September 29, 2004
Essentially a mini API console in a convenient, 19-inch studio rack with roll-around casters, the new DSM (Discrete Summing Mixer) workstation monitor rack is specifically designed to compliment any digital audio workstation by providing professional analog summing, mixing, control room switching/monitoring, patchbay facilities, and studio I/O connections. The DSM answers the requests of many DAW users who have always loved the sound of API consoles, but found it not always possible to mix their projects on large API boards.
API engineer, Jeff Bork, says: "The DSM is for someone who is looking to get rid of the computer processing load it takes to do digital summing and its negative effect on the operation of their DAW software, while getting the great sound of API summing amps at the same time." The DSM is loaded with all API equipment, with 2520 discrete op amp modules used throughout.
The genesis of the DSM line started two years ago with the introduction of the API 7600 discrete four-buss channel strip that combined an API 212L microphone pre-amp, 550A equalizer, and 225L compressor. The 7600 recording channel has four buss output paths, complete LED metering, four aux send outputs, solo, mute and polarity switches.
With the 7600, 'an API console strip' in a 1U rack space, the 7800 discrete four-buss console master was developed to enable linking any number of 7600s together for multi-track recording, control and routing. Bork comments: "The 7800 Master is very heavy with a lot of transformers and twelve 2520s to handle four sends, four busses, and stereo pre/post fader paths." The 7800 will control, sum and interface the 7600 or the new 8200 units in any combination or number.
All the pieces of the DSM fell together with the introduction of the single-rack space 8200/8200A discrete eight-channel summing mixer. The 8200 makes it possible to mix eight mono (or four stereo) stems from a DAW down to stereo. Like the single recording channel 7600, the 8200 also has level and pan controls, as well as both mute and solo buttons - a complete 8X2 line level mixer in 1U.
The three new API DSM products are the DSM 24, DSM 48, and DSM 72. Each is ready to go work with DAWs that have 24, 48 and 72 output channels respectively. All three versions consist of the core elements outlined below.
At the top of the DSM rack is a two-rack space meter bridge panel for monitoring the stereo buss level and individual LED trees for the four recording busses and four auxiliary sends. Complete with a built-in talkback mic, it uses the same meters as the API Legacy and Vision consoles.
Below the meter is the popular API 2500 discrete two-channel stereo buss compressor with ATI's patented Thrust circuitry. Notable features include selectable compression ratio; variable attack and release times; variable link between left and right channels; choice of either old "feed back" or new "feed forward" compression; soft, medium or hard knee compression; and auto or manual gain make up.
Below the 2500 is the aforementioned 7800 discrete four-buss console master with stereo control room/studio speakers switching and volume controls, stereo master fader, talkback/slate facilities, buss sub-masters, aux send masters, and solo controls.
Depending on the number of DAW output channels required for monitoring, next comes any number of 8200 modules each with eight inputs, level and pan controls, mute, AFL solo, aux send 1 and 2 level controls and an insert in/out button. A DSM 72 would have nine 8200 modules. The outputs of all 8200s are routed and summed within the 7800.
The bottom of the DSM rack has a full TT patchbay for full access to all DAW outputs and every insert point of each channel of each 8200. Below the patchbay is the 8000-BIB buss interface panel for accessing any of the four busses and four aux send busses in the 7800.
The DSM rack finishes with a complete set of I/O connections on the rear. There are D-connectors (Tascam D88 standard) for DAW outputs and for the aux sends and busses 1-4. There are also XLR connectors for three two-track tape machines and large/small monitor speaker amps.
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