Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Discuss the hardware/software tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Are there any Lexicon MX400 users out there? If so - how do you find it?

for the first time I'm 'noticing' it - and it looks like a really great unit - classic Lexicon reverbs, SPDIF, dual channel, surround mode - and - incredibly good second hand prices.

Is this perhaps a "hidden gem" in Lexicon's legacy of hardware effects units?

In particular I'm wondering how its reverbs sound compared to the likes of the PCM 80/81 / 90/91 - I don't expect the same amount of editing detail - but do they sound, basically, as good?

And even though a legacy unit - any chance it's DAW GUI can run on the latest Macs?

Overall - it look like an intriguing, and quality unit - for what it says on the tin - and wonder how it fairs in real use?
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Just read the SOS review of it - rated very highly indeed. Still interested to hear from anyone who has used it, and whether there's a chance it's software will work in a current Mac (I expect not!).
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by BillB »

I was just about to point you to that Kevin, but for everyone else:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/lexicon-mx400400xl

I’m afraid I can’t comment on the MX400, but I do have an MX200 and a bunch of other budget Lexicon boxes (Reflex, MPX110, MPX200, MPX550). I must say that I have always been a bit underwhelmed by the sound of the MX200, although I expect that, in terms of facilities, the doubling up of processing power and the display probably make the MX400 more than twice as good as an MX200.

Just recently, I have been playing with the Reflex, MPX110 and MPX200, and found that using MIDI CCs really makes the reverbs accessible and, in some cases, seems to expand the parameter range over that available from the front panel. Not just more parameters, but, for example, adjusting the 110 decay range via MIDI CC enables a much longer reverb than when using the ‘adjust’ knob on the rack. It really makes you re-evaluate their sonic potential. So I need to MIDI up the MX200 and see if that has any surprises!

It looks, from the MX400 review screenshot, that the software gives a good range of parameter access, so it should be a very flexible unit. Popular opinion on the net - where I have comes across discussions of the MX’s versus the older or top-range lexicons - is that they are a pale imitation. I think this can be driven by snobbishness of those who own the more expensive units and wishfulness of those who would like to. Both the SOS MX200 and MX400 reviews put it very well, as you can read - maybe not so fabulous a sound, but pretty fine in its own right.

Doesn’t really answer your questions, but just a general endorsement of Lexicon’s budget hardware. And yes, all of my units were second-hand bargains.
BillB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1953 Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 am Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Moroccomoose »

I have the MX400, I bought it to ease the CPU consumption of an aged PC. That reasoning is a little obsolete now, but non the less it is still in my rig. For my ears, it works just fine. Its a very versatile unit, being able to be 4 mono, 2 stereo, or a quadriphonic effect.
The main benefit...and complication ..... for me is the use of VST to control it. Meaning you can control the hardware as if it was a plugin. The problem being that the VST is 32bit, meaning you need to use a wrapper to make them work in cubase which does not support 32bit vst. Because of the way the vst work, there are some more advanced settings that need to be set to make it work. If you decide to take the plunge, I'll happily detail those steps.
The upshot of it all is I have no complaints.

Stu.
Moroccomoose
Regular
Posts: 484 Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:00 am Location: Leicester

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Thanks for the feedback everyone - much appreciated. And to Stu - thanks for the offer - alas (for my sins :-) ) - I'm an LPX user! I'm perpetually contemplating moving to Cubase but haven't taken the plunge yet!
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Airfix »

take the best fun from these boxes - some unique stuff - even lesser boxes have sonic values that come with the limitation/restrictions that are interesting - or there just crap -adulterating audio - nice reverbs no doubt on a lex - still useful
Airfix
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1018 Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Moroccomoose »

Kevin Nolan wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:33 pm Thanks for the feedback everyone - much appreciated. And to Stu - thanks for the offer - alas (for my sins :-) ) - I'm an LPX user! I'm perpetually contemplating moving to Cubase but haven't taken the plunge yet!

