Eventide Misha review: A mischievous sequencer that claims to hell with tradition

Standalone sequencers are something of a luxury within the smartly-liked tune-making panorama. On the present time, even potentially the most cost-efficient synths and samplers have not decrease than rudimentary sequencing capabilities. And while many MIDI controllers have on-board sequencers, they’re generally meant to abet up live performance quite than change it. For certain, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule (Arturia’s BeatStep Expert remains incredibly standard even eight years after it used to be offered), but it’s essential to originate taking a scrutinize into the complex and usually intimidating world of Eurorack and modular synths to continuously detect devices whose sole cause is playing abet strings of notes for you.

Eventide, handiest known for its high-discontinue effects items fancy the H90 and TimeFactor, is not very an glaring candidate to delve into the arena of Eurorack. Nonetheless that’s exactly what it decided to discontinue with Misha, its first sequencer. Now, no one would have blamed the firm for playing it safe with its first foray into the place of dwelling. As a replacement, it decided to chuck the typical conventions out the window and impact something recurring that’s equal substances fun and confounding, in particular once you’re deeply entrenched in dilapidated tune plan and keyboard-essentially based mostly composition.

I’m not an adept pianist. Nor discontinue I really have a in particular deep info of Western tune plan. And even unexcited I firstly place struggled to wrap my head spherical Misha. That’s because the buttons on its face don’t play particular notes. As a replacement they play intervals related to the splendid demonstrate performed within a scale.

-4, -3, -2 and -1 interval buttons on the Eventide Misha.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Essentially the most keen capability to expose right here is by technique of an instance. Let’s exclaim we’ve place of dwelling the Misha to play a C Predominant scale. Below the veil veil, which reveals you the primary and scale, are 9 coloured buttons labeled -4 by technique of +4. Whereas you press 0, you acquire a C gorgeous off the bat, because that is the root demonstrate and it is zero intervals remote from the originate of the scale. Whereas you press the +1, as an different of getting a C#, you’ll acquire a D, the subsequent demonstrate within the scale.

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Up to now, so ultimate, gorgeous? Nonetheless once you press the +1 again, you gained’t acquire a 2nd D, and as an different you’ll acquire an E, one interval larger within the scale. To acquire a 2nd D demonstrate, you’d must press 0. And once you wanted to plod abet to C, you’d must press -1. It’s not annoying basically, but it indubitably breaks a overall expectation that any musician would understandably have – that once you discontinue the identical component, it’s essential to acquire the identical demonstrate. If I play the fifth be concerned on the low E of a guitar, I quiz to acquire an A whenever. If the notes persevered to climb by 5 steps, without transferring my fingers, I would have a worthy more challenging time playing anything.

Nonetheless right here is the core plan of the Misha. It’s not constructed spherical absolute pitch and as an different forces you to carry out essentially based mostly purely on the relationships between notes in a scale. If that plan sends you working for the hills, then this potentially isn’t the sequencer for you. If, on the different hand, you’re fancy me and intrigued by Misha’s recurring methodology, loiter spherical and let’s dig a puny deeper.


Eventide Misha MIDI in and out jacls

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Earlier than we lunge too some distance down the rabbit gap of scales, modes and sequencing, let’s do away with a step abet and peep at the hardware. Whereas my unit came with a dedicated pod for housing the Misha, it’s ostensibly designed to live in a Eurorack setup. At 28hp wide, it’s a relatively enormous module, but it indubitably’s quite shallow at gorgeous 19mm deep, this capability that it can maybe match in even potentially the most moveable skiffs. That width is derive of wanted, despite the undeniable truth that. The 17 buttons, two knobs, microUSB port, microSD slot and and 16 ¼” jacks for MIDI, audio and administration voltage would feel impossibly cramped on anything smaller.

The layout feels gorgeous wide satisfactory to be viable as a performance instrument, without fully dominating a smaller Eurorack setup. The 9 interval buttons are effectively-spaced, the veil veil is large satisfactory to raise your total wanted info and the knobs are sturdy. My handiest role hardware-wise is that the shift buttons have a hollow spring to them that feels a puny bit cheap and they impact an audible popping sound.

The 12 CV (administration voltage) jacks are damage up across three tracks, with three pairs of gate and CV outputs moreover to 2 inputs each. This affords you a respectable amount of alternate options for controlling more than one synth voices or modulating the Misha’s sequencer. There’s also MIDI within and exterior jacks, moreover to stereo out and a clock in. The microUSB port can even be connected to a computer keyboard for utilize with custom-made keymappings. You’re not gonna be seeking out connectivity alternate options right here.

Eventide branding and CV jacks on the Misha.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The veil veil within the stupid middle affords you your total info that you just’ll want to about navigating Misha’s interface, despite the undeniable truth that it is going to do away with a puny bit to resolve out the intention in which it all works. I extremely indicate reading the manual. It’s not long and could well attach you a full bunch time and frustration. Once you come to grips with how the Misha works, it’s nearly deceptively easy. Truly, I continuously felt fancy I had to be missing something. That, needless to exclaim, this module, with all its buttons and knobs and 1-wander veil veil, used to be hiding substances from me.

Positively do away with time to customize these four user buttons, despite the undeniable truth that. Whereas the default functions of up and down one octave (button one and two), and up and down one chromatic step (three and 4) are really helpful satisfactory, they’ll offer numerous performance vitality when mapped to meet your particular wants. Personally I fancy swapping in “plod pitch” for the chromatic steps, and surroundings it to a fifth. That adds a puny bit more spice than a easy octave, but generally unexcited works effectively musically without a topic else is happening.

