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Old 22nd August 2019
Originally Posted by Cantankerous View Post
Thank you so much!

You have been an invaluable help throughout this thread, really, I am extremely grateful and appreciative of your help and support through this.

Some very good info and advice to keep in mind, in terms of how the boxes operate. I am very glad to have this knowledge, as I wasn't actually aware of those details and they change things a lot.

From what it sounds like, the Yamaha box may be the way to go. It was actually the way I was leaning anyways, but with you mentioning it would be a different sound that I am currently getting, while still having character, it seems exciting. I have no clue if this point is true, but perhaps the Yamaha box will be easier to use, as it is only one effect at a time, and not multiple, like the Alesis? Is this true? If so, that would be a bonus, as the entire point of this thread was to get a good unit, that was quick and easy to use, while not being buried in parameters that would stress me out.

I was going to get an SPX90, or 90 II, but I hear they are very prone to failure, due to shoddy power supply design, which the SPX990 apparently doesn't have, so that is why I am leaning that way.

Would you say the Yamaha box is hard/slow to work with?

Thanks again for mentioning the M-One XL, as I had actually missed that! I looked into the TC M350 which looked perfect for me, in terms of how it operates, but seemed very boring, bland and not creative/inspiring at all. I wanted something with a bit more oomph, character and excitement.

Sorry to keep rambling here. You mentioned the Yamaha box is balanced, with TRS connectors. Can I still used unbalanced, Mogami cables, or would that be a problem?

Thanks again for all your help, you are very patient and kind.
No worries, my friend--I like to help!

Even though it will operate at +4 dBU or -20 dBV, the Yamaha is really made for "semi-pro" use, so you'd want to convert your Mogami cables to TRS (if they're 1/4"). That's not ideal, since you don't gain the noise-reduction benefits of a "balanced" cable, but it'll work.

As I mentioned previously, the Yamaha box is a bit "different" in the way it does things, but it's not difficult to use. To me, it just wasn't as intuitive as some of the other boxes I'd used back then. But everything is clearly laid out on the SPX, and since it only does one effect at a time (more on that in a second), you don't have too much "menu-diving" from the front panel. You may not have to do any at all, if you're satisfied with the presets, but even if you want to tweak a bit, I doubt you'd get lost inside the box.

Let me clarify something I mentioned about the 990 earlier. Yes, the SPX is one effect at a time (if you don't count the EQ/compression before and/or after that one effect), and the effects aren't quite the same as what the Alesis offers, but there are a few "dual-effect" programs, such as "Chorus + Reverb" or a dual-delay or dual-reverb program. I'd forgotten about these, because they weren't terribly useful. Here's why: They use a mono input (so they sum whatever you're running into the box into mono before processing it), and the options for the individual effects aren't as extensive as the "full" version of those effects, elsewhere in the box. So while a "dual-reverb" effect sounds interesting in theory, each reverb has a mono audio input source; you don't have quite the depth and breadth of control you do with the reverb programs otherwise (and they're quite deep on their own!); you have limited control over the order of the effects; and the output audio is matrixed back in with the input audio to create a "stereo" effect sound at the output.

Basically, the "dual-effect" programs on the SPX 990 work best in a live audio setting where you can send individual mono audio signals to the left and right audio inputs, where you'll process them separately before bringing them back into a mix.

Have you considered the SPX 1000? As the 990's big brother, it does what the 990 does--but it does it a bit better and easier. Gone are the TRS or XLR audio inputs and outputs--you just use standard, 1/4" connectors (so your Mogami stuff would be fine). It can still operate at +4 if you want, however. It has digital audio inputs and a couple more types of effects (including "distortion"), though the dual-effect programs have the same limitations as the SPX 990's programs.

If you want to check out the SPX 990 a bit more, I'd suggest combing through the manual:

Here's the SPX 1000's manual, just in case you want to check it out:

If you're used to the MIDIVerb II's sound, then you're used to "matrixed" audio, where the audio inputs are summed before an effect is applied, and the original audio is mixed back in a bit, to simulate a stereo effect for the reverbs or modulation effects. The SPX series isn't really very different, except that you might find yourself using the left input for one effect, and the right input for another. That's after the inputs were summed for the EQ/compression at the input. I thought about this a bit more for what you'd planned to do, and I'm not sure this would give you the type of sound--let alone control over the sound--that you want.

The QuadraVerb Plus also has matrixed audio; all semi-pro (and many "pro") boxes from the late '80s/early '90s did, since A/D converters weren't cheap back then.

Alesis QuadraVerb Plus:

If you're really concerned about the best audio you can get from an outboard digital effects box, The M-ONE XL has balanced XLR audio inputs and outputs, digital S/PDIF audio in and out, and independent A/D converters, which keeps your audio from being matrixed for processing. It's a dual-effects box, but the effects it offers seem to be ready to go right out of the box, with little tweaking necessary.

SOS review of the M-ONE XL:

M-ONE XL manual:

Of course, you could just as easily say sod it all! and grab a MIDIVerb 4. With its standard, unbalanced 1/4" inputs and outputs, its limited number of adjustable parameters and its dual- or triple-effect programs, you might get everything you want, all in one box. You might even grab two, since they're very cheap on the used market. (You could buy almost 5 of them for the price of one new M-ONE XL.)

Alesis MIDIVerb 4 page:

I know this was a lot, and it may not quite have been what you wanted to hear, but I wanted to make sure you had enough information to make an informed decision. I hope this helped.