Kevin, not sure the issue I have is not explicitly a cubase issue, more whether the DAW host is 32bit compatible. If not, then a wrapper is needed. I use Jbridge, which has some background settings that are needed to make it work properly. If LPX supports 32bit vst, then happy days! No wrapper required :thumbup:
Moroccomoose
Regular
Posts: 484 Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:00 am Location: Leicester

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

Lexicons I have owned.

LXP1
It was my only reverb for about ten years, "good" reverbs, but didn’t quite cut it for me, I only had it because it was all I could afford secondhand.
It did have great delays though, sounded fantastic on drum boxes for some reason, a great selection of beat times on the delays, easily selected.

LXP15
I kept it for about a month, programming was a nightmare, as for the sound, well, I never used it much.

MX100
I don’t know how Lexicon could put their name on it, some things are interestingly bad, but this was just bad, my Midiverb 2 was more interesting, which is proved by the fact I still have it.

MX200
Great, especially the delays, loved the ability to stack two effects.

Vortex.
I didn’t keep it, it didn’t make that much of an impression on me.

224
Totally beyond, a real Lexicon, it can catapult you into the farthest reaches of the universe at the touch of a slider.
Unfortunately it was so unreliable it wasn’t working more than it was, and I had to put it on a ten metre cable, the fan was so noisy.
I still miss it, a lot, could be an excuse to get an Apollo interface.

The MX300/400 are OK, but nothing to write home about, the delays on these cheap Lexicons are their selling point, "not" the reverbs.
I’d rather have units like the Zoom RFX1100, or Yamaha SPX90/900, they’ve got far more character than the cheap Lexicons, and can be had for virtually nothing, "at the moment"
I have a Princeton 2016, and a Big Sky, the Big Sky may well be the only reverb I’ll ever need, it stops me thinking of old Lexicons.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by ken long »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:15 am Lexicons I have owned.


Love my PCM60 still. Heard great things about the Big Sky.
User avatar
ken long
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3531 Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:00 am Location: Somers Town
I'm All Ears.

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

ken long wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:46 am
Arpangel wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:15 am Lexicons I have owned.


Love my PCM60 still. Heard great things about the Big Sky.

The PCM60 is still highly regarded as you know, I haven tried one personally but still wouldn't mind getting one, I think, like the LXP1, the 60 has some incredibly realistic small rooms and small halls, really great for percussion.
These are a bit noisy, but nothing you can't get around.
I don't use anything else but the Big Sky these days, in fact, I may as well just have one aux send!
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Smellthevalve »

I have the 400xl but haven’t used it for ages as I tend to either use what’s on the computer(s) for editing or on a keyboard I’m playing.
Smellthevalve
Frequent Poster
Posts: 716 Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:00 am Location: Surrey, UK

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by BillB »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:15 am MX100
I don’t know how Lexicon could put their name on it, some things are interestingly bad, but this was just bad, my Midiverb 2 was more interesting, which is proved by the fact I still have it.

AFAIK there is no MX100, I think you probably mean the MXP100. If anyone would like a different, more detailed opinion:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/lexicon-mpx100
Summary The MPX100 gets very close to a big Lexicon sound for very little money.

MX200
Great, especially the delays, loved the ability to stack two effects.

I am going to have to spend more time with mine and see what it can really do. Interestingly, out of the whole series: MPX100, MPX110, MPX200, MX200, I think only the 110 can use CC's to really dig into the Reverb (etc) algorithms, such as:
Decay PreDelay RTHiCut Bassmult Bassxover Rolloff
This brings it closer to the level of parameter control of the MPX500/550.

or, in the case of Delay/Echo:
MstrDly MstrFbk MstrXFbk RTHiCut DlyLeft1 DlyLeft2 DlyLeft3 Rolloff LvlLeft1 LvlLeft2 LvlLeft3 DlyRight1 DlyRight2 DlyRight3 LvlRight1 LvlRight2 LvlRight3.

By contrast, all of the others only allow CC access to duplicate the front panel controls, which are key, but fairly limited parameters. I think (happy to be corrected) that even the MX200/400 MX Editor software can only duplicate the front panel controls although, being software, it can provide more meaningful labels than those printed on the front panel (e.g. "Variation").

