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Symetrix Voice Processor 2x Review

symetrix vp2x review

TL;DR:

Symetrix Voice Processor 2X Review. This broadcast unit provides much needed real time tools for engineers in television and radio streaming. With AirTools the VP2X is an excellent and affordable unit.


Review Preface:

With thirty-eight years under their belt, Symetrix, the US-based manufacturer of professional broadcast audio solutions, has become known for producing astounding technology that is innovative, ‘affordable’, tangible, and easily accessible. In fact, this remarkable brand was one of the first to present a dedicated vocal channel strip processor to the market back in the late ‘80s, and subsequently this innovation has gone on to impress the broadcast, live, and studio music industries, by becoming an immediate accessory. Sticking to what they know well, Symetrix has gone back to the drawing board in an attempt to present our digital generation with a brand new voice processor. This unit had to redefine the power and versatility that engineers can have at their fingertips; this is the Symetrix Voice Processor 2X.


Unboxing:

Arriving all the way from America, the Voice Processor 2X is contained within standard double cell wall brown packaging. The unit itself is contained within a plastic wrap and suspended by securing it to a base plate using a soft plastic type sleeve. Inside, Symetrix includes a region specific kettle lead, driver CD (only Windows compatible), and standard set-up instructions.


We were surprised to not have seen additional polystyrene type edge suspension platforms around the unit, as this inclusion would better protect the product in transit. However, the Voice Processor 2X survived a very long journey from America to England without any noticeable damage.


Build Quality:

As soon you open the package you will immediately notice that the Voice Processor 2X is a beautiful thing. The faceplate is silver with a blue stripe for the Symetrix logo, whilst the rest of the unit is black. It is a one-unit rack mountable device that has mandatory rack-ears hard fixed. For ease of access, the faceplate slightly protrudes from the recess of the rack-mount and makes viewing the easy to read illuminated blue matrix text screen easy with variable contrast.


symetrix vp2xAs the unit has a greater depth than most other rack units this is great for the engineer who, on occasion, will need to scrabble around the back of the rack unit to change or manage the input/output connections. Upon inspection of the input/outputs of the Voice Processor they all were securely seated and all of a very high quality. In fact Symetrix have added two security stickers on the rear of the unit to inhibit the misplacement of control devices, although this is a big Achilles heel. If a user accidentally plugs in an ARC lead (used for power distribution and data) into an external Ethernet or Dante port then the unit could damage the circuitry and cause a big problem. As power anywhere between 6v-24v is circulated via this connection this is a reason why the user should observe the instructions well and never accidentally plug sockets in the wrong place. For novice users, we can see some serious damage, so this is a unit for the pro’s and/or the well informed.


On the whole we are impressed with the solid build quality of the Voice Processor 2X in every possible way. It is built exceptionally well, and we could not notice any significant flaws in the design of the unit, nor in the aesthetics.


Features and Unit Setup:

Notably the Voice Processor 2X is an action packed unit. Sporting two microphone or line level inputs, two microphone or line level outputs, two (digital) AES outputs, and word clocking capabilities, this is a highly flexible product.


Right out of the box you are able to have access to a plethora of channel strip presets. They are aptly named and appear to be extremely useful tools without much need to alter individual settings. Symetrix have gone to great lengths to create a series of usable presets that are desirable, sensible, and great at providing a quick start location for when time is tight. Additionally the Voice Processor 2X has the option for an engineer to save up to fifty custom presets to cater for a whole cast and, as the unit can cater for two independent inputs, you can assign two independent settings to them. Each of these individual presets can be cycled and loaded in a short period of time either by tactile navigation on the faceplate or remotely via external network connection utilising Symetrix’ AirTools interface. Unfortunately the controlling software is currently limited to Windows computers although once set up the user can customise the operating environment and then control the unit via a connected browser. However, a great plus is that the AirTools software requires minimal PC specifications. Although it would obviously run a lot faster on a higher end PC, users are able to access the power of the software on a low budget and can even dedicate certain PCs to specific areas.


Having discussed the preset abilities, we now turn our attention to the tools that this encompasses. In order to sync various voices, the user can input an external word clock, and/or can directly connect to 6100 Broadcast Audio Delay from the output AirTools ‘remote’ port. This delay is configurable in 100ms steps and extends right up to a whopping 40s, but on its own the Voice Processor 2X DSP unit encompasses an array of killer tools, these include: compression, EQ, de-essing, downward expansion, a high pass filter, low pass filter, and waveform symmetry. In use they perform well and offer a complete solution for broadcast purposes, and the waveform symmetry tool was incredible.


Review Conclusion:

The Symetrix Voice Processor 2X is a brilliant unit that offers versatility and polish to any broadcast voice performance. The build quality is exceptional, and we are sure that it would last a considerable amount of time in even the most demanding environments. We would like to see the AirTools software brought to the OS X platform and the inclusion of a plastic stopper to inhibit the accidental use of the ARC port, that could become a killer. Overall we enjoyed our time with the Voice Processor 2X, and award it with a highly recommended status.


Edd Harris

Edd Harris - 6th January 2014

Global RRP: €1599.00

Editors Rating:

Four Star Award
Symetrix Voice Processor 2x Review
4/5 stars
Symetrix Voice Processor 2X Review. This broadcast unit provides much needed real time tools for engineers in television and radio streaming. With AirTools the VP2X is an excellent and affordable unit.