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Re: Thoughts on the Eclipse, Fireworx, G-Force, and PCM81

On 25 jun 2006, at 05.07, Krispen Hartung wrote:

> I'd like to get your thoughts on the Eventide Eclipse, TC  
> Electronic Fireworx, TC Electrronics G-Force, and Lexicon PCM81.

Hi Kris,

I own a Fireworx and I have once borrowed an Eclipse for two months  
(to decide which one I should go for and also to write a test review  
of the Eclipse for a guitar player magazine here in Sweden). I  
finally went for the Fireworx because I found one on a sale at a very  
good price. I also like that the Fireworx is smaller and lighter. The  
Eclipse is quite big and heavy. But sound-wise I think they are  
rather equal. What the Eclipse has that you won't get with the  
Fireworx is the option to use pre-programmed scales for the pitch  
shift function. This means you can use a MIDI footpedal to change  
scale and have the machine add two notes behind the note you are  
playing, thus creating three piece chords that follow the scale of  
the key. To do that with the Fireworx you have to stay away from the  
third note when programming the patch, so you can play either a  
"major" or a "minor" third with your live instrument while having the  
machine adding fifths or quarter intervals behind you. In a way I  
like this "musician-craft" approach better, because it's more free  
and doesn't lock the performer into a given key.

It took some time to get into how to program the Fireworx, but since  
I finally managed to wrap my brains around it I just love it. Both  
the Fireworx and the Eventide lack the CPU power to play patches that  
use all available effects. Especially high resolution reverb is using  
lots of CPU. So you have to constantly zap between patches when you  
perform and lay down loop layers.

One final word on the Fireworx's effect feeback loop: it sucks  
because of latency. When setting up patches inside the Fireworx you  
can put a "feedback send" or "feedback return" at any place of the  
effect chain. This means that part of the signal will be sent to the  
units physical feedback output and retrieved from the feedback input  
(digital or analog - but if you use the main analog input for your  
signal source/instrument only the digital effect send is available,  
and vice versa) But the signal is getting so delayed in that process  
that it's not usable. Speaking about "effect loops" there is also  
another kind of effect loop that you can set up completely inside the  
Fireworx program, but this is another thing and it's working  
perfectly well (define an "insert send" at any part of an effect  
chain and retrieve that signal with a "insert return" block at an  
earlier part so you can "cook" the sound even more by going through  
the same effects again. It's a quite open system and if you have the  
theoretical knowledge about how to create certain sound with the  
normal effect arsenal you should be able to come up with almost  
everything on a fireworx - as long as the CPU power stays with you  
that is ;-)

However, you can hook up the Fireworx digitally in an effect loop to  
some other software or hardware and then there is no latency at all.  
I sometimes use the Fireworx in Logic, connected digitally to the RMX  
Multiface audio interface and in praxis it's just as having a bunch  
of new - non CPU bogging - plug-ins. This option also comes with the  
Eclipse, but I never tried it.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
www.looproom.com (international)
http://tinyurl.com/fauvm (podcast)