All of the MPX's can do fully detailed editing via Sysex, but then you have to decode Lexicon's rather complex MPX MIDI Implementation manual.

Have to say, when I am flipping between different Lexicon models, I am tending to like the sound and ease of use of the old Reflex... If I said it sounds "warmer", is that a punishable offence?

And apologies to Kevin for the topic hijack :headbang::headbang:
BillB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1953 Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 am Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by ken long »

Had a Reflex and and Alex. Both decent.
User avatar
ken long
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3531 Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:00 am Location: Somers Town
I'm All Ears.

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by ManFromGlass »

If the price is right and it does a few things you like a lot and would use then go for it.
I’ve had a few low end Lexicon units and have kept the MPX1 and Vortex. There are some presets I really like and use. The rest of my reverbs are in the box emulations of high end and really low end units. (Why did I give away my Radio Shack Digital Reverberator? :thumbup: )
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Longtime Poster
Posts: 6817 Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am Location: O Canada

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by BillB »

There's a weird echo in here...
BillB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1953 Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 am Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

BillB wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:40 pm
I am going to have to spend more time with mine and see what it can really do. Interestingly, out of the whole series: MPX100, MPX110, MPX200, MX200, I think only the 110 can use CC's to really dig into the Reverb (etc) algorithms, such as:
Decay PreDelay RTHiCut Bassmult Bassxover Rolloff
This brings it closer to the level of parameter control of the MPX500/550.

or, in the case of Delay/Echo:
MstrDly MstrFbk MstrXFbk RTHiCut DlyLeft1 DlyLeft2 DlyLeft3 Rolloff LvlLeft1 LvlLeft2 LvlLeft3 DlyRight1 DlyRight2 DlyRight3 LvlRight1 LvlRight2 LvlRight3.

By contrast, all of the others only allow CC access to duplicate the front panel controls, which are key, but fairly limited parameters. I think (happy to be corrected) that even the MX200/400 MX Editor software can only duplicate the front panel controls although, being software, it can provide more meaningful labels than those printed on the front panel (e.g. "Variation").

All of the MPX's can do fully detailed editing via Sysex, but then you have to decode Lexicon's rather complex MPX MIDI Implementation manual.

Have to say, when I am flipping between different Lexicon models, I am tending to like the sound and ease of use of the old Reflex... If I said it sounds "warmer", is that a punishable offence?

And apologies to Kevin for the topic hijack :headbang::headbang:

OK, it’s the MPX100, that’s what I had, for approximately two weeks.
Isn’t the Reflex a full size rack version of the LXP1?
The delays on the LXP1, are cool, it’s the way you can select them, and the timings are spot on, there’s one that has a chorus on it, I used it on the FM percussion on this track.

https://agflynn.bandcamp.com/track/whos-gettin-it
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:15 am Lexicons I have owned.

The MX300/400 are OK, but nothing to write home about, the delays on these cheap Lexicons are their selling point, "not" the reverbs.

This is in contradiction to both the SOS review, and what Lexicon themselves are claiming about the reverbs onboard the MC400XL - they are saying there are 17 legendary algorithms - and they sold this device as a follow on from the MPX500 and 550 I believe.

So surely there is no difference in the inherent "quality" of the reverb algorithms as found on _any_ Lexicon Hardware up to this point - LPX15 / PCM70 / PCM90 or even the 480?

Accepting there may be more detailed editing on the more expensive devices - but - surely the algorithms are the same? Not saying they are all identical - I'm sure there were developments from the PCM 70 to 91 - but - the PCM70 is a stunning, and legendary reverb! Are you implying they've programmed stripped-down versions of their "legendary reverb algorithms" - but still calling them legendary - just for cheaper devices.

The reason I'm interested in this (even though I own an LXP15, MPX1, MPX500 PCM91) is because I'm assuming it has the same reverbs as the others - or a selection of their legendary Reverbs. Hardware quality aside, I can't hear _any_ meaningful difference between the Hall Reverbs of my LXP15 and PCM91 - the only difference is editing detail, and the DACs - but eh LXP sounds _stunning_ when levels are correct, still, today. It's a stunning Lexicon reverb, period!

