Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devices

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Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devices

Post by SerialSinger » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:33 am

Hello all! Months ago I discovered that the Sony DPS-M7 and DPS-F7 rack units share exactly the same hardware (except for the front panel, of course) with just a different firmware on EPROM.

I own an M7 (which I love) and some days ago I finally met a professional owning an F7 unit, who kindly offered me to dump its EPROM... and now I completed my project: a switchable M7+F7 unit!

As some of you probably know already, the F7 is not only an effects processor: it includes a vocoder, a virtual analog drum machine and (oooh yesss!) a virtual analog synthesizer engine, the only one ever made by Sony!

I replaced the original EPROM of the M7 with a bigger one containing the binaries of both operating systems, and with a simple switch installed on the back of the unit I just choose which half of the EPROM contents should be boot by the hardware.

I'm going to prepare a detailed description of the job, which is not that hard, and post it in the near future. Meanwhile I wish to extend this thread to other devices having the same "double nature": do you know any?

For example, i think that the old Alesis MidiVerb and MidiFex desktop units are just the same hardware with a different firmware.
I barely recall that some Roland units (SRV-something?) are...
What about Kurzweil Rumour and Mangler? Slurp!

Remaining on Sony, by looking at their service manuals I think that the half-rack HR-MP5 and HR-GP5 devices may be swapped like I did for the DPS-M7/F7, but they have a different input stage (which should be not a big deal to leave as it is).
I obviously wondered about the other two DPS-_7 models, i.e. the DPS-R7 reverb and the DPS-D7 delay: I'm still trying to find what's different between these ones, but I can already tell you that it's not possible to just swap the EPROMs because I tried it with the help of the guy who gave me the F7 firmware; but I didn't give up yet.

Sorry for the long post...

If some of you have info to share about such "mutant" devices, please contribute here!
*SerialSinger*

PS: all my firmware dumps, including those of DPS-F7 and DPS-M7 are now available on Vince's "repository page" at http://www.dbwbp.com/index.php/9-misc/3 ... prom-dumps

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by madtheory » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:11 am

SerialSinger wrote:As some of you probably know already, the F7 is not only an effects processor: it includes a vocoder, a virtual analog drum machine and (oooh yesss!) a virtual analog synthesizer engine, the only one ever made by Sony!
!??!! Didn't know this. Had a DPS V77 in a studio where I worked years ago. Seriously gorgeous reverbs. Easily a match for the H3000 and the Lex 224. We hacked a digital i/o using a serial cable cut off a Mac keyboard, worked great :) but IIRC the vocoder was disappointing. At the time I preferred the vocoder in the Zoom 1204. And I preferred the phaser, chorusses and delays in the Yamaha REV7- partly because that thing is easy to setup especially compared to the Sony, but it has a certain something nothing else had. We also had a Roland Space Echo, way better delays than any of those digital boxes we had. These days, Echo Boy covers it all :)

So either I totally missed the VA and drum machine, or Sony left that out of the V77? I'd love to hear a demo!

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by desmond » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:29 am

Very cool!

It's not uncommon for multiple devices to share hardware but differ in "data' only. I can think of various sound modules which are likely candidates (eg, the Emu Proteus range, the Kurzweil 1000 modules, and so on), and likely some FX units as you say.

Looking at something like the Yamaha TG500 (synth module) and RM50 (drum module), it's clear they are basically the same hardware (with a few minor differences in card support etc) and they also run the same core engine, albeit the software differing depending on the synth or drum focus, and the onboard samples.

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by spock » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:10 pm

Very cool indeed! I have an R7 and F7; I've often been tempted by the M7's chorus effects, so am awaiting your further posts (the longer the better :geek:) with baited breath... :D

Bear in mind that the front panel of R7=D7 and F7=M7 in terms of the third knob being either "Effect" level pot or "Meter" selector (Input/Output/In+Out). See this picture: (sadly not mine!)

Image
SerialSinger wrote:Meanwhile I wish to extend this thread to other devices having the same "double nature": do you know any?
If you stereo link a dbx 163X compressor to a dbx 463X noise gate, they can interbreed. Quoting from the 463X manual:

"Two 463Xes become a master/slave stereo pair of noise gates at the push of a button and a single connection cable. However, if you pair a 463X with a 163X OverEasy Compressor/Limiter, you have a choice of configurations. If the 163X is the slave and the 463X is the master, you'll have a stereo pair of 463Xes - the 163X turns into a 463X. And if it's the other way around (the 163X the master and the 463X the slave), then the 463X turns into a 163X and you have a stereo pair of 163X Compressor/Limiters."

No EPROMs needed! :lol: The 563X "The Silencer" de-noiser also has a similar Stereo Strapping link but only with other 563Xes.

