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What effects rack module of old to get? Multi-Effects Processors (HW)
Old 11th March 2019
  #1
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DevonB's Avatar
What effects rack module of old to get?

I'm finally (ok, well, as 'final' as one can get) in the home stretch of finishing my studio reconfig, and the one thing that I've wanted to do for many years is to put a few hardware effects units in the mix. Before, my studio was full of digital synths, and only like 2 analogs, but I have pulled in a few more analogs this time around and am appreciating some good effects and external processing.

What I have - I already have Anthology XI and Sound Toys 5. I have a Strymon Blue Sky on the way. I also have a UAD-2 and Powercore with mostly the base effects that they come with in the box.

What I want - I'm looking for a few good 1U-2U effects processors to add. I feel I already have Eventide well represented. I used to own an Eventide DSP4000 for many many years, but I sold it a decade ago. I miss a few things out of it, but more in a 'gee whiz, that was neat' than a practical fashion (e.g. I really liked Dinosaur Leg and Big Voice preset, but I never actually used them.) I write instrumental synthesizer music. I do ZERO vocals. I don't do live instruments or spaces. I'm looking for effects that are musically useful, but "different" than everything else I already have. The Eventide stuff, I love it mostly because I'm 'used to it' from years with the DSP4000. However, when I tried out a demo of the Lexicon PCM bundle, it didn't wow me or interest me at all. However, I do like what I have with my TC Powercore stock bundle.

What I've considered - Ensoniq DP/4. I particularly liked the effects on the Ensoniq MR, and used to own a ASR10 waaaaay back in the mid 90's. It's cool. I don't care if it's a bit noisy. I use Behringer RX1602 mixers; not exactly the 'height' of quality. I've also considered the TC Electronic M3000 or Fireworx. I've also contemplated something in the old Lex line like an old PCM unit, provided it gives me something more than the yawner plain Jane effects that were in the PCM VST bundle.

What I like - I like lush reverbs, delays, choruses, doublers mostly. I really like the magic of the Yamaha Symphonic Effect. The stuff I've heard come out of the Blue Sky box sounds just amazing on analog synths. Outside of that, I'm not sure what I'd want. The Fireworx looks interesting with the grid system. The DP4 looks interesting because you can chain multiple effects together.

Limits - I'll consider up to $1000 for a single unit, but prefer sticking to $500 or below if possible. Sure, I'd love a H9000 or a Reverb 6000 or a 960L. I'm not willing to spend that kind of money. I also don't need just plain Jane effects that are on par with out of the box effects with Cubase. I want things with character that I just can't get somewhere else.

What would you suggest?

Devon
Old 11th March 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

The Ensoniq DP4 has fantastic modulaton effects and the reverbs are very good but I don't think you will find "lush reverbs". If you want to try some 80's delays with character, the Yamaha D1500 (Sylvia Massy has like 8 in her rack), the Korg SDD-2000 and the Roland SDE-1000. One cheap but good multi effects processor with overall very good effects is the Lexicon MX300. There may be a lot of other options but these are the only ones I can recommend based on experience because i have them.

Just in case, the Korg SDD-2000 and Roland SDE-1000 have unbalanced ins/outs. I have the SDD-2000 works fine with line level signals but the SDE-1000 likes the instrument line signal better.

Here's an interesting page with basic information about rack effect processors: Vintage Digital Studio Effects from the 70s. 80s, 90s and Now!
Old 11th March 2019
  #3
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italo de angelis's Avatar
 

Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by qblues View Post
The Ensoniq DP4 has fantastic modulaton effects and the reverbs are very good but I don't think you will find "lush reverbs". If you want to try some 80's delays with character, the Yamaha D1500 (Sylvia Massy has like 8 in her rack), the Korg SDD-2000 and the Roland SDE-1000. One cheap but good multi effects processor with overall very good effects is the Lexicon MX300. There may be a lot of other options but these are the only ones I can recommend based on experience because i have them.

Just in case, the Korg SDD-2000 and Roland SDE-1000 have unbalanced ins/outs. I have the SDD-2000 works fine with line level signals but the SDE-1000 likes the instrument line signal better.

