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Hands On - Lexicon PCM 70 (part 3)

On most modern equipment, you can call up the various presets by pressing the up/down buttons in the direction you want to go as many times as it takes to get there...


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Intuitive Interface?

On most modern equipment, you can call up the various presets by pressing the up/down buttons in the direction you want to go as many times as it takes to get there. Alternatively you may be able to select a preset from a panel of number keys. Either of these methods are very obvious and you don’t need to read the manual or attend a seminar to know how to do it. What the Lexicon PCM70 has, at least as far as the preset programs are concerned, is a number of basic algorithms, each of which is given a number from 0 to 6 (you understand of course that software designers start counting at 0, not at 1 like the rest of the human race). Select the algorithm by pushing the up/down keys. Each algorithm has a number of variants, as few as two or as many as nine, which are numbered from .0 to .9. These are selected by the number keys. Figure 2 shows the range of preset programs available and if you wanted the Infinite RT program, number 4.7, then you would push the up/down keys until you saw 4 point something in the display, and then number key 7, then Load (unless the unit has been programmed to autoload, in which case the program will load up without further intervention). Once you know what to do then this way of working isn’t a problem. It does cause some confusion however when you try to select, for instance, Program 2.3. As you can see from Figure 2, there isn’t a Program 2.3 and the display will show ‘Not available’. Now you know why, but if you didn’t have the benefit of a manual or someone to tell you, you might think that Program 2.3 had gone on holiday and might be back later, or that the unit was faulty, or that the unit was awaiting the next software revision, or indeed that you had done something wrong. The answer is not to worry about it.

As well as Program Mode, there is also Register Mode which is just another way of saying ‘User Memories’. Registers are accessed in exactly the same way as Programs except you won’t get the ‘Not available’ display. If no program has been stored in a Register, then the display will read ‘Unused’ or ‘Register unused’ showing that there is a free space for you to write your creation into.

Effective Editing

You will probably be wondering why there is no button labelled ‘Edit Program’ or something similar on the front panel. To save space and hardware, I presume, the PCM70 has been endowed with Program and Register modes, both of which are button-selected and indicated by an LED, and if neither of these modes are active then you are in Edit mode. This is something to watch out for. If you didn’t realise you were in Edit mode then you might be frantically searching for a Program or Register and find only cryptic messages such as “HC MST” or “L3 RFL DB” followed by a couple of digits.

Like Program and Register selection, finding the parameter you wish to edit is done by punching the up/down buttons the appropriate number of times in the correct direction, and then using the number keys to get where you want to be. You might think this is a bit hit and miss and you would need a map to find your way around, but fortunately the parameters are grouped into families and you can find the precise one you need very easily.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004

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