Eventide Clockworks Introduces Omnipressor Model 2830*Au
In 1973, Eventide Clockworks introduced the Omnipressor, the first studio product to encourage the use of dynamics for special effects. It joined the Instant Phaser in studios worldwide, with the Instant Flanger following shortly after. Unlike the Phaser and Flanger, the Omnipressor, with its still-unique dynamic reversal, infinite compression, variable gating and separate “side chain,” was discontinued a few years later. According to the company, it had become difficult to obtain some exclusive parts and even more difficult to explain it to an industry that was much less sophisticated than it is today.
As the few hundred original Omnipressor units found homes with rabid fans or suffered unspeakable fates at the hands of entropy, they became so scarce that the few that were available on resale markets multiplied in value many times, if they could be found at all.
The original Omnipressor was born from an idea that Eventide’s founder, Richard Factor, got while talking to Mark Weiss, one of the scientists investigating the “18-minute gap” of the Nixon Watergate scandal. The side-chain idea that resulted enabled feats of compression that were impossible (and unstable) with the compression architecture of the previous era, but doable with the emerging, more modern hardware of the 1970s. The earlier “white face” (Model 2826) Omnipressor was not just hard to explain, but it was hard to use and it yielded shortly to the “black face” (Model 2830) unit designed by Jon Paul, another ex-colleague of Weiss. This version, after selling another few hundred units, in its turn yielded to the darkness of commercial necessity — what we now call “supply chain” — and so became a legend to collectors and a desideratum to recordists worldwide.
According to Eventide, in those few years of production, the model 2830 was a success! Engineers and producers discovered what was possible by using dynamics as an effect. Many of the original units are still in operation today. They rarely come up for sale. When they do, sellers are asking north of $6,000! A clamor from those coveting the Omnipressor dynamic effects resulted first in Factor developing a hardware emulation using VSIG for the Eventide Orville, and later Eventide’s development team creating an Omnipressor plug-in for ProTools. Fatefully, in an episode of the Gear Club podcast, Factor impulsively suggested that Eventide would reintroduce the rack mount classic.
Today, Eventide announces the golden-anniversary Omnipressor Model 2830*Au. The original hand-drawn schematics were in the Eventide archives, and the new model is a faithful replica designed with the same circuitry and sound as the original 2830. With supply chain issues resolved after 50 years, you can now find the 2830Au for sale, priced about the same as the original, even in 2023 dollars.
The new Au model features the ability to link multiple units and is fitted with input and output audio transformers, which were a costly option on the original. Other improvements include a universal power supply and a back-lit meter. More convenient TRS/XLR connectors replace the original terminal strip.
The MSRP for the Omnipressor Model 2830*Au is $1,999, and will ship in January 2024.