We recently installed a MOTU/Macintosh hard-drive recording system into our studio. While some of the plug-ins sound pretty good, the reverbs generally leave something to be desired. Or, if they sound good, like Unversal Audio's RealVerb, they use a lot of the computer's CPU and processing power. So, we picked up this Lexicon reverb mainly because it had digital I/O (via SPDIF) and we were able to use it with the MOTU system without the audio going through any addtional A/D/A conversions. Used in conjunction with a MIDI patch librarian program, the MPX-500 has all the advantages of a plug-in (integration and recall) without the disadvantages (high CPU usage). While I'd love to own some good plate reverbs and I do occasionally set up an echo chamber, the truth is that a digital reverb is a useful and almost essential tool in just about any studio. And, I've always been very partial to the sound of Lexicon's reverbs since I worked with their first 224 and then bought my first PCM-60. Considering that you can pick this 24 bit unit up for around $400, this is a great addition to any studio. The reverbs sound really good. They're full sounding without any weird crap at the end of the decays. Smooth. There are six different reverb algorithms; plate, gate, hall, chamber, ambience and room. I should note here that the manual for this unit is well put together, although you barely need it as the interface is pretty intuitive. I liked the brief, often historical, descriptions of each algorithm that will be particularly useful to someone just getting into recording. I got this unit mainly for the reverbs, but it also does a lot of other time-based effects. There's tremolo, rotary (Leslie), chorus, flange, detune, pitch shift and delay/echo algorithms. The Leslie programs sounded pretty cool and fairly authentic. As this is billed as a Dual Processor unit, there are also banks of programs that combine two algorithms, ie; flange- reverb or pitch-delay. My only minor gripes with this unit were that it had no dedicated LED input meters and that it briefly glitches when you change programs. But, considering the price and usefullness of this unit, those are barely worth mentioning.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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