Cutec FX500 Flanger/Delay
Rack Mounting Versatility from Cutec
This new sound processor uses analogue delay technology to produce chorus delay and flanging at an affordable price.
It's true that most digital delay units incorporate a modulation section to enable them to generate the effects that this unit is capable of creating, but you are almost certainly going to want to use two effects simultaneously at some time or another and then you're stuck. Of course you have the option of buying another digital delay for these occasions, but that can be costly if you're working at home on a strict budget.
The other point worth considering is that a good analogue chorus/flanger can perform as well or even better than most digital units so it makes sense to save money by buying one good digital delay and one good analogue chorus/flanger rather than two digital devices.
As an added bonus, the Cutec FX500 can generate delays of up to 360 milliseconds, albeit at a bandwidth of only 5kHz.
Yes, you've guessed, this is the year of the 1U black rack mounting processor which is no bad thing as rack space must be getting scarce by now.
The FX500 is obviously designed to match semi-pro recording equipment as it works at a nominal -20dBm signal level. The sparse rear panel contains only the input and output jacks, but these are also repeated on the front panel for maximum flexibility. Stylewise, the front panel is finished to a high standard in satin black with pale gold legend and all the control knobs have clearly visible position markers.
To the left of the front panel is the input level control and this works in association with a peak reading LED which lets you know when you are starting to overcook things. The delay level control regulates how much of the processed sound is mixed with the original whilst the delay time control works in conjunction with the three position selector switch to vary the delay time between 5 and 360 milliseconds.
In the modulation department, we have the usual depth and speed controls which are used to modify the LFO sweep parameters enabling the unit to produce a wide range of chorus and flange effects.
The feedback control as its name implies routes some of the delayed output back to the input and this recycling is used at longer delay times to produce repeat echoes and at shorter delay times to deepen flanging effects.
Two front panel outputs are fitted and these both provide a mix of the direct and delayed signal; however, the phase of the delayed signal is inverted on output B to give a pseudo stereo simulation. Also on the front panel are two jack sockets designed to accept optional footswitches which may be used to mute the delayed part of the signal and disengage the modulation oscillator. The latching power switch has a red status LED and needs no explanation.
Though the maximum delay is a modest 360 milliseconds, this is still usefully long and the sound quality is brighter than you might expect from an analogue device; it doesn't, however, rival digital units in this respect. Background noise is quoted as being better than -65dB and although it is audible in practice, it is not offensively so and would probably get lost completely in a mix.
When it comes to flanging, the FX500 produces a stronger effect than most budget digitals if care is taken to optimise the delay time, feedback and modulation settings. The same is true of the chorus settings which differ from flanging in that a longer delay is used with little or no feedback and the subjective sound quality is better than most pedal units are capable of giving.
Using the A and B outputs with their opposite delay phases does indeed give a wide, exciting stereo image, but this method of output enhancement is not mono compatible as the opposite phases tend to cancel giving little or no effect when summed to mono.
It must however be borne in mind that this is a budget unit and its performance lies somewhere between a good pedal effect and a professional studio processor making it a suitable choice for the cash conscious user who is recording on a multitrack cassette machine.
At a price of £176 inc VAT, the FX500 offers the user a host of time domain effects with a reasonable sound quality and bags of flexibility. As a secondary processor, the FX500 lets your main digital delay get on with what it does best, while it fills in for the odd jobs that are left over. These could include ADTing vocals or providing a reverb pre-delay as well as the obvious modulation effects and these little touches can add a lot to your final production.
It looks smart and does its job, so give it a try.
Further details from : MTR Ltd, (Contact Details)