Ensoniq were a keyboard manufacturer back in the 1980s, but their legacy seems destined to be their first multi-effect processor, the Ensoniq DP/4.
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Using their experience from keyboards and samplers, Ensoniq developed their first effects processor in 1992 towards the end of their keyboard era, and what a processor!
As a musician you are required to perform in many different situations, and to be flexible enough to adapt to any musical setting. We believe you should expect no less from your gear, presenting the Ensoniq DP/4.
That’s the idea behind the new Ensoniq DP/4 Parallel Effects Processor – flexibility to perform in any situation, extensive programming capabilities and the highest quality sound possible.
To give you this power, we took a unique approach. Based on the concept of parallel processing from the computer world, the DP/4 has 4 discrete processors (called unit(s) A, B, C & D), each capable of producing 24-bit dynamic stereo effects. Each unit is a complete effects device unto itself. – it takes only one of these processors to provide a host of multi-effects.
But with 4 units the DP/4 has the power to produce the highest quality multi-effects without ever sacrificing sound fidelity. This approach also means that each effect you choose has a complete set of programmable parameters, for total control of your sound. The DP/4 has 4 inputs and 4 outputs allowing you to process up to 4 different signals at the same time.
It also has a digital patch bay giving you the flexibility to route signals from mono or stereo sources, in series or parallel configurations. A built in sub mixer controls signal output, maintaining multiple stereo images with 4 outputs, or even mixing 4 sources down to 2 outputs. This gives you the flexibility to process 1, 2, 3 or 4 separate sources at the same time, with over 30 possible signal flow choices.
Each processor in the DP/4 is capable of producing up to 43 different true stereo effects, as well as 3 additional multi-unit algorithms. These 46 algorithms cover a variety of applications, from world-class reverbs, delays and colouration effects to compression, expansion, ducking and pitch-shifting. The DP/4 has 400 presets already programmed for you, so right out of the box you’re sure to find the type of processing you need.
And one unit in the DP/4 would be a welcome addition to your music making. With the freedom and power that four offer, you’ll be able to bring a quality to your mixing and sound that you only dreamed of. And the ease of having them all under the control of the one interface saves time that is better spent making your music.
The DP/4 Parallel Effects Processor, an idea that could only come from the musical engineers at Ensoniq.
Sampling Frequency: 48kHz
Frequency Response: 2Hz-18kHz
Signal to Noise: -87dB
Dynamic Range: 96dB
THD: Below 0.005%
Dimensions: 482mm x 89mm x 396mm
It does everything…four times over. I almost always use all four processors for a single source and get excellent results. A luxury I know since I have three available for use. Typically Vocals and Guitar are the two instruments that can gain from multiple effects. Vocals use a compressor, gating, eq, and reverb, leaving me some other effect to use intermittently such as chorus, echo, distortion, or flanging. Same for guitars. I’ll often use a amp simulator (3 types) and maybe a speaker simulator, leaving me with two other processors for multi-effects such as chorus-delay, or flanger-delay, or dual pitch shifting. You see, there are a lot of possibilities.
I’ve also used it live as 4 compressors – one for each vocal mic, but I found it better to just use two 1U dual compressors for the instant knobs twist and gain reduction LEDs. I have also used it as a dedicated voice processor for live use, and using all four processors in series can even make me sound good!
If you have the mixer, you can use to aux sends for two dual-processor effects, or if you have 4 sends, up to 4 individual effects. Once you understand the routing switching and the switching method of the jacks it’s easy to use 1, 2, or 4 effect in/outs. 3 effect in/out (as in two single and one dual effect) is not really supported, but easy enough to set up with a short patch cable. You just can’t switch it around from the front panel. That’s not so bad though since seldom will you need to change the number of ins and outs on the fly.
Drawback: Great MIDI implementation but sadly the volume control for delay line effects is on the output, not the input, so you will have a harder time queing the exact phrase that should be echoed. You will need a second processor before the delay effect to do that – not a problem if you wanted a second effect in series but it is a limitation.
The rooms and plates sound fine. So does the hall for some things but somehow the hall doesn’t seem so useful to me – I guess it has a bit of a quirky sound. So if you want a really freakin’ good reverb, I’d use the room & plate in parallel or series, or use some of the non-linear (i.e. reverse) reverbs. to me they sound better. The 8-voice chorus is to me a bit much – to smeary or something. I prefer the simpler eq-chorus-ddl effect since it has a cleaner chorus and includes more eq and delay effects that can be used or not.
The system has a lot of programability and that makes this very flexible. As one example, if you have one or up to four inputs, the output of the effect can still remain in stereo. It is mixed internally and output thru jacks 1 & 2, so only two returns are needed. If going mono, just use output 1 and all processors are summed to mono. This is all done with jack switching internally so there is no menu-configuration needed.
Look, I could go on and on with this unit. It has some drawbacks, but it is pretty awesome too. The fact that I have three of these, and continue to use them even now 25 or so years later, should be enough of an endorsement from me.
Best thing retro design….!
Fun to use.