Test Drive: Lexicon LXP-5 and MRC

Parameter adjustment and program control of the LXP-5 with the MRC is straight forward and easy to get acquainted with, but there is much more to the MRC. In fact, the manual for the MRC is considerably thicker than the manual for the LXP-5. The MRC (Version 3.0) provides four basic modes of operation. The modes are referred to as "machines." One of these modes is for the LXP-5. Another is for Lexicon's LXP-1 processor. The third is set up to control Lexicon's PCM-70 effects processor; and the fourth is the GMIDI machine mode. The MRC is capable of controlling up to sixteen "machines," but these machines don't have to be Lexicon products. The GMIDI machine mode is a general purpose MIDI controller which can be used to hook your synthesizer(s) up to the MRC. You can hook your sampler up to it. You can hook any MIDI capable digital processor to it. Whatever the device is, if it can receive MIDI messages, the MRC can send them to it. (Cont. on page 17) The four sliders and four switches on the MRC can be assigned to any available parameters desired. We hooked the MRC up to an Ensoniq synthesizer and the Eventide H3000 and realized a person would have to live with the setup for a couple of months to really explore the possibilities. What is most impressive and applicable to radio production is the ease with which any parameters can be adjusted with the sliders on the MRC. Not only is parameter adjustment fast and easy, but you can control several parameters simultaneously.

The MRC, like the LXP-5, is designed to fully implement the power of MIDI and is capable of MIDI functions even the most MIDI-ized radio producer will probably never use.

Getting back to the LXP-5, here are some specs worth noting. There are two inputs and two outputs, but there is only one processing chain. Therefore, you don't get true stereo processing, but you do get stereo effects. This is typical of most processors in the price range of the LXP-5. Inputs and outputs are unbalanced. The sampling frequency of the unit is 31.25kHz which means the frequency response of the "wet" effects is 20Hz to 15kHz -- not a nice 20 to 20K, but easily apropos for broadcast purposes. Audio connections are all ¼-inch phone jacks. The unit is rack mountable and occupies half of a standard rack space. Two LXP-5's side by side fill one rack space. List price on the LXP-5 is $549. The ticket on the MRC is $399.

The LXP-5 is a nice box for the production room. The 128 factory presets provide ample effects without having to get into the more complex task of programming your own. The programs themselves are easy to select and the ADJUST knob, pre-assigned to various parameters, makes altering selected programs as simple as the twist of a knob, therefore eliminating the steps of entering edit modes, selecting parameters, and pressing "value" buttons to change an effect, as is the case with many other processors in this class. Add the MRC to the package and you get, not only better control over the LXP-5, but a remote control for your other MIDI capable processors as well, not to mention applications involving samplers and synths.

It's a fun box and we wish Lexicon the best in the upcoming TEC awards. The competition will be tough, however. In the category of Signal Processing Technology, the LXP-5 is up against ART's SGE Mach II, the Alesis MIDIverb III, the Bedini BASE, DigiTech's MEQ Dual14 MIDI Programmable Equalizer, and Eventide's H3000SE Ultra-Harmonizer. Whew! For more info on the LXP-5 and the MRC, contact Lexicon in Waltham, Mass. at 617-891-6790. ♦

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