Online Review: PSP 84
      by PSP Audioware



Some time ago, we reviewed the Lexicon PSP 42 by the Polish company PSP Audioware. This very nice peace of VST-ware inspired the developers at PSP to further programming. Recently, they came up with the PSP 84, the 42's bigger brother. We installed PSP 84 under Cubase VST 5.0 and did some audio file processing. In one word: we're impressed. In this review you can read why.

What is PSP 84.

From previous products of PSP we know that this supplier is very well capable to explain to it's customers what a certain product can do. So we take the best route here and copy the explanation text in the press release PSP sent us, and paste it here. Why invent the wheel once again, right?

PSP 84 is a high-quality processor, capable of producing a wide variety of delay-based effects. Two independent delay lines operating with variable sampling rate and precise tape saturation algorithm with adjustable gain, allow for convincingly sounding simulation of tape delay, including all the exciting effects resulting from tape speed instability. A filtration section consisting of three 2nd order switch able resonant filter types can be used to process input, feedback or wet signal. The adjustable slope of the filter ranges from a gentle curve, which is useful for simulating high frequency absorption typical for tape delay and wet signal equalization to an extremely steep curve with a high cutoff frequency peak, making all the wild wah-wah and resonance effects easily available. Delay line sampling rate and filter cutoff can be modulated by any of the 5 LFO waveforms that are automatically synchronized to the sequencer tempo or envelope follower with adjustable sensitivity and attack/release. Moreover, the PSP 84 contains the fully functional reverb unit, with simplified settings carefully tuned to exactly reproduce the sound of classic spring and plate reverberators.

What can you use PSP 84 for?

Once again, we take the explanation from the press release PSP sent us:

The PSP 84 is primarily meant for applying to individual tracks within a mix and experimenting with drum and synth loops. The included presets reveal its huge potential in processing vocal, guitar and bass tracks. Though it can be successfully used for adding classic sounding delay, its capabilities go far beyond that. The PSP 84's independent channel settings and cross-channel feedback allow for creating animated delay effects that are more spatial and cut better through the mix than a simple center-panned delay. Resonant filters and a modulation section that synchronizes to the host tempo make it possible to create superb auto-wah-wah effects, warm smoky dub sweeps, evolving ambient textures, as well as to easily shape the wet signal's spectral contents. The PSP 84 can create both pristine clean sounding echoes or degenerate the signal to great extent - all depending on your needs -, thanks to the variable internal sampling rate allowing the pitch-twist effects, rich vocal doublers, flangers and unsurpassed detune effects to be achieved. Guitarists that are not satisfied with dry and cold sounding tracks recorded using direct-boxes will appreciate saturation algorithm, great for adding mild overdrive and harmonic contents enrichment. Last but not least, the unique reverberation unit allows for adding space and warmth that most of the digital reverbs lack.

Features.

- High quality, unique signal processing algorithms,
- Up to 10 seconds of delay time per channel (depending on internal sampling frequency),
- Continuous control over the delay time with little harmonic distortion,
- Cross-channel feedback and independent channel settings with channel link mode,
- Tape saturation simulation with adjustable gain based on the algorithm used in the line of our mastering processors,
- Modulation section consisting of LFO and envelope follower mixed in any proportions,
- 5 click-free LFO waveforms and variable LFO channel phase offset,
- LP, BP, HP filter with adjustable cutoff and resonance,
- Flexible filter routing capabilities,
- Vintage reverberation module for faithful simulation of spring and plate reverb characteristics,
- Parameter filtration for smooth and click-free operation,
- Support for sampling rates of up to 192kHz,
- MIDI and VST automation of all parameters,
- Logic Control support,
- Pentium IV optimization,
- 60 presets for easy start.

System requirements.

Mac
Mac OS X v 10.0 or later
* Mac OS v. 8.6 or later
* 256 MB RAM memory settings on Mac OS
* G3 500 MHz
* High Color S-VGA 1024x768
* VST compatible host application

PC
* Windows 95 or higher
* VST or DirectX compatible host application
* 256 MB RAM
* Pentium III 600 MHz
* High Color S-VGA, 1024x768

Example.

To give you a good idea of the power of PSP 84, we decided to do a small production of only two tracks, using only some of the presets of PSP 84. By the way, this is the list of presets you get when you open the according popup menu at the bottom of the PSP 84 user interface in Cubase:

The first track contains a steady violin chord, which remains the same throughout the production. Pretty dull, but this is not the important track here. Important is the second track, which contains simple drums. This track is modulated in blocks by 10 of the 60 presets you get with PSP 84. In chronological order, they are: 12 Feedback, Dropper, Splasher, Nanobot, Southpole, Gasherbrum, Hautend Playground, Inertia, Rainforest and finally Dylatation. All processing on the drum track is done only using PSP 84, no further stuff. Notice the very strong and natural sounding reverb in some of the parts. We emphasize here that these examples are only the top of the creative iceberg of effects we created during the test...

psp_84_review.mp3

Ease of use.

PSP 84 is pretty easy to use. It's user interface is built up like the good old hardware stuff, with turn knobs and press buttons. You don't have to be an outstanding studio technician to operate this. The presets give you a broad and good start, but -like we did- you may want to start playing around with the parameters very as soon as you get thrilled by the possibilities of PSP 84 (again: like we did). We already were impressed by the work, PSP did with the PSP 42 Lexicon. And we are again: the sound is very crisp and clear, the bouquet of parameters is colorful. PSP 84 will keep you creatively busy, we can assure you.

Conclusion.

PSP 84 brings you basically all you can wish for when it comes to functionality like altering individual tracks within a mix, or experimenting with drum (like we did in the sample production) and synth loops. But PSP 84 is also very useful for e.g. guitar players who want to enrich dry and non spatial sounding tracks. The reverb unit in PSP 84 is one of the best we've heard this year. It's quality and parametring possibilities are truly outstanding. PSP84 comes with 60 presets that are very fun to play with, and can act as a starting point for further adjustments to your audio taste. PSP already has shown with the PSP 42 that its programmers know what they talk about when it comes to programming VST-ware. This PSP 84 proves this once again.

We at AudioMac.net recognize quality when we see and hear it. PSP 84 matches our high standards, and therefore it gets an absolutely well deserved 9++. Oh, by the way, PSP told us by email that a next piece of VST artwork is coming up, a very complex project. We will not give away the surprise, but are very curious what PSP will come up with next. So, keep an eye on AudioMac.Net, and you will be among the first to know when PSP comes up with another quality product, no doubt about that.

Demo download and online information.

PSP has demo versions available at its web site.

For Mac OS 9 and OS X VST only):
http://www.PSPaudioware.com/download/demos/PSP84VSTdemo.hqx

For Windows (VST and DirectX):
http://www.PSPaudioware.com/download/demos/PSP84demo.exe

Detailed product information can be found at:
http://www.pspaudioware.com/plugins/psp84.html

And if that's not enough for you: the PSP 84 operation manual can be downloaded as well at:
http://www.PSPaudioware.com/download/docs/PSP84.pdf

Pricing and downloads are available on the producers web site:
http://www.pspaudioware.com/.


All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.

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06.12.2002