Ok......Sorry if their was confusion - what I'm saying really comes down to this!
Say Producer X or Engineer Y is interviewed for an Article in Mix/EQ/SOS or in an old Home & Studio Recording Magazine - maybe even on the GS forum, letting his info loose one might say............"might" that he used XXX on a certain project and suddenly this version XXX unit (Or His Version of XXX) is worth 10 times it's actual real value (The GS Inflation method!) So units like the PCM-70 & PCM-42 are exact examples of this "Fools Gold" especially V.2.0 of the PCM-70...... when Version 3 or 4 gives Inverse room Algo & Full Dynamic Midi implementation - no question about it.
Seriously - if you were a 5-7$K a Day Engineer would you tell all your FX/Comp/Lim/Gate Outboard Chaining Secrets to the GS Forum? Nope.....and I doubt many serious engineers have save the obvious examples we have on GS would! In Saying this I must qualify by saying "IF" X or Y Engineer uses PCM-70 though in version 1.2 or 2.0 mode? Does that make it right - is it the be all end all just being PCM-70 Version XXX alone? More so when the product From Lexicon is not "Finally Mature" - though people "STILL" think a PCM-70 V.2.0 must be better.....(No it is not - you lose an Algo & Control of the unit (I'm also going to say here once & for all "Tiled Room" is NOT an Algo - It's a Register/Preset and can be done on most PCM Lexicon Units, even LXP-MKII) then the PCM-70 version 3.0 or 4.0 This is a Bug Bear of mine.
The M/L300 scenario works like this - 1995/6 and the M300 is released with 5 main Algo's - great stuff as it adds Time-code/Dynamic-Midi/AES Word Clock & Spdif, Toslink alongside Analog Inputs/Outputs. Where as the Lexicon M300 came first - soon..... Lexicon realised with a Software upgrade & those 5 Algo's could be turned into more... 224XL Rich Plate/Chambers/Dual delays/Ponds Dither-Compressor-M/S Binaural, Stereo Pitch Shift, LFO's & More.....basically much more Processor ROM alongside LFO in the - Classic Reverb that ran an LFO for control - over the majority all Algo's. Now the 300L with a LARC is born. The unit now controllable through M300 faceplate or LARC and has Single/Cascade /Mono or Dual Algorithms. All......480L based.
1 Single Lexicon Algo - be it Lexicon Random Hall or Random Ambience Chamber or " Stereo Pitch Shift, Dual delays, Chamber, Pons can be Cascaded FX.....In Real Fact is a single 300M/L Algo "Instance" is actually 120% Faster then a Single Algo in a 2 x HSP card 480L. (Yes.......This means a Stereo Single Algo of Random Ambience is faster in a 300 then the 480L & has more power!). Now this is "HUGE" as for a 1st time Lexicon release a 300 that in Digital DSP processing can beat a 480L in most S/ware circumstances, meaning 480L Analog version 2.0. x 2 HSP Boards Vs the 300's Digital Boards and Daughterboards in the 300 make it 3/4's in total processing, closer to a version 3.1 480L unit.....Yes a 300 Unit can do it after all?
Though we are in 1996 and the 480L is still the King of Lexicon Reverbs in Studios world over, even though we are talking Apples & Oranges..... as the last 480L software version came with (In version 4.1) 3 x HSP Boards full of 500 IC Chips and an optional HSP/SME board which is the 4th HSP Board in a 480L making an HSP/SME board a true sampling function of 22 seconds plus... for drum replacement, ADR, Stripe or Drum trigger replacement. The LFI-10 Costed around $3,800.00, Plus add $2,800 for an HSP/SME board to Sample with? (not many units were fitted with the option.)
480L version 4.1
1 x HSP = Control
1 x Algo
1 x Algo
1 x Sampling
= Version 4.1 480L (A very hard unit to find, and if found $6000 USD or more
Also remember Classic Cart (224XL) & Surround Cart (LARES) are near obsolete! $1500. LFI-10 9 Pin to AES 480L to Connect Digital - it can get very expensive very quickly! (more so putting together a system today let alone 30-40KUSD 25 years ago!)
