Eventide Misha assessment: A playful sequencer that claims to hell with custom

Standalone sequencers are one thing of a luxurious within the trendy music-making panorama. Today, even the most cost effective synths and samplers have at the least rudimentary sequencing capabilities. And whereas many MIDI controllers have on-board sequencers, they’re often meant to again up stay efficiency slightly than exchange it. After all, there are just a few exceptions to this rule (Arturia’s BeatStep Professional stays extremely in style even eight years after it was launched), however you need to begin trying into the complicated and sometimes intimidating world of Eurorack and modular synths to frequently come throughout gadgets whose sole objective is taking part in again strings of notes for you.

Eventide, greatest recognized for its high-end results models just like the and TimeFactor, shouldn’t be an apparent candidate to delve into the world of Eurorack. However that’s precisely what it determined to do with , its first sequencer. Now, no one would have blamed the corporate for enjoying it protected with its first foray into the area. As an alternative, it determined to chuck the standard conventions out the window and make one thing distinctive that’s equal elements enjoyable and confounding, particularly in the event you’re deeply entrenched in conventional music idea and keyboard-based composition.

I’m not an adept pianist. Nor do I’ve a very deep information of Western music idea. And even nonetheless I initially struggled to wrap my head round Misha. That’s as a result of the buttons on its face don’t play particular notes. As an alternative they play intervals associated to the final be aware performed inside a scale.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The simplest option to clarify that is by means of an instance. Let’s say we’ve set the Misha to play a C Main scale. Beneath the display screen, which exhibits you the important thing and scale, are 9 coloured buttons labeled -4 by means of +4. When you press 0, you get a C proper off the bat, as a result of that’s the root be aware and it’s zero intervals away from the beginning of the dimensions. When you press the +1, as a substitute of getting a C#, you’ll get a D, the subsequent be aware within the scale.

Up to now, so good, proper? However in the event you press the +1 once more, you gained’t get a second D, and as a substitute you’ll get an E, one interval increased within the scale. To get a second D be aware, you’d need to press 0. And in the event you wished to return to C, you’d need to press -1. It’s not difficult essentially, nevertheless it breaks a fundamental expectation that any musician would understandably have – that in the event you do the identical factor, it is best to get the identical be aware. If I play the fifth fret on the low E of a guitar, I count on to get an A each time. If the notes continued to climb by 5 steps, with out shifting my fingers, I might have a a lot more durable time taking part in something.

However that is the core idea of the Misha. It’s not constructed round absolute pitch and as a substitute forces you to compose primarily based purely on the relationships between notes in a scale. If that concept sends you operating for the hills, then this in all probability isn’t the sequencer for you. If, nonetheless, you’re like me and intrigued by Misha’s distinctive method, dangle round and let’s dig just a little deeper.


Eventide Misha MIDI in and out jacls

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Earlier than we go too far down the rabbit gap of scales, modes and sequencing, let’s take a step again and take a look at the {hardware}. Whereas my unit got here with a devoted pod for housing the Misha, it’s ostensibly designed to stay in a Eurorack setup. At 28hp extensive, it’s a comparatively massive module, nevertheless it’s fairly shallow at simply 19mm deep, that means it ought to slot in even essentially the most moveable skiffs. That width is form of mandatory, although. The 17 buttons, two knobs, microUSB port, microSD slot and and 16 ¼” jacks for MIDI, audio and management voltage would really feel impossibly cramped on something smaller.

The format feels simply spacious sufficient to be viable as a efficiency device, with out fully dominating a smaller Eurorack setup. The 9 interval buttons are well-spaced, the display screen is massive sufficient to ship all the mandatory info and the knobs are sturdy. My solely problem hardware-wise is that the shift buttons have a hole spring to them that feels a bit low-cost they usually make an audible popping sound.

The 12 CV (management voltage) jacks are break up throughout three tracks, with three pairs of gate and CV outputs in addition to two inputs every. This provides you an honest quantity of choices for controlling a number of synth voices or modulating the Misha’s sequencer. There’s additionally MIDI out and in jacks, in addition to stereo out and a clock in. The microUSB port may also be related to a pc keyboard to be used with customized keymappings. You’re not gonna be wanting for connectivity choices right here.

Eventide branding and CV jacks on the Misha.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The display screen within the useless middle provides you all the data you want about navigating Misha’s interface, although it could actually take a bit to determine the way it all works. I extremely advocate studying the handbook. It’s not lengthy and may prevent numerous time and frustration. When you come to grips with how the Misha works, it’s nearly deceptively easy. In truth, I often felt like I needed to be lacking one thing. That, for certain, this module, with all its buttons and knobs and 1-inch display screen, was hiding options from me.

Undoubtedly take time to customise these 4 consumer buttons, although. Whereas the default features of up and down one octave (button one and two), and up and down one chromatic step (three and 4) are helpful sufficient, they’ll supply lots of efficiency energy when mapped to satisfy your particular wants. Personally I like swapping in “transfer pitch” for the chromatic steps, and setting it to a fifth. That provides a bit extra spice than a easy octave, however usually nonetheless works effectively musically with no matter else is occurring.

