by Jerry Vigil

Several years ago, Sony came out with a series of top-of-the-line effects processors, the DPS-R7 reverb unit, DPS-M7 modulation unit, DPS-D7 delay box, and the DPS-F7 filter effects unit. (We gave the R7 and M7 a Test Drive back in '92.) Last year, Sony released the DPS-V77 which combines these four effects boxes into one superb digital multi-effects unit.

Installation was a snap with both balanced XLR and unbalanced 1/4-inch jacks to choose from for the analog I/O. And there's digital I/O on this baby, too, both AES/EBU and S/PDIF using an 8-pin mini-DIN connector--the cable is available as an option. Input and Output Level switches next to the connectors switch between -20dB or +4dB input and output levels. Foot pedals connect to two Pedal jacks for remote control of user selectable parameters. MIDI THRU and OUT connectors enable using external MIDI devices for remote parameter control, program selection and MIDI dumps. The AC Power connector wraps up the rear panel.

The V77 is an attractive single rack-space unit with black face and a silver frame around the two displays, the smaller red LED program number display, and the larger backlit LCD display. For a box that packs a ton of effects power, the front panel is surprisingly simple and getting the unit up and running without the manual was a breeze, even when it came to editing effects. The Power On/Off button is at the far left. As I recall, either the M7 or R7, when turned on, greets you with a friendly greeting and a smiley face. The V77 offers an ostrich walking from left to right across the high-resolution graphics display...odd. Perhaps Sony made the ostrich a mascot and the news just slipped by me.

Next to the power switch are concentric controls for Channel 1 and Channel 2 input levels. A single knob controls the master output for both channels, and an internal digital mixer enables precise control of output levels. Just to the right are two 7-segment level/clip indicators and four small LEDs to indicate which program bank is active. There are four banks, two Preset banks and two User banks, each with 99 memory locations for a total of 198 factory presets and 198 user locations. Pressing the Bank/Compare button under the program number display toggles between the four banks (and compares edited programs with the original). The Bypass/Mute button will either bypass the effects and send the dry signal through the unit or completely mute the outputs, depending upon how it is configured in the system setup.

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