Friday, January 18, 2008

Lexicon MX300

Today, on a lunch-hour whim, I committed myself to buying a multi-effects processor. The one I settled on was the Lexicon MX300. I could only get sparse information about the other options in the store, but the MX300 seemed to be the most flexible, so I chose it.

It was also the highest priced. As I endured the inevitable Long & McQuade cashier wait (during which the people ahead of me always bather to the salespeople about their exceptional musical virtuosity) I was inches away from chickening out...I don't really NEED an effects processor, and I could put that money towards something more necessary...

So imagine my surprise that, when we rang it in, the unit was actually MARKED DOWN a hundred dollars from the list price. Imagine the surprise of the cashier as well. It was obviously "a sign."

My previous multi-effects processor was an ART which -- I discovered later -- was notorious for flakiness and dull sound. As for the flakiness, yes, after half an hour it would start to show impossible numbers on its display and then would shut down with an eardrum-shattering squeal. That squeal turns up in a lot of the music I recorded with it.

I've only had the Lexicon for a few hours so I can't vouch for its reliability, but I can certainly say this: all reverbs are NOT created equal, and the MX300 sounds absolutely SUBLIME. I didn't know what I was missing until now. It has a complexity of sound to it that I never knew was possible, leagues beyond the ART's relative flatness.

Granted, the ART could chain more than two effects together (depending on the complexity of the effects themselves), but the MX300 effects are so rich that you really don't NEED to use more than two.

I wanted knobs that I could twiddle, and the MX300 has twiddlable knobs. Although they turn with a slight clickiness, changes to all the effects are acceptably smooth (not as smooth as my DOD R-910 but that's a very different beast). The tape delay is super-cool and the ability to set tempo in BPMs is an unexpected godsend. And the Leslie rotor? Holy cow.

You can control the Lexicon with your long as you have OSX 10.4.x. Sometimes you can take that stipulation with a grain of salt, but not in this uses the CoreAudioKit.framework. So us OSX 10.3.9 users are out of luck. It will not work. Sigh.

Otherwise, though, it seems to be a fantastic unit and I'm sure we have many happy hours ahead of us.


Eli McIlveen said...

Sounds like a good choice, from the little I've read! The USB send feature sounds awesome - it's a real shame it only works on Tiger and later. (Also, I have a feeling I'd need to rethink my USB wiring to use something like that. Three ports sounds like plenty, but...)

Adam Thornton said...

I could still control the unit through MIDI, but without the spiffy GUI. Hardly the same!

I have three USB ports as well (version 1.1!) and I know what you mean: IT ISN'T ENOUGH anymore. Keyboard, mouse, Logic dongle, iPod, MIDI controller, AlphaSmart unit, camera, printer...

I guess that's what hubs are for.