Which effect should I get? The Lexicon PCM 81 or a reverb stompbox?

Although the Lexicon PCM 81 was most famous in the 80s, it still sets the standards for good reverb sounds.

In contrast to the PCM 80 the PCM 81 already provides pitch sounds and – unlike his predecessor – does not need an additional card for this.

The reverb of the PCM 81 always seems to be part of the signal.
It is melded into the sound and therefore appears quite natural.
But you can also adjust extreme reverb effects whose modulation creates endless expanses.

However, the rack effect has some disadvantages: The handling of the Lexicon PCM 81 is quite cumbersome, it is pretty big and needs an own power supply.

Don’t waive a buffer

If a guitarist wants to use the Lexicon PCM 81, he ought to add a good buffer pedal before the rack effect.
Actually, this device was not made for guitarists and has a low input impedance.
Because of this, the guitar signal will sound dull und lifeless if it is lead directly into the device.
A good buffer works wonders in this case.


If you made up your mind, that you are willing to use the Lexicon PCM 81 supplemented by a buffer, you should use two amplifiers for a stereo signal.
The sound of reverb effects is made for stereo sounds and, thereby, can be appreciated much better.

Is there a stompbox like to the Lexicon PCM 81?

Recently, there are numerous high-quality reverb pedals.

The Boss RV-500 is extensively equipped, provides the usual robust Boss-quality and offers a wide variety of reverb sounds.
Those can be easily edited, and the pedal is quite affordable.

The Strymon Big Sky still is one of the best reverb pedals.
It is perfect to create soundscapes and marvelous ambient sounds.

The Source Audio Nemesis provides the hall L algorithm, which is oriented to the sound of the Lexicon.
The sound of this pedal gets most close to the PCM and the handling of this stompbox is quite easier than the handling of the endless menu of the PCM 81.
However, the reverb of the Lexicon PCM 81 melts more elegant with the guitar signal and this rack effect stays a class apart – although it is a product of the 1980s and is not produced anymore.

It stays a legend.