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Lexicon Lambda Studio Reviews
This is a great looking unit, and broadly does what I wanted it to do. It lets me record a Mic and an instrument at the same time as a MIDI input - the reason I wanted that was to be able to record the MIDI from a Roland GR-33 MIDI guitar unit, at the same time as a direct out from the the guitar and a separate (phantom powered) mic. The bonus for me was that it also has 2 line ins, so I can record old tapes to MP3.
I intially had some big problems with the ASIO drivers. Although I could record (with Sonar), whenever I played anything back I just got bad noise. I had the same problems with MME, but I got it working with WDM. Thankfully, whatever it was now seems to have resolved itself, but I don't know what it was I did (so I hope it does not go wonky again).
Aside from that, I found that when I hooked up my Sontronics STC-2 Mic I had to wind the Mic knob up to maximum to get a decent level, but I was getting quite a bit of noise from the Lamda the very last 1/10th turn.
I run Windows XP on a Macbook, and the installation CD would not recognise the Windows drivers - which luckily I was able to download from the Lexicon website (www.lexiconpro.com).
It is not that easy to see when the red clipping and peak LEDs comes on, as they seem pretty faint.
If you are not in the US, you can only get tech support from a dealer, not from Lexicon.
All in all, a nicely packaged and presented unit, that sits well on my desk. And, I think it is going to do the job.
The lexicon Lambda promises quite a bit.
Two phantom powered XLR inputs, line inputs, etc. etc. all with low background noise, and of course your basic MIDI In/Out interface.
So I decided to put these claims to the test with the following gear:
- Apple Powerbook G4
- M-audio Axiom 61
- Samson VR88 Condenser microphone.
- 2 pieces of Rode NT5:s.
- Novation Nova Hardware synth.
First of all, this baby is powered by USB without the possibility of taking the juice from your lovely electric network plug. Now, even as this is a very handy thing, you might want to be careful about which USB do you hook this one up to. My advice is to plug it straight to a cpu, not to a USB-splitter since under some equipment this might cause unusual results such as the Lexicon turning itself off, and other various weird properties.
- I started off using the 2 Rode mics hooked to the 2 XLR channels straight in. No complaints, straight response, no hums, pops or clicks on the final track. Phantom power works nicely, no switchin on or off during a 4 hour recording session. The preamps seem to give off a nice response and since I have been using the Rode NT5:s as overheads for quite a while, I cannot tell a difference if I am using the preamps on the Lambda, or on my low-budget mixing desk. And no, I am not talking about Behringers when I mean low budget.
- As far as the instrument input is concerned, it serves as your basic DI-box sound. Flat and digital, but this is what you are going to get even with the best active DI-box / Redbox. The fact? Good. Does what it is supposed to. If you want a nicer sound, add something for the VST effect input since the Lambda comes equipped with a Cubase LE-software.
- Midi control works as it should. I am not getting a latency that is dependant on the soundcard. I also tried using my dual-core E8500 equipped PC and the response is logical. Larger processing capability = less latency, but then again, these things are not the fault of the soundboard.
Now since there are only 2 inputs on XLR, and I used only the Lexicon as an imput instead of a mixing board, I had to change between the cables when switching to the Samson. Of course, should I want to solve the problem, I would go for a small mixing desk.
Now, I do not see this as a problem as the Lexicon Lambda is not inteded for hardcore studio recording but for your occasional instruments and / or vocals. People who are thinking about the difference between the Lambda as a straight recorder or using it as interface between a smallish mixing board and the CPU, should be aware of the fact that this is for house recordings, not for multichannel studio. And you CAN always hook up the mixing board to the Line inputs behind the Lambda AND use the 2 phantom-powered mics for something else.
Tested it out with both Apple and PC, fast & slow processors and I saw no sound card problems on either one, save for the fact that if left inactive, the USB connection switches off and causes the sound card to go to sleep.
Call me old-fashioned but I do like to have a direct power input option on my equipment.
Of course, anyone who wants to use this for a larger recording setup or to even consider about studio-level recordings should be aware that you NEED a mixing desk with sends / returns for various rack equipment such as compressors etc.
You are not going to make a well produced track with only this and even the best of microphones.
If you want that, I recommend a budget of 5000+ euros to get you started.
But for 200-300e, a few low-budget condenser mics and using the Cubase plugins for compressors etc? I see no problem with using the Lambda.