Here's an interesting page with basic information about rack effect processors: Vintage Digital Studio Effects from the 70s. 80s, 90s and Now!
Plenty of them...
Italo de Angelis
italoop
- YouTube
Old 11th March 2019
  #4
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DevonB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by qblues View Post
The Ensoniq DP4 has fantastic modulaton effects and the reverbs are very good but I don't think you will find "lush reverbs".
To be clear, the unit doesn't have to have lush reverbs. However, it does need to have character with other effects like delays, choruses, doublers, etc. I was just listing what types of effects I like. I just want things that will give me an effect that I don't already have represented somewhere else in my arsenal.

Devon
Old 11th March 2019
  #5
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EvilRoy's Avatar
DP4's competition at the time was the Zoom 9010 which could combine processors for one higher quality reverb. It's been described as a polite PCM80. It can be found for around used DP4 prices, ($500 range). You can also find a PCM 80 or 91 in the same range, just for the real deal. A 300 goes for around $1K.
Old 11th March 2019
  #6
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DevonB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by italo de angelis View Post
italo, as someone who obviously has significant time invested in the Eventide line, what would you say? With already having Anthology, is the Eclipse too much overlap, or you think I'm still missing out on a lot?

Devon
Old 11th March 2019
  #7
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italo de angelis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevonB View Post
italo, as someone who obviously has significant time invested in the Eventide line, what would you say? With already having Anthology, is the Eclipse too much overlap, or you think I'm still missing out on a lot?

Devon
Hardware ALWAYS wins over plugs. No way out there.
I think you are missing a lot with just Anthology.
Old 11th March 2019
  #8
Gear Nut
 

SPX90
Old 12th March 2019
  #9
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grasspike's Avatar
If you are looking for "different" and "Character" you can't get anywhere else take a look at two units from the late 1980s that are easy to find and pretty cheap.

The first would be the Yamaha FX500. It has a very special chorus Yamaha calls "Symphonic". That type of chorus is found on other Yamaha units of the same period. The "Symphonic" chorus however is used on a special preset called "Soft Focus" that is unlike anything else anywhere. It's a combo of delay, wet reverb, and symphonic reverb with some EQ anf compression. You also get the reverbs and delays from the SPX series.

The other unit to get is the Alesis Midiverb II. The "bloom" reverbs are fantastic and are unlike anything else. Also has a unique chorus preset called "deep chorus" that is fantastic in a 16bit digital kind of way

Both units together should come in at $200 or less
Old 12th March 2019
  #10
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
you might want to look at a Tube Guitar multi FX unit.

something with a chain of programmable FX and store capacity.

wont be clean like DAW FX, but might be interesting, for things you want to twist.

i have a couple in my racks.

Buddha
Old 12th March 2019
  #11
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DevonB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
If you are looking for "different" and "Character" you can't get anywhere else take a look at two units from the late 1980s that are easy to find and pretty cheap.

The first would be the Yamaha FX500. It has a very special chorus Yamaha calls "Symphonic". That type of chorus is found on other Yamaha units of the same period. The "Symphonic" chorus however is used on a special preset called "Soft Focus" that is unlike anything else anywhere. It's a combo of delay, wet reverb, and symphonic reverb with some EQ anf compression. You also get the reverbs and delays from the SPX series.

The other unit to get is the Alesis Midiverb II. The "bloom" reverbs are fantastic and are unlike anything else. Also has a unique chorus preset called "deep chorus" that is fantastic in a 16bit digital kind of way

Both units together should come in at $200 or less
Ha! The first multi effects unit I ever got after having a Boss Heavy Metal HM-2 pedal for my guitar was the Yamaha FX-550! Bought it brand new at the time! Man did I get some mileage out of that box. Ah, memories!

