Akai DD8 plus
Modular Digital Random Access Dubber

2003 news update

The DD8plus is still in daily use today (and is still available to purchase) and has been used to mix the soundtrack for Oscar winning soundtracks such as 'CHICAGO" which won the Oscar for "Best Achievement in Sound". It was also used to mix the soundtrack for the Oscar nominated "GANGS OF NEW YORK" amongst many other major film releases.
'THE MISSING', the new Ron Howard movie is mixed at the new SoundTrack F/T Stage 2 in New York, using sixteen Akai DD8plus systems and a DL1500. The SoundTrack Group has been using the DD8s for many years, starting with 9 x DD8 units in Studio F where mixer Tony Volante works on the latest Jim Jarmusch 'COFFEE AND CIGARETTES
The first SoundTrack F/T stage is already being used for mixing the final season of HBO's hugely successful and popular TV series 'SEX AND THE CITY' , mixed by Bob Chefallas.
The total of DD8 units in the SoundTrack Group is around 40 units.

In 1996, Akai Digital introduced the DD8 digital film dubber designed as a 'plug-and-play' replacement for traditional 'mag machines' and the (then) new breed of small format digital tape machines.
As a disk recorder, the DD8 featured virtually instant locating, convenient removable media on MO (Magneto Optical) or removable disk caddies, flexible I/O and remote control options and data compatibility with the Akai DD1500 Recorder/Editor as well as the main disk/file formats used by DAWs and disk recorders. And it sync'd to everything, forward and reverse, at any speed.
Then in 1998, Akai Digital improved on this with the DD8plus that offered the same basic spec, the same ease of use and the same 'plug-and-play' integration but enhanced with 24-bit/96kHz recording and playback to satisfy the demanding dynamic range of today's complex film mixes (The standard DD8 can be upgraded to the DD8plus 24-bit / 96kHz specification using the optional KIT-DD8. ).

In the dubbing theatre, the DD8plus blends the traditional past methods of film mixing with future techniques for a high level of operator comfort. Like magnetic film, the DD8plus maintains synchronous playback with picture, even at high speed or in reverse play, allowing film mixers to build up a rhythm when mixing: the DD8plus synchronizing with the human touch. The random access nature of the DD8plus also offers near instantaneous lock to timecode.

Extensive synchronization capabilities ensure that the DD8plus is also a powerful problem solving tool: a 23.98 fps biphase mode is provided for synchronizing to NTSC referenced film, and pull ups from 24-25 / 25-24 are also offered maintaining a fixed sample rate at the DD8plus output. The DD8plus can even 'gearbox' between different frame rates, for example outputting one chosen frame rate of time-code (e.g. 29.97) while syncing to a different frame rate of biphase (e.g. 24).

Recording is handled by local or remote Track Select keys using the optional IB-808G GPIO parallel interface, or via RS422 serial control with the optional IB-805R. On the front panel, dedicated keys are used for Track Slip and Event/Region Nudge, both of which are also provided on the DL1500 system controller. The large LCD display shows your choice of time display style including Timecode or Feet and Frames.

The design
A crystal clear LCD display replaces the traditionally cryptic menus found on so many systems, making the DD8plus simple to manage and control. The wide range of capabilities for remote control is essential to the industry and as well as the logically designed front panel, all the essential functions and more are available off-chassis with the DL1500 and/or smaller RC15 remote controller which features 14 illuminated user-assignable keys and a jog/data wheel.

Akai's mighty DL1500 System Controller connects to the DD8plus using the AKAINET (10Base2 Ethernet) interface which is fitted as standard (the AKAINET protocol is also available to third parties). A DL1500 in the dubbing theater can control multiple Akai devices centrally, whilst a single DD8plus coupled with the DL1500 controller makes a highly effective Digital Audio Workstation for editing and post production offering onboard S-VGA high-resolution graphic display output, greatly expanded editing capacity, EDL AutoConform and VTR control; in fact many of the functions of the bigger DD1500 system at considerably less cost. The RC15 is ideal for in-console mounting in multiple unit operations or with a stand-alone DD8plus.

Extensive Options

An extensive options list gives a flexibility of application unique to the industry: custom-build your own DD8plus systems according to installation requirements, buying only what is needed now and providing you with a system totally dedicated to the chosen application. Further options are easy to install at a later date if your needs change; for example audio I/O options offer a choice of both analog and digital interfaces including both AES/EBU and TDIF. You can take it anywhere; the DD8plus interfacing with analog tape, digital tape, magnetic-film; connecting to analog consoles, digital consoles.

In addition, the DD8plus can be configured as an 8-track recorder or a 16-track player (DD16PB+).
This configuration utilises the following options:
KIT-DD16PB: allows installation of 2 IB-D8DA analog output boards for 16-channel playback.
IB-1616A: dual ADAT digital output option board for 16-channel playback.
IB-D16MA24: 16 channel of digital output in AES/EBU format for 16-channel playback.


Record to and play from MO disks or removable hard disks
Plug-and-Play replacement for mag machines and the Tascam DA-88
Direct playback of OMF files from DAW systems such as Digidesign ProTools, AvidAudioVision, and Avid MediaComposer, to name a few
Direct data compatibility with the DD1500 MO Recorder/Editor, as well as Macintosh disks: OMF, ProTools, AIFF/SD2 audio; DOS disks : Zaxcom DEVA, .WAV/BWF audio;Tascam/Timeline MMR-8, Waveframe, Fairlight MFX3PlusDaD
Uncompressed 16, 20 and 24 bit data formats
Sample Rate up to 96kHz
Flexible I/O formats and extensive synchronization options
Extremely high quality multi-track scrubbing
Designed for ease-of-use on the dubbing stage
Virtually instantaneous locating to any point : no waiting for tape winding
Dedicated Track Slip and Event/Region Nudge buttons
Punch-in recording with Track Select keys or via GPIO parallel interface
Operating System in Flash ROM for instant boot-up and easy updates
Pre-read outputs

Extensive I/O options

8 channel balanced analog (25-pin D-sub)
8 channel AES/EBU digital (25-pin D-sub)
8 channel TDIF digital with Tascam® Meter Bridge (15-pin D-sub)
8 channel ADAT® digital (Optical link)

Syncs to everything

Wordclock/Video Sync input standard
Optional LTC reader/generator (all rates)
Optional Biphase reader/generator
Plays audio in sync, forward or reverse, at any speed

Remote control options

AKNET (Ethernet) allows use of Akai DL1500 controller
GPIO parallel interface
RS422 serial interface (Sony 9-pin)
MIDI Machine Control
Expansion port for RC15 compact programmable remote

For Akai Digital Post Production support and more information:
Sean Weitzmann

advanced technologic sound magazine
Updated 2003 september issue 117

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