Akai DPS12 Digital Personal Studio (part 6)
Central to the operation of the DPS12 is the Control Panel, so important that there are four soft keys on the main screen that take you straight to it! Here you can call up a variety of functions which are as follows:
Auto Punch: In and out points are set for the punch-in, which may be rehearsed without committing to disk. A repeat function continuously cycles between the In and Out points. There is no pre-roll facility so you have to locate manually to before the In point so that there is a 'run up’ to the punch-in.
Vari Pitch: used to vary the speed of recording or playback over a range of 68% to 113% of normal speed. This is a wider range than usually found on multitrack recorders but it would have been nice if the lower end of the range was extended to 50% to allow for double speed effects with a pitch shift of an octave.
Time Display: The time can be displayed in terms of hours:minutes:seconds:frames.subframes or as bars and beats if preferred. Time positions can relate to an absolute zero point, or relative to a zero point which is user-set. The frame rate, which is particularly relevant when synchronising with other equipment, can be set to any of the five popular rates.
Time Offset: Used to set the offset amount of relative time.
To/From Time: The To and From keys are used to play up to or from the current 'now’ position. This screen allows the number of seconds of to or from time to be adjusted between 1 and 10 seconds.
Play Monitor: For tracks in record ready the monitor source in playback can be switched between the output of the track (normal) and the input signal to the track for rehearsal without recording.
Sync: Akai’s hard disk products traditionally offer excellent sync facilities and the DPS12 is no exception. SMPTE/EBU timecode is not catered for but MTC certainly is (SMPTE to MTC convertors are widely available). The DPS12 can work as either a master or a slave. You wouldn’t expect synchronisation as an MTC slave to be absolutely perfect but I found, syncing to a Fostex RD-8 with a direct MTC output, that it was usable and I believe that it would be possible to shuttle tracks back and forth between a DPS12 at home and a commercial studio providing you could accept an accuracy of a couple of tens of milliseconds either way.