So I'm anticipating that the MX400XL will have equally stunning reverbs - and indeed the SOS review basically corroborates that. And then the MX400 has 24bit DACs, USB connectivity, SPDIF and (if software can be got to run on modern computers) - DAW integration.

So I'll probably take a punt on it - where I genuinely believe I'll get as good Lexicon Reverbs as are available on any of the more expensive older packages, but at a fraction of the price.

What prompted me to examine purchasing them is just how cheap they are, the need for hardware reverb for a specific purpose, and then I recently noticed that Thorsten Quaeschning uses two of them in his live setup - and that really piqued my interest!

But just livening up the debate here :-) - I for one wasn't questioning the quality of the reverbs onboard the MX400 as you seem to be - I can't see any reason why it won't deliver the same algorithms as in their legacy and originally more expensive reverbs - they're claiming they are the very same algorithms; and SOS basically confirmed that!
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

All of the units you mention sound different, that’s the only reason I’m commenting on this thread, and why I owned particular models, and generally, you get what you pay for.
The MPX1 is way better, in every way, than say, a 300/400.
Better is maybe not the right word, but I can’t think of another one, the PCM70 is in all senses of the word "legendary" but is in no way a 480.
If these cheap units were as good as the more expensive ones, no one would buy the expensive ones, and Lexicon would be shooting themselves in the foot, but our ears are the judge, and what I’ve said is what I’ve found.
That was many years ago, my hearing was fantastic, beyond, but now it’s terrible, and I’m sure I couldn’t tell the difference as much as I did then, but maybe I could, reverb has always been a major part of my music, very long reverb times, so they are on show, naked.
Reviews are all very well, but they are just a guide, and they are not our ears. I would never base a purchase on a review, occasionally, stuff that has become sought after, and sounds great, got bad reviews when it came out, and stuff that’s given a good review, can fall flat.
If I’d had bought my MPX100 on the basis of its review, I would have been very disappointed, we really have to check things for ourselves.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Kevin Nolan wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:11 pm So I'll probably take a punt on it - where I genuinely believe I'll get as good Lexicon Reverbs as are available on any of the more expensive older packages, but at a fraction of the price.

Firstly, it might be worth bearing in mind that the way Tony uses effects processing in general, and his requirements and expectations, may not be the same as yours (or mine).

It's also worth noting that the rapid advance in DSP processing power and memory through the turn of the century made it possible to migrate what were very complex algorithms requiring very expensive hardware in early Lexicon processors to much more affordable devices in the early 2000s.

That said, in my limited experience of the MX200/MX400 models which were undoubtedly very good for their cost), they didn't quite match the sophistication -- either in editing/controllability, or the depth of sound -- of higher range models like the PCM series (I still use a PCM90 here) or the flagship reverbs.

I guess it comes down to what you seek to do with the MX400. If you're trying to emulate a real acoustic space with great precision it may not be the tool for you. If you're looking for some lush, nice-sounding generic reverbs, it could well be perfect.

It certainly isn't junk...
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 39540 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:46 am I guess it comes down to what you seek to do with the MX400. If you're trying to emulate a real acoustic space with great precision it may not be the tool for you. If you're looking for some lush, nice-sounding generic reverbs, it could well be perfect.

It certainly isn't junk...

Absolutely, I was going to say, if you’re using an MX in a "conventional" mainstream context, it could well be more, than good enough, Hugh mentioned the PCM91, that’s very good indeed, definitely a major cut above the MX series, if I wanted to add a bit of extra verb to a live classical performance, the 91 would cut it, without being noticed, I wouldn’t be too confident about using the cheaper Lexicons to do this.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by BillB »

Without getting into the PCM vs MX/MXP Lexicons (which is often touched upon in the well-detailed SOS reviews), cost is not a function of "Algorithm quality" but usually of hardware features. So for example:
MPX100: unbalanced I/O, SPDIF out, 16 user memories, single adjust knob (although note my previous observation on MIDI CC control of MPX110 parameters), DC powered
MPX200: unbalanced I/O, SPDIF in/out, 64 user memories, Adjust+EQ editing, LED matrix shows effects used, mains powered
MPX500: balanced I/O, SPDIF in/out, 30 user memories (updated to 64 with the MPX550), upto 16 parameter editing, backlit LCD screen, mains powered.

