Eventide Blackhole Review
Review Summary and Conclusion
The Blackhole gives you way more than just an amplifier-style reverb. Trails are full, rich, and can be tweaked according to size, thickness, feedback, and a dual hi/lo filter control. While it's not quite as versatile as something like the Strymon BigSky, it certainly competes with most mid-tier reverb pedals.
The Eventide Blackhole is a mid-sized reverb pedal with a single bypass switch, multiple presets, and a high degree of customization. These customization options focus primarily on infinite reverb (or really long trails) and modulated reverb tones. For this Eventide Blackhole review, I had the pedal in-hand and tested it myself to see how it performed.
Eventide Blackhole Quick Review Section
BEST FOR: Ambient and ethereal layers, recording, live performances, worship guitarists, lead, and rhythm guitar players
- Includes five onboard presets
- Reverb trails are highly customizable
- High-end digital reverb pedals do ethereal tones and ambience incredibly well
- Lots of sounds and shapes to explore
- Great for a wide range of both lead and rhythm guitar
- Does not offer a variety of algorithms
- The $300 price point is a big investment
While the Eventide Blackhole is expensive at $300, it's not an unusual price point for this type of digital pedal (see cost and value assessment below). It's also important to note that digital reverb pedals have become more versatile in recent years, giving you almost a pad-style effect that can layer a clean tone and give your guitar a lot more flexibility.
The Blackhole does a solid job of providing this, so we give high marks for tone and control.
Versatility comes down a bit because you don't really have multiple algorithms to pick from.
Cost and value is right in the middle of the road.
Blackhole Sound and Tone Quality
As promised, here's a fairly extensive audio demo that we recorded just to give you an idea of what sounds you can expect. It's audio only over a still image, so we aren't necessarily trying to break down how each control element sounds (more on controls below).
The Blackhole is about control more than it is about modes. While you do have five presets to choose from, be careful not to confuse these with algorithms or different modes to work with.
The idea behind the Blackhole is to allow you to craft and dial in your own reverb sounds, as opposed to calling up an algorithm that has already been pre-programmed for you. Even if you just use the Mix, Gravity, and Feedback controls on the Blackhole, you can still get a ton of sounds out of just those three knobs.
Trails on the Blackhole are usually longer, though can be dialed back as much as you want.
We'd argue it's with the longer reverb trails that the Blackhole tends to really excel and sound it's best. It's not as much a bluesy, Fender-style reverb as it is an ambience and modernized pedal that makes your guitar sound more like a synthesizer with a heavy pad or strings sound.
Control and Versatility of the Pedal
Here's a quick list of the controls provided on the Eventide Blackhole, all located on the pedal's front panel:
- Mix (control balance between dry and wet signal)
- Gravity (controls decary time of trail)
- Feedback (controls feedback around the trail of the reverb for a bigger sounding trail)
- Size (overall size of reverb)
- Lo (filter)
- Hi (filter)
Here's a closer look at the controls on the front panel:
You'll also notice a secondary list of functions in a lighter gray color under each knob. For example, you should see "Delay" under the Gravity knob. Here's a list of those secondary controls:
- Delay (pre-delay)
- Q (resonance of lo and hi filters)
- Depth (modulation intensity control)
- Rate (modulation speed control)
- Out Lvl (boost or cut)
This gives you 11 different ways to manipulate the Eventide Blackhole, which ends up giving you a lot of variety, despite the fact it doesn't provide a slew of algorithms or modes.
These controls have a tremendous impact on the shape and feel of your sound. In other words, they don't simply make subtle changes. In particular, the Gravity and Feedback controls can add a ton of thickness and expanse to your reverb sound. This is what leads me to consider it more of a general ambience pedal than just a reverb pedal.
With these two knobs alone, you can so dramatically adjust the shape and size of the trails that - as I alluded to earlier - it almost sounds like something other than a guitar.
On top of that, you can control the mix to give yourself only the effected sound.
The result is a layering ambience that can completely take over a clean signal, or subtly work to balance out a dry-sounding amplifier.
Eventide Blackhole's Price and Value
For this caliber of mid-sized digital delay pedal, $300 is an extremely common price point. We see on Sweetwater the Blackhole settling at $299, with a demo model available for roungly a $30 discount.
Used pricing on markets like Reverb and eBay usually run around $250, with a resistance floor of about $230. But for those looking to buy knew, or get a rough idea of value, is the unit worth $300? If you're going to spend $300 on this pedal, it should be clear that you're getting more than an amp-style reverb.
For the Blackhole to be worth the price of admission, you should understand that aspect of its functionality and intend to use it that way. If you just want a basic reverb layer like the spring reverb on a Fender amp, you're paying way too much and should go with a simpler reverb pedal option. But, for those who intend to take full advantage of the expansive customization options on the Blackhole, $300 is the going rate.
Eventide Blackhole Review Conclusion
Fans of ambience will get a lot of mileage out of the Blackhole. It's useful in a variety of playing styles with plenty of application for lead and rhythm guitarists alike. We'd recommend it be your primary source of reverb and that you use it as an ambient modeling tool as opposed to a simplistic reverb layer. For simpler reverb pedals that are less expansive, you're looking to pay more in the $150 to $200 price range.
But Eventide strikes a Strymon-esque chord with the Blackhole and further cements itself as one of the best producers of high-end digital guitar pedals on the market.
Again, this review was conducted with the pedal in hand, with time to actually play, tinker with, and record the Blackhole. If you have questions about our Eventide Blackhole review, leave them in the comments section below and we'll do our best to answer.
We'll see you there.
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