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Lexicon PCM80 & PCM81 Questions, Tips, Tricks & Solutions

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by AnalogKid85, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. AnalogKid85

    AnalogKid85 Member

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    Yes it is! Two ways to do it:
    • (1) Pitch→Reverb. There are 4 algorithms that are optimal for this (I'm leaving Stereo-Chamber & VSO-Chamber off this list, as they don't really provide the controls we're looking for here):
    (I'm putting an asterisk there for Quad>Hall because you have to do some things differently there, and I will point these out)

    Here, all the feedback stuff would happen inside the pitch/delay lines and then get fed into the reverb, and depending on how you set up the mix controls for each block, you can get some variations:
    • 100% wet FX → 50% wet Reverb gives you a verb fed solely by pitch shifter-delays AND lets you hear the pitch shifters directly too
    • 100% wet FX → 100% wet Reverb gives you that same pitch-fed verb but "hides" that direct dry signal (like in those ^ Soundcloud clips)
    • 50% wet FX → 100% wet Reverb does the same AND feeds the dry signal into the verb too. Not technically possible in Quad>Hall—no Mix control on the Pitch Shifter/Delay portion of the algorithm—but you can mimic this by using two of the pitch shifter delays (1 from each group) set up for 0ms, no shift.
    • 50% wet FX → 50% wet Reverb lets you hear everything: (digital) dry, pitch shifters, and reverb fed by both (NOT recommended in a typical rack setup w/a mixer, as this will introduce a second "digital dry," causing phasing issues). Again, not technically possible in Quad>Hall, but you can mimic it by setting 2 delay lines to 0ms.
    (I should note here that the RefDelays L&R on the reverb algorithms allow you to pass the previous block/mix to the outputs too [set for 0ms], but I'm leaving that off that list, as I really haven't found a need for it yet, and it also can bring in a second "digital dry" signal if you're not careful....it would be very useful for somebody that wants to bring the first block's direct sound in & out without altering the overall mix too much, since bringing in RefDelays only adds to what's there, not reconfiguring the mix %)

    • (2) Reverb→Pitch. This one doesn't work on Quad>Hall, but it does on these:
    To me, this is the more challenging of the two approaches. I haven't experimented with it much, but from the bit that I did do, the filters definitely became more important here. For the price of giving up two pitch/delays in Quad>Hall, you get all this extra stuff in these algorithms to play with:

    [​IMG]

    This works just like the DualFX card algorithms: each block now gets its own High & Low Cut filters and In & Out Width controls (the "surround panner" blocks). The filters are particularly important here, especially the ones that come right after the reverb. The "problem" with feeding reverbs & delays into a pitch shifter is that you're introducing much more complex material to deal with. Even if you played very "sparse" single notes, 4ths, 5ths, etc. like I did in those clips, the verbs/delays from the Reverb block would make all those notes "hang" over each other a lot more and create denser "chords" for the shifters to deal with. The shifters on here are good, but they're not like, say, the new Digitech Whammy V/DT's (which handles chords VERY well) or Eventide Ultrashifters. They're good, but only up till a certain point before they "break." The filters here—especially the High Cut one right after the reverb—are a godsend, because they can "trim down" the signal into something the pitch shifter can handle a bit better. It's not a catch-all solution, but it does help. You can also use the filtering inside the reverb (HF Damp) along with this, and I would also recommend using a 100% wet Reverb block—feeding either a 50% or 100% wet FX block—to simplify the signal even further, by keeping the dry sound from reaching the shifters (the 50% or 100% mix choice for the FX just determines if you want to hear the pure reverb sound along with the "shimmer" shifters).

