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March 1, 2006

Controls for each of the PSP 608''s taps are identical, and the LCD-style display at the top annotates the settings when the mouse passes over a control.

PSP Audioware has come up with another top-notch delay-based plug-in. The PSP 608 MultiDelay ($149) is an 8-tap delay line with the great sound quality, ease of operation, and full complement of bells and whistles for which PSP has become renowned. Each tap has its own multimode-filter and tape-saturation (called Drive) modules, as well as individual modulation and reverb routings. Add two operation modes (called Multitap and Multidelay), MIDI remote and host automation, and a large, interactive LCD-style display, and you're in for a lot of bouncing around.

The PSP 608 comes in VST, Audio Units, RTAS, and HDTM formats for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and later, and it comes in VST, DirectX, and RTAS for Windows 98 and later. It will work at all popular bit depths and sampling rates, including 24-bit, 192 kHz. Delivery is by download and includes all formats, as well as a 47-page PDF manual. The manual is an essential read if you want to get the most out of the PSP 608, but you can go a long way with the simple, one-page Quick Start instructions.

On the Right Path

Each of the eight delay taps has the same signal path, which starts with a delay buffer having a range of 1 ms to 8 seconds. The delayed signal is then run through an input gain stage, followed by stereo width and balance controls. The filter and drive stages follow, both of which can be bypassed. Finally, there's a send bus to the global reverb stage. Feedback can be routed back to the input either directly from the delay buffer (pre) or from the output of the drive stage (post).

From an operational standpoint, setting up the PSP 608 taps is as simple as turning them on (you can use any number of them), deciding whether to apply feedback and how much, and setting the delay-time, gain, width, balance, filter, drive, and reverb-send controls.

The PSP 608's resonant filters have eight modes, including lowpass, bandpass, highpass, peak (single-band EQ), and two varieties of low and high shelving filters. The filter cutoff frequency can be modulated by a mix of a global LFO and a global envelope follower. The envelope follower can be fed by the input signal, the master output signal, or the individual output of any of the taps, allowing you to influence the filter of one tap by the rhythm of another.

The signal path ends in an optional Master Feedback section with its own filter and drive modules. That is where the PSP 608's two modes differ. In Multidelay mode, each tap has its own feedback loop, and one tap is selected to feed the Master Feedback buffer. In Multitap mode, only the Master Feedback buffer is active. In either mode, one of the tap sliders is assigned to set the Master Feedback delay time (see the graphic and Web Clip 1).

All Those Knobs

With 101 knobs, 78 buttons, and eight sliders, the PSP 608 control panel at first appears daunting, but once you consider that each tap control is replicated eight times, it all makes a bit more sense. To make things even easier, the large LCD-style display annotates all settings as controls are passed over with the mouse, and many settings can also be made directly in the display. The display even has an alternative mode that shows each tap's position along a timeline. Unfortunately, that part of the display is not interactive, but it is still quite useful.

Most PSP 608 controls (some buttons and elements of the LCD-style display are exceptions) can be controlled remotely by incoming MIDI, and a MIDI Learn function makes it easy to set up. With so many controls, setup can still be tedious, but, conveniently, you can save MIDI-remote setups to disk. Unfortunately, control settings made by MIDI remote are not reflected in the LCD-style display.

For the tweak averse, the PSP 608 comes with a complement of more than 100 presets ranging from mundane multitaps to otherworldly resonator effects, and there are a variety of presets labeled “init” that are useful as jumping-off points. A multitap delay is an important part of every electronic musician's effects palette, and for quality and ease of use, it's hard to think of a better or more economical choice than the PSP 608.

Overall Rating (1 through 5): 4
PSP Audioware

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