In functional reality the 480L even by version 4.1 could not "Replace/Connect" or to lock to AES 3 for Mastering. Close to $5000 bucks it would cost for an LFI-10 Convertor Unit (Which was either 2 x 18 bit or 1 x 20 bit) to use the numerous 10 plus Mastering Algo's/Registers.
The LFI-10 (Made by Lexicon in the mid 90's took the original 480L Digital Signal which was in RS422 and took the 480L AES & W/Clock 9-pin into DE/B Pin Sync functions usually used for mastering to a Sony 1630 or PCM F1 and re-orginized them into AES-3 1993 110Ohm Signals. This was the only way a 480L could master as the Sony Unit's (used in the day) Which were Mastering Units for Final's (Like 1/4 " or 1/2" Tape) could not lock to out to Word-Clock sync, thus trying to turn the Digital output on... in a 480L Algo function that actually worked in conjunction with an LFI-10 Interface and finally being able to utilise the Mastering Algo's (Of which their were many) from a 480L, again loading all 3 HSP boards - in "Compressor" was a fully thankless task unless you had an LFI-10 Unit converting RS422 into AES-3 (1993) standard.
This was a very expensive option indeed - more so for Radio, Film, Video & TV. "Post-Production". In Comes the Lex 300!
When the 1st 300M was released it was an ALL DIGITAL DSP unit no HSP Boards - not only did it have Algorithms ported over from the 480L, though it offered AES-3 -SPDIF - TOSLINK and ANALOG In/Out alongside Time-Code and Full Midi Control Plus AES lock (in Word-Clock). The 300M/L was a Digital Unit offering 3/4 of a 3 board version 4.1 480L (1 x HSP board used for Instructions) 2 x HSP boards used for Algorithms, (and the 4th HSP board used for Sampling). Amongst this you had the 480L PCM style Junior Cart - Letting you save "Your" presets & registers or "Set-Up's to a Non volatile memory cartridge. (Also remember by 1996 you could buy an EMU-E64 or Akai S1100 or 3000 for under 2$K USD and it offered 20 bit @ 12/14/16/20 Bit Sampling storage making 480L Sampling w/ "Trigger & SME Programs kind of near redundant.)
As the 300M/L Units start rolling out many Recording Studio's are "LOCKED IN" to owning a 480L (the differing versions & formats from version 2.0 to version 4.1 are a real eye opener - what "Relab" have at the moment would be classified as version 1.04 /2.00 without Sampling/Compressor Algo's. So you can see the 300 as a unit of the new Lexicon Digital age - it has in version 2.00 operating system the Single & Dual Algo's - Thus enabling version 3.5L for 300M users to utilise a LARC as a 300L would do. More so the 300M/L now has the option to be LARC free or LARC required as 300L's have no front plate buttons. Again - Lexicon seem to be treading on their own toes and if you consider the 300 series was supported from 1995 to 2007 it gives you a massive indication of just how popular the unit was. As even in 2005 Lexicon is still supporting the 480L with the "Classic Cart containing 224XL Algo's, the LARES Cart which was the 480L's answer to Surround Sound (A tweaked Random Hall Algo re-made for 480L surround users when in 2000 96kHz/24 Bit was soon to become the new DVD standard!
Alongside this was the Primetime III cartridge that was supposed to give you what in version 2.0 of the 300M/L already had. Delays/Flangers/Phasers/LFO's assignable to other parameters and a new Daughter-Board - containing 1 Meg or 10 Seconds of Stereo Delay! though please remember version 3.0 rom of the M/L300 gave the Algo "Rich Plate" from the 224XL Algo - and this is the CD Plate (EMT 250/251) and/or derivatives off from the 224 unit going through the 224X/XL/200M etc. All in all from the 300's inception..... the unit does end up with around 20 service fixes and improvements - these range from OS ROM to memory RAM to Aligning of the A-D Convertors (And indeed changes from the PCM-53k Chip as the 480L uses/used to an Analog devices A-D chip. It's also worth mentioning that NOT ALL M300 or 300/L Units have the full Software upgrades - This is where Re-Sale Value becomes critical as often people have no idea of what the capabilities are of an M300 or even an 300/L.
