Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

I think the bottom line is that people wouldn’t buy, and Lexicon wouldn’t make 960’s, 480’s, etc , if they thought a 550 would do the job, you’re talking about experienced professionals, top draw musicians, who vote with their wallet.
Unless of course, people are just buying the high end verbs to show how much money they’ve got, or as studio bling, which is highly unlikely.
TC Electronic are in the same boat, some pretty average verbs at the low end, but once you start to go up the price range a bit, 3000’s, 4000’s, and beyond, they are stunning, especially for realistic spaces, it’s horses for courses, Lexicon IMO falls somewhere on the reverb map between TC at the realism end, and Eventide at the "definitely an effect but good" end.
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Thanks Hugh and Arpangel for your thoughts - lots to ponder.

I'm not sure I agree with your arguments however ( are you surprised? ) :-) .

To Hugh - to me - in a Lexicon parlance - classic might not mean what you suggest, but instead might suggest "a staple" - as in - a classic Lexicon Hall from 1985 is the same as a classic Lexicon Hall today; unless they explicitly indicate that such later Hall algorithms have been improved - and - they never say that. They add new algorithms for sure - but - they seem to stand by the term 'classic' as meaning - the best people expect form Lexicon. As for the argument that a 1985 algorithm might not stack up today - in my view Lexicon had essentially 'nailed' it to extraordinary quality by about 1980 - and why they became THE standard. In any case, if computational power were an issue, then it would be the likes of the MXP500 or MX400 wiping the floor with the likes of the 480L and PCM91 in that department, surely?

And to Arpengel - I think you raise "the great unknown" in all of this. I'm not convinced by the argument that just because Lexicon's reverbs are packaged in a PCM91 / 96 or similar - that they are better than in the MPX500. I'd wager, that where both such models are demanded to do the same "Reverb" - that they'd sound identical.

I just don't feel over the years that Lexicon could bring themselves to admit that for marketing reasons - but - by now they have lost their 'edge' - and it would be good for all of us concerned if better agreement was arrived at on that. At each price point - and that forced down every few years as computers become more dominant - I'd wager Lexicon's very best algorithms have been out into ever cheaper units like th MXP500 and MX400 - and that like for like named algorithms as might appear on the PCM range too, are just the same (surely?).

Overall - in my view - If Lexicon are using a "Classic Lexicon Hall" algorithm in a variety of hardware processors - from the 80s' onwards - then I'm assuming they put the computational power under the hood to execute that algorithm to its full fidelity, whether in an LXP15, PCM91, 480L or indeed MX400. I'm sure the editing detail is better on the more expensive units, but I just can't imagine why Lexicon would bother - or want to - call any given "classic Lexicon reverb algorithm"; the same thing across various hardware units, but actually execute it in an inferior way on some of them.

TC Electronic is slightly different - they branded their imrproved reverb algorithms with different names through the likes of the M5000/M2000 and on to the M3000 and Reverb 4000/6000 - so I don't think a like-for-like comparison is there.

Happy to stand corrected on all of this - but - I will buy an MX400 and compare it to my PCM91 and report back - eventually :-)
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by muzines »

No, Lexicon do not run the same algorithms in their budget devices as they do in their high end devices. That would kill the market for the high end devices. The budget devices do not sound identical to the high end devices.

Looking back to, say, a PCM91 - this had two "Lexichip" processors, which were both used to process the algorithms in that box. The PCM80 series, also had two Lexichips, but it used one for reverbs, and one for the other non-reverb effects - so the reverbs in the 80s series were simplified algorithms over the 90 series that required less processing power. And the reviews noted the reverbs were better in the 90 series, if reverb was your primary use case. The budget boxes of that time had one Lexichip (and so could not run the algorithms in the PCM91 for example), they were running simplified algorithms. The LXP1 most definitely did not sound like a PCM91. ;)

Now, Lexicon have all kinds of secret source in their algorithms - they have various approaches, a company "sound" and aesthetic as to how they like to do their reverbs, and those things are baked into their algorithms - which is their primary IP when it comes to their reverb technology. But those algorithms get changed and scaled appropriately for the intended use, as do the amount of user-exposed parameters.

If you want to get deep in the weeds on the Lexicon algorithms, on GS, Michael Carnes, who was responsible for implementing those algorithms on a lot of Lexicon hardware, talks about this in some decent depth (where he can without exposing Lexicon's IP). For example, the algorithms running on the PCM96 and the Lexicon PCM Native bundle are the exact same algorithms. I'm pretty sure he talks about the lower end algorithms, but there is a lot of info in those threads so I can't recall all the exact specifics.

Also, Lexicon have a number of plugins in their range - the high end, high priced PCM Native series, the mid-range MPX plugin (which supposedly is based on the MPX1), and they even have a budget-priced LXP range, based on the budget range of processors. I haven't listened to these for a while, but if Lexicon just used the same algorithms everywhere, then the £100 or so LXP plugins would sound identical to the £600 or so PCM Native plugins. I'm sure this would be pretty easy to show with a quick listening test (null tests are much harder to do with Lexicon reverbs due to the tail modulation properties - a part of the "classic Lexicon" sound).

Note: I'm less familiar with modern lower-end Lexicon devices, and these days, my perception is that Lexicon aren't quite they company they used to be - it's possible their Harmon overlords are just re-purposing whatever tech they can to get people to buy more reverb hardware - the modern reverbs might indeed be very good. I'll be interested in your comparisons should you get that far.

But ultimately, regardless of what is going on technically, an algorithm doesn't necessarily have to be running on expensive hardware, or require CPU-expensive processes to sound good. A lot of people like budget devices, eg the Alesis MIDIverb II, Quadraverb, Roland SRV330, and even some of the older Yamaha reverbs, and that's perfectly Ok too. Still others won't necessarily be too concerned about listening critically to the tails and other more sophisticated reverb parameters. If it works for them in the moment, great. I think the PCM Native bundle sounds fantastic and very satisfying to my ears (and very different to, say the 480L or 224XL), and it's quite CPU light - other reverb plugins that other people like I don't like as much, for whatever reason. It's all down to our tastes and personal aesthetics.

Last note: My first reverb box I got was a Yamaha SPX50D (same as the SPX90 more or less) and I thought the reverb sounded great back in the late 80s. I dug it out recently, and had another listen, and was pretty horrified as to how grainy, gritty and generally not nice the reverb tails were. It seems my ears have learned something over the years!
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:thumbup:
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

Desmond, any opinions on the 92/96?
I’ve heard they aren’t as "desirable" as the 90/91, I’m only bringing this up because a friend who is downsizing has a 92 in his "chuck it" list, just wondering if it’s worth considering, of course I’ll have a listen, but interested in your opinions.
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Airfix »

a 92 in a 'chuck' list in a MX400 thoughts thread - insensitive
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Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

Airfix wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 6:41 pm a 92 in a 'chuck' list in a MX400 thoughts thread - insensitive

So it’s that good, hhmmmm?

:D
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