The Ensoniq DP/4 is a great sounding 24-bit digital effects processor combining four independent effects processors, and four independent inputs and outputs featuring full mixdown capabilities.
The recorder that when it arrived in 1992, literally changed the world overnight for studios and home musicians alike.
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In 1991, Alesis announced the arrival of what they had been working on for some time; an 8 track digital recorder for the masses. It would forever change the recording world when it was finally released in 1992 for both home musicians recording their demos as well as smaller studios wanting to get into digital recording.
Looking back from where we are today, it is hard to imagine the impact a hardware based 8 track digital recorder could have, but for those of us old enough to remember, it was huge. To give it some perspective, most home studios of the day had Tascam Portastudios (themselves game changers in their day) which were either 4 track analogue cassette (running at double speed) or if you were a well off musician, you might have been using the higher end Tascam 8 track Portastudios in either cassette format or the massive reel to reel version.
If you were a large recording studio back in the day, you would have by this time removed your old Studer A827 2″ analogue multi-track and replaced it with something like a Sony PCM3324 DASH recorder for a mere US$150,000 or a Sony PCM-3348HR DASH Recorder offering 48 tracks of high quality digital multi-track goodness for only US$250,000.
All of a sudden, along comes the Alesis ADAT, offering 8 tracks of digital recording for only US$3,995. The bonus being that you could synchronise multiple units together (up to 16 units) to form a 24 track digital recorder for less than US$12,000. It was a great time to be alive! At the time it did not matter that they sounded terrible compared to the high end Sony DASH recorders, but Alesis sold a boat load of these machines. I myself off loaded my trusty Tascam Portastudio and dived right in. Combined with that other game changing hardware release in the early 90s, a Mackie 1604 mixer, my new studio was in the digital age.
While I hated the sound coming off the ADAT and failed to do anything worthwhile at the time, the Alesis ADAT is responsible for recording some amazing albums, such as Lisa Loeb’s ‘Tails‘ album which was recorded on three Alesis ADATs synchronised together and went on to be a big success. Loeb was the first recording artist to score a number one hit that was recorded with an ADAT. (Billboard, August 20, 1994)
But the greatest success the Alesis ADAT recorded, would have to have been Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morrissette’s monster hit of 1995. Recorded in Glenn Ballard’s home studio in Los Angeles. Once again using three Alesis ADAT’s synchronised to form a 24 track recording system, Jagged Little Pill has since sold well over 33 million copies!
The Alsesis ADAT relied on the use of S-VHS Video Tapes to record in a helical scan format not unlike the Sony PCM-1630 and Sony DMR-4000 combo did. Where Alesis were clever was in the use of relatively inexpensive S-VHS tapes and of course ‘off the shelf’ mechanisms for the tape drive and recording system. This was the key to being able to deliver a cost effective system. So love it or hate it, you have to acknowledge the enormous impact the Alesis ADAT had, and what it brought to the recording world at that time. Bravo!
You’ve just purchased an incredible piece of recording equipment. Here are a few of the features that make the ADAT Digital Recorder perhaps one of the most important advances in recording technology since the invention of multitrack. These features are of equal significance to the professional commercial studio and the personal home or project studio: