NRD: Lexicon PCM81

skhan007

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Just arrived a few hours ago and only had a few minutes on my lunch hour to plug it up and listen to a couple dozen presets. I will eventually audition all of them, but will be keenly interested in going into PRO mode and making my own, playing with algorithms, and deep-diving into all sorts of wonderful parameters. Right out of the gate, I can say with certainty, I have never owned such incredible reverb. It's otherworldly. Right now, running in stereo with my Synergy SYN2. Also concurrently reading the PCM 81 tips thread from a few years ago. I've also been reading the user manual for the past week or so prior to the purchase.

 
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ctreitzell

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2,393
congrats!
yep, a lot of those factory programs are either really subtle, or way out
I've been spending a fair bit of time with mine recently...waters can get pretty deep

as far as the algos go, the tiny differences might go unnoticed for a while for you just trying to take in the black on white...I've been staring at them intently for the past couple months...I think color coding does help...it does for me, anyway

I was struggling to grasp the submixer in the manuals...so I dove into the machine and it's much clearer now...the submixer is quite prominent on the DualFX algos, which you won't have if you don't have the card

enjoy!
 

skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
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9,288
@ctreitzell @AnalogKid85

Could either of you help me with a quick question?

I’ve saved a register (modified preset) in the register bank as 0.0. How can I map this via midi to my button 1 on my midi footswitch? I’ve been trying over and over based on what the manual says, but I must be doing it wrong. I’m lost after using the control button, going to midi map, etc.

Thanks in advance!!

EDIT: I searched the PCM 81 Questions & Tips thread and found this guidance.

Easiest way would be to setup a program change map. Hit the control button and 'Up' to get to Map0. Use the Load * button to toggle between the Pgm# and the preset. Once you map the bank/preset to a Pgm#, you can set the program change on the controller for that number. This will save you from having to send both a Bank Select and a Program Change.
Worked like a charm!! Big thanks to @MarcoR . This info wasn't in the manual, as far as I could tell.
 
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skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
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9,288
Deep diving into this unit my first week. The manual will be an ever-present companion, as there’s a ton of depth. This unit deserves its own college-level class, as there is so much to understand. First, getting familiar with the soft row, but then one must really do three things: 1) Play in stereo always; 2) Really understand the flow of the algorithms and 3) absolutely, one must be in Pro mode. Anything less is like having an awesome sports car and never getting it above 30 mph. There is SO MUCH under the hood. The PCM81 has become a new world to explore.
 

jb4674

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6,766
Looks nice and it also looks like you live in my neck of the woods as well! PM me if you have questions about it, as I own one as well.

Just arrived a few hours ago and only had a few minutes on my lunch hour to plug it up and listen to a couple dozen presets. I will eventually audition all of them, but will be keenly interested in going into PRO mode and making my own, playing with algorithms, and deep-diving into all sorts of wonderful parameters. Right out of the gate, I can say with certainty, I have never owned such incredible reverb. It's otherworldly. Right now, running in stereo with my Synergy SYN2. Also concurrently reading the PCM 81 tips thread from a few years ago. I've also been reading the user manual for the past week or so prior to the purchase.

 

jlcogar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
360
I need to get an 81. I only use a small portion of what the mpx1 is capable of but have heard the 81 up close and I imagine it would inspire some creativity
 

ctreitzell

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2,393
yeah, deep waters

I have just spent the entire past week porting the Quad Hall algorithm into a format that will work on ipad as a navigation page to open parameter specific pages for the remote I've been chipping away at. My goodness, you think you understand the algos and the waters just get deeper.

After spending a couple days tweaking the PCM81 front panel, I realize how much more efficient programming/ tweaking from a better listening position would be for me. That alone has inspired me to forge ahead and get this remote working.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,393
Deep diving into this unit my first week. The manual will be an ever-present companion, as there’s a ton of depth. This unit deserves its own college-level class, as there is so much to understand.
Yes the manual is indispensable. That's why I am building the ipad remote like I am; you won't need to refer to the algo diagrams as much, hence, less reference to the manual :) Also, realize there are different manuals for different releases of algorithms. I have a PCM81 with DualFX card; DualFX is/are not covered in the PCM81 manual (thanks to @AnalogKid85 for pointing that out to me). I'm not near the understanding of the experts here, I, too, am pretty new to the PCM8x as I have only acquired my PCM81 a couple years ago.

First, getting familiar with the soft row,
Soft Row in a Register is whatever the programmer wants it to be. Soft would be a big challenge for a remote controller. Just like with expression pedals, users would likely be limited to 127 steps of resolution. That works for some; maybe not for others. Personally, I seldom use the Soft Row.

but then one must really do three things: 1) Play in stereo always;
Hmmm, it's possible to create plenty of mono scenarios. Consider some of the Dual Algos where one could route one source through the left side and another through the right with completely different settings and zero crosstalk; two fx units in one!. This unit is designed to do this. How about running right and left in series? It is totally feasible...you might want to keep the serial routing in the digital realm. Again, totally feasible.

2) Really understand the flow of the algorithms
I have found that even the Lexicon algo diagrams miss some elements; for example: understanding there is separate glide for both the Voice Delays and the reverb Post Delay. The algos diagrams don't show that.

3) absolutely, one must be in Pro mode. Anything less is like having an awesome sports car and never getting it above 30 mph. There is SO MUCH under the hood. The PCM81 has become a new world to explore.
Agreed. That said, there are certainly applications where it could be best to be in Go mode.

Well, what we really need are DAWs and mobile apps which are capable of sending and receiving complicated SysEx and then we could automate to parameter specific values for these awesome units.
 
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skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
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9,288
Yes the manual is indispensable. That's why I am building the ipad remote like I am; you won't need to refer to the algo diagrams as much, hence, less reference to the manual :) Also, realize there are different manuals for different releases of algorithms. I have a PCM81 with DualFX card; DualFX is/are not covered in the PCM81 manual (thanks to @AnalogKid85 for pointing that out to me). I'm not near the understanding of the experts here, I, too, am pretty new to the PCM8x as I have only acquired my PCM81 a couple years ago.


Soft Row in a Register is whatever the programmer wants it to be. Soft would be a big challenge for a remote controller. Just like with expression pedals, users would likely be limited to 127 steps of resolution. That works for some; maybe not for others. Personally, I seldom use the Soft Row.


Hmmm, it's possible to create plenty of mono scenarios. Consider some of the Dual Algos where one could route one source through the left side and another through the right with completely different settings and zero crosstalk; two fx units in one!. This unit is designed to do this. How about running right and left in series? It is totally feasible...you might want to keep the serial routing in the digital realm. Again, totally feasible.


I have found that even the Lexicon algo diagrams miss some elements; for example: understanding there is separate glide for both the Voice Delays and the reverb Post Delay. The algos diagrams don't show that.


Agreed. That said, there are certainly applications where it could be best to be in Go mode.

Well, what we really need are DAWs and mobile apps which are capable of sending and receiving complicated SysEx and then we could automate to parameter specific values for these awesome units.
Thank you for the thoughtful insights. I'm continuing to learn and very keen on collecting feedback, tips, etc. from those of you with more experience.

Question regarding using the PCM81 with a mixer- If I'm planning to get a Samson SM10, I wanted to make sure I understand the best/correct way to hook up my modest rack set up.

I have a Synergy SYN2 into a Two Notes CAB-M for my dry signal. That will go via balanced cable to a single channel in the mixer.

The PCM81, if I understand the SM10 manual correctly, would utilize the EFX 1/4" output (specs say this is unbalanced) to the PCM 81. Would I use an unbalanced y-cable into the L&R inputs of the PCM81?

Per the SM10 manual, the stereo output from the PCM81 would go back to the TRS input of the SM10. What cable would I use here? A TRS y-cable?

Any suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

AnalogKid85

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1,318
Soft Row in a Register is whatever the programmer wants it to be. Soft would be a big challenge for a remote controller. Just like with expression pedals, users would likely be limited to 127 steps of resolution. That works for some; maybe not for others. Personally, I seldom use the Soft Row.
I hope this doesn't further complicate your build too much :rotflmao....but the Soft Row parameters can still have up to tens of thousands of steps....the ADJUST knob is the one that works in 127 steps; the Soft Row is just a customizable "dashboard" of sorts, where you have convenient access to your favorite parameters (and groups of parameters too, since cells in the matrix that are "layers" deep—like LFO, which cycles through Rate, Depth, Waveform, and Pulse Width with the Load/* key—can be placed there as well, and function exactly as they do when you're going through the matrix)....so they're different from Eventide Eclipse "Hot Keys" in that regard (whereas the ADJUST knob is like a super-programmable Hot Key ;) ).

Just to make one thing clear for those new to the PCM80/81 though: just because the ADJUST knob is 127 step, it does not mean that all the parameters you attach it to will be "cut up" like that. If you attach the ADJUST knob to glide modulation delays, pitch shift intervals, or filter sweeps, those are all interpolated, so changes to their values will still happen smoothly, with a much larger of number of steps happening on the "atomic" level (and in the case of glide mod & pitch mod, there are Glide Response parameters governing exactly how smooth/fast those transitions will be). It's generally not something you have to worry about. For me, the only time the issue comes up in the course of programming is when I have the ADJUST knob attached to one of those rare parameters that really makes things "grind to a halt" for a second (like Reverb Size, which does make the reverb audio cut out temporarily while it re-calculates—luckily, if you just want a longer reverb decay, you can still make smooth adjustments to that by patching to MidRT—the "decay"—which does adjust smoothly, and never cuts out).

I have found that even the Lexicon algo diagrams miss some elements; for example: understanding there is separate glide for both the Voice Delays and the reverb Post Delay. The algos diagrams don't show that.
Right about that! They really should show that in the drawing somehow. Color helps a lot...



I like to do this for Chorus+Rvb too, only I'm using different colors this time since the "Chorus" modulators on each voices have their own, non-adjustable glide (the blue one you can still adjust though):

Please note: this is not the original drawing from the manual! This is a "simplified" drawing I made which shows just the delay lines (i.e., no reverb) when Diffusion is on (above 0%). Delay routing changes there, so the diffused EkoDelays are now in series with the 6 Voice delays....tons of amazing effects you can make this way!
 
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skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
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9,288
OK, so I am about a week in, with my new PCM 81 and have been reading the tips and questions thread. This advice below from @AnalogKid85 is awesome! I just sat down and went into edit mode and played with the parameters suggested. This effect is so awesome and I saved it as a register, calling it “Alkid Circular”. I’m adding my own ideas and tweaking based on clean amp tones and gain amp tones.

A different way of doing 'Circular Delays' (Pt.1)


This is a simplified drawing containing all the relevant parts, and it can be done in the 4V Plate, Chamber, or Infinite algorithms. I came up with this because I had a feeling there was a way to do a diffused Circular Delay and get crystal-clear, non-diffused stereo chorus at the same time (if you've tried to do this in Chorus+Rvb before, you know the struggle :D ). Here, you have diffusion on the taps AND re-circulated diffusion (w/EkoDelays), and you still have V1-V4 glide delays to do whatever you want with in parallel (stereo multi-voice chorus/flanger, more echoes, etc.). See if you can follow it and understand how it works! (PostDly Mix is set around 50% here, by the way, to let the RefDelays and the PostDelays pass through). I will have some more details on this later tonight.

Another thing: I'm using 3 evenly-spaced "taps" here with 876ms instead of the PCM70's 888ms, but that can easily be done too if you want, just by adding slightly more dealy time in the PostDelays L/R ;)
 

ctreitzell

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2,393
I hope this doesn't further complicate your build too much :rotflmao....but the Soft Row parameters can still have up to tens of thousands of steps....the ADJUST knob is the one that works in 127 steps; the Soft Row is just a customizable "dashboard" of sorts, where you have convenient access to your favorite parameters (and groups of parameters too, since cells in the matrix that are "layers" deep—like LFO, which cycles through Rate, Depth, Waveform, and Pulse Width with the Load/* key—can be placed there as well, and function exactly as they do when you're going through the matrix)....so they're different from Eventide Eclipse "Hot Keys" in that regard (whereas the ADJUST knob is like a super-programmable Hot Key ;) ).
Ryan, the Soft Row is essentially dynamically patched parameters for easier access. How would my remote control employ the control with the correct number of ticks after the users' changing the parameter target? The only way would be a generic control, meaning a generic resolution. If the PCM8x were capable of 14 bit nrpn resolution, that would solve the issue...except the units (Hz, dB, %, et al) would also have to be generic. I'd be getting into app building territory. I realize the PCM8x front panel is capable of these high native resolutions; I just don't know of a way to get MDP2 to automatically or manually load the correct control. The simple solution is to use 7 bit midi 127 step res for those controls and it will "work".

At this time I have plans for including the Soft Row in the remote. I can, however, understand why users would use want the functionality...so they don't have to remember which param was the one they want to tweak with so many possibilities...so I must reframe :)...

