Teach Old Lexicons New Tricks

US New PCM 80/81 Editing via the Electra One MIDI Controller      10/01/24

Teach Old Lexicons New Tricks


Those in the know are always happy to impart their wisdom, and when it comes to Lexicon reverb units, the PCM80/81 from '97/98 are heralded as the last hardware generation with that special Lexicon Magic.

They are somewhat unwieldy instruments though. People wax lyrical over the PCM's characteristic modulation in the reverb tail sounds, but these things are deep, offering* six voices of (gliding) delay or reverb, four voices of pitch shifting, resonators and a deep modulation matrix (called dynamic patching) to map MIDI controllers, internal LFOs(!) and AR envelope generators to a huge amount of parameters.

(*The 80 & 81 differ in their algorithm selection; the 80 was expandable via ROM cards)

If you owned the previous generation's PCM70 (which was almost as complex) then you could buy a little MIDI controller box called the MRC and edit your presets via the comfort of 4 sliders. Unfortunately, the 80/81 is not compatible with the MRC, having a complex sysex implementation that changes depending on the algorithm selected(!) so you are stuck using the two dials and up/down buttons.

Lexicon MRC

Fast forward to 2024, where oldgearguy has written a PCM80/81 editor that runs on the Electra One MkII MIDI Controller. With 12 high-resolution 360-degree pots and a touchscreen, we're assuming that PCM owners will enjoy fresh experiences when programming their machines.

After many battles with an evolving Electra One firmware, life interruptions, and coding burnout, I have the PCM 80/81 editor in a good enough state to make it a public beta.

It's not finished, but it does a lot and seems pretty stable. It can read and write to the PCM 80 original 1.0 OS, the updated 1.10 OS, the PCM 81, and all the cards.

More details at: https://app.electra.one/preset/PplTYXHiVuczuMK7O9Hk

Posted by MagicalSynthAdventure an expert in synthesis technology from last Century and Amiga enthusiast.



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