Next best to a PCM 70, from back in the day ?

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by jlcogar, Mar 7, 2018.


  1. jaykay73

    jaykay73 Member

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    Well, I'm not saying you NEED to have a line mixer, but if you choose a reverb unit that does not have a dry through path you really SHOULD have a line mixer.

    Alternately you can choose not to have a line mixer and then you can choose a unit that has dry pass through.

    It is really up to you...

    So if you really want to go PRE > FX > PWR the perfect unit for you would be an Intellifex as my man Baba posted above. Classic 80's/90's unit. I'm not saying it has awesome reverb but it will make do. ADA MP-1 into the Intellifex 8 voice chorus is a 90's alt rock sensation.

    And you need to make it very clear - do you want a multiFx unit or a dedicated reverb unit?

    JK
     
  2. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    I'll look into the intellifex for sure. On your earlier question "what are you looking for...?" . Not sure, thats why i'm here. Since you asked, heres the longer version. Late 80's after buying the mp-1, bought the digitech dsp-128. For anyone not around in those days, dont laugh. This was long before internet net forums , demo videos, and reviews. All you had were magazine ads with big haired rockstars and sales people that made stuff sound great in the store.

    I was mezmerized by flashing lights, bouncing delay repeats, and swirling chorus. Took her home. At garage band volume the unit was quite noisy and the reverb was a hissing sh sh sh kinda mess. Promptly dumped it

    Later, got a screaming deal on a pcm 70. as far as modulated reverbs, i didn't dig deep enough into parameters to know what was going on. Played with some delay times and levels on a couple different patches and was the best thing id ever heard. Heard a guy playing a keyboard through one of the units with no display ( may have been mpx100 or similar) and was blown away. Concinced me lexicon was the way to go.

    There are probably many other units that would have done what i needed and did it well. I barely scratched the surface with the pcm.
    Thanks again for your taking the time to respond and for reading this if you did
     
  3. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    I was in the near exact same boat recently.
    Had an old rack rig that I wanted to bring back out and update a little.
    Asked basically the same question you have, except my budget was a bit more generous than you stated.
    I was asked the same thing: Do you want a multi or a dedicated?
    I already have a TC G-Major but wanted to upgrade
    And initially thought I wanted a better multi.
    That's just what I thought I was after until prodded a little.
    My preamp/power amp are already well covered.
    And I came to the pretty rapid conclusion that what I really wanted was a very fine dedicated Delay.
    So I waited it out and bought a PCM 80 delay unit.

    So my question is, if going dedicated, why are you centering on the reverb and not the delay first?
    I've watched the thread and I keep asking myself why is this guy centering on the reverb?
    Just curious really.
    When I thought it over between those two, it only took about two minutes to decide.
    It was definitely delay over reverb, no contest.
    And if, for some reason later on I want a reverb, I can add one in.
    But the delay will cover 95% of what I would have wanted a reverb for, plus spectacular delays.
    For me. You may have totally different needs.
    And I know you already had a 70 so maybe you're just used to that.
    But I was curious ...why reverb first over a good delay like the 80 or 81?
    And if you had even asked yourself that yet.
    Or were just going on auto pilot since you had already had the verb unit?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  4. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    Not really centered around reverb, just that the reverb seemed to be the weak point of the average late 80's fx units. I have a few delays with the chandler stereo digital my favorite. Don't have one, but the 2290 is the only thing i ever considered noticably better, and for straight up echo with a little modulation, not by much.

    Most units from that era had decent delays, chourus, flange, etc. but the pcm 70 really stood out for its reverb. My original question was more related to which unit came in 2nd place in those days.

    I'm not concerned enough about reverb to buy another pcm for what they're bringing these days, but would like a descent one and sure as hell dont want another dsp 128
     
  5. Allthesound

    Allthesound Member

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    If your looking for the magic you had before you wont find it in anything other than a Lexicon PCM unless you jump way way up in price to a Eventide DSP400 or better. the PCM81 has some outstanding reverbs as well as killer delays, chorus, pitch, and resonator effects. I don't think you will find anything in its price range that even comes close to its power and quality of sounds. I have a few other PCM's as well the PCM60 , 70 , 91 , If i could only keep one the 81 would win the spot every time.
    You can find them now in the 350-500 range consider that they were $2500 new in 1998 ($3835.00 adjusted for inflation) and contrast that to other units that are now in the $100-250 used range probably sold in the 400-800 range new. You get what you pay for. Spending a couple hundred extra is a no brainer.
     
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  6. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    I think the Switchblade GL is the one for you.
     