So the stuff around the processors has a major part to play in the cost and yes, the AD/DA conversion cost/quality may play a role in the overall sound, but cost is more about hardware facilities than it is about the inherent quality of the processing - at least in a comparable range of units like the ones listed above.

Having said that, Paul White made an interesting observation at the end of his MPX550 review:

"The sound of the MPX550 is significantly better than the budget MPX100 and its direct offspring. Although it won’t fool a 480L user, it comes closer to the sound of the PCM80s and PCM90s than you might expect, and its reverb quality is every bit as good as the MPX1."
BillB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1953 Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 am Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Arpangel »

BillB wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:30 pm
Having said that, Paul White made an interesting observation at the end of his MPX550 review:

"The sound of the MPX550 is significantly better than the budget MPX100 and its direct offspring. Although it won’t fool a 480L user, it comes closer to the sound of the PCM80s and PCM90s than you might expect,


Agreed, and the word "closer" is well chosen :)


BillB wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:30 pm
and its reverb quality is every bit as good as the MPX1."

Disagree, otherwise I would have bought an MPX550, instead of an MPX1.
I was downsizing, and needed something to replace my Eventide, at a cheaper price, the MPX1 was the only thing that tempted me, the reverbs in the MPX1 are very dense, lush, the reverbs in the 550 are bit more up the shallow end, just enough so that you can hear it.
I ended up not buying either in the end, after a band member took me outside and gave me a good kicking for even vaguely thinking of selling my Eventide.

:D:D:D
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Kevin Nolan »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:46 am

I guess it comes down to what you seek to do with the MX400. If you're trying to emulate a real acoustic space with great precision it may not be the tool for you. If you're looking for some lush, nice-sounding generic reverbs, it could well be perfect.

It certainly isn't junk...


Hi Hugh - I know so much of this is debating in the dark because we don't know what Lexicon might do to their reverb processing across various models - but - if we are to take them at face value - where they claim like on this MX400 that it has 17 classic reverbs -then I'm imagining that the actual reverb algorithm running on any of their hardware is the same.

So if it's a Room reverb on a PCM91, or an MX400 - and it's the classic Lexicon Rom reverb - I'm imagining they haven't invented a new algorithm called 'Room' - and - hardware implementation aside - it's the same algorithm running.

Are you assuming that too in your comment above - and therefore the difference in detail you're talking about is a difference in parameter access to configure that underlying algorithm - or are you imagining that it's a different, better algorithm on the more expensive units, and just sounds better as a Room simulation, period?
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Kevin Nolan wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:12 pm ..where they claim like on this MX400 that it has 17 classic reverbs -then I'm imagining that the actual reverb algorithm running on any of their hardware is the same.

Possibly.

I don't have any detail of Lexicon algorithms and their implementations in different models, but 'classic' implies early and simple, as opposed to later and more advanced... What bowled us over in the emerging world of digital reverb in 1985 might not hold up as being quite so impressive as a 'classic' reverb in 2021!

And it's also possible that while the same basic core algorithm maybe used across the board for some reverb presets, the implementation in lower cost units might involve well less iterations, say, and so be less dense, than in a more generously equipped model, perhaps, in order to minimise memory requirements or processor cycles.

As was mentioned earlier, it doesn't seem unreasonable top assume Lexicon introduced some differentiation between models and markets beyond simple converter and control technology.

But the only answer is to try it and see if it meets your specific needs.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 39540 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

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.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

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 :-)
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 834 Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 12:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

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!
User avatar
muzines
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12286 Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:00 am
..............................mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio  | Legacy Logic Project Conversion

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:thumbup:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 39540 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

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.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16905 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Lexicon MX400 - thoughts?

Post by Airfix »

a 92 in a 'chuck' list in a MX400 thoughts thread - insensitive
Airfix
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1018 Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 12:00 am
Post Reply