Omega Workshop was an artist enterprise which aimed to integrate art and craft. Their designs for interior decorative schemes such as painted murals and furniture production could be found across their shelves.
If the Omega 8’s price (PS3999 less shipping and duty) exceeds your budget, there is still the option of getting an eight-voice polysynth with either two, four, or six add-on filter boards installed.
Easy to use
Omega Home Studios are an excellent option for home recording studios, no matter your level of experience or starting point. Offering high-quality components and inputs with professional design that makes using it for any project simple. Not to mention being budget friendly while including everything needed to get going – including an optional USB MIDI interface to connect directly with your computer for extra versatility!
The Omega offers six analogue audio inputs and four digital inputs that can all be recorded with up to 24-bit resolution (depending on which software application you’re using), balanced or unbalanced signals at up to +22dBu levels and is equipped with a USB-to-MIDI converter that makes it compatible with virtually all types of MIDI hardware/software that may exist.
Lexicon has not produced their first interface using USB as the means for interfacing with a host computer, however this one stands out. Previous models employed a proprietary daughterboard connection between PCs and audio interfaces – now with this transitional USB connectivity, Omega can now be used on either Windows XP or Mac OS X systems for interfacing purposes and installation is typically straightforward for most users.
As with the Sontronics Helios valve mic we reviewed in SOS September 2005, the Omega comes equipped with a bulky power supply resembling a DI box. It includes small toggle switches to toggle 10dB pad and low cut filter settings as well as switching mains voltage between 115V and 230V; there’s also an eight-pin locking XLR cable connecting it to its PSU as well as an illuminated “Tube Ready” LED indicator light.
The Omega is a very flexible and affordable desktop system that should make an excellent platform for home recording projects. Equipped with enough inputs to meet most musicians’ demands, and software that turns song ideas into finished recordings. Furthermore, this recording system makes an excellent choice for vocal recordings; I tested its microphone with female voices without needing additional EQ; however some voices may require further adjustments due to slightly uneven response from its mic; making this microphone not ideal for all vocal styles.
Easy to learn
Omega Home Studio by Lexicon provides professionals with an ideal recording environment in which to record musical instruments or larger groups. Boasting superior acoustics, as well as a selection of top-quality analog and digital equipment, their friendly recording staff has recorded various musical genres for artists like Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Satriani, Forbidden Evil among many more.
Omega 8 editing and operation is straightforward and accessible, although on our review model voices would intermittently drop out unpredictably. Unfortunately, many important controls were quantised at relatively low resolution and therefore caused some bugs and limitations with this machine; on the positive side though, its MIDI ports can operate at both 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz, supporting 16- or 24-bit resolution depending on which audio application we were running on our review machine.
Omega 8 can be configured as anything from an eight-voice polysynth to multiple monosynths (up to the machine’s limit of eight voices). A dedicated button in Multi/MIDI allows you to scroll through six edit pages that enable you to set responses for modulation wheel, pitch-bend, breath dynamics and key tracking. Furthermore, two dual destination controllers may also be assigned as dual destination controls of mod-wheel, pressure and/or breath (controller 1) and dynamics or key tracking (controller 2).
An Omega 8’s dedicated MIDI port provides full control of its MIDI protocol, both hardware and software modes supported. You can transmit and receive patch and control data, along with System Exclusive messages – perfect for recording knob-tweaks as sequences of Continuous Controllers that synthesisers can benefit from.
The Lexicon Omega 8 differs significantly from earlier models by including both an OBX and PCM90 daughterboard for use with Pro Tracks Plus; instead, the Omega 8 features the Pantheon reverb chip built-in. Pantheon is both VST and DirectX plug-in compatible; Cakewalk’s Sonar 3 bundle also comes equipped with it (reviewed in February’s SOS). In addition, there’s also an OMXVBR plug-in free with Pro Tracks Plus included as part of its kit bundled.
Easy to upgrade
Omega is a fully integrated computer recording system, turning any home PC into a professional 24-bit studio. Featuring multiple analog and digital audio inputs, stereo S/PDIF output and Lexicon’s Pantheon reverb plug-in – all packaged together with Steinberg Cubase LE 5 software, this package is an ideal way for musicians looking to record, edit and mix music in the comfort of their own home studio.
The Omega is equipped with eight audio input streams: two phantom-powered XLR mic inputs, four line inputs (including one that doubles as instrument input), and a stereo S/PDIF digital input. Both mic and line inputs accept unbalanced signals up to +22dBu; the audio converters can convert analogue-to-digital at either 44.1kHz or 48kHz for optimal results; resolution up to 24-bit may also be achieved if necessary.
Connecting to your computer is simple with the Omega’s standard USB socket, no drivers needed as Core Audio support seamlessly integrates into Mac. For added convenience and cable management ease, there’s even an incorporated power box hanging off its crossbar as well as side openings on either end to allow long cables to pass easily.
It features stereo headphone output for home studio use and its compact size makes it easily transportable; its sturdy construction ensures long life; while its attractive design features sleek lines to complement its high-quality sound output.
The Omega is an ideal choice for beginners and experienced producers alike. Its straightforward setup and user-friendly controls enable quick production of professional sounding tracks, with additional advanced features easily addable at a later date. Plus, its low cost makes the Omega an attractive proposition.
Easy to maintain
If you are in search of an all-encompassing home recording studio, the Omega Desktop Recording Studio is an excellent option. It includes everything necessary to start creating professional-sounding recordings right away: an USB I/O mixer, Steinberg’s Cubase LE 5 audio and MIDI recording software and Lexicon’s world-class Pantheon VST reverb plug-in by Lexicon are included as standard.
The Omega is a compact, well-built unit designed for ease of operation and maintenance. The front panel contains eight control knobs with soft touch knobs that smoothly operate; additionally, this device boasts a rotary encoder to set oscillator frequency as well as stereo output jack and USB connection for connecting directly with computers.
While the Omega’s MIDI implementation may be lacking, it remains functional. Pressing its dedicated MIDI button cycles through six edit pages that allow you to set responses for modulation wheel, velocity, pressure (aftertouch), breath and two additional dual-destination controllers assigned as mod-wheel or dynamics/key tracking – but these override any dedicated parameters like breath and pressure/aftertouch that were set previously in those pages.
One notable drawback of the Omega is its monophonic arpeggiator, which only supports three modes – Up, Down and Random. Furthermore, its tempo range is limited to between one and four octaves, its MIDI sync function only activates when using its MIDI Out connector, and there are no octave jump or glide functions available.
One minor frustration of the Omega 8’s oscillators tuning system is Accu-tune, a digital system. According to its manual, Accu-tune offers “very accurate but not perfect” pitch control for analogue circuitry; however, many vintage analogue synths possess analog tuning mechanisms which are far more reliable and consistent across voices than this digital solution.
The Omega is an admirable effort, deserving recognition for going above and beyond what a typical home polysynth can achieve. Though great in its own right, classic American polysynths such as Prophet 5, Oberheim OBX, or Memorymoog come close in depth and sound.