Digidesign, Focusrite Liquid Channel Technology

Oct 31, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Digidesign, the North American distributor of Focusrite products, announced Focusrite’s Liquid Technology, which is capable of accurately emulating mic pre’s and compressor combinations inside of a single 192kHz-compatible 2U device.

This emulation is achieved through a two-part process. The use of dynamic convolution techniques is applied, using lightning-fast SHARC chips that apply unique level-dependent impulse responses to every sample of audio. While this is sufficient to re-synthesize a compressor’s sonic behavior, the mic preamplifier must physically match the way in which the unit interacts with a given microphone in order to emulate every subtle nuance. The Liquid Channel’s solution lies in its vast analog front end: a preamp that can change its impedance and vary its signal path to reflect either transformer or electronic characteristics, replicating the interaction characteristics of the original while remaining transparent within the signal path.

With entirely digital front-panel controls, all parameters can be saved in one of 99 User Memories, so that a user can recall entire session setups at the touch of a button. A brand-new digital EQ based on Focusrite’s ISA110 is also available.

A USB connection on the rear panel links to a software application enabling the archiving of both replicas and surplus User Memories, as well as providing remote operation of the unit itself. The Liquid Channel comes with 40 classic mic pre presets and 40 classic compressor presets, but can be expanded because the USB port also facilitates downloads of further replicas from a dedicated Website at www.ffliquid.com.

To account for variances in amounts of second-order harmonic distortion from one vintage preamp to the next, a dial is included to permit control over this value.

In other news, Digidesign announced the new Focusrite ISA 430 MKII Producer Pack, which expands on the original ISA 430 Producer Pack, and adds new features.

The transformer-based mic pre now incorporates a variable impedance option featured on the ISA 428. In addition, an Air switch introduces an inductor circuit into the secondary of the transformer, adding clarity and spaciousness to the signal without the need for EQ.

To accommodate the need for more colorful dynamics, a vintage opto circuit is included in the compressor section, as well as the original discrete Class-A VCA design. Improved Blend control is also present, allowing the engineer to restore natural dynamics to a track. In addition, all four dynamics processors—the compressor, gate, expander and de-esser—contain Focusrite’s Listen feature, enabling the monitoring of each module independently for ease of use.

The MKII also offers selectable signal path order and two multipurpose inserts. The inserts can be used to split the EQ and dynamics so that, should the post-mic pre output and external ADC inputs be in use, the unit will act as a separate preamp, EQ, dynamics and stereo A/D converter (i.e., four discrete processors simultaneously).

The optional stereo A/D output option provides the ISA 430 MKII with 24-bit 192kHz capabilities and employs the same converters as those in the ISA 428. Both the analog outputs and the inputs to the A/D output pass through a soft limiter, which gradually changes in ratio leading up to 0 dBFS.

For more information, visit www.digidesign.com/products or www.focusrite.com. For more new product announcements, visit mixonline.com/products_new_products/index.htm.

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