Lexicon PCM80 demos--Holdsworth, Rush, Pitch-Verb swells, etc...


Lexicon PCM80/81 - Allan Holdsworth Volume Swell FX demo

This is an adaptation of Allan's "Volume Swell FX 1" preset from the UD-Stomp. I used the Chorus+Reverb algorithm, but the reverb is turned off. I used the 6 modulated delays in the Chorus section + 2 non-modulated, diffused delays from the Plate reverb section. The structure still has 8 delays in total but it's still VERY different from the UD-Stomp, and took a lot of tweaking to sound anywhere close. Still not exactly where I want it but I'm liking this sound a lot so far! Not really missing my Magicstomp anymore (which had the same AH/UD-Stomp presets on board).

Signal chain: guitar (Washburn WG-248) -> MXR 10-band EQ -> Dunlop Volume pedal -> Yamaha THR10 (Flat model) -> Lexicon PCM80 -> computer.
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I was just getting ready to sign off when I saw your thread. This is seriously good stuff. Thanks for sharing it. Now I'm gassing for a PCM80.

Thanks! Though keep in mind, if you want just that sound, you can get it for less than $200 with a Magicstomp! :) If you want more though...there is a LOT more :D

There's some "bells and whistles" I haven't tried with these presets yet that I'm going to get to, like surround processing, and using dynamics to change the rates/depths of the LFOs as the input volume increases/decreases. Stuff the "Stomps" couldn't dream about!

I'd love to hear more - Have an 81 coming tomorrow. I can't get enough clips... :D

You are in for a seriously good time :D The 81 already has all the Pitch Card algorithms in it, so you can a lot of great extra sounds out of it. I'm just now starting to get into programming pads and "drones" that change tunings over time as they feed the reverb. Did you know that it can do stuff like this...

  • PCM80 - LFO ChordPad 2 demo (Quad>Hall--4 pitch-shifted voices > Hall; if C is the "reference note," the chords basically spell out C5 -> Csus4 -> Csus4 [different voicing] -> Cm9 [close voicing])
...where the 4 pitch voices can "change tunings," up to 8 times? You can program each pitch voice to cycle through different intervals, and you can also feed it 100% into the reverb to make it a little more subtle, if you want to. You can literally do a volume swell and have it play four arpeggios at the same time :D No intelligent harmonizing on board, but when it comes to making pads/drones/"freeze" arpeggio patterns and whatnot, there is enough flexibility there with MIDI CCs to be able to have something "on call" for a lot of different situations, and the switching within algorithms is instantaneous for most things. Plus, there are still a lot of intervals that work well with most situations you could come across, pitch-wise (octaves/4ths/5ths/9ths/oct+5th, etc.).

Here's another, slightly different take on the Holdsworth swell sound:

Here's a little Rush-style chorus & delays I programmed, using the Glide>Hall algorithm:

And here's some more pitch/delay/reverb swell stuff...


(I apologize about the noise & "crackle" you hear on some of these--my MXR 10-band EQ has really been acting up lately!)

One thing I've really come to appreciate about the Lexicon's pitch shifter is that it's not formant-corrected--so the further away you get, pitch-wise, the tone and "shape" of the notes start to change. You can really hear this on the "Quad Shift Swell" preset, on the high notes--they remind me of a flute, or an old pipe organ playing some of those softer Bach pieces ;) And it's even better with the Hall reverb in there to enhance the sense of space.

A lot of people really shy away from these units because they are "hard to program," but honestly, if you just really take everything piece-by-piece, and maybe pick just ONE algorithm in the manual to start with (there's 10 in the PCM80 to start with--and they're basically like 10 different rack units!), you'll have a much better chance at learning how to program it. And as long as you keep in mind that the extra complexity is what really allows you the freedom to create what you want in the end, it makes it a lot easier to put up with. This is about as far away from "plug and play" as you can possibly get...and that's a good thing! :D

Jackie Treehorn

Silver Supporting Member
Awesome stuff, my friend! I love the sound of those lexicon units and nice playing demo'ing them. They are a pain to program, but it's well rewarded.

What I used to do with my lowly lxp-15 was just pick one algorithm and use a couple expression pedals to control it, rather than do all the midi switching. That one had this crazy feature that you could assign parameters to multiple ranges of a singe expression pedal.

Great sounds, thanks for sharing.


The PCM-81 is great!!!

I've had it a couple of weeks now. Basically scrolling through presets and trying my hand at tweaking. I thought the MPX-1 was great, but this is definitely better.

As far as the interface goes - looks a little easier than the MPX-1.

I've found a couple of documents that were very helpful -

The 1st preset - Prime Blue is incredible! Shorten the delay time a little and wow!!!!


Are you guys using the PCM-80/81 in the effects loop of your amp or in front? I have a PCM-81 that I have not really used that I need to break out and experiment with again when I get some time.


What a great recording! Nice to see some love for rack units!

Do you have the H3000? I would love to hear something with it! Also, can you record some clips with a "normal" guitar sound? I mean without the swell?

Again, this is a beautiful work!


david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
i don't believe i've done a gig nor a recording without my pcm80 since I got it.....
and it's one of the pre-production prototypes, so that's a lot of projects-ago.
happy to hear & see other guitarists enjoying it!

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