By Jerry Vigil
Multitrack DAW software has come a long way over the past few years, thanks chiefly to parallel advances on the hardware side of things, and most of this software has been designed for use with basic sound cards, even inexpensive ones, leaving funds for more important things such as large disk drives and multi-megs of RAM. However, sound cards have also benefited from technological advances, and now we’re seeing cards that offer much more than basic stereo I/O. You may recall the fanfare about Digital Audio Lab’s elaborate V8 card a couple of years ago. Most recently, the super-card spotlight has been placed on Yamaha’s new DS2416, the heart of Yamaha’s DSP Factory. The DS2416 lists for $1,000 and packs the power of their 02R digital console along with the effects power of two of their REV500 processors. Minnetonka Software developed MxTrax for the V8, and the latest version of MxTrax was written to take full advantage of the DS2416. Together they bring digital multitrack production on the PC to a new level, providing a self-configurable automated mixer with a 16-track recorder in a PC Windows-based system that comes about as close as you can get on a computer to the feel of working with a physical mixing console.
The Yamaha DS2416 is loaded. This PCI card provides a 24-channel digital mixer with a stereo output, eight bus outs, and six aux sends, two of which feed the onboard effects processor. Five onboard DSPs take a huge load off your computer’s CPU and deliver 32-bit processing. There’s 4-band EQ and dynamics processors on all 24 input channels as well as the stereo output! Get up to eight tracks of simultaneous recording and sixteen tracks of simultaneous playback—that’s real-time mixing of 16 hard disk tracks! I/O on the card itself includes RCA analog L/R ins and outs and digital I/O (selectable consumer/pro output). Access to the additional I/O is provided by optional AX44 breakout boxes, which occupy a drive bay on the PC and bring the connectors to the front of the PC. One AX44 provides 4 analog ins and 4 analog outs, and up to two AX44s can be connected to a single card. Double your fun by cascading two DS2416s for a 48-channel mixer and a 32-track recorder!