Welcome to the Vortex Database with it's new improved look
(yes, it was really bad before). There's much
new I'm afraid, and you no longer have the option to submit your own patches
online. As hardly anyone did that anyway, and half of them were mine anyway I
guess that's not such a loss to you, but the patches that were submitted
are still available here.
I found a replacement Rotary Encoder for the Vortex, this is
the most common Vortex fault, with symptoms such as some of the Registers not being selectable
by the knob, or the Value knob not working right. It's the same component for
each of the 16 position Vortex knobs (also for JamMan). It's not an exact replacement, but it does
the job. It seems that Lexicon
got a load made up to spec, and now the only way to obtain an exact replacement
would be to order 1000 of them.
It's not easy to remove the old encoder without damaging the delicate circuit board.
Best way is to remove it with clippers, so that you can de-solder and take out the feet
one by one. There's a copper lining to the holes in the circuit board which makes
an essential connection, that may be removed along with a foot.
To use the original knob you'll have to file a flat area on the spindle.
Get encoder from Digikey, UK
Get Encoder from Digikey, USA
Abeltronics (UK) can fix your Vortex for you.
*ESSENTIAL* Now at reduced price
of only £6, a whole CD of music
made with the Vortex as the only FX processor, using the Digital Echoplex to
create multi-tracked compositions in real time. Go to http://www.andybutler.com/livelooping.htm
for details and to hear music from the album. Hint...album sales help to keep this site alive.
Lexicon are a company who specialise in digital reverberation simulators, as
used in the top recording studios. At one time they decided to produce a range
of cheaper processors which consisted of the Alex, Reflex, JamMan and Vortex.
These are all long discontinued.
- The Alex is a simple to use basic reverb, excellent quality and very
- The Reflex is a glorified Alex with Midi control.
- The JamMan is an echo/looper.
- The Vortex is a totally unique FX unit.
The Vortex was the first of those four units to be discontinued
, essentially because no-one understood what it did. They can still be bought,
often at a substantial discount. In the UK the going rate is about £150 for an
'as new' unit, in US they're even cheaper. As the RRP was £400 this is a pretty
The Vortex is a digital sound
processor capable of phase, flange, chorus, tremolo, pan and vibrato effects
with an analogue type sound. It is also a 2sec echo/looper or a dual 1sec echo.
It can combine these effects in a number of ways.
But.... setting up
any two of these sounds you can blend seemlessly from one to
another by a process known as morphing, and you can do this with
footpedal control. It's this that really sets the Vortex apart, for instance
it's possible to set up a 2s loop of sound, then split it into to seperate 1s
loops (panned L&R) and then to recombine them into a rearranged 2s loop. Not
even the top of the range lexicon stuff with let you do this.
Unfortunately it requires extensive use of the manual just to
set up basic sounds, and the morphing feature can produce unexpected results (OK
maybe not such a bad thing).
These pages are dedicated to making it easier
for Vortex users at all levels, from those who just want to dial up a sound, to
those who aim to completely understand every function. Also those who experiment
at random are particularly welcome to submit their findings.
Download Lexicon Documentation:-
These are mp3s for download, (right click link and 'save as').
Recorded at 160kbps for better than standard mp3 quality. The Vortex is the only
FX unit used, and there's no overdubing or editing. The set up was guitar (with
on board distortion) DI-ed through a TLA valve EQ into a mixer, sending out to
the Vortex, and then straight to Hard Disk.
- Playlist of all examples.
- Allows you to stream all the examples here.
- A leslie simulation, Lexicon seemed particularly pleased by the way the
'rotation' slows down as you hit the footswitch.
- A stereo echo type patch which I configured so that using the footpedal I
could sustain a chord, turning it into a synth-like swirl.
aggressive rhythm 178Kb
- The same patch as above, but a very different effect. All the noise comes
from one chord struck once.
- The Vortex modulators can produce sounds barely related to the input, in
this case there is also a stereo echo of the clean signal. In the middle of
this example I morph to to a combination where these 2 distinct elements
texture and transform 708Kb
- Here I use the pedal as a swell so I can create a texture using the
onboard distortion from my guitar. Then I morph the texture into a loop of two
alternating timbres. The excuse for the little guitar 'solo' over the top off
this is that it shows you can have stereo processing (in this case quite
subtle) while the loop is going in the background. Luckily I decided to fade
out after it starts.
polyechoes, and more1393Kb
- More use of the footpedal as a swell. Using related echo times in a ratio
of 3:4 each note or chord becomes a rhythm. Complex interlocking patterns
giving the impression of a longer delay time than is actually being used. The
7/8 figure which appears at 0:40 is a morphic rearrangement of what was going
through the two echoes.
Panned Loops 479Kb
- Here I use the mixer to send sound first to the right input of the Vortex,
then the left (then both). This creates 2 loops of different length (ratio 2:3)
which are panned independently. One of the loops has a more processed sound.
- More Examples
- I have a website full of amazing music made with the Vortex. Plenty of
gig recordings, and some mindbending excerpts from my CD ('livelooping').
- LOOPERS DELIGHT
- This is where I discovered the Vortex.
- Harmony Central
- A vast muso resource with a section on effects pedals. Includes Vortex
- They no longer support the Vortex, but do email them with questions, they
will respond. Keep in mind that the Vortex designers are long gone from the
- Small electronic repairs firm. They fixed my JBL Eon speaker overnight ready
for a gig, so they deserve a link. Will fix "anything with wires" (which includes
valve amps). Abeltronics can fix the rotary encoder on your Vortex (or related
product), they have a small supply of exact replacement encoders (hard to source).
If you'd like to swap reciprocal links then email me with details, as
long as your site is relevant.
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For questions/suggestions/contributions please contact : andy butler