  7. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Go for the PCM 80/81, or for a real steal the LXP-15II
     
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  8. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    Turns out an old friend has a old intellifex he's gonna let me check out. probably gonna be a few weeks. Have to move across the country by the end of the month and still looking for a power amp. Anyone have, or know of a microtube for sale ? In the mean time, think if i were to see a great deal on a pcm 80 or mpx-1, i would buy it. thanks to all for the replies
     
  9. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    I just found an old video I made, playing through an Intellifex. Man, it sounded great. Don't listen to these snobs talking about PCMs. My PCM blows away my Intellifex, but the Intellifex still sounded great. I think it sounded as good as my PCM, but not quite. Through my awesome iPad microphone, the Intellifex was comparable to the PCM. Maybe even better. But, the PCM sounds more detailed. So, I think the PCM sounds better. Looks cooler, too. It's got that blinking light. (Tempo).
    If I had to pick, for the money, and if I didn't have or want to buy a line mixer, I would go Intellifex. But, then, you're compromising on sound, cause the PCM sounds better. I think.
    I hope that helps you to make a decision.
     
  10. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Unfortunately there are not enough details about what the OP is looking for in another unit that relates it to the PCM70.
    If the question is about getting PCM70_types of effect or just a generic mix of effects (delay/chorus/verb) then there are only two possible answers:
    -anything closely related to the way the PCM70 makes its effects hasn't been done by any other unit in the now_cheap zone. The PCM70 strikes the ear for diffused delays, diffused choruses, blends of diffused echoes with chorus and its reverbs. So nothing will exactly take you there. The only now_cheap unit getting somehow close is the Ensoniq DP/Pro.
    The Intellifex is possibly the very opposite of what a PCM sounds like, both in terms of audio definition and the way effects work.
    -if it's about PCM70 effects in terms of how they work and sound like... it's very simple... it's a PCM70 or 80 or 81. The 80 and 81 will do the job of about 3 to 5 PCM70, providing true multifx the 70 can't do. And cheap.
     
  11. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    Just looking for a good budget old school fx unit. when i mentioned the pcm 70, i didnt necessarily mean i was looking for a duplicate. I mentioned it because it sounded great and the dsp-128 sounded like crap. that leaves a bunch of other units from that era in the middle. My question was which of those units you would have considered second best to the pcm 70 in general. I had mentioned the reverb quality of the pcm and everyone thought i must be looking for a dedicated reverb that sounds exactly like it. Sorry i'm not able to be more specific about what i'm after. Was just thinking a good quality fx unit that looked at home in my rack of junk from late 80's - early 90's
     
  12. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    Could you elaborate on this a little ? A friend was gonna loan me a intellifex and cant find it so i was thinking of getting one. As I understand it ( correct me if im wrong ), the intellifex has an analog dry path and seems that would make it ideal to go between pre and power amp. sounded like a good thing to me. Any reason i should avoid these ?
     
  13. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Ok... I understand.
    I think the confusion is about the request of a multifx and the PCM70 time.
    When the PCM70 came out there were no multi_fx around and that remained true for about 4 more years.
    Today we associate the multi_fx concept to a machine delivering several effects at the same time. In 1985 the PCM70 could ony provide one very good effect or two, if we consider multiple delay lines set at different lengths for echo and chorus. Back then the word "multi_fx" was a new thing defining a machine that offered several effects as single algorithms, so you could load a reverb OR a stereo delay OR a stereo chorus, etc...
    The PCM70 and the Yamaha SPX90 are similar in this, and came out in 1985.
    We had to wait until 1989 to get multiple fx capable units, such as the Quadraverb, the LXP-5, then LXP15... and the many later versions of the concept. Roland DEP3 and 5 were possibly the very first units offering some multi_fx at the same time.
    The higher end companies waited until the 1994 to *really* offer quality multi-fx technology that would be on pair with their previous generation of single "multi_fx" units, like Lexicon and Eventide, which developed the PCM80 and the DSP4000.
    Others, riding a lower quality design, were able to deliver their products a bit sooner than that.
    Now... if you associate the PCM70 quality to a multi-fx... it's pretty natural one would suggest on pair technology that doesn't compromise as most other brands actually did.
    If the request is about generic multi fx, then things are different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  14. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    coud

    Everything depends on your expectations, budget and experience. First off forget about any memory you have from the PCM70 as you won't get any of that from the Intellifex.
    Tone is very different. Quite cold and modern, almost surgical when compared to older generation machines with a different character coming from analog input stage design.
    The algorithms work in very different ways, more on an FX stage after another, after another... then a single environment in which several effects interact.
    I have had both and there is nothing in common, sonically, architecturally. The thing that made the Intellifex shine was basically its 8 voice chorus. The other effects are nothing special. Delays have no specific character and reverb is more of a tail than an attempt to design a space. Several effects can't be created as those delays are quantized in 5 milliseconds steps so flangers are poor and delay can't be "dead on" in some cases.
    The machine dynamics are pretty good and the "dry thru" is an added value for the guitarist looking for simplicity as you can use the box as it is.
    Will it leave your dry tone intact? No. Surely better than converting it but not untouched. I run my Intelliverb ( a better version of the Intellifex) in parallel thru a mixer. So it depends on your expectations here.

