Online Review: Lexicon PSP 42
      by PSP Audioware



The Polish company PSP Audioware (we reviewed other products of PSP before) came up with an interesting rebirth of the legendary Lexicon PCM 42 processor, which is famous for its distinctive sound and unique concept and in use in many studios around the world. The press announcement appealed to us as we know "the real thing" and worked with it some time ago. Being curious if a software remake would do the same high standard, we invited PSP to send in their virtual version.

What does the Lexicon PSP 42 do?

For those of you that do not know the Lexicon PCM 42 processor, we give some background info to start with. In the PDF manual, that comes with the software, we find a short and informative description of what you can obtain when using the Lexicon PSP 42:

"The Lexicon PSP 42 is primarily intended for processing individual tracks within a mix. It can be productively used to add superior sounding delay-based effects to solo instruments and vocals as well as to simulate vintage delay with tape saturation, high frequency absorption and variable tape speed. Tempo locking and handy modulation section make Lexicon PSP 42 an essential tool for experimenting with drum loops and other rhythmic patterns. Variable delay line sampling rate allows to generate good sounding low-fi effects as well as out-of-this-world sounds. Short delay times, pitch modulation and phase inverters reveal Lexicon PSP 42 potentials as a source of vibrant modulation effects such as flanger and doubler. Last but not least Lexicon PSP 42 is a simple phrase sampler that lets you capture the loop of audio and process it real-time without any clicks or pops."

Normally, we tend not to take these kind of texts too serious, as they most of the time are written by marketing people that wanna sell you something. But in this case, each and every word is true. We digged through Lexicon PSP 42 a whole weekend, listening to all presets available, and turning around the user interface knobs as much as possible. both clock wise and counter clock wise. We were really surprised. This virtual peace of studio artwork really does what the real thing did. Very nice.

Lexicon PSP 42 is compatible with applications that can host standard VST, DX or MAS plug-ins, and has been tested with a long list of applications on Mac and PC like Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer, Deck and sonicWORX, and many more. It is very usable when you need some extra decoration on a specific track, such as we did in the example below. Used with care, this Lexicon PSP 42 can add an extra dimension to your recordings, though you should not overdo it of course. It is as the Germans say: "In der Beschrankung zeigt sich der Meister". More or less: "You recognize the master by the things he does NOT overdo". But: if you really want to go audio wild, that is possible too. We created some really weirdo and cranky sounds (and trashed them again as they caused an almost irrecoverable headache ;-). So, if that is what you like, Lexicon PSP 42 is a good tool as well.

Features

Suppose, you buy Lexicon PSP 42. What do you get? Here it is:

- High quality signal processing algorithms,
- Up to 9600 ms of delay time depending on internal sampling frequency,
- Continuous control of delay time,
- Tight synchronization to the host tempo and its changes,
- Tape saturation simulation based on the algorithm used in the line of our mastering processors,
- Low pass filter for high frequency absorption modeling,
- Modulation section with three different modulation signal sources (sinus, square, envelope detector) mixed in any proportions,
- Phrase sampler capability,
- Parameter filtration and on-the-fly cross-fades for smooth and click-free operation,
- Support for sampling rates of up to 192kHz,
- MIDI and VST automation,

- Logic Control.

Example.

We made a simple drum track and used a few of the presets (of which there are 16 in total) that come with The Lexicon PSP 42. Added some other stuff and ended up with a somewhat techno/rock-combination, where the Lexicon effects are added to the drum track to obtain some weirdo effects. Near the end, the higher tone gets a firm VCO Sweep. It is just a simple arrangement to give you some audible examples of what the Lexicon PSP 42 can do for you:

Conclusion.

It is with Lexicon PSP 42 like cooking in a well equipped kitchen: if you really want to add some extras to your musical menu, Lexicon PSP 42 is what you should get. It is like a little extra salt and pepper you can add carefully: if you overdo too much, the "taste" is gone. Lexicon PSP 42 has enough features to keep control of what it does to your tracks. And it comes with enough pre programmed settings to get you started in an effective way.

It most certainly can compete with the real hardware classic, as we did not find any difference in what both the hardware and the virtual versions can produce. Very good.

The combination of features give you a high value tool in your virtual studio, that will make your tracks a little more spicy so to speak. Or that will let you go completely sound wild if you like. A very versatile peace of software: that's why we give Lexicon PSP 42 a
9. It's widely usable: from today's modern music ranges up (or down, whatever your taste is ;-) to the vintage stuff of the 70's and 80's.

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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11.10.2002