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ADA 2FX Digital Multieffects


Article from International Musician & Recording World, March 1985

A veritable jamboree bag of effects in one rackmounting unit

Just count those 'Digitals'

Digital is the magic word, whether it be in the synth department, recording department, effects department or clock department; that's what is attracting the attention of the average punter — and in this respect the dual effects unit from sunny California is a few steps ahead with its front panel featuring the magic word no less than four times!

What it is, is a single 1U 19" rackmounting unit whose controls are divided into Digital Delay (Mix, Feedback and Multiplier), Digital Chorus (Depth and Rate), and Digital Flanger (Manual, Depth, Rate and Regeneration). Under the boldly printed 'Digital Multi-Effects' logo are routing and switching controls which enable the mixing of delayed effects with flanging or chorusing of either the delayed signal or both the direct and delayed signals.

Yes — I did say mixing of effects, and this is the main strength of the ADA 2FX in its ability to do the job of two units. That is progress for you — first having machines to do jobs for you, then having computers taking over from machines and then having computers taking over from computers...

The actual specifications of the 2FX are fairly impressive — 17kHz bandwidth, 90dB dynamic range, 0.5% distortion... Other points of interest on the specifications page are a maximum delay time of 1024mSec, FET switching of effects, a bypass switch which remembers the last front panel settings and a very versatile handling of input levels from mikes to mixing desks.

Angling for trouble

On plugging in and switching on (mains switch only on rear, unfortunately) we get a red LED on the right hand side indicating the decay time (echo rate), and another illuminated over the bypass switch. One 'oddness' is that the LEDs are not, in fact, immediately above the switches, but diagonally above them with a line marking application. In use this proved to be a bit of a pain as, unless you looked carefully under excellent lighting conditions from directly in front of the switches, you couldn't see what was going on, and which LED related to which function — especially as the labels for each function are above the push buttons and not the LEDs...

Anyway, with most of the controls being fairly self explanatory, I proceeded to first give the ADA a spin with Yamaha's DX7 synthesizer. All was well 'level-wise', and I found no problem in obtaining all your usual flanging, echoes, choruses, etc. One interesting item is a button labelled 'Patch' which, as I mentioned before, enables you to select at which point in the audio chain the signal 'chorused' or 'flanged'. This being sussed, and all else being well, I switched to a brighter patch on the DX than I had been using — and this started to reveal what was ultimately proved to be the ADA's weakest link — distortion. At first I thought it might simply be badly matched input levels, but further investigation — with first a DX7,then a Fender Strat and then vocals, indicated that this was digital distortion, born from the sampling of the sounds themselves. Not one to jump to conclusions, I relayed this finding to MusicLab, the British distributors for ADA, who promptly and very helpfully sent down another ADA 2FX. Unfortunately this too suffered from a delayed signal sound quality inferior to DDLs costing half the ADA's price (namely Boss' DE-200 or even Korg's excellent SDD-1000).

To be more specific, the nature of this deteriorated sound was in the form of a small but noticeable amount of buzzing distortion and digital noise on both long and short delay times or flanges/choruses. However, as I tested the ADA in the most critical of environments — the recording studio — such a minor deterioration would not be sufficient to cause any problem to musicians live, who this might be more appropriate for anyway. I found there to be too much audible hum (from the unit, not the audio output) for a recording studio, and the lack of power on/off switch on the front panel can be infuriating because of the flashing light. I apologise for sounding a little negative here, however I have grown to despise this particular flashing light to the point of suicide.


I shall end on a happier tack; the ADA is suitable for live performances. It will give you a good range of mixed effects from the one box, has facility foran optional footswitch for controlling the effects switching and bypass which are all super-silent (thanks to the wonders of FET switching). Having a couple of effects at once from the one box is a big plus for live situations where the less leads and boxes and mains, etc, the better. If you wish for more information on this or other ADA products (which look very interesting) you can contact MusicLab on (Contact Details).


Also featuring gear in this article

Previous Article in this issue

UP-5 and K2X

Next article in this issue

Encore Coaster And Blue Sage

Publisher: International Musician & Recording World - Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
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International Musician - Mar 1985

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Gear in this article:

Studio/Rack FX > ADA > 2FX

Gear Tags:

Digital FX

Review by Curtis Schwartz

Previous article in this issue:

> UP-5 and K2X

Next article in this issue:

> Encore Coaster And Blue Sage...

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