Lexicon PCM Native Effects Bundle Review

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Michael Cooper



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Stringbox includes a virtual keyboard to select the strings you wish to resonate.

Stringbox includes a virtual keyboard to select the strings you wish to resonate.

When Lexicon released its PCM Native Reverb Bundle last year, fans of the company’s highly prized reverb algorithms rejoiced: They were finally available in-the-box. PCM Native Effects Bundle completes the circle, adding delay and pitch processing to the mix.

For the most part, Native Effects’ algorithms are similar to those in the hardware-based Lexicon PCM96. But one of the seven included plug-ins, a compelling debutante dubbed Stringbox, is a shot out of nowhere and isn’t available anywhere else.

Available in AU, VST and RTAS formats, Native Effects runs only on a second-generation iLok. I tested the bundle in Digital Performer 7.22 using an 8-core Mac Pro running OS 10.5.8.

Stringbox emulates the sympathetic resonance that piano strings produce when excited by a loud external sound; click on any of 88 virtual keys to choose which strings will resonate. The single-voice Pitch Shift plug-in can handle monophonic and polyphonic sources; like the MultiVoice Pitch plug-in (which can independently create up to six harmony voices), it can shift pitch up or down in semitones as much as one octave or as little as one cent.

Resonant Chords is an effect first introduced in the Lexicon PCM70. This plug-in resonates eight delay voices when excited by input signal to create chords, arpeggios and weird room sounds. In the Chorus/Flange plug-in, you can modulate, filter and pan a whopping eight independent voices. Dual Delay is similar to Chorus/Flange but offers only four voices and does not have an LFO control; its fortes include double-tracking effects, and slapback and tape echoes. In the 4-voice Random Delay plug-in, a Wander control modulates the initial delay time, increasing it by a value you specify in milliseconds and back to its original value (cyclically or in random fashion). All of the delay-based plug-ins offer maximum delay times of at least 9.5 seconds per voice and can be synched to the host DAW’s tempo.

The GUI for most of the plug-ins includes stereo I/O meters, preset-category and -program selection menus, a real-time display and up to nine assignable faders for parameter adjustments. Control buttons allow you to deeply edit presets, store the modified version, reload during editing (to null all changes) and make A/B comparisons of the original and modified presets.

Click the Edit button, and you enter Pro mode. (Pitch Shift and Stringbox do not have a Pro mode.) An additional row of buttons appears below the GUI’s faders. Click on a button to access many more parameter controls. For example, clicking on the Master button in a delay-based plug-in brings up faders for adjusting wet/dry mix, diffusion and ganged delay times, levels and feedback amounts for all voices.

Pro mode also provides a button for retrieving a fader bank called the Soft Row. The Soft Row compiles copies of parameters you’ll likely want to tweak most often (from different and sometimes far-flung menus), providing fast and convenient access in one place. You can assign any parameter you like to any fader in the Soft Row and store your custom setups as a user preset for later recall.

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