Lexicon 960L Software Upgrade. Lexicon adds additional packages to their digital effects system.

May 12, in Hi-Fi Systems Reviews

In an ongoing program to provide additional features for their end-users, Lexicon has released several software upgrade options for their popular 960L digital effects system.

The three additional offerings are the Delays and Additional 96 kHz Reverbs Package, Automation Package, and LOGIC7 UpMix Package. The Reverbs and Automation Package will work with V 3.0 system software, while LOGIC7 requires V4 software. The V4 software upgrade is free to all registered 960L users. All three packages were easily enabled on my 960L via individual software System License Keys.

The Automation package allows for program change, mute events, and parameter changes, all synchronized to MIDI timecode. The 960L can store up to 100 separate automation sessions, each having word clock settings, I/O routing, DSP configurations, global mix and I/O settings, program and parameter changes, and the aforementioned mute events.

A smart feature is the fact that automation data is saved independent of its originally written timecode frame rate. That means sessions will automatically conform to any incoming frame rate and remain real-time accurate — a bonus on any post date.

The 960L operates as a slave only, so MIDI timecode must be generated externally and fed to the unit via the MIDI In connector on the rear panel. For those who use linear SMPTE timecode, a SMPTE-to-MIDI converter must be used. When automation is running, an Automation Transport Control is available on all screens of the LARC2 controller. Overall, it is extremely simple to use and provides an added flexibility that many console users will take full advantage of.

The Delays and Additional 96 kHz Reverbs Package includes new stereo delays, 96 kHz chamber and plate algorithms, multichannel delay and multichannel reverb algorithms. My favorite (of course) were the multichannel delays, which include Simple Surround, Random Surround, Surround Frame, Octal Frame, and Octal Zone Delays. The Octal’s run only in the 8×8 configuration. The Simple Delays feature one delay line for each input channel, where the center channel is split between the L/R input channels in 5-channel mode. They can be run in stereo, quad, and 5-channel DSP modes, and each single delay line (voice) has an independent delay time up to four seconds. Output level, feedback, panning, and filtering is also available for each voice. There is also diffusion control and high-/low-pass filtering. Not so simple!
Dual delay lines feature two delay lines for each input channel, with expanded diffusion controls and delay times up to two seconds per line. Random delays have three outputs per delay line, with each having independent delay times up to three seconds, plus an additional second in the randomizer.

Feedback and filtering can be used to create multitap tape loops and the Random delays can be used to create a “different” kind of early reflection modeling. The Wand1 and Wand2 sounds were some of my favorites, creating some odd, unpredictable delays that I used in a surround groove remix. Nothing else that I know of can re-create that exact sound — you almost have to hear it to believe it. Lexicon has provided enormous flexibility to this package and the possibilities are almost endless.

LOGIC7 UpMix is an extension of Lexicon’s LOGIC7 technology, creating 5-channel surround from 2-channel input sources. Without getting into the political ramifications of upmixing, as we all know, there are times when it is a necessity. There may be no original multichannel tapes for a source, or they may be damaged beyond repair. Yet, there are other ways to approach upmixing, and the L7UpMix does an impressive job. For one 5.1 DVD mix, I used UpMix on some crowd mics, even though I had a full 32-channel mix on the screen. It provided a wide, clear surround image and added a nice depth to the overall mix.

To run UpMix, the 960 system must be configured for 2-in/5-out operation. UpMix provides various parameters to optimize the process; Sens (Sensitivity), Lock, Divergence, RDnynRoll (Rear Dynamic Rolloff), RDelay (Rear Delay), Stage, and Width.

Sensitivity has no ‘nominal’ setting; it is adjusted based on the program material. The goal, according to the manual, is to “achieve the best possible surround separation while avoiding unnatural fluctuations in the surround image.” Dynamic sections change the UpMix process, but, with automation, the sensitivity can be adjusted in real time to provide the highest quality. Lock can be used to maintain the state of internal LOGIC7 UpMix adaptation during these dynamic parts. Diverge adjusts the placement of the center channel across the front LCR channels. RDynRoll adjusts the range of cutoff frequencies with a 6 dB per-octave low-pass filter.

RDelay adjusts the amount of delay applied to the surround channels. Stage places the most prevailing surround image in the selectable rear, neutral or front location. Width adjusts the internal panning rule used by LOGIC7’s algorithm, selectable to either normal or wide.

As you can tell, UpMix is quite flexible. I ran a lot of different types of material through it, and, as you would expect, some did better than others, with nominal tweak time. Some of the material sounded excellent, though, and UpMix can actually be used to preview what a full surround mix might sound like for a quick demo. Overall, I would not hesitate to use UpMix as a method to turn existing 2-channel material into surround. It is unquestionably one of the better algorithms I’ve heard yet to handle such a job.

CONTACT: For more information, visit www.lexicon.com

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