Hands-On Review:Elevating the standalone studio to a new level

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Yamaha AW4416 Digital Audio Workstation

The AW4416 is a remarkable music production tool. In a single, compact desktop unit, it gives you everything you need to make first-quality recordings; edit your material; add effects, mix, and final master to CD - without any additional equipment (other than mics or instruments) and without ever leaving the digital domain. From concept to CD, it provides maximum creative control and unsurpassed audio quality on a par with the finest pro gear.

The mixer

The mixer section is a direct descendent of the powerful 02R Digital Mixing Console, incorporating all of its features and quality, plus adding a few new features of its own. Right out of the box, it gives you ten analog inputs plus one digital stereo input for a total of 12 tracks. Two optional I/O cards let you add 16 more analog or digital channels. These, along with the 16 playback channels from the hard disk recorder and the effects returns, give you a potential 44 input channels to play with. For output, there are eight group buses, eight auxiliary buses, a stereo bus, and a stereo solo bus for a total of 20 output buses. In short, it gives you the flexibility to handle even the most complex recording and production projects.


All inputs are balanced, with TRS phone plugs, while channels 1 and 2 have additional XLR connectors. Channel 8 also features a Hi-Z unbalanced input for plugging in a guitar or bass directly. For stereo sources, any pair of adjacent faders can be assigned as a stereo pair. For digital source, coaxial stereo input is provided.


The AW4416 not only gives you the flexibility of a large studio console, it also gives you fully professional audio quality. It records at either 16 bit or 24 bit. Its internal processing is 32 bit, except for the EQ stages which process at 54 bits. All input channels except for two stereo effects returns offer full four-band parametric EQing and dynamics processing. All four EQ bands are sweepable from 20Hz to 20kHz with 41-point Q adjustment and a +/-18dB control range. Dynamics processing gives you a choice of six modes per channel: compressor, gate, ducking, expander, compressor/limiter/hard-knee expander, and compressor/limiter/soft-knee expander. Whether you're looking to reduce noise, tweak a level, or add punch, the AW4416 gives you all the dynamics controls you need. The effects returns offer full EQing but without dynamics control.


Full automation

Seventeen 60mm motorized faders allow precision mix control. All controls (faders, pans, and EQs) are automated and can be recalled via scene memories, along with recallable parameter and patch libraries for a level of convenience and ease of operation that only a state-of-the-art digital workstation can provide.

Dual multi-effects processors

This is one feature that takes the AW4416 well beyond the 02R. Its two multi-effects processors provide high-quality reverb, delay, flanging, chorus, pitch change, rotary speaker simulation, and several guitar-related effects such as distortion and amp simulations. A special Hi-Z input makes the AW4416 even more guitar-friendly. These effects can be used in a send/return mode or inserted into any of the input channels. A "virtual patch bay" makes routing mixer inputs and outputs easy and flexible.

Large drive capacity

The AW4416 comes straight from the box with a 6.4GB hard disk that will provide ample space for most recording needs. Want more? It uses 2.5" IDE hard-disk drives, which are quite affordable, and it will accept such drives holding up to 64GB. Another feature of the AW4416 - one that allows it to make maximum use of its storage space - is its automatic disk optimization function. The machine itself cleans up the disk and keeps it in peak operating shape. What's more, the disks are easy to remove and install, so you can use them as swappable, portable media.

Sampling pads

Another standout feature of the AW4416 is a set of eight sampling pads located underneath the LCD. These are triggers for samples used for realtime playback or recording. The samples can be sound files on the internal hard disk, .WAV files from the CD-RW drive, or from an external SCSI storage device. Pads have 16-voice, 8-note polyphonic capability, and the samples can be 16-bit or 24-bit at 44.1 or 48kHz. A total of 90 seconds sample playback time is provided at 16-bit/44.1kHz and up to 8 samples can be played simultaneously. Odd- and even-numbered pads can be assigned for playback of stereo samples. All samples can be assigned to any input using the input patching function or assigned to hard disk recorder tracks for direct recording. Playback can be controlled automatically via a trigger list function which allows precise editing and timing.

Internal CD-R/CD-RW drive bay

An important feature of the AW4416, one that allows it to handle complete projects without any additional equipment, is its built-in CD-RW burner. Because of this burner, you can take an entire project to completion by mastering to CD. In addition, the CD-RW can also be used for data backup and archival storage. You can play back audio CDs and retrieve data from CD-ROMs.

Musician's Friend has the AW4416 available for a very friendly price. And if you need a little financing help, e-mail or call and apply for a Platinum Card. It can help you swing the deal and give you the digital workstation of your dreams today!

Features & Specs


The Mixer

  • 44 input channels, 20 mix buses
  • Motorized faders and full mix automation
  • Advanced channel functions (inherited from the industry-leading O2R Digital Mixing Console)
  • 2 powerful effect processors

The Hard Disk Recorder

  • 16- or 24-bit recording (uncompressed)
  • Up to 130 tracks (16 tracks x 8 virtual tracks + Stereo Track)
  • Precision editing and location
  • Accepts a wide range of 2.5" IDE hard disk drives - up to 64GB

Sampling Pads

  • 8 sampling pads for realtime playback of samples from hard disk, external audio sources, .WAV files on CDs or external SCSI devices
  • 2 pad banks (A and B) for assignment to up to 16 samples
  • 8-note polyphony with up to 90-second total sample time

CD-RW Mastering & Data Storage

  • Built-in CD-RW drive
  • Master your own audio CDs without ever leaving the digital domain
  • Convenient, reliable data storage and retrieval
  • Directly load audio and other data from CD-ROMs
  • Export and import .WAV files directly
  • Sonic Foundry editing software included