Devon
Old 12th March 2019
  #12
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TurboJets's Avatar
MidiVerb II and Digitech GSP 2101
Old 13th March 2019
  #13
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soulone82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by italo de angelis View Post
Hardware ALWAYS wins over plugs.
Old 12th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
MidiVerb II and Digitech GSP 2101

GSP2101 was my first effects unit. I ended up trading it toward a Tascam 388 and got a lot of use out of that but the fact is if I still had the 2101 today I'd use it on synths all the time; the 388 was great in it's way but if I had it today I would sell it.
Old 15th April 2019
  #15
Gear Nut
 

I just picked up a (original version) Alesis Quadraverb.

For <100 Euros, really cannot say anything negative about this unit.

yes, it does have a little bit of a noisefloor and it is a "consumer" unit, but for what you´re doing (which is pretty much what I do, mostly synths and little to no acoustic instruments/vocals) this could be right up your alley.
Old 15th April 2019
  #16
The older Lexicon MPX500 and 550 are great for "PCM Lite" reverbs. They're cheap as hell now too! Stereo inputs (can be used in stereo or as 2 mono processors), SPDIF I/O (this is how I bus my tracks to mine in Logic), MIDI for patch/sync stuff, etc.. Haven't played with the other effects a whole lot other than the delays (the tremolos are pretty rad) but you can't go wrong with em for the price. If you get the 500, find out if its got the v2 ROM upgrade in it. There was a $200 ROM chip you could buy to upgrade the OS, it basically upgrades it to the same features as the MPX550. Id look for the 550 first though just because, they're the same price so might as well just get the upgraded version to start.
Old 16th April 2019
  #17
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mark1971's Avatar
 

This being the low end.

The Boss VF-1 has some effects you will not find else where. Bit crunchers, Synths, lo fi synths, vocoders for drums too, classic modulation effects cho/flng/faz modeled, 20 line delay, slicers, panner, mic modelers, amp modelers, Parametric EQ's,slow gear, gate, etc. The amount of crap they crammed in that 1/2 sized FX box is seriously ridiculous.

24 bit sound.

The vF-1 has the bass synths that have such poor tracking, they are funny, full with glitches.

The down side, it doesn't really handle a balanced full power type signal well in the mixer. Stays at hi Z -10.

Lexicon PCM's are really great classic machines for fluid effects.

Korg makes some great rack units. Check them out. A series A1,A2,A3, and the 8000's for sure.
Old 17th April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The older Lexicon MPX500 and 550 are great for "PCM Lite" reverbs. They're cheap as hell now too! Stereo inputs (can be used in stereo or as 2 mono processors), SPDIF I/O (this is how I bus my tracks to mine in Logic), MIDI for patch/sync stuff, etc.. Haven't played with the other effects a whole lot other than the delays (the tremolos are pretty rad) but you can't go wrong with em for the price. If you get the 500, find out if its got the v2 ROM upgrade in it. There was a $200 ROM chip you could buy to upgrade the OS, it basically upgrades it to the same features as the MPX550. Id look for the 550 first though just because, they're the same price so might as well just get the upgraded version to start.
I'm actually waiting for a 550 that I purchased a couple of days ago. I can't believe how cheap it was. I figure even if I just dedicate it to one of my synths it's totally worth it.
Old 17th April 2019
  #19
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italo de angelis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The older Lexicon MPX500 and 550 are great for "PCM Lite" reverbs. They're cheap as hell now too! Stereo inputs (can be used in stereo or as 2 mono processors), SPDIF I/O (this is how I bus my tracks to mine in Logic), MIDI for patch/sync stuff, etc.. Haven't played with the other effects a whole lot other than the delays (the tremolos are pretty rad) but you can't go wrong with em for the price. If you get the 500, find out if its got the v2 ROM upgrade in it. There was a $200 ROM chip you could buy to upgrade the OS, it basically upgrades it to the same features as the MPX550. Id look for the 550 first though just because, they're the same price so might as well just get the upgraded version to start.
Not even close to a PCM!
Those verbs are mostly based off the Chamber algorithm... like in the more expensive (than the 550) MPX1. So no real Concert Hall in there. No modulation/randomization of delay times in the reverb network. Very, very different textural quality. Lexicon verbs are really more than what you find in their cheaper lines. Ot's always been like that.
Considering how sweet are prices for PCM80/81/90/91 these days... I would aim straight to the real thing rather than a severely limited sub machine.
Old 17th April 2019
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by italo de angelis View Post
Not even close to a PCM!
Those verbs are mostly based off the Chamber algorithm... like in the more expensive (than the 550) MPX1. So no real Concert Hall in there. No modulation/randomization of delay times in the reverb network. Very, very different textural quality. Lexicon verbs are really more than what you find in their cheaper lines. Ot's always been like that.
Considering how sweet are prices for PCM80/81/90/91 these days... I would aim straight to the real thing rather than a severely limited sub machine.
what´s the verdict on the Lexicon "MX" range, in comparison?

