Test Drive: Yamaha SPX1000 Digital Multi-effects Processor

by Jerry Vigil

It might first interest you to know that the most common piece of outboard gear being used by our subscribers is Yamaha's SPX90. Needless to say, since the SPX90 was first introduced, many other manufacturers have responded with more powerful processors, processors with simultaneous effects, 16-bit processing, and more. The SPX1000 is Yamaha's answer to the competition. It is a very healthy processor, and one we're likely to see popping up in studios everywhere for some time.

Most obvious of the features are extended sample time (5.8 seconds), true stereo processing, and simultaneous multiple effects. The long sample time translates into added features in many of the programs. In the FREEZE programs (the digital sampling programs), you have a maximum recording time of 5.8 seconds. Three types of FREEZE programs are available, and all three programs allow recording and overdubbing with variable playback pitch. Sample start and end points can be set for editing purposes. This function also makes it possible to set a start point at the end of the sample and the end point at the start of the sample and get the sample to play backwards. FREEZE 2 adds the ability to set a loop point in your sample for looped playback. FREEZE 3 is a stereo sampling program. Sample time is cut in half (2.9 seconds) to accommodate simultaneous sampling of both left and right channels.

The extended sample time also affects the DELAY L,C,R program. This delay is a little different from most in that it includes a third channel, the center channel. Delay time for each channel is adjustable from .1 milliseconds to 5.2 seconds. There are two feedback delay parameters for this program, each adjustable up to 5.2 seconds. Each feedback delay has a gain control to set the amount of repeats to follow the initial repeat. All these parameters make for an exceptional delay program with numerous possibilities for special effects.

The STEREO ECHO program also takes advantage of the extended sample time and offers left and right channel feedback delays of up to 2.6 seconds along with an initial delay for each channel of up to 2.6 seconds.

The reverb programs include HALL, ROOM, VOCAL, PLATE, ECHO ROOM, GATE REVERB, REVERSE GATE, and 3 EARLY REFLECTION programs. There is more than enough diversity in these reverb programs to handle any reverb need. Reverb time can be adjusted as high at 480 seconds. That's 480 seconds, not milliseconds! Various other parameters give you ample control over reverb characteristics. All bases are covered in the reverb section.

Modulation programs include your basic STEREO FLANGE, CHORUS, STEREO PHASING, TREMOLO, and SYMPHONIC. These are all very good sounding programs, each with a number of adjustable parameters for modifying the effect.