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Yamaha DMP7

Created by nick. Last edited by nick, 11 years and 295 days ago. Viewed 19,548 times. #5
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This is an article culled from archive material, circa 1997.


dmp7

The DMP7 "Digital Mixing Processor" (1987 vintage) is a totally digital MIDI-controllable 8-channel 2-bus mixer with three sweepable bands of EQ per channel, three internal effects processors, and motorised faders. The channel levels, effects send/return levels and master level are all set up using the faders, which jump to the right place when the appropriate mode is selected. The other functions are programmed using a conventional 16x2 LCD interface and data entry slider (which is, of course, motorised). Each send can be switched between pre and postfade per channel. Each channel has its own phase switch. There is a compressor across the stereo output.

The desk can be totally automated: MIDI controllers and note values access all the parameters, and it takes program changes to select scenes (with a variable crossfade of up to 10 seconds). Moving the faders remotely from a MIDI fader box is a rather creepy experience.

The ergonomics of this desk are (in my opinion anyway) pretty superb, certainly for the major controls. It's the right size and shape, the controls are in the right place, and it's a breeze to use. I spent 15 minutes with it, without a manual, and had it about 90% sussed without hassles. When it comes to EQ settings (which could arguably be called "major controls", depending on one's taste), one is back to menus and data entry sliders, which is a bit of a shame.

There are some other drawbacks to the desk. The effects processors are fairly basic. While the flanger, plate and gate reverbs are quite useable, the hall reverbs are a little grey and the phaser is a bit ineffectual. All effects are mono send. The unit only allows one external effect (mono send, stereo return) and this is realised by having the third internal effects processor dedicated as an additional single-band sweep EQ on the stereo return. (A Lexicon LXP-1 on the external send works well.) I wish there were a master bus insert for the BBE 362NR so I could deliver balanced signals from the mixer for stage use. For that matter, a separate volume control for the headphone jack would be nice. Some of the MIDI control is sluggish, but robust. Signal/noise is acceptable; my unit picks up rumble from an E-mu Morpheus, UltraProteus unit for some reason. The manual claims a dynamic range of 88dB and hum and noise at -70dB for faders at nominal which isn't stellar; but then, the automation allows channels to be muted if not in use.

The fader mechanism is rather cute. Each fader has a conventional miniature electric motor with a drive band to a larger nylon pulley, and the spindle of this drives a wire which is carried along the length of the fader, around another pulley at the top, and back through the fader knob itself via a couple of tiny tensioning springs. It's very neat and relatively simple for what it does. When my (second-hand) unit arrived a couple of the faders were very sluggish and prone to sticking; once I'd replaced the drive bands they were fine. The data entry slider is a completely different technology, and seems to use a plastic worm gear with some kind of clutch.

Despite age and some limitations, I am very impressed with the DMP7. It works well and is easy to use. I would have liked more effects sends, but it's possible to get by with three effects on an eight-channel desk. I am also very happy with just eight channels; a sixteen channel version (such as the ProMix 01) would be far too distracting for the kind of composition and live work I'm interested in.

As a major thumbs-up for Yamaha: spares and support for the DMP7 are still available, eleven years after the product's release.

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