Vintage Digital


Classic Recording Studio Equipment

Sony entered the world of digital studio effects with a bang, a big bang. The Sony DRE-2000 was launched in 1981, and was a very expensive product for it’s time, and still are if you can find a working unit. The Sony DRE-2000 has been loved by Chris Lord Alge for many years and he has created some amazing mixes using the Sony DRE-2000 for reverb duties. It was some years before Sony introduced a new product, but they never made another digital reverb at that price point again.

In 1986 Sony released the Sony MU-R201, a far more affordable reverb, and a true stereo in and out reverb for the first time. The Mu-R201 was hugely successful in Japan, but no so much elsewhere. It was time to rethink things…Sony invested time and money to develop their next major effort in digital studio effects, the DPS series released in 1991. The DPS series consisted of four effects processors, each specialising in something different, the Sony DPS-R7 for Reverb, Sony DPS-D7 for Delay, Sony DPS-M7 for Modulation and the Sony DPS-F7 for Filtering effects.

The DPS series were very successful, primarily the DPS-R7 and DPRS-D7 and primarily in the broadcast world, but that is not to say they did not sell well to studios too, they did. As digital technology became more affordable and easier to make, Sony released their ultimate studio effects processor in 1995, the Sony DPS-V77. The DPS-V77 was essentially a ‘best of Sony’ effects processor. It is often called a poor mans Eventide, but this a is unfair. The DPS-V77 is a great processor with not only superior electronics to it’s earlier stable mates, but the effects patches too were great.

A few years later and Sony offered the world the Sony DPS-V55, a four channel version of the DPS series, but form all accounts it does not sound as good as the DPS-V77. As a final goodbye to studio audio, Sony unleashed their finest reverb to date, the Sony DRE-S777. This was an all out assault on the professional reverb market, and it used the very latest sampling technology (convolution) to reproduce real world spaces. The results were truly excellent, but it was expensive and came perhaps just a touch to late to market.

The genuine advantage of the Sony PCM-1610 digital audio processor is its enormous potential to deliver drastically improved sound. Whereas analog recorders are saddled with performance limitations of one form or another, unlimited quality improvement is possible using digital technology.
The Sony DRE 2000 was Sony’s first digital reverb and they headed straight for the heart of Lexicon with a complex and very advanced system, that also proved fragile. These reverbs are hard to find on the used market, partly because those who have them hang onto them, and partly because many of them have died, proving to be too expensive and difficult to fix.
The Sony PCM-1630 was used for mastering audio CDs in the early 1980s by most of the major record labels around the world, it was an essential part of early digital audio disc production.
The Sony MU-E311 was part of Sony’s complete range of professional audio products, matching the aesthetic, sound quality and build quality of the Sony MU-R201 stereo digital reverb.
The Sony MU-R201 was released following the comparatively high-priced Sony DRE-2000 and marked Sony’s initial foray into stereo processing for their reverbs. Although it gained limited traction in the western market, it achieved popularity in Japan. Despite this, Roger Nichols was an ardent proponent of the MU-R201 and employed it extensively in his mixing, including some of the Steely Dan mixes.
The Sony DTC-1000ES Digital Audio Tape Deck was the world’s first DAT machine, and although it was a consumer machine, it proved to be very successful in the professional world too, perhaps even more so as DAT never really made it in the consumer world.
The Sony PCM2500 DAT Recorder took over from the Sony PCM-1630 Series Recorders, and kept the DAT format alive for years to come in the studio, (with many successful albums having been mastered to it) but DAT as a format, failed to succeed in the domestic market.
The Sony MU-L021 is a professional stereo compressor limiter designed for use in studios. It features a built-in noise gate, transformerless balanced circuits, and variable control of key parameters. It is rack mountable and ideal for professional applications.
The Sony MU-E041 is a professional-grade parametric equalizer featuring four-band EQ with independent control, boost/cut level switch, and transformerless balanced input/output circuits.
Released in 1990, the Sony MU-D100 recorder features a design aesthetic that matches the Sony MU-R201, while offering advanced editing capabilities and a highly durable mechanism for professional use.
The Sony DPS-R7 was the first in a new digital effects line up from Sony, it’s success spawned a number of other effects using the same architecture as the DPS-R7. The Sony DPS-R7 is an excellent digital reverb that still stands up today, with it’s full bandwidth and excellent reverb algorithms, it is hampered only by it’s truly awful interface if you wish to program it.
On the back of the success of the Sony DPS-R7, Sony developed and released the next processor in the line-up, the DPS-D7 Digital Delay with audible improvements. Sony didn’t just add int he new algorithms and release it, they also chose to make the DPS-D7 use a higher sampling rate of 48kHz to improve the bandwidth even further than the DPS-R7.
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