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Relab LX480 Essentials

Reverb Plug-in [Mac & Windows] By Sam Inglis
Published August 2021

Want the classic Lexicon sound without having to dive deep into the parameter pages? You’re in luck...

When they’re not busy developing plug‑ins for other manufacturers, Danish DSP wizards Relab Development find time to extend their own highly regarded range of reverbs. The first of these, and the one that perhaps did most to make their name, was a faithful emulation of the classic Lexicon 480L digital reverb. LX480 Complete has recently been updated to version 3.0, with improved preset management, and it’s now joined by a more affordable, streamlined version called LX480 Essentials.

Relab LX480 Essentials plug-in.Relab have recognised that many users don’t have the time or the inclination to delve into multiple pages of editing parameters when choosing reverbs — they just want ‘that sound’ with a minimum of fuss, and that’s what you get from LX480 Essentials. It offers four of the classic Lexicon algorithms in a semi‑preset format, with the simplified single‑page LARC‑style user interface giving the user access only to the most important parameters. You can adjust reverb time, high‑ and low‑pass filter cutoff, pre‑delay time and wet/dry balance; everything else is fixed.

It’s a testament to the enduring quality of Lexicon’s design that, in practice, these five parameters offer more than enough control for most purposes. I’m not sure too many users will explore the upper end of the pre‑delay slider, which tops out at a massive 510ms, but all four algorithms are highly usable throughout the decay time range, and in many cases, the simple sliding filters are all you need to shape the timbre of the reverb. If not, it’s easy to add an EQ before or after LX480 Essentials in the plug‑in chain.

Between them, the four chosen algorithms cover a wide range of applications. Small Ambience adds the kind of halo you don’t consciously perceive as reverb, but as enriching and thickening the source. Large Wood Room takes over where Small Ambience leaves off, shading from ambience to a more obvious, characterful studio live room‑type sound as you increase the reverb time. Medium Hall is one of the classic Lexicon hall patches: smooth, relatively natural and controlled even at long decay settings. Finally, Fat Plate won’t fool anyone into thinking it’s an EMT 140, but it is a gorgeous effect in its own right, with a cheerful and comparatively bright, dense sound.

In practice, these five parameters offer more than enough control for most purposes.

Although it’s not conspicuously lo‑fi or retro, the LX480 sound overall is noticeably darker than that of most modern algorithmic reverb plug‑ins. I suspect that’s part of the reason why it fits so smoothly into almost any context. It doesn’t exaggerate sibilance or transients; nor is any ringing or metallic quality audible in the mid‑range. In isolation, you wouldn’t mistake it for real room sound, but in the mix, you can trowel it on at almost any level and it sounds just right. On paper, the Essentials version is much less controllable than the full LX480 Complete, but in use, I rarely missed all those extra pages of parameters. Especially at its launch price of $35, this is an absolute bargain.


Relab’s budget reverb distils the essence of classic Lexicon hardware into an easy‑to‑use yet surprisingly versatile plug‑in.


$99 (discounted to $35 when going to press).

$99 (discounted to $35 when going to press).

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