    Anyway... try your friend's Intellifex. It may offer what you want.
    I have no idea about your budget but considering early multi_fx technology I'd probably invest my money in a few machines AND a mixer to make a nice system.
    My cheap candidates would be Lexicon LXP1 or LXP 5 or LXP15 II, Boss SE-70, Roland DEP-5 and Intellifex. But then... again... a PCM80 or 81 might be even cheaper than that. Final choice depends on types of effects needed and money to spend.

    What I'm trying to tell you is that I don't like the way those early multi-fx handle more effects at the same time, compromising on each fx quality and often their routing. That's the reason why I much prefer an Intellifex for its chorus alone thru the Boss delays/shifters or Roland delays and Lexicon delay/reverb. Requiring a mixer to properly work and route them.
    I had a system with 2 LXP1s and an LXP5 in 1990... with a mixer. It sounded very good... but not as good as a PCM80 or 81 today.
    If you can find an SE70 or DEP5 at 50$, an LXP1 at the same money and an Intellifex around 70/90$, you could add a mixer quite cheap and be done around 300$ with some luck... a PCM80 and a mixer may cost a bit more.
    Hopefully all of this for a stereo setup. If it's for mono... be happy with some Boss pedals.

    Anyway... try your friend's Intellifex. It may offer you what you need.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  15. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

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    This is a lesson i've recently learned, and one that i now see is really the key concept. going from the likes of a g-force (fx blocks) to an eclipse (algorithm/structure/environment) presents a whole new world.

    probably not overly helpful to you, but my .02USD worth. ultimately it depends on requirements, cost, and size (eg you really should budget money and space for a mixer, even in the simplest of systems)

    also, dont overlook the mpx-g2 - the fx section is a beefed up mpx-1 - very capable, and i recently got one around 300USD in near mint condition. I've seen g-force go for upwards of 500USD, and it's no comparison. (i have no experience with rocktron for comparison).
     
  16. cbm

    cbm Silver Supporting Member

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    If you're willing to be a little patient, you can pick up a Lexicon PCM-81 in the $500 range. I got one a year or two ago for that, and it had the Dual FX card included.

    I know this is more than you want to spend, but it really is considerably better than the cheaper devices that have been discussed.
     
  17. jlcogar

    jlcogar Supporting Member

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    Many thanks to all that have taken the time to reply and share some in depth knowledge. Not completely sure i want to get involved with adding a mixer yet. Would have to get a larger rack, but would look more cool regardless of sound.Sounds like the pcm 80/81 would be the best option. See a good deal, i'll likely snag one. On the low end, The intellifex, mpx1, and lxp-15 have all been mentioned more than once and probably priced similar and easy to be had. The analog thru of the intellifex sounds like a good thing. Any comparison to the mpx1 ?
     
  18. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    Just for reference...
    Once I was given great advice here and decided the PCM 80 was what I really wanted...
    I started the search. Watched here, Reverb, CL, eBay.
    For about a month I waited, watched, took notes, and kept increasing my background knowledge.
    To give me time to bring my own knowledge-base up to speed.
    As I said, my rack had sat mothballed for 15 years.
    I had some researching to do to make a good buy decision.
    I did something towards this buy decision almost every day.
    Something, even if it was only 5-10 minutes.

    About a month in, a deal popped up right here on TGP.
    IF you decide on the PCM 80:
    Check the version (1.1 recommended)
    Buy and install the memory upgrade chips if it's not already done (mine was) $15.00-ish.
    Check out Italo's presets libraries, listen to the audio samples.
    That's free and something you can do anytime you want and will increase your background knowledgebase.
    It might lead you to understand the recommendations to get an 80 or 81.
    Listen with Headphones, Please.
    http://www.italodeangelis.com/it/FX_processors_libraries/

    Also, a few months before this, I found a bar dog Mackie CR1604VLZ mixer for $150.00 on a local CL.
    The guy lived 5 minutes from me if that far.
    Old, seen hundreds of shows, still kicking totally solid.
     
  19. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    You will need to read their manuals.
    The MPX is a better unit under many aspects. It offers more effects than the Intellifex but it's limited in how many you can use at the same time. For instance you can't use delay, chorus and pitch together. Pitch and chorus can NEVER be used together. The MPX-G2 allows that as it has more dsp power. Both MPX 1 and G2 require a mixer.
    Again... the only reason I can consider an Intellifex is the 8v chorus. The MPX delays and reverbs are much nicer and you can route effects as you like. MPX chorus is very nice too... but different from the 8v chorus of the Intellifex.
     
  20. biffoz

    biffoz Member

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    I had a Roland DEP5, Lex LXP1 and my fave, the Lex LXP 15 II and finally, a PCM80 and I dearly wish I had the deep LXP verbs today. While the PCM80 was an amazing box, there was something about the LXP verbs that I truly miss . . . somehow more glued to your note, thick and juicy and the LXP15 had inputs on the back for ExPed control as well. That said, the DEP5 not only had decent verbs, but a truly amazing flanged-verb and I've never heard a static "death flange" better than the DEP5.
     
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