One Noteworthy uncontested question is that the - 300M/L is an all Digital Unit that utilises 2 xLexiChip Mk2's and a Motorola 6808 chip (the same used in Mac's & PC's of the time, apart from 2 x Z80's and other BB-Parts and op Amps with around 50 IC's (Compared to a 4 x HSP board 480L 500 IC chips.) Even the Analog Inputs/Outputs come off the main Digital Buss Board that enables AES/TOSLINK/SPDIF/WC/TC/MIDI etc - Basically the Analog board (A separate daughter board is taking a "Buss Tap" from this main Digital board - bussing out for A-D Conversion. It should also be noted that as the Digital In/Out are 20 Bit - the Analog In.Out's are 18 bit, though this is dependant on a certain tiny screw which changes the In/Out Analog gain as to the best aliasing and Pitch Shift derision n of artefacts. It's user adjustable from 0-16bit/18bit or 20 bit and beyond - obviously creating distortion if wound to high-though incremental when turned as to sound optimum!
Many discuss the sound of these units in GS forum Posts and of a 300M/L Vs a 480L. In the 1st instance their is really little to find from the Analog In/outputs - they do sound similar as the 480L uses the same Analog output scenario (300 has Trafo's though, it is an option on the 480L. When one is discussing the 300M/L the digital signal seems to always sound wider with more Vertical & Horizontal Depth - then the PCM90/91 and this would be true due to the comparative processing power of a single instance in the 300M/L version Vs the short loaded PCM90/91 Algo that's been dumbed down.
As with the TC Electronics M5000, the Lexicon M/L300 has multiple Outputs with 2 inputs - very much the same as the 480L - where it differs from a unit like the TC5000 is the fact that up to 4 DSP Input/Output engines need not be bought. M/L300's were (ROM pertaining all installed with v.2.0 Units having 4 Digital & 2 Analog) - Though with the M/L300 also has the long lost ability to be able to route another signal processor into a "Digital PatchPoint" in Cascade mode equates to having a Pre/Post DSP AUX SEND/RETURN either pre or post DSP processing. (All outputs are always active). So as you can see from reading so far the M/L300 is indeed not only a brilliant unit in it's own right though more versatile in many/most scenarios over a version 3.1 480L. No matter which Inputs/Outputs are chosen, signal still comes through the other digital or Analog Inputs/Outputs, thus.....putting a PCM 80 with 40 seconds of Delay (No regeneration or recirculation in a program such as "Res-Chords" makes the M/L300 a PowerHouse to utilise and use those Algo's that were never ported to the 300M/L (Yes......the PCM-80 is a descendant from the PCM-70 and as so has far greater power and capabilities then a PCM-70. The PCM-80's technical & Algorithmic tendencies are 224XL descendants. The only difference is the PCM-70 uses 1 x Lexichip & a
Mono Input and Stereo Outs, and the PCM-80 2 In/2-Out, though Delays, Res Chords, Chamber, Hall are all their modulated from the original "Matriarch" the 224XL.
To shorten the length in writing this M/L300 post it is quite simple to say that the attraction in owning these Units lays in not only the "Big Algos" from the 224/480L, though the fact that both the 300L (Larc version) and 300M (Modular Version) are both as attractive in their own right and as together.
