Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Hexaphonic Guitar System: 1

I finally found a sixth Lexicon MPX-G2, so I was able to complete my hexaphonic guitar system!

Back around 1977, I read an article in Guitar Player magazine about, "hex fuzz." The amazing advantage to hexaphonic distortion is that you can play complex harmonies without them turning into dissonant mush. It sounds like several guitars playing in harmony instead of just one. The problem back then was that the solid state overdrive circuits were primitive, and so they sounded very cheesy. The idea stuck with me, however, and when MPX-G2's started coming down in price, I realized that with six of them and the RMC Breakout Box, I could finally make a high quality hexaphonic system. I started collecting them about four years ago, and it's taken me this long to find six nice units. This post will be about how I put the system together.

To do it right, you need a lot of cables of the correct length.

I needed seven foot long and two foot A/C cords, twelve two foot patch cables, ten 6' guitar cables, and six 1' MIDI patch cables.

Then, of course, a half-dozen MPX-G2's. The original list price for these was $2,400.00, so that's $14,400.00 worth of Lexicons at the original price!

I put the units in an 8U SKB rack with a Furman AR-1215 power conditioner on the bottom, and an Ashly LX308B stereo mixer on top. The Ashly is very cool, because it has 8 channels, each of which has left and right inputs.

The first step is to install the A/C cables. Everything goes down the left to the bottom of the rack, so they will be away from the patch cables: Less chance for noise.

Then the MIDI patch cables. Every THRU goes to the next unit's IN. That way, a single MPX-R1 remote can change programs on all of them at the same time!

And now, the 12 audio cables. See how nice and neat this is? The audio cables are away from the A/C cables, so it will be nice and quiet.

Here's the entire system, powered up. The next step was to dump all of the programs from the stereo unit on the top to the hexaphonic units below. I got my first MPX-G2 in 1999, so I've been tweaking those programs for almost 15 years now!

Ta da! The dump from unit one to units two through seven went off without a hitch. Now all of the Lexicons have the same programs in them.

Tomorrow, I'll connect the hex rack to the Lexicon FW810s FireWire recording interface, and the Breakout box, and I'll be able to start modifying the programs to add distortion. That's done in the preamp section, so this could take a while.


Blogger Sebastian Holm Jespersen said...

So what happened when you added the distortion - how did it turn out?

6:21 PM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

It was a failed experiment, unfortunately. The RMC has too much crosstalk, so it sounds like mush with complex harmony, just like there was no Fanout Box at all. Gigantic chorus effects are possible with clean sounds, but that's not enough to make it worthwhile.

6:28 PM  

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