Sony Digital Audio
Dave Christenson and Jeremy Stappard
Nearly 50 members and guests of the Pacific Northwest Section were present on October 23, 2001 at Glenn Sound Studio in Seattle for a presentation of the Sony DMX-R100 Digital Audio Mixer, and DRE-S777 Sampling Digital Reverberator by Sony Pro Audio's Regional Audio Manager Dave Christenson and Western US Rep Jeremy Stappard. A DMX-R100 and DRE-S777 were provided by Anthony Tudisco from First Choice Marketing in Seattle for the demonstration. First Choice also donated a pair of Sony MDR 7506 Headphones, and a Voice File digital note recorder which were awarded as door prizes to two fortunate attendees.
Christenson spoke about the design criteria and marketing demands that led to the development of the DMX-R100, explaining that the design team sought to create a project studio board that was "just like a large format digital console, only smaller." According to Christenson, at every step of the design process, the notion of maintaining maximum audio signal quality was held as the highest priority. He listed a number of specific criteria as design targets for the DMX-R100 team including large channel In/Out capacity, high quality signal processing, ergonomic control surface, physically silent operation (no fans or hard drives), high reliability, integrated panning for both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, sophisticated recall and automation functions, professional sync capabilities, time alignment and latency control, and integrated machine control.
Christenson expanded on each of these areas, for instance with regard to analog in/out, the standard 24 Analog inputs are expandable to a maximum of 56, plus 4 analog Aux Returns, and 2 analog tape inputs. Analog outputs include stereo program outputs, eight aux sends, stereo studio monitor sends, and six channels of control room output, all balanced +4dBu 150 Ohm Impedance balanced outputs on 1/4" TRS jacks (program outs also appear on XLR-3-32 type connectors). On the digital side AES/EBU digital inputs for 4 Aux Returns, and stereo two track tape are standard, with an additional 24 digital in/out channels (AES/EBU on xlr3) available at the present time (a MADI interface bringing the digital input capability up to 96 channels is expected to be released by the end of 2001).
Stappard pointed out that the design of the DMX-R100 is centered around having a control surface with dedicated knobs and buttons for each function of the mixer, so that the user doesn't have to search for a control or page through multiple display screens for any given operation. Using pre-recorded sources, Stappard and Christenson demonstrated the use of the internal digital matrix which allows sophisticated routing of signals to be performed quickly and easily.
After a short break, the meeting continued with a discussion and demonstration of the DRE-S777 Sampling Digital Reverberator. Dave Christenson began the discussion by asking us to "put out of your head the idea of a regular reverberator, and think of the DRE-S777 as buying real estate in a box." The Sampling Reverberator is designed to recreate the natural reverberation present in existing concert halls, theatres, and sound stages. With the optional self-sampling function software, the user can capture any acoustic environment and subsequently apply the characteristics of that environment to sounds recorded in the studio. Christenson played music and drum samples through the DRE-S777 to demonstrate some of the acoustic environments available as options for the sampling reverberator, including Mechanics Hall, in Massachusetts, Ocean Way Studio B in Los Angeles, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the secret canyon in the Grand Canyon used by Paul Winter for his ethereal recordings. A short video was shown detailing the sampling of these spaces for the DRE-S777, including the guide's warning to the audio technicians to be observant for rattlesnakes and scorpions during the sessions in the Grand Canyon. Currently available reverb series for the DRE-S777 include "European Halls & Churches", "American Acoustic Spaces", and "Japanese Acoustic Spaces."
Thanks to Sony Digital Audio and First Choice Marketing for their assistance with this meeting and to Glenn Lorbiecki, Glenn Sound Studios, for his gracious hospitality in hosting this meeting.
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Reported by Dave Tosti-Lane, PNW Committee
Last modified November 4, 2001.