You are here

Eventide Riptide

Eventide Riptide

Eventide’s take on the legendary Uni‑Vibe adds modern conveniences and a classy overdrive.

Eventide’s Riptide is a stereo digital pedal and the latest addition to their dot9 series. It combines the sound of the legendary Shin‑ei Uni‑Vibe with overdrive, which is a pairing often encountered in classic rock, perhaps most notably in recordings by Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower and David Gilmour.

Overview

The two effects can be bypassed independently, each having its own footswitch, and they can be routed so that the Vibe comes before or after the overdrive. The Drive knob brings in what Eventide describe as a balanced distortion with a focus on dynamics and touch sensitivity, and there are two selectable drive voicings: Green, as denoted by the LED colour, has a mid boost, while Red offers a tighter, modern alternative that loses the mid boost. There are also two Vibe settings: Green is the classic Uni‑Vibe, and Red a deeper, more phaser‑like alternative. LED buttons above the two footswitches are used to switch voicings, as well as to indicate the current status by changing colour (red, green or unlit for bypass).

There are two ways to use the footswitches. In Perform mode, they bypass the effects in the usual way. Holding down the Vibe footswitch gets you into Preset mode, and in this case the Vibe footswitch steps around the presets and the Drive footswitch bypasses the whole pedal. There are user‑selectable bypass options too, the choices being Buffered, Relay, DSP+FX and Kill Dry.

Structurally, the metal‑cased pedal is very solidly built and the pedal comes complete with a 9V power adaptor and a USB cable. The controls are arranged as two rows of three knobs, the top three addressing Vibe, Speed and Intensity, with a button to the right to switch the order of the Vibe and Overdrive. Adjusting the Vibe knob from midway to full changes the Vibe’s wet/dry mix so the effect can cover both the Chorus and Vibrato voicings of the original and anything in between. At lower settings the effect becomes less prominent and disappears altogether when the knob is turned fully anticlockwise. Below are three more controls, this time relating to the Drive section, with knobs for Drive, Tone and Level.

The Riptide can handle instrument‑ or line‑level sources, and there’s plenty of connectivity on offer, with stereo signals catered for by the single TRS jack input.The Riptide can handle instrument‑ or line‑level sources, and there’s plenty of connectivity on offer, with stereo signals catered for by the single TRS jack input.Connectivity has not been neglected. Small toggle switches select mono or stereo operation and guitar/line operating levels — you could use this pedal with synths or as a studio effect if you wanted, not just guitars. There’s a single TRS jack for the input, so for most stereo sources you’d need to use a Y‑cable, but there are two separate jacks for the outputs, and there’s another one for external control.

Given the simplicity of this pedal and the onboard preset storage capability, I suspect many users won’t need MIDI control unless they have a pedal switcher with MIDI capabilities, in which case being able to call up more presets, each with song‑specific settings for the Vibe and Drive, could be useful. MIDI connection can be via the expression jack (using a converter cable) or via USB. MIDI Clock is also supported. The USB connection also allows the pedal to communicate with Eventide’s Device Manager software, of which more below.

There’s also provision to connect an optional expression pedal to the TRS expression jack, this being able to control any combination of mapped parameters, allowing the user to morph smoothly between two different sets of control settings. Pedal parameters are saved separately for each preset. Alternatively, it is possible to use an optional footswitch via the expression jack to control tap tempo, and if a triple footswitch is used, that can also handle preset selection.

The Device Manager software can be used as a preset editor/librarian...The Device Manager software can be used as a preset editor/librarian...

Riptide has the ability to save and load five presets directly from the front panel, with up to 127 over MIDI. Eventide’s free Device Manager software runs on Mac or Windows computers and can be used to create and save patches, as well as to provide access to software updates and system settings. A row of five LEDs indicate which preset is currently active. These same LEDs are also used to show the MIDI channel when setting up for MIDI operation (omni is set by default), selecting expression switch/pedal operation, and so on. There’s also a Catch Up mode. When enabled, turning a knob after you’ve changed preset makes no difference until it passes the position of the current parameter value — a helpful touch that prevents abrupt changes.

...and also for making changes to system settings....and also for making changes to system settings.

Good Vibes?

Important though the control functions are, what really matters is how the pedal sounds, and on that score I have to say that I’m impressed. I expected Eventide to get the Vibe sound right — and they have executed it beautifully — but the overdrive section is also good. In the more transparent Red overdrive voicing, the result is not unlike that from the Fulltone OCD that I use myself, whereas in the Green ‘mid hump’ position there’s a definite Tube Screamer flavour to the sound. In either voicing, note definition remains good even at maximum drive, which is enough to get you into classic rock territory. At lower drives you get a bluesy break‑up, and in all cases the touch responsiveness is good, allowing the player to control the intensity of the drive by picking dynamics or the guitar’s volume control. In other words, even when you’re not using it as a Vibe, the Riptide puts two classic drive flavours on your pedalboard.

I expected Eventide to get the Vibe sound right — and they have executed it beautifully — but the overdrive section is also good.

Switching to Vibe, the distinctive throb of the modulation is replicated perfectly but there’s also plenty of scope for dialling back the severity of the effect if full‑on Vibe seems just a little too much. Both the Vibe Chorus and Vibrato voicings come across very authentically in Green mode, but switch to Red and you get more of a ‘Vibe meets phaser’ sound but still with the familiar Vibe pulsing modulation. Combining the Drive and Vibe also delivers very pleasing results. Putting the Vibe before a moderate amount of Drive gets you that coveted Hendrix flavouring while putting the Vibe after the drive delivers a much stronger tonal modulation as the Vibe then has a lot more in the way of harmonics to chew on. Both are musically valid sounds.

Summary

In summary then, the Riptide offers a very practical way to add both overdrive and a Vibe emulation to your pedalboard, all for a cost that is probably below that of buying two separate pedals, with the bonus that you also capitalise on pedalboard space. For the more sophisticated user, the MIDI functionality and pedal/switch functions will be a welcome addition, while the free Device Manager makes creating and saving presets easy and also simplifies access to system settings. This is one pedal that I’ll be sorry to see go back to the UK distributor.

Pros

  • Authentic sound with the option to have the two sections in either order.
  • Alternate voicings for Drive and Vibe.
  • Supports MIDI and external pedals.
  • Five presets available from the front panel or 127 over MIDI.
  • Free Device Manager software for editing and settings.

Cons

  • Separate input jacks for stereo would be nice.

Summary

An authentic Uni‑Vibe emulation, with the bonus of a good drive and some really useful connectivity.

Information

£329 including VAT.

Source Distribution +44 (0)20 8962 5080.

sales@sourcedistribution.co.uk

www.sourcedistribution.co.uk

eventideaudio.com

Sweetwater Affiliate logo 14px