Reverb is generally thought of as sounds reflecting in an acoustic space. Most are labeled by the type and size of space they sound like or are modeled after – Large Hall, Small Room, Big Cathedral, Porto-Potty in the Parking Lot of a Rest Stop – but what if the acoustic “space” had no limitations? What if we divorced ourselves from the need to liken it to a structure we’re familiar with?
The new Blackhole stereo reverb pedal from Eventide is what you might wind up with. It’s as close to sounding like what the name says to anything I can imagine. A black hole is something so incredibly dense that even light can’t escape its gravitational pull, and the laws of physics are broken beyond repair. The Blackhole pedal does similar things to the idea of reverb. Like the T.A.R.D.I.S., this little box is a LOT bigger on the inside.
It’s a standalone version of Eventide’s Blackhole algorithm, which you may be familiar with from either the plugin version or the one in the H9 pedal which we reviewed a while back. It comes with a PC editor so you can edit and save presets, assign control values for the expression jack, and more.
This is not a pedal for the faint of heart. Although it’s intuitive and easy to use, it’s a bit like having a simple layout for the controls of a Star Destroyer – one of those big friendly buttons is the planet obliterate button, and one of them makes coffee. The enormity of these reverbs cannot be understated – there’s even an infinite one. BUT – you can also dial them back to be a lot more gig-friendly and “usable”, in the sense that you won’t accidentally transport your whole audience into the vastness of an interdimensional wormhole with a single Cadd9 chord. That would make for a very awkward Bar Mitzvah you’re subbing in for.
The most unique feature of the pedal to me is the Gravity control. It appears to give you the power to hear the reverb return in a normal way (you know, in the way that time moves, forward at 1x speed) or to hear it… backwards? Not sure how that dark wizard magic works, but it sure does a number on your sense of reality and time. Also, it sounds really cool.
My favorite feature of the pedal is the ability to assign any or all of the parameters to the expression control, along with how much of the knob will turn as you express. You can transform the sound completely from one end of the galaxy to the other with the sweep of your expression pedal (here’s the one I use in the video) – it allows for pretty much limitless possible combinations, which means millions of unique possible sounds. It’s like No Man’s Sky, but like, fun.
The built-in Freeze function with its dedicated switch will also be a source of joy for the shoegaze crowd – play something, stomp it, and hear the sound of frozen time. A stillness, but still vibrating – a bed of ambience but without change. It allows your realtime signal to bypass the pedal entirely so you can play on top of the indefinitely frozen sound, like skating on a frozen ocean, until you hit the Freeze switch again.
All in all, playing the Blackhole pedal is an experience. Even if you never used it in a piece of music, it’s worth the price of admission to just enjoy being transported to different impossible structures in the sky. You can get your ticket to space exploration on the interstellar starship USS Blackhole for $279 right here.
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