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Review #2 of Lexicon MPX-G2
Loop Functions

By David Coffin, 2/28/99 and 12/26/99

From 2/28/99:

>the new (april) "guitar player" has a review of the lexicon mpx g2 what
>i found interesting was the fact that this box has a 20 sec. jam-man in
>it, at least that is how i understood the article.......michael

I don't know about the original JamMan, but I've been exploring a G2 for several weeks, using a MIDI pedal (Roland FC-200) and focusing mostly on its delay functions. The new JamMan is a 0-20 sec. mono delay line with feedback control and several on/off toggle switches that aren't typical, or available in the other G2 delay algorithms: Delay Clear, Layer, Replace, Delay (turns looper into a mono delay...but without retaining the length set when looping (!?)), and Mute, which is a Stop/Restart-from-beginning function. You can assign any attached pedals or switches to these functions; works well with my FC-200. To start a loop you hit whatever you've set for your tap switch, and the display shows a shortening horizontal bar to indicate remaining delay time. Hit Tap again to stop recording and play loop. The manual also shows that you can place other fx modules inside the feedback loop of the JamMan, but this is a misprint.

However, you can set up the other delay algorithms (which will let you insert other fx) to loop also, by placing a volume module in front of the delay after splitting the signal to place the delay on a parallel path to the non-delayed signal. I assigned one external foot switch to control input to the delay by toggling this volume on/off (could have been a foot pedal, for shaping the envelope of the input volume), and another switch to toggle feedback from 0-100 (also could be a pedal). This way you can choose either mono or stereo delay, giving (ideally) 10 sec. stereo loops. UNFORTUNATELY, there is a bug in the system that switches, above 5.6 secs of delay time, the stereo delay to an interesting (if choosable!) variation in which one side of the delay uses the preset or tapped time, and the other uses half of it, so you get a nice long ping-pong effect...but no more true stereo delay. I pointed this out to Greg Hogan at Lexicon, who came back a day or so later to say in effect: "Hmmm, yes, this is what happens on the in-house G2s also; it's a bug...and I guess we'll fix it, but don't hold your breath!"

Nevertheless, this setup is quite nice. I was able to place an auto wah on the non-delayed routing, and a step filter on the delay line without exhausting the DSP resources--lost stereo imaging, tho. The JamMan and the Stereo delay line use 23-25 out of a possible 190 units of DSP power. The Gain block and the reverb block can always be used...but in my opinion, there's not much you'd want to do with the gain functions besides clean tones, at least for emulating amps--get a POD (a very interesting device--nice slow-gear effect, and over 3 sec. of delay, besides extremely cool amp tones). G2's reverb is great, of course. A very capable machine; will be more so when they get that bug fixed!

David Coffin

From 12/26/99:

>Do you know if it does true stereo looping?

I had one for a while and noted these problems:

First, the "Jamman" algo was mono, with no half-speed or reverse functions; The delay time can be set to 10 sec stereo or 20 mono in regular delay algos, which can be user-configured to be loopers by arranging volume modules in front and/or behind, and by assigning MIDI foot controllers to these, plus the feedback parameter. Unfortunately there's an acknowledged bug, which Lex apparently has no plans to fix(!), that switches any stereo delay set over about 5.5sec. to a ping-pong delay, no longer a stereo one.

Worse, I found that the loopers I designed this way (but not the built-in "Jamman") would quickly overload as new layers were added, which I could never figure out how to solve...which is why I sold it, along with the fact that I found the pre-amp uninteresting for direct recording, compared to PODs, GT-5s, etc. I loved the basic MPX-1 sounds, and really miss the added delay times, even if they were sorta crippled as I described, but decided to revert to an MPX- 1. An used, upgraded PCM-80 would seem to be the best currently available stereo looper for the $$, but you'll need to add a lot of MIDI foot control to it.


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