Oberheim DPX-1

I have often used my Oberheim DPX-1 as a sample player for playing back samples from either my Ensoniq Mirage, or – of course – my Emulator II+ and I must admit it does a fantastic job.

I have a hard time hearing the difference between the DPX-1 and my Emulator II+, and sometimes it is just easier to boot the DPX-1 and leaving the Emulator II+ off on the keyboard shelf (though not as much fun).

I have a lot of disks for my Oberheim DPX-1 and it loads and plays back all the different formats as close to perfect as possible I guess. Of course there are things that are not loaded (like sequences and arpeggio settings), but the sound it self is reproduced very nicely. Will recommend this to anyone on a tight budget and some Emulator II, SCI Prophet 2000, Akai S900 or Ensoniq Mirage floppies laying around.

Emulator Archive said

The First Sample Player
In December 1986 Oberheim launched the world’s first digital sample player – the DPX-1. This 2U rack module could replay the sampled sounds from disks originally recorded on the Emulator II, Sequential Prophet 2000/2002, Ensoniq Mirage, and the Akai S900

The DPX-1 is eight voice polyphonic, with MIDI and optional SCSI. With a 1 MB memory, all data is converted into a 12 bit linear format for replaying. These provides 512k samples. One Bank of EII samples can be loaded at a time, all 100 presets can be accessed via a 2 character red LED display. Both 3.5” and 5.25” floppy diskette drives are in built.

The DPX-1 is the only other device that can read the unique special Emulator II format diskettes, and its also supports MIDI Sample Dump Standard (SDS). Which means you can get your EII sounds into other samplers !

You can format a 3.5” diskette, and save your EII 12-bit sounds onto a new reliable diskette. If you are an EII user who wants to continue using your ace samples into the 21st century, this is THE puppy to get ! They are even dead cheap to buy.

Sample Replay
The Oberheim DPX1 reproduces sampled audio data read from 3.5” or 5.25” floppy diskettes or received from MIDI via Sample Dump Standard. All sample data is converted to 12-bit linear data format.

The DPX-1 will accept disk data from:
Emulator II
Prophet 2000/2002/2002+
Mirage rack and keyboard
Akai S900

Front Panel
The DPX1 has both 3.5” DS/HD and 5.25” DS/DD floppy drives, which should have their cardboard templates inserted when the DPX1 is being transported. There are a small number of front panels keys:


There are 2 LED’s to show when the disk is busy and when the disk encounters an error. There are 6 function indicator LED’s to show which function is selected. There is a 2 character red LED for displaying information, and a volume slider. The power switch is on the back, how inconvenient can you get !

The DPX-1 has the usual MIDI IN, OUT and THRU.
Basic channel select for transmit and receive, modes 1, 3 and 4 (Prophet 2000 only) is supported.
Controllers on/off, patch change commands on/off, controllers supported as defined by the sample disk being replayed. MIDI sample dump standard is supported.

The DPX-1 has a single unbalanced audio output. Although the optional CDROM interface adds another 8 mono outs. All on 1/4” jacks

Analog Synthesizer Inside
The DPX-1 runs with a VCF/VCA/LFO analog architecture. The parameters for these are read directly from the sample disk. Only the filter cutoff can be modified manually, initailly just wide open or as per the sample disk. But in release 2.0 you can vary the cut off from 0 – 99 from the front panel.

Missed Again
The DPX-1 is the only other device that can read the unique EII diskette format.
However the DPX-1 was not a great success, as is the case with every other replay sampler that has been manufactured. Users prefer to be able to sample as well, and replay samplers are not much cheaper or simpler to build than fully fledged samplers.

By the time the DPX-1 was out, sampling had moved on from the 1984 EII. Akai were making their mark with the new 12-bit S900, and then 16-bit S1000 rack mount samplers.
E-mu Systems had released the awesome 16-bit EIII, and put an EII on a chip with the Emax. The DPX-1 was a great idea that sold to pro musicians who wanted to tour their EII’s.

A Rack Mount EII
The DPX-1 offers the Emulator II user a smaller and more reliable rack mount version – highly attractive! It uses the same analog SSM filters, so it sounds brilliant. It can even be found with an external SCSI connector.

The DPX-1 converts the Emulator II 8-bit samples into 12-bit, after it has loaded the diskette and before you can play the samples. This takes a few seconds (lots of time for a bird run !). You can now play the samples as you would on your EII, but there’s more !