Tips & Techniques: SPX-90 Tips

Craig Jackman, Production Director at CHEZ-FM in Ottawa, Canada, offers these patches for the popular Yamaha SPX-90:

Using program #17 - REVERSE GATE

ROOM SIZE - 3.3
LIVENESS - 5
DELAY - 25.0 ms
LPF - thru

This program is great when mixed with a dry voice track to make a backwards mask-vocoder type of sound. Very effective in dark, "mystery" type promos and spots.

Using program #30 - PARAMETRIC EQ

MID FRQ - 1.4kHz
MID GAIN - +15dB
MID Q - 0.5
HI FRQ - 8kHz
HI GAIN - -15db
HI Q - 0.5
LPF - thru
DELAY - 0.1ms

I call this program "Cheap Radio Speaker," but it's also good in getting telephone sounds, or 1920's announcer sounds. I combine this program with the following one (by recording one program on my 8-track), to get very effective speaker sounds (like in a club).

Using Program #4 - PLATE REV.

REV - 0.3s
HIGH - 0.1
DELAY - 0.1
HPF - thru
LPF - thru

This program is rarely used by itself (see above). When it is, it gives you a different sound -- ambient, but not too large. Good for small room and hallway sounds.

Using Program #23 - PITCH CHANGE C

L PITCH - 0
L FINE - +12
L DELAY - 0.3ms
R PITCH - 0
R FINE - -8
R DELAY - 10.0ms

I call this "Spaciousness." I use it all the time when I need a sense of depth and distance in a production. I find it very flexible -- a little sounds close, and a lot sounds far. I like this program a lot.

I hope other R.A.P. members can use these as much as I do. By the way, although the SPX-90 only does one program at a time, by using my 8-track I get around this effectively. Don't be afraid to multi-track the SPX-90. Some of my favorite effects are achieved by ganging up "stock" programs. 

Thank you Craig for the patches! We didn't get our hands on an SPX-90 by press time to plug in these patches and play with them. So, those of you with an SPX-90 are encouraged to put the patches into your unit and have some fun. Send us any comments you have about any of the patches above. If you come up with some new patches of your own that are pretty useful, send them in.

According to the information we've received from our subscribers, the Yamaha SPX-90 is found in more production rooms than any other sound effects box. This makes the SPX-90 a good subject for future Tips & Technique pages just like this one.

Other popular digital effects boxes in wide use in radio production include the Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer, the Alesis QuadraVerb, several of A.R.T.'s processors and the newer Yamaha SPX-900 and SPX-1000. If you've written your own programs for any of these processors and use those programs often, take a moment to share them with your contemporaries. Jot down the original program's name, settings for all of the parameters of the new program, and tell us a little bit about the patch. This is a form of networking that can help a lot of us!

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