Image

One day I'd like to turn my BCR-2000 into a Zaquencer, but wish it too was switchable.
Last edited by spock on Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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126 565 H949 InstantPhaser Wersivoice SuperPrimeTime Vortex DPS-R7+F7 MU-R201+L021 M1-XL
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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by spock » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:32 pm

Slightly OT: If anyone here has the rare RM-DPS7 remote control for these Sony FX, feel free to post pics for us to drool over :)
JP-6+Europa+TR-707 JX-3P+PG200+DR-55 Stradivarius Godwin PE-2000 SQ80 uWave VZ-1 CZ-101
126 565 H949 InstantPhaser Wersivoice SuperPrimeTime Vortex DPS-R7+F7 MU-R201+L021 M1-XL
D2 S3200XL dbx Palindrometer DB8000S Tango24 HDSP BCR2000 Ardour Debian Linux

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by madtheory » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:52 am

The Oberheim Perf/X boxes can change personality with a change of EPROM. My Cyclone is currrently a Drummer. Pigs to programme.

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:02 am

spock wrote:Very cool indeed! I have an R7 and F7; I've often been tempted by the M7's chorus effects, so am awaiting your further posts (the longer the better :geek:) with baited breath... :D

Bear in mind that the front panel of R7=D7 and F7=M7 in terms of the third knob being either "Effect" level pot or "Meter" selector (Input/Output/In+Out). See this picture: (sadly not mine!)
You're right Spock (by the way, I'm a Trekker...); I discovered the different purpose of the third knob when I examined the front panel of all units.

There are some other differences between the "first generation DPS7" i.e. R7 and D7, and the M7/F7: for example, there is an additional board on the older ones containing a RAM chip, a CPU, the firmware EPROM and more stuff, while M7 and F7 have everything on the main board; also on that separate board, R7 has the biggest RAM chip of the family, while all the other three models use the same RAM. And the investigation goes on...

If you wish to try the M7 pleasures with your F7 while waiting for further instructions, just do this:
- download F7 and M7 firmware from Vince's page
- join them using an utility (I use the excellent freeware "HdX Hex Editor" from http://www.mh-nexus.de), putting on the "lower" part of the new binary file the F7 firmware and on the "upper" part the M7 one
- write this double firmware on a 27C020 or 27C2001 EPROM
- extract your original F7 EPROM and put the new one in place
- turn on your new DPS-M7! ;)

This new EPROM will be used for the switching system, therefore all of the above procedure will not be a waste of time!
(Those of the forum readers who know about EPROM pinouts and addressing, should already have guessed how it works.)

Interesting stuff about the dbx'es!
For the BCR2000 (which I own too), the firmware chip is a flashable one, i.e. not an EPROM, therefore the modding would be different (but not impossible, I guess).

EDIT: I corrected the type of EPROM needed for the modification.
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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:09 am

madtheory wrote:The Oberheim Perf/X boxes can change personality with a change of EPROM. My Cyclone is currrently a Drummer. Pigs to programme.
Sure, now I remember! Once or twice I was tempted to buy one of those bricks, then I decided that I already had too many brain-squeezing boxes... :D
Knowing myself, one day or another I will fall into temptation again. :mrgreen:

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:22 am

I forgot to tell two things:

- no, the DPS-V77 doesn't have the synth&drums algorithms of the F7; good for me, otherwise I'd been already willing to buy a 77 too...

- I happily upgraded a Kurzweil 1000PX Plus to a 1200 Pro 1 with a bunch of EPROM replacements and additions; for a very limited technician like me, it's been very tempting to find all the necessary sockets already soldered on the main board! :lol:

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:26 am

Status update: I'm finishing to write the document explaining the modification for the dual unit, including some useful pictures; I think I will release it on next weekend or immediately after.

During these days I had the chance to examine also the other units of the family, i.e. the DPS-R7 reverb and the DPS-D7 delay, thanks to the guy who gave me the F7 firmware; at the moment I haven't found a solution for modifying those other units (which were projected before the M7/F7) in a way that they may switch between ANY of the four OS versions, but I will be so glad to make it, therefore I won't give up soon.

Meanwhile I want to share some discoveries to all the owners of these Sony racks.

They share many critical components and chips, despite having different main boards; the D7 and R7 have a separate "CPU board" with some chips that are present on the main board of the F7/M7, including the OS EPROM and a RAM chip; this RAM is bigger on the R7 reverb unit, i.e. quadruple sized if compared to the other three devices. Also, the EPROM of the D7 is smaller that the others: it's a 27C512 and its socket is smaller accordingly, even if the board has additional holes for a bigger socket/EPROM (so an upgrade is basically possible).

In case you ask: yes, I tried some EPROM swaps between these models, but not all the possible swaps because I couldn't stay for a long time with that guy owning the other units (he's a professional and he was busy at some TV studios, and I was there without official autorization...).

