Legendary Lexicon Sound at a Bargain Price
Kristin Pinell & Kurt Reil
June 14, 2011
Looking for a versatile multi-effects processor for either your live rig or the recording studio? The Lexicon MX-200 offers pro-quality sound and functionality at an amazing price.
Throw in an integrated USB interface with dual-effects processing and it's like you're getting two units in one. Lexicon digital reverbs are renowned for their warmth and quality. This unit gives musicians and engineers control over an impressive list of features in a single rack space.
Lexicon MX-200 Top Features
- Bargain Price
- Easy To Use
- Extensive Control via Programming Options
- Simultaneous Dual Effects
- Legendary Lexicon Sounds
- DAW connectivity
Why we like the MX-200:
Ease of Use//Front Panel Functionality
We are big fans of Lexicon and have used their products for years in both live and studio situations. Right now the MX-200 is mounted in our PA rack to provide live effects for shows and rehearsals. When you're dealing with the logistics of a live venue you want gear that's durable and easy to adjust. The MX-200 is both. You can simply toggle through effects to audition and store them. You don't have to go scrolling through hard-to-read digital menus to make changes. There are simple control knobs to dial in your parameters. One drawback is that the front panel is hard to read in a dark club, so don't forget your flashlight.
Dual-Configuration & Flexible Routing
With the dual-processors you're essentially getting two effects units in one. Each processor has its own front panel controls and it's easy to tell which effect is loaded into which processor. Both can be used at the same time but programmed independently of each other. This is a great feature and we use it all the time.
Four different signal routing options are available: in parallel, in series, dual mono or dual stereo operation. In series, the first effect will trigger the second. We frequently use this mode to put a reverb on a delay.
The Legendary Lexicon Sounds
The unit comes installed with 99 factory presets. Effects are organized by category which makes it easy to audition them and save the ones you like for later use. There is a wide selection of reverbs, delays, dbx dynamics, and special effects like vibrato, chorus and phasing. They are all customizable. Additionally you get another 99 programmable slots if you have more creative ideas! We especially like to use the hall and plate settings for vocals and acoustic instruments. It gives these instruments warmth and adds nice shimmering detail.
Digital Audio Workshop (DAW) Connectivity
The MX-200 comes with a USB port that allows you to interface with a computer. It appears graphically as a plug-in once it is loaded into your recording software. What's great is that it doesn't require any additional processing power to run. Most digital effect plug-ins are known to be processing hogs and some of them can produce an undesirable flutter. Using the MX-200 as a "hardware plug-in" remedies both these problems.
We did an easy installation of the software via CD into our Mac G5. Digital Performer immediately recognized it as a plug-in, and the routing was intuitive with options for either analog or digital ins and outs. We dialed in some of the presets for reverbs like small and large hall and were easily able to control delay and decay times, all from within the DAW! They sounded great.
MX-200 vs. Higher-Priced Effects Units
The MX-200 gives the higher-end Lexicons like the PCM91 a run for their money. In comparing the two side-by-side at our studio, the MX-200 effects more than held their own, though the PCM91 did provide more depth to the sound and more control features. It ought to, as it costs 10 times the price of the MX-200!
Also in comparing the MX-200 with more expensive units the MX-200's 24bit/48khz sampling rate was lower. It must be noted that the MX-200 will only operate at 48kHz sample rates. This is a drawback for us as we do a lot of recording in high resolution at 24 bit/96kHz, but for most home and project studios this may not be an issue.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The MX200 is a bargain considering that it is so easy to use, offers great sounding effects, extensive control via programming options, simultaneous dual effect usage, and DAW connectivity.
So whether you’re a band on a budget looking for a simple, inexpensive way to enhance you’re live stage sound or a recording enthusiast searching to add variety and texture to your mixes you’ll be impressed with what the MX-200 can do., For this price the advantages far outweigh its disadvantages and the MX200 is worth serious consideration.