One very last thing price noting is that Misha has a built-in oscillator you can activate within the settings. However, past offering a easy sound supply for auditioning melodies and customarily getting a really feel for the sequencer, it’s virtually ineffective. In truth, it’s not even talked about within the handbook.


Eventide Misha set to play A Major scale.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Misha ships with starting from fundamental (Melodic Minor), to unique (Enigmatic), to microtonal madness (48 be aware equal-tempered). And, if someway that’s not sufficient for you, there are 100 consumer slots for loading your personal scala information. Between the varied scales, modes and keys, the musical choices baked into Misha are seemingly limitless.

Probably the most rapid option to begin exploring them is to pick out a scale after which begin urgent the interval buttons. That is really a reasonably satisfying means of taking part in an instrument, too. I don’t have an enormous rig to stay this in, however I paired it with , in addition to the and Elektron Digitone all to great impact.

This isn’t the form of course of you go to whenever you wish to translate a melody you hear in your head to the actual world. Maybe somebody might prepare themselves to assume in intervals to make use of Misha that means, however it will take lots of work. As an alternative this could create pleased accidents. You simply need to pay particularly shut consideration to what you play to be sure you can recreate something that catches your ear.

Now, sure, there are methods to lock a controller to a particular scale, just like the Misha – mainly making it inconceivable to play out of tune. However there’s one thing about taking part in intervals as a substitute of notes that feels each intuitive and stunning, in a means a keyboard by no means might. Crafting melodies turns into a rewarding exploration the place I’m mainly pressured to cede management, slightly than a irritating try to make use of my restricted idea information to show concepts into actuality.

Scale knob on the Eventide Misha.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

One of many few issues I’ve to determine beforehand is what number of octaves I wish to mess around in. Setting the be aware vary to 2 octaves, for example, means, as soon as I climb past that cap, the intervals will swing again round to 2 octaves beneath my root be aware. It’s in all probability greatest to attempt to keep away from going all the best way round, although. Leaping down two octaves can sound a tad harsh.

The octave limits additionally apply when utilizing Misha as a sequencer, so you may play a melody line unfold out over 4 octaves price of a scale earlier than beginning over. The sequencer, although, is the place issues get just a little dicey. It’s constructed across the thought of a “,” a tool utilized in serial composition the place all twelve notes within the chromatic scale are performed, with out repetition, to create a motif. The innovation right here is that this idea of a tone row may be utilized to any scale, not only a twelve-note, Western chromatic one.

This methodology of composition positively falls on the experimental finish of the spectrum and with sure scales it could actually come off just a little awkward. This additionally implies that the variety of steps in a sequence relies on which scale you’re utilizing. A single octave sequence in a minor pentatonic scale will solely have 5 steps, whereas two octaves of the quarter tone scale could have 48 steps. Whereas I recognize the novel method, a part of me actually needs that the tone row was a mode you could possibly activate and off. I’d like to see Eventide add a extra conventional sequencer by means of a firmware replace the place notes may be repeated.

There’s additionally a chord mode that means that you can ship three-notes out over MIDI or divided between the three CV outs. In case you have a Eurorack setup with a number of synth voices, this can be a nice option to create some complexity and variation, particularly in case you have different utilities that may additional modulate what the Misha places out. For instance, you may ship the foundation be aware by means of a easy arpeggiator for the bass whereas utilizing the opposite notes to play leads or pads. Sadly, there isn’t any onboard option to sequence chord voicings. You may manually change it whereas performing, nevertheless it’s form of a ache. Alternatively, you could possibly use one other sequencer to ship MIDI CCs to Misha and alter chord voicings, which looks like overkill.

Diagram showing the default MIDI mapping for the Eventide Misha

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Simply the easiest way to make use of the Misha is as a efficiency device paired with an exterior MIDI controller. Right here, the white keys offer you a good broader vary of interval jumps (9 in both direct) in addition to fast entry to the foundation be aware, whereas the black keys can repeat a be aware, play a random scale be aware or transfer chromatically up and down one step at a time. And, after all, you may nonetheless hit the 4 consumer programmable buttons on the entrance of the module and even map different notes on the keyboard to place extra variables at your fingertips.


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

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

At $599, shouldn’t be low-cost. And that jumps to $699 in the event you want a Eurorack pod and energy adapter. Nevertheless it’s additionally really distinctive. If the attract of interval primarily based efficiency or tone row sequencing is what you’re after, effectively, that is the one recreation on the town (at the least that I’m conscious of). I’m certain that there are methods of getting the same impact utilizing software program, however with regards to {hardware}, that is it.

I do want that Eventide made just a few extra concessions to conventional composition, although. I would like to have the ability to repeat notes or program passages which might be an arbitrary size, slightly than be restricted to the variety of notes in a scale. Possibly these can be added in a future firmware replace, at which level it is perhaps more durable to provide you with causes not to purchase one. For now, Misha is an expensive, area of interest device that’s additionally undeniably playful and artistic.

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