I tried to put the DPS-D7 firmware on my DPS-M7, and the OS was working fine except for the fact that (sigh!) there was no FX produced, i.e. no delay from the M7 outputs; bypass was working fine! :lol:
I also tried at home the DPS-R7 firmware on my DPS-M7, because I took it from Vince's page and burnt it on an EPROM just for testing: same results of the D7. :evil:
The next time I'll have access to a R7 unit I'll bring with me the EPROMs of a D7 and a M7 to test what they do...

Last but not least: if you power these Sony units on while keeping some front button pressed, you obtain some interesting results; I quote the text which appears on screen during the boot phase, before showing the standard startup screen.

1) power on while pressing LOAD + ENTER = "System/MIDI Reset"; this is the common reset described on every forum, but it just resets MIDI parameters and global stuff, ignoring the User Presets memory!

2) power on while pressing LOAD + BYPASS + ENTER = "All Reset"; this is the REAL full reset, including User Presets memory, useful in case of problems/hang-ons/battery death/etc.

3) power on while pressing HELP + ENTER = "Audio Check Mode - Stereo IN / DSP Through"; from the description, I guess it's just what it says: an audio check mode which passes the stereo in signal thru the DSP chip of the unit; I haven't tried anything on this mode so far.

Note that the DPS-D7 model won't show any information message and go straight to the startup, but the reset will be done (I checked it); yet I couldn't check if the Audio Check mode will activate on this one.

And now a help request: is there anybody here who can provide a service manual / schematic of the DPS-M7? That would be critical for the advance of the comparison between the two different generations of Sony units.
Crossing my fingers...

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by madtheory » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:23 pm

SerialSinger wrote:Sure, now I remember! Once or twice I was tempted to buy one of those bricks, then I decided that I already had too many brain-squeezing boxes... :D
Well to be fair, the presets on the Cyclone are good, and it's easy to record notes in and make the "preset" sound fairly original. I find it a good machine for development, when you're stuck. Bit like the ARP sequencer in that regard. The Drummer though, is much harder.

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by Mooger5 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:04 pm

SerialSinger wrote:
For example, i think that the old Alesis MidiVerb and MidiFex desktop units are just the same hardware with a different firmware.
I barely recall that some Roland units (SRV-something?) are...
What about Kurzweil Rumour and Mangler? Slurp!
You´re right about the Alesis units.
The Rolands would be the SRV, the SDE, and the SDX-330 (Reverb, Delay and Modulation).
Plus the series of Roland rompler modules MVS-1, MDC-1 and others, they all seem to have identical innards.
There´s also the Boss SX-700 (Studio) VS. GX-700 (Guitar) but to my knowledge the latter has different preamp stage.
Herrare umanum est.

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:41 pm

Mooger5 wrote: The Rolands would be the SRV, the SDE, and the SDX-330 (Reverb, Delay and Modulation).
Plus the series of Roland rompler modules MVS-1, MDC-1 and others, they all seem to have identical innards.
There´s also the Boss SX-700 (Studio) VS. GX-700 (Guitar) but to my knowledge the latter has different preamp stage.
I have an M-VS1, and looking at the motherboard is surely as you say: Roland optimized production and shared a lot for the whole series. However, in this case it's not possible to imagine some switching system based on multiple firmware, because the PCM samples memory should be switched too...
I could even imagine that the firmware of all the M-racks is identical, given the fact that there is no graphical display!
madtheory wrote: Well to be fair, the presets on the Cyclone are good, and it's easy to record notes in and make the "preset" sound fairly original. I find it a good machine for development, when you're stuck. Bit like the ARP sequencer in that regard. The Drummer though, is much harder.
OK, Cyclone is now back in my list for future GAS days... 8-)

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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by Mooger5 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:12 pm

SerialSinger wrote:However, in this case it's not possible to imagine some switching system based on multiple firmware, because the PCM samples memory should be switched too...
I could even imagine that the firmware of all the M-racks is identical, given the fact that there is no graphical display!
Yep I thought about that right after posting. This kind of info is only worth as trivia. It sadly lacks practical use.
But it still stands for the 330 series! :)
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Re: Sony DPS-M7 & DPS-F7, and other double-personality devic

Post by SerialSinger » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:16 pm

Mooger5 wrote:
SerialSinger wrote:However, in this case it's not possible to imagine some switching system based on multiple firmware, because the PCM samples memory should be switched too...
I could even imagine that the firmware of all the M-racks is identical, given the fact that there is no graphical display!
Yep I thought about that right after posting. This kind of info is only worth as trivia. It sadly lacks practical use.
But it still stands for the 330 series! :)
Sigh! The 330s'es firmware binaries are not available anywhere...

But the Roland SRV-2000 can be switched to a delay unit by just a sequence of button at boot time. 8-)

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