Eventide Clockworks bundle review

What is it?
Eventide Audio celebrates its 50th anniversary with the introduction of the Eventide Clockworks Bundle, bringing DAW users a virtual rack full of the ground-breaking effects processors that propelled Eventide to success.

What’s great?
This is a great collection that does indeed represent some major milestones in sound technology, all faithfully recreated by Eventide. Each unit has been carefully emulated and then adapted into a practical software device, with new additions to open up either new possibilities or making more of existing features.

What’s not?
For the modern user, some of the effects may seem too subtle or lacking in features, however, these are emulations of classic units, and remain faithful to those rackmount units.

The bottom line:
If you want to pick up a quality bundle of classic vintage effects adapted to be still relevant in the currently crowded market-place then this bundle is worth checking out. The bundle will also be available on a discounted introductory offer.

The verdict

With March marking 50 years since the launch of their first product, Eventide has put together the ‘Clockworks’ bundle of eight iconic and ground-breaking effects processors. I am not usually one to repeat manufacturers claims of importance, but when Eventide talk of each of these eight processors representing a creativity-unleashing ‘milestone’ I can only agree!

Eventide Clockworks bundle review

It is difficult to retrospectively gauge the impact of a product as many arrive with a flash and then disappear. This bundle is a testament to the products included which still stand up today as not just important, but still, on the whole, very relevant and usable devices.

So, what is included? It is easiest to start chronologically with the first product, released in 1971 under the name Eventide Clockworks, The Instant Phaser. This has claims to be the first ‘rack mount’ effects unit, it was not the first phaser, but it was the first to be built to ‘studio standards, and in a professional format sized box, the 19” rack. It was part of a range of devices that during the 1970s were to revolutionise the recording/mixing process. If you look at any photograph of a studio control room from this period you will most likely see one, if not several, of Eventide Clockworks (as the company was then known) devices.

The Instant Phaser used analogue all-pass filters to recreate the popular effect that was primarily being achieved by manipulating analogue tape machines, the ‘Instant’ referring, no doubt, to the ease at which this could now be achieved with just this one ‘effects’ unit. It has to be noted as well that this was at the beginning of hardware studio effects. The Instant Phaser was always a very versatile device and with the new version offering a few more features including an ‘age’ control. As you move increasingly to ‘old’ the sound becoming suitably decrepit, adding character to the sound. The phasers ability to be easily triggered by internal and external sources has always been a benefit and this unit has several useful presets dedicated to this use.

The next unit the Omnipressor, from 1974, was one of the first attempts to control all aspects of signal dynamics in a single unit. Still sort-after now, the plug-in offers a wide range of presets which help you get the best out of the unit. I particularly liked the drum presets which, in particular, the ‘Infinite compressor’, I found worked well.

One of the most significant units of the decade, the H910 Harmonizer, appeared in 1974 and was soon being adopted for a wide variety of uses as it offered ‘de-glitched’ pitch change with delay and feedback. It had a two-octave range and up to 112.5 seconds of delay. It was conceived as a harmony processor, but its versatility saw it being adopted for many uses from descending arpeggios to becoming the ‘voice’ of many a sci-fi robot! I was introduced to one in my first recording session as the ‘magic fairy dust box’! I have several emulations so was interested to see if this version matched my ‘magical’ memories!

I am glad to say it did. The doubling effect, that I found best achieved when you had the pitch numbers flickering off unison pitch (100 on the display) to just above or below (101/99), is emulated well. I know that pitch manipulation is more advanced these days, but this is a recognisable ‘sound’ with character and depth that I find very pleasing and musical.

If you were ever a fan of using the H910 for ‘dub-style’ pitch effects, delaying the repeat to produce rising or falling pitches, then this is captured nicely,  with the simple controls being easy and fast to manipulate.

The next unit is the Instant Flanger. The all-pass filters of the instant phaser were unable to truly create the ‘true’ time-based emulation of tape flanging (so named as it involved gently manipulating the flange of the tape spool). This method introduced a slight delay to the signal resulting in the recognisable phase cancellation. The Instant Flanger utilised the newly developed ‘bucket brigade’ IC’s to recreate the effect to great success, another ‘Instant’ effect, again in the characteristic black Clockworks rack unit. The emulation here adds some extra controls allowing you to low-cut the signal, useful for those ’12-string’ type sounds. There are also extra options, similar to the Instant Phaser, allowing you to trigger the effect in different ways. Again, the unit captures my memory of the unit well.

The last of the ‘rack units’ is the H949 which, when released in 1977, upgraded and updated the H910 Harmonizer. By now singers were asking for the Harmonizer by name, the unit had become synonymous without a certain seductive thickening quality that gave depth to vocals, without the need to layer multiple tracks of vocal takes. The H949 had a host of new tricks up its sleeve, including ‘reverse delays’ and several other features that made it even better for ‘automatic double tracking’ of not just vocals, but instruments.

Going through the presets was a treat as so many recognisable sounds appeared. “Don’t drop it” made me want to reach for my guitar and relive those early days of discovering you could conjure up cascading washes of sound with just a simple chord!

As part of the bundle, Eventide has also added the SP2016. This was a major technological advancement that used ROM chips and was programmable, new effects were on their way and this unit was in many ways the beginning of the next chapter in Eventide’s story. The SP2016 introduced reverberation in the form of a stereo room, room and Hi-Density Plate. Of all the effects it was the Plate reverb that got me excited. I dialled it in on some vocals and drum tracks and instantly felt at home. The unit has two sets of pre-sets; Vintage and Modern. I found the range of sounds all very useable and in particular the ‘Hi-density plate’ did something that I have always found hard to achieve with a lot of plug-ins, it gave the vocal a sense of space whilst not being overly reverberant. I was pleased to see this sound had been captured well and in several distinctive forms in the room and plate settings.

I still have an Eventide Hardware unit just for this sound, but it may now be retired gracefully.

I found all the units easy to use with helpful presets and well laid out interfaces, much like the originals. The modern additions of extra control all made sense and helped to bring out the features inherent in the units. These are well-crafted emulations. Do they have a place in today’s DAW? Yes, I believe they do as they are all distinctive sounds, with character and a rich history. They are not without their eccentricities, but I think that is at the heart of why they will add to your collection, providing a useful palette of vintage sounds brought lovingly up to date.


The Eventide Clockworks Bundle for OS X and Windows supports VST, AAX, and AU plug-in protocols for compatibility with every DAW. Valued at over $1000 if purchased separately, this collection of legacy Eventide processors is available for immediate download at a special introductory MSRP of $299 through June 30, 2021, and $499 thereafter.