One splendid component value noting is that Misha has a constructed-in oscillator that it is possible you’ll maybe switch on within the settings. Nonetheless, beyond offering a easy sound provide for auditioning melodies and usually getting a feel for the sequencer, it’s practically needless. Truly, it’s not even talked about within the manual.


Eventide Misha set to play A Major scale.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Misha ships with 100 preloaded scales ranging from overall (Melodic Minor), to recurring (Enigmatic), to microtonal madness (48 demonstrate equal-tempered). And, if come what could that’s not satisfactory for you, there are 100 user slots for loading your hang scala info. Between the varied scales, modes and keys, the musical alternate options baked into Misha are seemingly unending.

Essentially the most rapid capability to originate exploring them is to rep a scale after which originate urgent the interval buttons. Here’s truly a pretty good capability of playing an instrument, too. I don’t have a tall rig to stick this in, but I paired it with Cre8Audio’s East Beast and West Pest, moreover to the Moog Subharmonicon and Elektron Digitone all to lovely discontinue.

Here’s not the form of task you lunge to once you occur to could well be seeking to translate a melody you hear for your head to the staunch world. In all probability somebody could well practice themselves to deem in intervals to utilize Misha that suggests, but it indubitably would do away with numerous work. As a replacement this will likely maybe raze jubilant accidents. You gorgeous must pay in particular close attention to what you play to make certain it is possible you’ll maybe recreate anything that catches your ear.

Now, certain, there are systems to lock a controller to a particular scale, similar to the Misha – normally making it very unlikely to play out of tune. Nonetheless there’s something about playing intervals as an different of notes that feels both intuitive and beautiful, in a capability a keyboard never could well. Crafting melodies turns exact into a rewarding exploration the place I’m normally pressured to cede administration, quite than a stressful strive and utilize my restricted plan info to turn suggestions into truth.

Scale knob on the Eventide Misha.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

One of many few issues I really must rep beforehand is how many octaves I are seeking to clutter spherical in. Environment the demonstrate fluctuate to 2 octaves, to illustrate, capability, after I climb beyond that cap, the intervals will swing abet spherical to 2 octaves under my root demonstrate. It’s potentially handiest to strive and preserve remote from going your total capability spherical, despite the undeniable truth that. Leaping down two octaves can sound a tad harsh.

The octave limits also practice when the usage of Misha as a sequencer, so it is possible you’ll maybe play a melody line unfold out over four octaves value of a scale earlier than beginning over. The sequencer, despite the undeniable truth that, is the place issues acquire a puny dicey. It’s constructed across the premise of a “tone row,” a instrument former in serial composition the place all twelve notes within the chromatic scale are performed, without repetition, to raze a motif. The innovation right here is that this plan of a tone row can even be applied to any scale, not gorgeous a twelve-demonstrate, Western chromatic one.

This capability of composition for roam falls on the experimental discontinue of the spectrum and with obvious scales it is going to come off a puny awkward. This also capability that the choice of steps in a chain depends on which scale you’re the usage of. A single octave sequence in a minor pentatonic scale will handiest have 5 steps, while two octaves of the quarter tone scale can have 48 steps. Whereas I admire the radical methodology, a part of me really needs that the tone row used to be a mode it is possible you’ll maybe switch on and off. I’d prefer to interrogate Eventide add a more dilapidated sequencer by technique of a firmware change the place notes can even be repeated.

There could be a chord mode that enables you to send three-notes out over MIDI or divided between the three CV outs. Whereas you’ve got a Eurorack setup with more than one synth voices, right here is a huge capability to raze some complexity and variation, in particular once you’ve got assorted utilities that can further modulate what the Misha puts out. To illustrate, it is possible you’ll maybe send the root demonstrate by technique of a easy arpeggiator for the bass while the usage of the varied notes to play leads or pads. Sadly, there is not very always a onboard capability to sequence chord voicings. You maybe could well also manually trade it while performing, but it indubitably’s derive of a trouble. Alternatively, it is possible you’ll maybe utilize but one more sequencer to send MIDI CCs to Misha and trade chord voicings, which appears to be like fancy overkill.

Diagram showing the default MIDI mapping for the Eventide Misha

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Without effort the supreme capability to utilize the Misha is as a performance instrument paired with an exterior MIDI controller. Here, the white keys come up with a honest broader fluctuate of interval jumps (9 in both command) moreover to easy entry to the root demonstrate, while the sunless keys can repeat a demonstrate, play a random scale demonstrate or plod chromatically up and down one step at a time. And, after all, it is possible you’ll maybe unexcited hit the four user programmable buttons on the entrance of the module and even map assorted notes on the keyboard to position more variables at your fingertips.


Eventide Misha on a desk with book, patch cables and a very pretty pen.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

At $599, Misha is not very cheap. And that jumps to $699 once that you just’ll want to a Eurorack pod and vitality adapter. Nonetheless it indubitably’s also no doubt recurring. If the entice of interval essentially based mostly performance or tone row sequencing is what you’re after, effectively, right here is the supreme game on the city (not decrease than that I’m attentive to). I’m certain that there are systems of getting a identical discontinue the usage of utility, but in phrases of hardware, right here is it.

I discontinue wish that Eventide made a couple of more concessions to dilapidated composition, despite the undeniable truth that. I are looking out to be able to repeat notes or program passages that are an arbitrary length, quite than be restricted to the choice of notes in a scale. Per chance these will be added in a future firmware change, at which point it can maybe be more challenging to come up with reasons not to rob one. For now, Misha is a costly, enviornment of interest instrument that’s also undeniably mischievous and artistic.

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