Making the Akai DPS16 Less Noisy
When I first got my Akai DPS16 multitrack recorder I was happy with the basic
operation but unhappy with the amount of noise generated by the 20 GB internal
IDE hard drive (mostly, ticking sounds from head seeks while recording) and
also the whine of the internal 40mm fan. That same afternoon I got a cabinet
from Home Depot, removed the bottom of the DPS16, and fit it into the top
of the cabinet. I also replaced both the hard drive and the internal fan
with quieter models, and I placed them below the DPS inside the cabinet on
soft surfaces to avoid mechanical noise coupling. The acoustic improvement
is very considerable and now the unit is suitable for live recording of acoustic,
nylon-string guitar, which is one of the quieter instruments commonly recorded.
One more item, on high gain the internal DPS mic preamps are noisy so I'm
using an external mixer for my preamps and only put line-level into the DPS.
All the goodies: my fan is a 80mm "Silencer" unit rated at 20 dB(A) from
PC Power and Cooling
. You can get an equivalent "Ultra-Quiet" fan from
. The new disk drive is the Seagate
Barracuda 40 GB model ST340016A (single platter 7200 rpm, 20 dB). It is
listed as Ultra ATA/100 but anyway it works as a direct replacement for the
supplied ATA drive in the DPS16. It formatted OK (takes almost 2 hours) and
works with no trouble. My microphones are the
M179 and Sound Room
Oktava MC012 mics, and a Samson
Mixpad 4 as a preamp. Certainly better gear exists but this is fine for
my needs now.
Top view of DPS16 on cabinet: I used blue masking tape to seal off some of
the edges so more of the cooling fan air passes near internal power supply
(back rear of unit) on its way out of the cabinet. Rear view of cabinet:
a U-shaped cut in the back allows access to rear connectors while the main
console sits flush with the cabinet top. The red plastic trim pieces on the
side have been removed so the top sits flush, and the resulting gaps taped
off. I didn't say it was pretty. This cabinet is too tall for convenient
use while sitting, although about right for operating standing up. I will
probably eventually build a shorter cabinet, and put wheels on it also.
Q: Any ideas on how I could
reduce the noise without having to take apart the unit? I'd be willing to have
a carpenter custom build a cabinet.
A: The two noisy things are the fan and the hard drive. The fan is really tiny and there are probably no very
quiet fans which are that small and also move enough air to keep the HDD and power supply cool. You can
get quieter hard drives than the standard model, but they are not completely silent. You could remove the
internal hard drive and just use an external
SCSI hard drive which you put somewhere in a cabinet. You could build a cabinet around the entire DPS16
unit but that makes it difficult to access the controls.
Q: How can I get more information about the DPS16 ?
There is an active mailing list for users of the Akai DPS12 and DPS16
The Akai professional audio products website is www.akaipro.com.
to home page.