    I've said this part before, but it bears worth repeating here: the Lexicon PCM shifters are sensitive! They will work very well when you feed them a good, clean signal, but your guitar has be more or less perfectly in tune, and you better not have any frets that are starting to "die out" (in fact, in some of the clips, I played certain notes on different strings because that's where the "good frets" were! :rotflmao). I've literally sat there and played a note on one string with a "bad" fret and the shimmer turns into a bunch of screeching demons, and then played the exact same note on a "good" fret and it's a shimmering choir of angels :D So keep these in mind as you tweak these. The PCM shifters sound REALLY good, some of the best I've ever heard outside of Eventide, but you must bring your A-game with your guitar, or you're gonna have a bad time ;)
     
  2. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    +1 on the importance of filtering/EQ, great tools to get the kind of "texture" you're looking for.

    It was used a lot back in the day on the classic Eno/Lanois recordings on each of the effects + related return channels / feedback loops on the console (+ most of the gear used by the Eno / Lanois etc... back then had some lower-fi digital bandwidth and/or analog character in their sound that a "cleaner" PCM80/81 will not have).
    Early U2 or classic instrumental Eno records (Apollo...) definitely have heavy filtered delayed-pitched reverb sounds; using a "full bandwidth" clear realistic hall reverb will not do it for those kinds of "shimmer" sounds.
     
  3. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Great stuff! How about using Stereo-Chamber just for a +1200 shift, like the classic Eno/Lanois?

    JK
     
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  4. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    wow!!! what a great discussion you guys. Clearly one has to have some understanding of the algos and routing of the PCMs
    really great stuff here!
     
  5. Gone Fission

    Gone Fission Member

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    With the lower fidelity and the internal tone control, you remind me that, yes, the LXP-15ii still has its charms. Then again, I’m not the hugest shimmer user.
     
  6. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    That should go without saying and I hope post #864 of this long thread is not the first time this has been stated. The PCM8x isn't a factory preset box. Some of the factory "registers" are very useful but if that's all you're using it for you're missing out on a lot. As I've said before, you need to meditate on the manual - read it 1000 times over. Then start to make a few registers of your own and you'll find yourself in the position where you wished you had read the manual another 1000 times. At this point, get online and start asking tricky questions. People will help you and you will learn exponentially. Rinse and repeat.

    JK
     
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  7. Not Orange

    Not Orange Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    :thud

    Mind blown...
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  8. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    you misunderstand my meaning.
    If one comes along and reads this current conversation (and much of this thread), one is not going to be able to follow the conversation without having some understanding of the algos and their routings (plus, some basic understanding of fx routing in general). Reading the manual over and over and mapping out all the algo's sysex data into excel docs has helped me understand. Just reading the user guide over and over isn't really enough. Some practice is required. The manual doesn't tell you which set of algos came out when (Pitch FX, Dual FX)...I learned that from you guys, here; which, in turn, showed me I required the user manuals for all the various algos.

    Similar to my recent casual reading of the Digitech MIDI System Exclusive Documentation for MIDI Compatible S-DISC Products. A year ago it made very little sense; now I can read it and understand.
     
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  9. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Todd I agree with you 100%. On another topic have you made any breakthroughs with your editor?

    JK
     
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  10. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    I have been tied up doing a lot of other stuff not music or audio related. The PCM8x remote for ipad using Midi Designer Pro 2 is still in development, tho...and I will make it/ them as soon as I can.

    Last I left off with the remote control, my coder friend wrote a little Python script which has given all the sysex to midi value conversions up to around 47,000 ticks of values. I have an excel doc with all the various parameter ranges. My next step is to double check all the SysEx parameter IDs of the written documentation match the actual PCM units' SysEx IDs which might take a few weeks...when I can get to it.

    That said, I do have a working version of the remote for the 14 global parameters. I would be happy to share that layout with anyone who would like to "beta" test. I would really appreciate any feedback from users on the controls I have made decisions on because user feedback could help me speed up/ refine the design. I have already posted how it looks here. It's a little more refined than that screen shot, but not much. The correct midi value translations from sysex have been applied.

