Finally, we come to the Mixer category of FX Modules. These mixer modules aren't effects, but are actually digital mixers used to link the modules with each other in a variety of configurations. There are "mono" mixers that are multiple-input/mono-output mixers ranging from 2-in/1-out to 10-in/1-out. There are eleven stereo mixers ranging from 2-in/2-out to 16-in/2-out. And there are six "3-out" mixers ranging from 2-in/3-out to 7-in/3-out.

There are essentially four levels at which one could use the TSR-24S. The first, most basic level, is to simply use the existing programs as they are, never needing to adjust a single parameter with the exception, maybe, of the Master Effects mix level. The second level would be to modify the existing programs by adjusting parameters such as delay times, reverb decay times, etc.. This is very easy. Let's say an existing delay program would be more useful with a longer delay. Simply press the Delay FX Module button, scroll to the delay time parameter, make the adjustment, and store the modified program if you want to keep the new setting.

The third level of usage of the TSR-24S would be to edit any of the 32 factory algorithms. At this level, you can plan on spending a little more time with your nose in the manual, and a little more time pressing buttons. Fortunately, the manual provides block diagrams of each of the 32 factory algorithms. So, once you've studied the block diagram and have learned how to edit the algorithm from the front panel, minor changes to an algorithm can be fairly simple. However, more complex changes, particularly changes to a complex algorithm, can be a challenge to anyone not familiar with block diagrams and following signal paths on such diagrams.

This brings us to the fourth, and most difficult level of using the TSR-24S, and that is to create your own algorithms from scratch. Now don't get me wrong; "most difficult" is a relative description. If you're going to create a simple algorithm, you might not have any difficulty at all. On the other hand, if you plan to create a complex algorithm utilizing a half-dozen or so effect modules, you could be in for more than you can chew unless you're very experienced at creating algorithms in the TSR-24S. For example, after spending less than an hour with the manual and the TSR-24S, I was able to create my first algorithm. It was easy, and I made no mistakes. It worked like a charm and was exactly what I wanted. However, it was simply an equalizer patched into a mono-in/stereo-out pitch shifter. I wanted a program that would take my voice, cut the low end and boost the mids and highs, and pitch it down just slightly in the left channel, and slightly more in the right channel, enough to give the effect a stereo "spread." The result was an effect that jumped out of a mix from both speakers and added a little "balls" to the voice -- perfect for that "grab you by the collar" delivery.

What makes the process of linking a couple of modules like this together an easy process is the unit's "Auto Linking" feature. Each module has inputs and outputs that need to be assigned to their proper destination. You can manually do this, but the TSR-24S is smart enough to figure out what you're trying to do based upon the order in which you selected the modules that make up your algorithm. Using the Auto Link feature, manual linking may not be necessary. And, if the Auto Link incorrectly assigns any input or output, it's easier to go in and look at the graphic display of the "links" on the LCD display and manually change the wrong link, rather than manually do all the linking yourself. The LCD display on the TSR-24S is most helpful in this process because it actually provides some "graphics" capabilities that display the links in an easy to read fashion.

At its most difficult level, programming the TSR-24S can get hairy when you introduce the mixer modules into the algorithms. The mixer modules are not necessary in all algorithms, but they are in quite a few. For example, in the sample algorithm described above, there was no need for a mixer module. I wanted the dry input signal to go into the EQ, come out 100% wet from the EQ into the pitch shifter, and come out 100% wet from there to the stereo outputs of the box -- no mixer necessary. But let's say you wanted to create an algorithm that adds flange to your voice first, then passes the flanged signal into a one-second delay module. You want your input to be "hello," and your output to be "hello...hello" with both "hellos" flanged. If you simply sent your voice into the flanger then into the delay, the output would be heard one second later, and you'd only hear one flanged "hello." The output of the flanger needs to go AROUND the delay and MIXED with the output of the delay to get both "hellos" at the output. This requires a 2-input/1-output mixer. One input is the output of the flanger, and the other input is the delay output. Confused yet? If not, good for you. If so, then you can imagine how complex programming the TSR-24S can get. But, once you get the hang of things, the TSR-24S makes creating algorithms from scratch -- a complex undertaking anyway - about as easy as it can get.

This is the first effects box I've come across that enables me to create digital effect algorithms from scratch, suited to my needs in radio production, without getting completely lost in a jungle of technical jargon. It's the kind of equipment that lets you work with it right off the bat, but opens the doors, WHEN YOU'RE READY, to unlimited possibilities. Take this package and make it complete with super specs and a nice $799 price tag, and the TSR-24S looks like a complete effects box that won't become outdated right away. For many, the need to upgrade has been a result of having an effects box that only offers a limited number of algorithms, thus limiting the number of effects programs in the unit. With the TSR-24S, there no longer is a limit. Your imagination becomes the only limiter outside of your ability to use the machine. The TSR-24S is not the effects box for the "non-technical" type that's looking for effects without the fuss. Granted, there are plenty of factory programs in the TSR-24S, but you might do better to get a box at half this price with the same number of factory programs or more. The TSR-24S is definitely the box for the producer who is technically inclined and has the desire to create his or her own high quality effects programs.

Specs include an 18-bit, 128x oversampled A/D converter, and 18-bit PCM D/A converter. The Sampling Frequency is 48kHz, Frequency Response is 20Hz-20kHz, THD is less than 0.03%, and the S/N Ratio is >90dB. Ins and outs on this single rack space unit are 1/4-inch balanced TRS.