THE NAME LEXICON HAS BEEN synonymous with state-of-the-art digital reverb since the late 1970s, and particularly following the introduction of the legendary— and legendarily pricey—Model 480L in 1986. The mid-’80s also saw the arrival of the comparatively less expensive PCM60 and PCM70 models, the first generation of a line of digital processors that continues to the present and includes the PCM96, from which most of the algorithms in the PCM Native Reverb Bundle were derived.
The PCM Bundle comprises seven individual plug-ins containing classic Lexicon reverb algorithms—Chamber, Plate, Vintage Plate, Room, Hall, Concert Hall, and Random Hall—with nearly identical GUIs that, among other things, present dynamic visual representations of what you are hearing. Each plug-in comes loaded with more than 100 factory presets, making it easy to find at least a good starting point for any application—but even the most esoteric parameters may be easily tweaked to taste, and user programs may be saved in a format that is transferable between different DAWs. The iLok-authorized software is compatible with any application that supports VST, Audio Units, or RTAS plugs. I tested the Bundle in DP 6.0.1 on a Dual 2.7GHz Mac G5 running OS 10.4.11.
The PCM Bundle’s intuitive interface is reminiscent of Lexicon’s LARC2 (Lexicon Alphanumeric Remote Control) device used to control its flagship 960L hardware processor. Nine virtual faders along the bottom row provide instant access to key parameters for each algorithm type, but may be assigned to any of the many parameter choices in custom user configurations if desired. The EQ section offers a choice of six filter types and a graphic representation of Early or Late reflections, while Input and Output bar meters let you continuously monitor signal levels. Best of all, the multicolor Realtime Display offers a dynamic representation of reverb characteristics in five frequency bands, a classic RTA (Real Time Analysis) graphic display, or an Impulse Response waveform display.
Each algorithm offers lots of well-organized options. For example, the Room algorithm doesn’t just give you a choice of three or four room sizes. If you select Small Rooms there are 21 varieties to choose from, including eight types of Small Live Room and seven types of Small Tight Room. Select Large Halls and there are 45 types. You get the idea. I auditioned presets from each plug-in on a variety of instruments and voices and found them all so inspiring that picking favorites would be futile (though for my purposes the Plate and Vintage Plate algorithms were particularly breathtaking). The hallmarks of Lexicon’s high-end reverb algorithms are outstanding clarity and transparency combined with luxuriant richness and dimensionality, and the PCM Bundle delivers on all counts.
Some readers may find the PCM Bundle’s price tag daunting, but bear in mind that you are getting essentially the same reverb algorithms as found in the $3,500 PCM96, and you can use as many iterations of the plug-ins as your CPU can handle. Do yourself a favor and download the free demo to hear what this bundle can bring to your recordings before deciding if it is too expensive—because in this case you really do get what you pay for.
CONTACT Lexicon, (801) 568-7660; lexiconpro.com
PCM NATIVE REVERB BUNDLE
PRICE $1,899 retail/ $1,499 street
PLATFORMS Windows XP, Vista, 7; Mac OS 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 (Power PC/Intel)
FORMATS VST, Audio Units, RTAS
KUDOS Offers many of the same sounds as Lexicon’s high-end hardware reverb processors.
CONCERNS Priced beyond the reach of some studio owners.