At the APRS (UK studio) show in 1995, Yamaha unveiled its less-than-$10,000 02R 20-bit 8-bus console, offering 24 analog inputs and 16 digital tape returns for a total of 40 inputs in remix. To say this product was a “hit” would be an understatement: “Revolution” would be a far more accurate term. In addition to providing digital domain mixing, the 02R offered moving faders; instantaneous reset of all console parameters; limiter/compressor/gate on every channel and output bus; programmable 4-band, true parametric EQs; four I/O card slots accommodating ADAT, DA-88, S/PDIF and AES/EBU signals; and two SPX-quality internal effects processors. A slick feature was the ability to create “libraries” of favorite DSP settings, while a central LCD panel showed EQ curves, DSP parameters, console setup/routings, etc.
Perhaps one of the 02R’s coolest features was a simple cascade port on the rear panel, which allowed multiple consoles to be linked for more I/Os, creating a fully loaded 80-input board for less than $20,000. And as the 02R was software-based, later updates added new functionality such as surround mixing.
Eventually, the 02R was replaced by Yamaha’s 02R96, a 56-input, 24-bit/96kHz board with full mix interfacing with popular DAWs. But in its time, the original 02R was a hugely successful product that broke all the rules, and, paired with a couple of ADAT or DA-88 recorders, the notion of the affordable all-digital studio was no longer a fantasy.