    Also, I just purchased a PCM80 a couple weeks back which I will collect in mid Jan 2020. I'll add memory and be able to test thoroughly alongside my PCM81 while building the remote.

    Thanks for asking, I'm looking forward to churning through the solutions to the remote's UX :)
     
  11. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    Actually, I am getting a chance to work on the remote while working on another app :-D

    As far as breakthroughs:
    1) I have found a way to tap a part of the algo diagram which will open a page of controls for that part of the algo and then back to overall algo and so on...***Edit: MDP2 may not have enough pages for the amount of algos req'd, tho...I might have to make per algo layouts:messedup. Also, the Lexicon diagrams don't really fit on the screen format; I'm gonna hafta make my own versions for the remote which is gonna be an unwieldy diversion.
    2) Controls. I find the number picker wheel to work well for PCM parameters rather than a knob or slider. I have realized a stepper control should be much more akin to precise tweaking requirements, so I am adding plus and minus increment steppers alongside number wheels and knobs. If there isn't a stepper, it is tricky to dial in exact values; the user finds themselves nimbly. tediously rocking the finger on the control in an attempt to attain exact values.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  12. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    I don't want to clutter this incredibly awesome thread with my remote control build status updates, so I will go back to my remote control thread :)
     
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  13. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    I just ordered mine for my newly acquired PCM 80 :aok
    Shipping to France is as much as the SIMMs, but it's a long way from a bank breaker
     
  14. martijn

    martijn Member

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    Can anyone inform me whether I would be able to program a preset in which a detune, chorus, delay, and reverb are combined - perhaps with the addition of a dual fx card on the PCM81? I am looking for a 1U unit that is able to do this. I know the TC Fireworx can do this, but I'd prefer to have access to a Lexicon reverb.
     
  15. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Theoretically it is possible with Quad>Hall. You have 4 "voices" here. Any voice can be used as a static detune, a modulated detune (which essentially gives you a chorus-type effect) or an echo delay with feedback. All these are in series with hall reverb. There are limitations to the routing of course.

    If detune is not an absolute requirement then you can get stellar chorus / echo delay and reverb in so many permutations with the PCM8x even without dual fx card. Is modulated delay (chorusing), which gives you an element of pitch shifting as well, not enough? What style of effect are you going for?

    JK
     
  16. martijn

    martijn Member

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    I am looking to emulate the Landau/Huff tones from the 80s. So chorus into detune, into reverb, and preferably with some delay as well.
     
  17. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Well, if you really want those sort of tones I'd steer you away from the PCM8x for a single unit setup. To get those tones you really need a staged approach with a mixer. You need to have the ability to pass dry signal on to subsequent stages and the ability to run detune PARALLEL to reverb, then add stereo delays at the end. Not sure even the Fireworx can do this. If you want it all in one box consider Eventide H8000 or Orville and check out Italo's "Michael In A Box" webpage...

    http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/eventide_and_other_stuff/michael-in-a-box.asp

    JK
     
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  18. martijn

    martijn Member

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    I have seen Italo's webpage. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of money the H8000 (still) costs. With the Fireworx I should be able to run a chorus, detuner, delay and reverb, even in parallel if I wanted to, but as I said, I'd prefer a Lexicon reverb over the TC's. Also, I am not sure what happens with the dry signal at the front of many effects blocks. According to the manual a lot of them sum the stereo signal to mono for the effect. But whether I can have a dry signal running through the effects block is unclear.
     
  19. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Oh anytime you have a unit sum stereo to mono you have a major compromise. It seems you know what you want but I think unless you're going to do it properly, you'll be spending a lot of time / energy / money trying to pull a rabbit out of an empty hat. Perhaps start a new thread discussing exactly what you want to achieve and what level of compromise you are prepared to accept and asking Fireworx users some specific questions to get the answers you seek.

    JK
     
  20. martijn

    martijn Member

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    I have already started a thread on the Fireworx, but have had no replies so far...
     

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