Hands-On Review:Delicious Effects, Pro Editing & Dual Processing Power
by Marion Bletchley
Lexicon processors have produced some of the richest, most delicious effects ever created in studios or on stage. You’ll find them in the racks of big-time blues players, rockers, jazz players … and in nearly every recording studio on the planet. The MPX-500 makes Lexicon’s premium sounds and pro editing features available at a price that regular musicians and home studios can afford.
240 Expansive Presets
The MPX-500 is a true stereo 24-bit dual-channel processor with balanced analog and S/PDIF digital I/O. Powered by Lexicon’s proprietary Lexichip TM , the MPX 500 comes loaded with 240 excellent presets. There are classic, true stereo reverb programs like ambiance, plate, chamber, and inverse. Plus all the essential effects: tremolo, rotary, chorus, flange, pitch, detune, 5.5-second delay, and echo. And with dual-channel processing you can tune in completely different effects on the left and right channels. Dual-channel processors are fun to play with and sound great. Dialing-in different effects can create some very cool textures and sensational sounds. The MPX-500 gives you multiple effects configurations to choose from. You can select dual mono, dual stereo, cascade, or parallel dual-channel configurations; then combine your favorite chorus, reverb, flange, pitch, and delay flavors on each channel and enjoy!
Four dedicated front-panel knobs allow adjustment of up to four pages of displayed effects parameters, or instant control over the current program. For practical purposes, let’s say you found a reverb that is just about perfect. You select that program and it appears on the graphic display. The display gives you lots of useful info: input levels, program, tempo, routing, and parameter values. It’s incredibly easy to use the edit knobs to tweak until you get the perfect effect. Then save your new custom sound in one of 30 user presets on the MPX-500. It’s that easy. The MPX-500 offers a powerful, easy-to-use, remote editing feature called Learn. You can control up to 18 parameters using Learn. By sending standard MIDI continuous controller or program change messages to the MPX-500, you have complete control over the wet-to-dry mix ratio, effects level or balance, bypass, tap, or any other effect parameter.
Helpful Learn Feature
Using the MPX-500’s Learn feature is pretty simple. Simultaneously press the "store" and "tap/cancel" buttons, then select parameter to send to a MIDI controller. Now, send a controller message to the MPX-500. Press "store" and you’re there. There are a few really cool things about the Learn feature. First, its effect is global, so selected parameters on every MPX-500 effect can be controlled by a MIDI controller, such as a mod wheel on a MIDI keyboard. When used with a MIDI device, all 18 front-panel controls can be adjusted and every preset can be loaded remotely. In a MIDI studio, the controls can be automated and recorded into any sequencing software, allowing for complete automation of MPX-500 presets. And if you don’t want to use your Learn settings, it’s no problem. A system mode parameter allows you to enable and disable Learn. This lets you temporarily turn off clear them. The MPX-500’s Tap Tempo feature makes it easy to set delay times to the beat of the music. To set the tempo from the front panel, simply press the Tap button twice in time with the music. That’s your tempo. No more dialing up what "could be" the delay time in milliseconds. Just tap twice and the MPX-500 will figure out the time for you. When you want to change tempo, just tap twice again in the new rhythm. You can also use audio input to set the tempo of the MPX-500 delay rate. Just press the Tap button until the Tempo mode display appears. Then release Tap, play two short notes in rhythm, and the MPX-500 automatically calculates the tempo from the space between your two notes. This is great for live performance, where it’s easy to set your delay rates to follow your rhythm. If you prefer MIDI, you can set the tempo from an incoming MIDI clock, or the MPX-500 automatically adjusts its internal tempo to match MIDI sequencers or drum machines.
Amazing 24-bit Conversion
The MPX-500 outperforms both the MPX-100 and MPX-1 with 24-bit A/D and D/A conversion for amazing accuracy and pristine clarity. And for those of you into serious specs, the MPX-500 has them all. There’s 24-bit digital signal processing that delivers extra shimmer in the chorus, extra wiggle in the tremolo, and makes world-class reverb possible. There’s also an extra-wide frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz +/-1dB, XLR/TRS balanced analog outputs with 101dB dynamic range, digital inputs that accept 44.1 and 48kHz S/PDIF, software selectable MIDI Out/Thru port, pushbutton or footswitch selection of dry or muted audio output, and a built-in power supply. The MPX-500 is a powerful processing at a friendly price. It gives you plenty of presets, plenty of room for user programs, easy editing capabilities, and awesome Lexicon sound. And Musician’s Friend will deliver at the best price you’ll find.
MPX-500 Features & Specifications
- 240 factory programs
- 30 user programs
- Classic true stereo reverbs
- Tremolo, rotary, chorus, flange, pitch, detune
- 5.5 second delay and echo
- 4 dual-effect configurations
- Front panel edit knobs
- Control 18 parameters via MIDI
- Tap tempo control of delay times
- 24-bit signal processing
- 24-bit A/D and D/A
- 20Hz -20kHz +/-1dB frequency response
- 24-bit and 16-bit audio format
- Accepts 44.1 and 48kHz S/PDIF digital input
- 56-bit internal processing
- Coaxial RCA digital I/Os
- Software-selectable MIDI In/Out Thru port
- XLR/TRS balanced input I/Os
- Built-in power supply
- Measures 19" W x 1.75" H x 4" D
- Weighs 3 lbs.