb in one half of its travel to a reverse-envelope type in the other.

At no time does the reverb time ever get short enough to be termed modest! Size, predictably enough, adjusts the subjective size of the synthesized environment, spacing out the reflections at higher settings and bunching them up at smaller settings. At the smallest size setting, the reverb sounds like the inside of a coffee tin!

There’s also an innocent-looking Tempo button. When this is switched off, the pre-delay time is shown in milliseconds, up to a maximum of two seconds. In Tempo Sync mode, the pre-delay tempo is locked to that of the host DAW, and the Pre-delay value is measured in musical beats. In Tempo Manual mode, the tempo is set by entering your own numerical value, up to a maximum of 300bpm, the Pre-delay control again being used to set the beat division.

Of course, there’s more to the Black Hole than big reverbs with tempo-synced pre-delay. The weirdness factor comes largely from the reverse reverbs and the modulation section, where Mod Depth and Mod Rate parameters affect the reverb tail in a more-or-less chorus-like manner. Used gently, this can emulate the modulation found in more ‘normal’ studio reverbs, but there’s enough range to produce more obvious churning effects.

There’s also Resonance, which peaks up the resonance of the high and low filters, so even the EQ is not as conventional as it might first appear. A Kill button mutes the the dry input to the reverb section, so you can audition the way the reverb tail decays, while Freeze mutes the input and causes the current state of the reverb tail to be perpetuated until the next power cut. Then there’s Feedback, which just loops the whole shooting match, to further magnify the sense of enormity!

None More

I’m sure Black Hole will get a lot of use on my next ‘music to soak lentils by’ instrumental album. A simple clean guitar can be transformed into a vast atmospheric soundscape, but by the same token you can also turn things a touch sinister by heaping on the resonance, feedback and modulation depth, if you feel that way inclined. In fact, I spent rather longer playing around with the sounds than I intended to, a sure sign that I’m having a good time. Overall, I loved the massive reverbs, and also found the morphing ribbon to be a useful and creative tool.