Logic Pro 8 Logic Tape Delay vs Lexicon PSP42

mk3

Logician
#1
Hello, all -

Any thoughts on the PSP version of the Lexicom PCM42, that is to say, the PSP42 (and its big brother, the PSP84) in comparison to Logic's own delay plugins, such as the Tape Delay?

I had installed the PSP demos but foolishly waited too long to try them, and now they've expired!

A colleague swore that the PCM42 was perfect for making a vocal (or instrument) sit and blend perfectly in the mix. He had demonstrated that approach to me, and I was properly impressed.

Any thoughts are welcome. Obviously, there is no need to spend money gratuitously, so if Logic's own delays (and I also have Waves Platinum) will do all that the PSP delays can do, then that will be that.

mk3
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Well, the PSP42 is one of the rare plugins where a hardware manufacturer said "that is it" and allowed to use their name. Of course they wouldn't have said so if the device were still production. On the other hand, the TapeDelay is one of the best (and most underestimated) Logic plugins. In my opinion both are top plugins with the Tape Delay beeing softer overall.

Let me try ...
No delay
The TapeDelay imitates tape saturation. The PSP42 has no such mode and is not meant to mimic a tape.

Very short delays
I think this is what you are refering to. For those very short fluttering delays on voice they do both about the same. You may have to tweak the TapeDelay longer while the PSP42 just sounds right. The TapeDelay's flutter parameter adds a "wshhh" to the sound, you like it or not. For me, soft voices rather want the PSP42.

Short delays
I find them equal for this kind of delays as long as no flutter is involved.

Medium delays
For synced 1/8 or 1/4 delays I prefer the PSP42. Don't know exactly why, I just like it and can adjust it in no time. I imagine that it is built for this type of delays.

Long delays
This range is not comparable, the two are very different there.

I am not a great mixer and my ears are far from excellent but I would say that the PSP42 is a valuable part of the toolbox. The PSP42 works smooth and precise, the TapeDelay is softer and smears more. Both can be desirable depending on your material and imagination.

A side note: The PSP42 has a focus problem in Logic 9 (maybe I should say that Logic has the problem). Mousewheel is a must and in sync mode you have often to click somewhere in the window to update the display. This can drive you nuts if you don't know the plugin well and search for good settings. If you are used to the PSP42 it is just a bit annoying but worth the effort.
 

mk3

Logician
#3
Dear Peter,

Thank you for the detailed comparison. Very useful.

I'm moving to using delays more and more where I might have used reverb instead. More dub-oriented vibe as well, shall we say. I may well "spring" for the PSP as well. I do like the Tape Delay also, and have been using Logic's new Delay Designer extensively for more spacey effects.

mk3
 

mk3

Logician
#4
A side note: The PSP42 has a focus problem in Logic 9 (maybe I should say that Logic has the problem). Mousewheel is a must and in sync mode you have often to click somewhere in the window to update the display. This can drive you nuts if you don't know the plugin well and search for good settings. If you are used to the PSP42 it is just a bit annoying but worth the effort.
I think I may have just run into this focus problem.
I decided to install the demos on a laptop (MacBook Pro) just to try them out. Most of the controls work, but I can't seem to adjust the delay values in any predictable manner. Or rather, it seems that I have to always click in the window again to see the update. That's maddening indeed. Is there no way around it?

That would be a dealbreaker for me at this point. Making music is enough of a challenge without dealing with these sorts of display bugs!


mk3
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
#5
... have been using Logic's new Delay Designer extensively for more spacey effects.
Yes, this is the third breed. Although, for straight long delays, for example this "TAT - TAt - Tat - tat - ta - a" thing, the PSP42 sounds often better, smoother than the Delay Designer. But I think this is the only exception. Otherwise the Delay Designer is a class for itself.

A side note: The PSP42 has a focus problem in Logic 9 (maybe I should say that Logic has the problem).
I think I may have just run into this focus problem.
... can't seem to adjust the delay values in any predictable manner.
The two up/down arrows did never work properly in Logic. The big focus problem was introduced with Logic 9 (or got at least worse). No, there is no way around.

But If you know the trick you can adjust the PSP42 properly:
In free running mode, change the time by dragging the mouse over the time display. It reacts pretty fast.

In sync mode ("Clock") use the up arrow to step through the bar divisions (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 etc.). It goes up to 96ths and starts again with 1. And if the display does not jump, click somewhere in the window.

If you know the value you can also click several times and finally somewhere else. The plugin works perfect internally, just the update of the display is the problem in Logic.

The knobs work well with the mouse wheel. This is the preferred method because sometimes they suffer from the same window focus problem but their mouseover function works always.

Dealbreaker? Yeah, kind of. Like old hardware with a worn potentiometer. But the sound is really good :rolleyes:
 

mk3

Logician
#6
This sort of behaviour, even when it works properly, always strikes me as misguided, in that the software version is an attempt to replicate even the awkward (to my view, negative) features of hardware. For example, why a tiny "LCD" display? Why not a more descriptive display, or at least one where numbers could be easily entered directly? Why such tiny print under controls? Why the need to push tiny buttons (and even worse, to push them with a forgettable modifier key to move numbers in the opposite direction) to change a parameter? I understand that PSP was in search of the elusive "authenticity", but there is a point where elegant functionality is compromised.

