Vintage Digital & Analogue Studio Effects

Vintage Digital

Lexicon 480L

Lexicon 480L Digital Effects System

For many engineers, the Lexicon 480L is the pinnacle of digital reverbs and has never been bettered, not by Lexicon or any one else. The Lexicon 480L came along in 1988 and has remained in place at most studio around the world as it simply can not be replaced by a plugin according to those who own them, and love them.


The Lexicon 480L is engineered for the emerging all – digital production environment. Digital audio places strict requirements on every link in the signal chain, and the Lexicon 480L meets those requirements.

With its unique 18 bit linear A/D and D/A converters, the Lexicon 480L produces a dynamic range of 98 dB in the wet signal path. It is probably the only effects system available that doesn’t raise the noise floor of a digital master. And the PCM 1610/1630 compatible digital I/O interface lets you add true stereo ambience and effects without leaving the digital domain.

The Lexicon 480L doesn’t just sound better – sheer computational power allows it to perform multiple audio tasks at the same time. And what tasks! In the current glut of throwaway digital devices with ever-cheaper versions of the same sounds, the Lexicon 480L offers remarkable new effects and reverb sounds.

Its innovative reverb algorithms reflect a more accurate and natural model of the acoustic and psychoacoustic phenomena of reverb and ambience. Put the Lexicon 480L up against any other reverberator – you’ll be amazed at the difference.

Reverb is only part of the story. The Lexicon 480L produces astonishing effects you haven’t even begun to dream about yet. And its sampling programs offer a variety of useful and unique features.

The present software is powerful and comprehensive, a dramatic step forward in digital signal processing technology. Yet it hasn’t explored the limit of the Lexicon 480L’s architecture, which is itself configured for future hardware expansion.

If you are familiar with the venerable Lexicon 224XL, you’ll feel right at home with the LARC used to control the Lexicon 480L. However, there are enough differences in the way the two units operate that we strongly suggest that you read the manual as soon as possible.

In it, you’ll discover that the Lexicon 480L’s two high speed processors can operate in a variety of configurations. Samples can be processed with reverb or effects, all in the digital domain.

Two Lexicon 480Ls can be connected through their digital I/O ports for even wider creative horizons. The Lexicon 480L can even be connected to a 224XL and both units operated from a single LARC.

In addition to its analog inputs and outputs, the Lexicon 480L is equipped with a PCM digital I/O connector. One application for digital I/O is processing material from a PCM 1610 or compatible unit. The WET/DRY MIX control in the reverb and effects programs makes it possible for the 480L to add signal processing to a stereo mix; without ever leaving the digital domain.

Another application for digital I/O is to cascade two or more Lexicon 480Ls together to create complex effects, again, without leaving the digital domain. In this application the first Lexicon 480L in the chain supplies word clock for the other units. Set the first unit for internal 48 kHz mode, and the second and subsequent units for external 48 kHz mode.

Drive levels and data format are compatible with the PCM 1610. Sync, preemphasis and flag bits are derived from the input bit stream. The Lexicon 480L may also be interfaced with the Sony 3324 digital multitrack recorder. The 3324 uses a balanced 1610 format, but this is easily accommodated by grounding the low side of each signal line at the 480L interface connector.

Lexicon 480L



Quantization: 18 Bit
Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Dynamic Range: 98dB
THD: <0.015%

Digital Audio Interface: PCM 1610-compatible digital I/O; 18-bit word length capability; slaveable to 48 kHz, 44.1 kHz, or 44.056 kHz external word clock

Dimensions: 483mm x 133mm x 368mm
Weight: 10.89kg

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Lexicon 480L Rear

Plug-In Options

Lexicon PCM Native Reverb
With all the flexibility you would expect from a native plug-in, this powerhouse Bundle delivers 7 legendary Lexicon reverbs with hundreds of the most versatile and finely-crafted studio presets, including recognizable classics from Lexicon’s immense library of sounds.
Native Instruments RC 48
The Native Instruments RC 48 captures the versatile, luxurious sound of a true studio legend. Featured on countless game, TV, and film soundtracks and even more gold and platinum records, this sound has helped shape two decades of popular music.
Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics
VerbSuite Classics is a partnership with LiquidSonics, and uses proprietary FUSION IR processing to capture the evolving and modulating characteristics of the modeled hardware reverb tone, including the Lexicon 480L.
Relab LX480 Complete
Relab Development decided to create the most accurate emulation that could replace this legendary hardware reverb. The LX480 plugin goes far beyond emulation by using the exact same reverb technology and introducing higher density modes and functions not found on the original.
Lexicon PCM Native Reverb
Now available exclusively for UAD hardware and UA Audio Interfaces, the UAD Lexicon 480L Digital Reverb and Effects plug-in is the world’s only Lexicon-endorsed emulation of this classic studio reverb — expertly capturing its unique, infinitely moldable ambience and modulation splendor.

Lexicon 480L Digital Effects System Reviews

Have you owned this product? Let others know what you thought of it.

Community Score


(3 Reviews)

Build Quality 93%
Sound Quality 100%
Usefullness 98%
Mojo/Funk 92%
Reliability 93%

What other users say...

Class of it's own

By Simon Alexander

Build Quality 90%
Sound Quality 100%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 100%
Reliability 95%

Probably like a lot of 480L owners now, I had to wait until one came up at a sensible price but make no mistake about it, it was well worth the wait! while you’re probably thinking, why bother, as plugins are getting so good at emulating the originals at a fraction of the price? I personally believe there is something missing by not having the original hardware in front of you and I’m sure as time goes on, these units will be snatched up by enthusiasts and studios.

The 480 is a legend! I wanted one for years and have no regrets in buying a really nicely presented example. It’s a flip of a coin as to which is better suited from the 480, a 224 or an RMX but I’m certainly am glad I have two of those 3 giants in the Reverb world. The quality of the actual algorithms is breath taking ! I have recently sent separate emails to two Studios that have the 480 and the RMX and asked them to compare both to their Bricasti M7’s… Their response was quite surprising with both the older Reverbs being preferred by clients and engineers.

The U/I on the 480 via the LARC, is very easy to use and the Machine itself is not just a reverb, but a box full of multiple effects that can be split into two separate effect machines and thus having the left input split with the right and effectively having two 480’s on each input, with separate stereo outputs. Having never compared the Classic Cart on the 480 with a 224, I’m not going to say its the same, but I’ve heard its pretty close and has most of the 224’s presets. I have the 480 plugin and its a good reverb, but the 480 just sounds more organic and rich to me. One thing that users will find a little nuisance its the noise of the cooling fan, but its a small price to pay for such a unique piece of equipment.


Mother of all must have effects

By Steve Clark

Build Quality 100%
Sound Quality 100%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 100%
Reliability 100%

The Lex 480 is a long lasting old love and will never break. Still in todays time there is no other effect like the 480L. It is smooth and gentle and better than any other reverb ever made. Sure it will be replaced more and more from modern Reverbs in Plug In quality, but all of them have the goal to reach the sound of the original one, the Lexicon 480L.

Amazing Reverb, even today!

By Anonymous

Build Quality 90%
Sound Quality 100%
Usefullness 95%
Mojo/Funk 75%
Reliability 85%

It was extraordinary when it was released, and still today it provides incredible reverb for my mixes some 28 years later. Can plugins sound as good? Not as far as I am concerned, I will keep the 480L until it dies.

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