Yamaha DSP Factory

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been archived. It first appeared on ProRec.com in September 2000, contributed by then Product Review Editor Jim Roseberry. We will not be making any updates to the article. Please visit the home page for our latest content. Thank you!

One of the most exciting products to make headlines recently is the Yamaha DSP Factory DS2416.

The Yamaha DS2416 offers the mixing power of the Yamaha 02R digital mixer, complete with 24 channels of digital mixing, on-board digital effects and dynamics processors — along with everything else professionals need – plus 16 tracks of hard disk recording with up to 32 bit resolution.

Unlike most other audio cards, the DS2416 relies on its own processing power and not the computer’s CPU. This arrangement makes much better use of your existing hardware.

DSP Factory equipped with 2 expansion bays

The feature list is impressive:
– 24 channel, 32-bit digital mixer
– 10 bus outputs and 6 aux sends
– 104 bands of 4-band parametric EQ
– 26 dynamics processors
– 2 effect processors equal in quality to Yamaha’s REV500
– Channel delay on 20 channels
– Comprehensive metering
– Digital cross-patching for channel inputs and outputs
– 2 channel 20-bit AD/DA converter
– Stereo DIGITAL(Coaxial) input and output
– ALL the above features are available all the time.

The DS2416 has five Yamaha proprietary DSP chips right on the card, which are dedicated to performing all the above mixing functions simultaneously, making it far more powerful than other systems. What’s more, all the major audio software companies seem to be jumping on board the DSP Factory, so it won’t feel like a proprietary system. This is a VERY BIG plus in my opinion! See the list of vendors who have already committed to supporting the DSP Factory:

– Cakewalk
– Canam Computers
– C-mexx
– Emagic
– IQS (Innovative Quality Software)
– Musicator
– Sonic Foundry
– Steinberg

SEK’D and Cakewalk have already announced new controller interfaces for the DSP Factory. Cakewalk’s interface is an integral part of the new Cakewalk Pro Audio 7.0 software package:

Cakewalk Pro Audio 7.0

SEK’Ds solution is called the Samplitude Studio / C-Console, and provides an intelligent controller interface for all features of the DSP Factory.

Samplitude Studio / C-Console

Installed in the 1 PCI card slot of a standard personal computer the card uses only 1 IRQ and no DMA or port address lines (the card uses intelligent memory mapped I/O). Using only 1 slot, 1 IRQ and no DMA makes the DSP Factory one of the most “polite” cards available.

The AX44 expansion unit (pictured below) adds 4 additional inputs and outputs to the DS2416. This unit installs directly into the 5-1/4″ drive bay of your computer. Due to negative feedback from customers a seperate breakout box is planned.

AX44 Expansion unit

Yamaha is also planning digital interface solutions which will allow connection of multi-channel digital equipment such as outboard digital multi-track recorders and signal processors. The first planned is the optional AX16-AT Audio Expansion Card which will provide 16 digital inputs and outputs in ADAT format. This will enable easy transfer of digital multi-track audio to and from the DSP Factory recorder.

Targeted shipment of the DS2416 card and AX44 is Summer 1998. The estimated price of the DS2416 is under $1000, the AX44 is estimated at about $300.

If any company has the resources to make this happen, it would be Yamaha (by the way, Yamaha and Korg are held by the same company). They were the first with affordable digital synthesis, affordable digital mixers, and they have tremendous R&D and capital compared to smaller companies.

I’m not saying that Yamaha makes the absolute BEST gear; but for a company that makes darn near EVERYTHING musical, they haven’t made too much “junk.” If this card lives up to the hype and actually sees the light of day, what a *Glorious* day for the Project Studio! Dare I say, the “Studio in a Box” might then REALLY exist.

But… I’ve gotta agree with Lionel, those inputs on the drive bays have to go! Give me a breakout box! Those of us who want I/O expansion options would be willing to pay slightly more for a breakout box. (ed. – agreed)