This is especially true on some software reverbs, which have no graphical display at all, but just a "hardware" front panel. Maybe I'm "visually-biased", but I prefer to see the main reverb settings in a graphical representation at a glance, and ideally to be able to modify those settings graphically. Why have all the advantages of a GUI, and then resort to an old-fashioned buttons, knobs, and numbers interface?

Anyway, rant over. I do like the sound of the PSP products, so I am tempted anyway. I also don't think I have fully explored the possibilities of Tape Delay, so that's on the agenda. I still like the good old Waves tap delays.

I just realized there is yet another possibility in the arsenal which I haven't even tried yet. Waves updated their larger bundles with the two "Hybrid" plugs, and I had forgotten. One of these is the H-Delay, and it seems like it's meant to reproduce the sound of vintage delays, such as the PCM42.

http://www.waves.com/Content.aspx?id=9112


Cheers,
mk3

P.S. I sent an email to PSP inquiring about the display update bug we have been discussing.
 
#7
Has anyone had the psp42 lose it's settings in Logic? This has been happening to me for quite some time in Digital Peformer. I have to watch it and make sure my delay time doesn't get messed up. Very annoying. But, I haven't used it much in Logic. I reach for the tape delay quite a bit and really like it. Since I have so many plugins I'd have to say that if I didn't have a my 3rd party stuff I'd be pretty happy just using Logic's stuff. Also, the new delays that come with Amp Designer are nice and can be used for anything.
 
#8
Has anyone had the psp42 lose it's settings in Logic? This has been happening to me for quite some time in Digital Peformer. I have to watch it and make sure my delay time doesn't get messed up. Very annoying. But, I haven't used it much in Logic.
I have used many PSP plugs since Logic 7 and have not had any of their plugs "lose any settings."
What specifically are you asking? Were the plugs losing rhythmic sync reference to the host program? (in your case, Performer?)
I have not had too many experiences with that in Logic. There was one time when I saw a drift occur with a Soundtoys EchoBoy plug. I rebooted Logic and everything was fine after.
I use AU versions of all plugs and am quite happy with that functionality.:cool:

Charlie
 
#9
...and thanks to Peter for that comparison.
I usually reach for the PSP42 or the suped-up big brother the PSP84 when I need a delay...

Just another 2 cents... ;)
 
#10
I did some more comparison testing with the PSP42/84 against Logic's Tape Delay....Tried to duplicate settings to the extent possible (not an exact correspondence of setting names). Maybe I am no "golden ears", but the Tape Delay sounded very close in quality to the PSPs. This was on female vocals (actually used the demo project of Lily Allen that comes with Logic 9).

Maybe...just maybe...the PSP has a slightly more "silky" quality. But this could be placebo effect, since I'm not doing this as a proper double blind test, so it could just be my expectation of what a Lexicon should sound like.

At any rate, any difference seemed quite subtle.

Also just discovered that hidden slider for tape saturation at the bottom of the Tape Delay.

Today I'll try out the Waves H-Delay also....

mk3
 
#11
Thank you for the saturation tip! I never noticed that feature before. :)

I really dislike Logic's "hidden" attributes approach. Why not just make them readily apparent?
 
#12
I agree with Mr Implant (or is it Mr Alien?)
The real estate is there, why not just show "all" controls for these plug-ins?
Especially a parameter that you would use creatively? (as opposed to some reference/utility type control.)

...I smell a wish-list post coming soon! :cool:
 
#16
For tape saturation, there's always VintageWarmer...
Yes but only together with compression.
(Not my idea, someone from PSP said this a while ago. Don't remember where but it was official.)
There is also the PSP Mix Saturator which emulates different kinds of "tape/tube saturation effects."
The difference between the Warmer and this plug is pretty subjective but they all seem to feature compression as the vehicle for the effect. This may not be what you want when you just want to add some color to the track or mix...

AFAIK, there are a few plugs that "just add color" without compression. There's Tri-Tone Digital's "Color Tone Pro" that mimics different kinds of signal-paths (ie: consoles, tape machines and other hardware) to "make it sound more analog..."
Also SoundToys plugs feature a mode on a few of their plugs-ins simply called "analog," which (you guessed it,) colors the sound like it was passed thru some analog gear. You could actually put the mix of their Echo-Boy plug for example, to zero but leave the analog switch "ON" and the signal would have the analog color added to it.
I'm sure there are more color plugs out there that do not further compress a signal.
 
#19
The PSP MixSaturator seems to be only available as part of the MixPack set of plugs.

mk3
Yes, I think you are right about that... -It was a few years ago and I forgot that it was part of a bundle.
The Color-tone one I mentioned also has a free version, if you wanted to try it out.
It naturally has restricted features to make you want to purchase the upgrade.

Good luck!:)
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
#20
For tape saturation, there's always VintageWarmer...
Yes but only together with compression.
(Not my idea, someone from PSP said this a while ago. Don't remember where but it was official.)
Not quite sure what you meant here...You mean that VW is always compressing, no matter what the settings?
No, so far I know it saturates only when you compress. I remember a discussion about tape saturation plugins and someone asked PSP if the Vintage Warmer can do this without compression. PSP said no. I tend to believe them, they made the plugin ;)

I do however not know the relationship between VW's compression and saturation. I assume that the developer told the truth but maybe you can compress just a tiny little bit but make the saturation strong?
 
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