Review: Lexicon PCM Native Total Bundle - ProSoundNetwork.com

Review: Lexicon PCM Native Total Bundle

The appropriately named Total Bundle may be your one-stop software effects shop.
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Lexicon’s flagship plug-in collection is the Total Bundle: a native VST/AU/RTAS-compatible suite of reverbs, delays, pitch and modulation effects. Here at PAR, we’ve previously reviewed the Native Reverb bundle in detail — the first half of the “Total” — so this review will subsequently focus upon the other half of this large collection, Lexicon Native Effects.

Dual Delay offers some very tasty Tape delays.

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Features

Within the Total Bundle, you’ll find the entire Native Reverb Bundle, no exceptions, plus a choice of seven other Effects algorithms; including Chorus, Dual Delay, Multivoice Pitch, Pitch Shift, Random Delay, Resonant Chords and Stringbox.

Each of the seven effects opens in its own channel insert slot (and therefore, its own window); this straightforward approach is carried over to the GUIs, which are user-friendly and laid out logically. The most frequently used parameters are found in the “soft row” of the GUI; this row of faders contains plenty of tweakability of the typically used parameters, with deeper controls found via hitting the Edit button.

To adjust a parameter, you either grab a big fader to coarsely control its value, or simply single-click on the numerical value displayed above it and type in your exact desired value. All of the parameters, both Soft Row and beyond, are automatable, so precise recallable control is available.

Ample eye candy is available with input and output meters and either a five-band, multi-colored, time/amplitude display or a real-time frequency display (RTA style) or an impulse (waveform) display. Depending on the specific effect, Lexicon has also implemented some nifty vertical bargraph displays for things such as delay time voices, their panning, gain and feedback, or similar for pitch shift voicings. There’s also a phase correlation meter with an X/Y graph option; this display gets rather animated with complicated algorithms.

In Use

I downloaded the bundle from Lexicon’s website, installed it on my Mac tower, got my iLok2 authorization and began using the effects in Audio Units form — all with no problems. Needless to say, the Reverbs are stellar. In my opinion, as well as the opinion of many others, these plug-ins sound as good as hardware. The Effects sound excellent as well and there are a plethora of options.

The Pitch Shift algorithm is available in stereo or dual mono configs, all within 12 semitones.

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Thirteen flangers are offered, ranging from thick, murky underwater adventures to crisp sci-fi swoops. Good variety and ample flexibility are offered for individual tracks or entire swooshing mixes. Nineteen choruses nicely cover the range expected with some special options. There are six frequency selective choruses (Midrange, Highpass and Bandpass settings), useful for things like bass guitars, subgroups or some cool vocal effects.

There’s a wide selection of vibratos, too: nine types, including a 33.3 RPM setting that nicely emulated the subtle wow and flutter of a belt-driven turntable. Overall, these vibratos aren’t as warm as the tube-driven Fender amp vibratos I grew up with but are nonetheless desirable. This algorithm also contained four (quite) Odd Rooms, three Seasick Rooms and one Bubble Room, that are aptly named and crying out for use in film or TV work.

Within Dual Delay, you’ll find Simple Delay up to 9.5 seconds with some interesting Bouncing Ball settings, as well as some very tasty Tape delays. With five Plex (Echoplex) settings and six Sun Tape settings (reminiscent of the tape slap used at legendary Sun Studios), at 3.75/7.5/15 IPS, options the possibilities are delightfully inviting.

Within Multi-Voice Pitch, you’ll find the requisite harmonic Triads, Staircase arpeggios, some deeply tweakable stereo Fatteners (one of my faves for lead and BGVs) and some Pitched Echoes that are perfect for horror scenes/dream sequences. The Pitch Shift algorithm is available in stereo or dual mono configs, smart shifted, or not and all within 12 semitones.

Stringbox allows precise sympathetic resonant vibration of piano strings.

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Within Random Delay, there are some useful Echoplex-type tape delays that are worth a listen. There are some seriously wacky tape settings, some Resonant Delays and Delay Rooms that are all a little disturbing, but I can envision possible uses.

Resonant Chords offered many interesting surprises. There’s the requisite Scales in all 12 keys, with major, minor or Quartal voicings. Within FX, you’ll find a number of Beam Me Up settings and Tinkle Vox that are quirky, surreal and sound like their names imply. My favorite in this algorithm has to be the Kettle Rooms, which are oddly plate-like, and you can hear the roundness of the spaces.

Stringbox is a wildly complicated, yet eminently flexible algorithm that allows precise sympathetic resonant vibration of a piano’s strings. I’d like to try and use it one day, but it’s way deep and not commonly called for, at least in my routine ... but it arouses my curiosity.

I found mousing around to audition effects types to be slightly cumbersome, as each effect type opens in its own window. This simplifies the operation of each GUI with less clutter, but I found myself opening multiple effects simultaneously and bypassing them in turn to narrow down and choose the category I needed. Sometimes, just for chuckles, I’d run four instances all at the same time, and my Mac’s CPU was still going strong.

Once an effect type is selected, the GUI’s advantages become clear with glitch-free switching between programs, excellent color and graphics choices that are very easy on sensitive eyes (like mine) and the ability to grab faders and quickly make exaggerated parameter changes helps in making difficult decisions, as does the ability to directly enter numerical values for the more finite and fine-tuned changes.

Summary

The only thing missing from the Total Bundle seems to be phasers, but everything within the Total Bundle is top-notch and ready for professional use. In my opinion, $1,999 (street price) is a lot of money for software, yet this suite’s sounds are hardware-grade quality. Thus, the appropriately named Total Bundle may be the one-stop software shop for your in-the-box, time-based effect needs.

Price: $2,699 list

Contact: Lexicon Professional | lexiconpro.com

Rob Tavaglione has owned and operated Catalyst Recording in Charlotte, NC since 1995.