The Studio On Your Pedalboard

How Digitech and Lexicon Are Putting Studio-Grade Reverbs at Your Feet


Recently, readers have been treated to some demos of Digitech’s fantastic new reverb pedal, the Polara.  Much like it’s predecessor from the Hardwire series, the RV-7 Stereo Reverb pedal, the Polara is loaded with seven of Lexicon’s revered reverberations.  But if you’re wondering who the hell “Lexicon” is and why that’s so noteworthy, definitely read on.


In a nutshell, the Lexicon brand got it’s start in 1971 and is synonymous with high-quality, studio-grade reverb processing.  It’s first reverb unit, a rack-mount unit called the Model 224, hit the streets in 1978 and pretty much wrote the book on studio-grade digital reverb.  It’s a 100% lock that you heard a Lexicon reverb in action before TTK’s demo; they’ve been used on thousands of recordings.


Though it’s “old” technology compared to the processing power of today’s digital and rack effects, the 224s that pop up on Ebay usually fetch around $1,000 and are still widely regarded as essential in many professional studios.  Of course, Lexicon continues to offer a wide range of modern, top quality reverb processors in rack and software plug-in formats.  The rack-based MX series is a great way to add, at modest cost, legendary Lexicon ‘verbs to a simple home studio or gigging rig, while those who want the ultimate in professional function and flexibility will find that in Lexicon’s flagship PCM line.  If software is your thing, Lexicon also offers plenty of plug-in bundles for your DAW.


Lexicon was acquired in 1993 by Harman International Industries, the same company that owns the Digitech brand, so it’s pretty easy to connect the dots there.  Harman also owns other audio names you know, like AKG, Crown, dbx, and JBL.  As previously mentioned, the reverbs that come with the Polara were originally developed by Digitech and Lexicon for Digitech’s Hardwire RV-7 pedal, but the Polara trades the RV-7’s “Gated” reverb setting for a spacey new texture called “Halo.”  The “Halo” setting sprinkles lilting, cascading octaves into a lush, deep ‘verb for a shimmering effect that sounds familiar but undeniably fresh and unique.


If you went back in time to 1985 and showed a studio engineer the Polara, he would probably be more blown away that something that size contained seven Lexicon reverbs than that you just proved time travel is possible.  Never mind that the first digital reverb pedal (the Boss RV-2) was still a couple of years away, but that a suite of Lexicon studio-quality reverbs could be contained in such a small format would’ve had that engineer wondering what sort of scam you were trying to pull.


So, while “vintage” certainly has it’s place and appeal, we should consider ourselves lucky to live in such heady times.  A pedal with features that no one probably ever dreamed of 30 years ago is available for your arsenal today.  So what are you waiting for?

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