SweetNotes
by Daniel Fisher, Director of Soundware Engineering

It sure is an interesting time to be a guitarist these days. It doesn’t even matter if you’re the modern hi-tech type or the vintage-gear tube type: Just this year alone the music industry has produced an equally astounding array of both digital technical wonders as well as hand-wired, tube-based works of vintage art. Each camp has its respective supporters. The digital guitarists love their pristine effects and the ability to store every aspect of the sound as a named preset which can be called up with one simple button push. The vintage tube purists will go on all day about the fabulous tone and mystical touch-response of a hand-built, all-tube amplifier. To be fair, each group’s viewpoints are perfectly valid.

But now, Lexicon has created the ultimate system which perfectly integrates hi-tech digital technology with the real world of preamps, power amps and speakers. It’s called the MPX G2 Guitar Effects Processor (list $1499) and Sweetwater has it in stock right now!

The MPX G2 is for players who consider their amp to be as important to their sound as their guitar. Probably the most exciting aspect is the way the G2 interacts with your amplifier. Instead of just placing effects between your guitar and your amp, the MPX G2 allows you to place any of 76 authentic effects anywhere in the signal chain without altering your amp's basic tone. And you can have as many as seven effects at once. This is accomplished with Lexicon’s truly first-of-its-kind routing system which lets you tap into every part of your guitar amp. First you plug your guitar into the MPX G2, then you send a cable to your amp’s input. Now, (here comes the exciting part) you run another cable from your amp’s Effects Send back to the MPX G2 (two if your amp has a Stereo Effects Sends). And finally, you send the signal one last time back to your amp’s Effects Return which goes directly to the power amp.

I know, it sounds a little crazy the first time you read this, but when you’re done you’ll have total control over your favorite guitar amp like other guitarists have with their “digital modeling” amplifiers. But the Lexicon MPX G2 is not a modeling amp - it’s a processing and routing system designed to bring out the best tones from the amp and speakers that you already love whether it’s a combo, stack, or rackmount setup. And the signal path between your guitar and your amp’s preamp can be bypassed with “straight-wire” relays so that there is absolutely no difference in your tone or feel when you’re not using effects.

And what fantastic effects they are: True analog distortion and overdrive as well as extraordinary recreations of stomp-box classics (you can even choose the battery type!) like the Tube Screamer, Uni-Vibe, Dyna-Comp, Vox and Cry Baby wahs, Octavia, Mu-tron III, Phase 90, Dyna Comp, Cordovox, Space Echo, and CS-3 Compressor, as well as Moog-type Filters, Leslie rotary cabinets, plus other classic Lexicon effects like Aerosol, Orbits, Centrifuge, and the extremely fun JamMan Phrase Looper which lets you record up to 20 seconds of music so you can actually jam along with yourself.

Combine those effects with Intelligent Harmonizers, Digital Delays, Chorus, Flanger, Sweep Filters, Detuner, Parametric EQs, Tremolos, Panners, and more, and you’ve got a show-stopping arsenal of sonic wizardry. You can even use Tap Tempo control or MIDI Clock to regulate any Delay/Echo times or any other modulation rate in the box. The Tap Tempo can even create a MIDI Clock signal which you can send to other devices! Like the award-winning MPX 1, the G2 uses multiple processors: A proprietary Lexichip for uncompromised Reverb at all times, and a new fast-math DSP processor to run even more 32-bit effects simultaneously. It doesn’t matter which Reverb type you choose - Hall, Chamber, Room, Plate, Gate, or Ambience - you’ll still have the full power of the other processor left for all your non-Reverb effects.

And how do you take command over so many effects and routings? Easy: With Lexicon’s MPX R1 MIDI Remote Controller (list $500) you’ll be able to access sounds with the tap of a foot, enhance special effects, turn on or off any individual effect, layer ambiences as you would in a studio. The R1 is housed in a rugged, all-metal case that can really stand up to the rigors of stage use, with military-grade foot switches and a solid foot controller with Toe Switch for Wah, Volume, and other effects. There’s even a high-resolution guitar tuner, MIDI Program select and control, dedicated switches for TAP tempo setting and dual relays for remote switching up to as many as four independent amplifier channels instantly.

Although you can use the MPX G2 with any guitar amp it is particularly well suited for use with the new Lexicon Signature284 all tube, Class A, hand-built, stereo recording amplifier and direct source (list $1099). You can read my report on the Signature 284 in our last Sweet Notes issuerrrabuyvsvsveytfazersurdwarubawvev. Together or separately, the MPX G2, MPX R1, and Signature 284 are powerful tools for the live and recording musician. For direct recording or live sound applications, the G2 can be used without an amplifier as a stand-alone programmable analog preamp with effects. There’s even an Analog Speaker Cabinet Simulator with 16 cabinet variations.

With the MPX G2 system you can finally bring your guitar signal into both the digital and analog domains and route it freely through any of 76 guitar effects in any order, both before and after your guitar amp’s pre-amp, with an astounding lack of noise thanks to a revolutionary Analog Noise Gate not found in any other digital box. This Noise Gate is unique in that, although its signal sensing is done at the quietest point in the audio path, the actual gating is where it belongs, which is at the noisiest point of the audio path. Now inject this immaculate guitar sound into the world’s most celebrated Reverbs. Then, send the signal back to your guitar amp’s Effects Returns or mixing board for a sonic sensation that used to be impossible without owning a multi-thousand-dollar Bradshaw Switching System.

Sweetwater works hard to be the Lexicon experts, which is one of the reasons we were presented with Lexicon’s “Outstanding Dealer of the Year, 1997-1998” award. So call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for your special Sweetwater deal on these guitar “dream tools” today.