I didn't know about the Adjust knob resolution; thanks for that.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,393
....the ADJUST knob is the one that works in 127 steps;
I don't really get what you are saying here. When I use a MIDI OX to show the the messages sent by the ADJUST knob, exact SysEx high resolution messages are sent depending upon the selected parameter. How can ADJUST be sending 127 step info? Is it programmed to cycle 0-127 and loop back to 0 from 127 and so on? Where it just latches onto whatever the tick amount the current parameter resolution is? Or are you talking about PATCHING the ADJUST to a parameter where the ADJUST knob is being controlled by a variable 7x bit midi device (ie expression pedal)?

the Soft Row is just a customizable "dashboard" of sorts, where you have convenient access to your favorite parameters (and groups of parameters too, since cells in the matrix that are "layers" deep—like LFO, which cycles through Rate, Depth, Waveform, and Pulse Width with the Load/* key—can be placed there as well, and function exactly as they do when you're going through the matrix)...
Yep, one of the main benefits of a remote control is to seriously diminsh the requirement for menu diving; no more multiple Load/* key presses to access the parameter you want :)
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,393
I don't really get what you are saying here. When I use a MIDI OX to show the the messages sent by the ADJUST knob, exact SysEx high resolution messages are sent depending upon the selected parameter. How can ADJUST be sending 127 step info? Is it programmed to cycle 0-127 and loop back to 0 from 127 and so on? Where it just latches onto whatever the tick amount the current parameter resolution is? Or are you talking about PATCHING the ADJUST to a parameter where the ADJUST knob is being controlled by a variable 7x bit midi device (ie expression pedal)?
OK, @AnalogKid85 I just read up on Adjust knob
from Page 2-21:
"The range of ADJUST knob control can be limited in Control
Mode, making it possible, for example, to have a range of only
0...1, in order to have the ADJUST knob behave as an Off/On
control. Many of the presets have range limits to make them more
convenient to use. In some of the presets, the changes effected by
ADJUST will be as simple as altering the wet/dry mix. In others,
such as the example shown below, turning ADJUST will glide you
all the way from a chorusing effect to a reverb effect over the
complete control range of 0-127
."

What?!?! IME, Adjust Knob will deliver all the ticks in whatever the range of the currently selected parameter. What was the point of showing users they can access a 127 step parameter in the example? It looks like the manual writers were trying to show users what they already knew at the time: 7 bit general midi cc ranges from 0-127. Seems pretty silly when the Adjust Knob goes well beyond 7 bit midi res using variable Lexicon's version of LSB first SysEx (a confusing animal in and of itself). All that paragraph in the manual is saying is that the Adjust Knob can be limited to whatever range the user might want it programmed to.
This is just poor manual writing which only helps to confuse the reader, IMO.

Maybe you are talking about another part of the manual or your use, Ryan? Anyway...no big...we know what the Adjust Knob does, innit ;-D
 

skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,288
Incoming Samson SM10 to pair with my PCM81 and Synergy SYN2. This will be a very small, concise rig, but I have a feeling it will be the perfect set up for my needs.

I'm researching cables now, understanding that my Lexicon benefits from balanced cables, so I'll likely be doing XLR for ins/outs.

The EFX out on the SM10 is 1/4" unbalanced, so mono to two XLR y-cable into the PCM81 inputs?
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,065
Incoming Samson SM10 to pair with my PCM81 and Synergy SYN2. This will be a very small, concise rig, but I have a feeling it will be the perfect set up for my needs.

I'm researching cables now, understanding that my Lexicon benefits from balanced cables, so I'll likely be doing XLR for ins/outs.

The EFX out on the SM10 is 1/4" unbalanced, so mono to two XLR y-cable into the PCM81 inputs?
I had splitter cables made, 1/4” stereo to dual 1/4” mono. I don’t think having a balanced connector is much advantage if the signal is unbalanced, but maybe I’m wrong. I don’t get any noise from my unbalanced cables.

Also, note that the SM10 has 48V phantom power on the XLR inputs, so I don’t use them as there’s no switch to turn that off.
 

skhan007

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,288
I had splitter cables made, 1/4” stereo to dual 1/4” mono. I don’t think having a balanced connector is much advantage if the signal is unbalanced, but maybe I’m wrong. I don’t get any noise from my unbalanced cables.

Also, note that the SM10 has 48V phantom power on the XLR inputs, so I don’t use them as there’s no switch to turn that off.
Thanks! So, you're using 1/4" unbalanced for both ins and outs of your PCM81 to the SM10? If so, sounds simple enough and good to know you're not getting any noise.
 




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