as in the MX300/400 specifically... (since the 200 is a bit more 'preset-y' and doesn´t lend itself to deep tweaking as much).

I kinda like it, but I´ll freely admit I´ve never had the pleasure to listen to a PCM unit in person (though they surely are on tons of records I own). ^^
Old 17th April 2019
  #21
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italo de angelis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xenosapien View Post
what´s the verdict on the Lexicon "MX" range, in comparison?

as in the MX300/400 specifically... (since the 200 is a bit more 'preset-y' and doesn´t lend itself to deep tweaking as much).

I kinda like it, but I´ll freely admit I´ve never had the pleasure to listen to a PCM unit in person (though they surely are on tons of records I own). ^^
MX series has very little or nothing about "Lexicon".
It'w mostly Digitech production, running on cheaper DSPs, cannibalizing Lexicon algorithms to different degrees. If you want a true Lexicon yo gotta look back and to a higher end line.
As I said PCMs are cheap. Worth every penny for what they can do.

For your listening pleasures...

Lexicon PCM80/81 : The Revelation Collection Preview - Part 1 by italoop | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Lexicon PCM80/81 The Revelation Collection: Reel to Reel Tape Echo WorX by italoop | Free Listening on SoundCloud

IIS 8.5 Detailed Error - 404.0 - Not Found

Italo de Angelis

Last edited by italo de angelis; 4 weeks ago at 09:33 PM..
Old 17th April 2019
  #22
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mark1971's Avatar
 

That makes sense cause Harman bought Digitech. All of those entry level guitar preamps Digitech made mid 90- had Lexicon reverbs, running on someone elses chipset. Might have been the Whammy.

If you like Roland. They had these Midi Synth modelers with a special split string Piezo pickup. The 2 I liked for the effects were the VG and VB-99. They had superior amp sims and Guitar sims, the Synths had high quality tracking. They had built in a complimentary assortment of effects with 5-6 pages of tweekable parameters. Even has a detailed Model of a GR-300. Each string had its own tone,level, and pitch..even instrument. Complex programable delays, with multiple modulation sources. Etc, they are awesome.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by italo de angelis View Post
MX series has very little or nothing about "Lexicon".
It'w mostly Digitech production, running on cheaper DSPs, cannibalizing Lexicon algorithms to different degrees. If you want a true Lexicon yo gotta look back and to a higher end line.
As I said PCMs are cheap. Worth every penny for what they can do.
thanks for the detailed background info, very interesting!

I´ll keep my eyes peeled for a used PCM unit - but I must say, for what I´m doing with it at least (mostly synth-y stuff and some heavy metal stuff on another project) the MX units I have (200 and 300) are 'good enough' I guess
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
Korg makes some great rack units. Check them out. A series A1,A2,A3, and the 8000's for sure.
oooh thanks for reminding me!

I think I have a semi-broken A2 or A3 (one of the 1U rack units) in my rehearsal space, needs a new battery probably.

should dig that out and fix it up I guess...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Roland EF303 is pretty underappreciated. It's kind of like (but not exactly) having the effects section of an SP303 plus a VP1 in a single box with a step sequencer, multi band processing (sort of, there are three bands available in multiband, but you can only process one of them at a time), a fairly wretched bus musically useful VA monosynth and an extremely primitive drum machine. plus you can use the sequencer independently from the effect engine for sequencing external gear via MIDI (notes or CC). The individual effects aren't too unique but the overall package is really well thought out and not like any other performance effect box I've heard of.
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