During the end of 2004 Lexicon introduced a product called the LR4 FRAMELINK - This Units basic function was to take a 224X or XL and 300L or 480L and join 4 units together into "One Super Unit Controllable by a Single LARC! For Large Studio Facilities such as the Power-station or BlackBird, Townhouse, etc it meant being able to rack the "MainFrames away - use a single Cable from the units to the LR4 and control the reverbs from a single or Dual LARC scenario, cheaper then purchasing a multiple LARCS and far more convenient as once the OS for the LARC is known for mostly all operations and once learned all is greatly simplified into quick and easy usage. when referring to the question I replied to as a M300 acting as a Leg and an 300L acting as an Arm the idea was quite simple.
If you have the correct ROM set, an M300 or 300/L are very much interchangeable.
An M300 only requires 3.5L ROM software to be able to be used with a LARC and should a 300/L go bust.....well...... you still have the LARC available to use with a 300M and version 3.5L which you can salvage. As people (Apart from production houses for Post/Film/TV/Radio are the people whom purchased these units - some went to smaller studios or "B Rooms" Mix Engineers, and Private Studios know - the M/L300 is the most versatile unit Lexicon ever created. To see units going on the Market for $700-800 dollars just as the seller has not been bothered to "Open the Lid".... has personally served me well, and I'm sure many others - people whom seem to think a PCM-70 or PCM 60 is the King of The Hill reverb just haven't heard a 224/300/480L These Algo's are in a different class! Oh......And Just for the record "Steve Albini" won't Mix without a Klark Teknik DN780 Reverb....So go figure? Though for those whom love their PCM-70 and/or find it just "Cool enough For School" would do well to learn that although the unit itself is 20Hz-20kHz the "WET MIX or MONO REVERB MIX is only 23Hz -15kHz and it is this sound that imparts the dark 224XL Concert Hall type Modulation sound people seem to love & desire - indeed rolloff and EQ from a Chanel return will serve you just as well with a Lexicon M/L300 & PCM-80 giving you the Modulated flutter that actual 224/X/XL Units on a 300M/L Impart from 20-20kHz.
The moral of this M/L300 Post is: Number one don't listen to others misinformation, or producer/engineer's tricks you'l never really know are true! Number 2, the Lexicon M/L300 is the last line of the "BIG MIX LEX Verbs" that will give you that truly "Big Maximum Sound" in a Mix on an Analog Console or even a DAW. Put quite simply 224/X/XL's & 480L's (often not as upgradable as a 300M/L) are now just far to old to repair and keep running in 2012. Should a 224/480L be the main verb you rely on during a Mix and it goes down..your in serious trouble, at the very least a 224XL emulation, to which myself I find acceptable, is on the UAD card (I just don't want the other stuff that comes with it) - ReLab's 480L which is 2 Algo's also great - though you can't take it to an FOH gig and hook it into a MIDAS console. The 300M/L..well you can keep a decent serious chunk of the past use a Bit-Crush or Equalizer to gain your required taste - and if your lucky you have a ROM/RAM Set that can be interchanged should units die.......as the unit's coming on the market in M300 form are only "JUST SHOWING" their worth again in prices from $1400-1800 USD for a version 3.5 unit, and a 300L of the same ilk save 3.5L is around $2.400 to $2,800 USD with LARC.
Considering these units are digital - prone to less Surface mount IC board trouble & known Software is available, to me it's by far the best bet for the Reverbs & FX we've known & come to love from Lexicon in the past 25 years I'm Hoping it will last - at least another 10 years! Then again I bought a PCM-92 and the Algo's inside that unit like Res-Chords resurrected are just insane! I know of nothing that could reproduce that kinda stuff! Still I love noodeling with a PCM-42 and a guitar......Go figure? Their selling price is near 3/4 what it was 28 years ago! As all things... Lexicon Algorithms evolve & change - the Lexicon ones certainly have, and though I love a massive dose in all Reverb FX Genre's.......! In Keeping some of the past Algo's in the present for the future - 300M/L's can be mixed up and used to taste! And I'll take that over a 224XL or 480L 4.1 version any day! I hope this clarifies matters for those whom were curious!
(Sorry for rushing & Spelling mistakes as usual!)