(Click for a close-up)
Focusrite's 'Liquid Technology' is making its debut at the AES convention in New York. The Liquid Channel transports classic front-end processing into the digital age, removing the need for endless patching and adding fluidity and reliability to the studio environment. The Liquid Channel is capable of emulating every mic-pre and compressor combination in history, inside a single 192kHz compatible 2U device.
This emulation is achieved through a unique two-part process. The use of dynamic convolution techniques is applied, using SHARC chips that apply unique level-dependent impulse responses to every sample of audio. While this is more than sufficient to re-synthesize a compressor's sonic behavior, the mic pre-amplifier must physically match the way in which the classic unit interacts with a given microphone in order to emulate precisely every subtle nuance. The Liquid Channel's solution to this problem lies in its vast analog front-end -- a pre-amp with the ability to change its impedance and vary its signal path to reflect either transformer or electronic characteristics, perfectly replicating the interaction characteristics of the original, while remaining entirely transparent within the signal path.
The Liquid Channel emulates the sound of any classic mic-pre and compressor. With entirely digital front panel controls, all parameters can be saved in one of ninety-nine User Memories, meaning that a user can recall entire session set-ups at the touch of a button. A brand new digital EQ based on Focusrite's legendary ISA110 is also available, providing a comprehensive and truly 'liquid' channel strip.
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 complete with forty classic mic-pre presets and forty classic compressor presets, but is fully expandable because the USB port also facilitates downloads of further replicas from a dedicated website -- www.ffliquid.com.
Finally, to account for variances in amounts of second order harmonic distortion (usually perceived as warmth) from one vintage pre-amp to the next, a dial is included to permit control over this value. This essential feature ensures hardcore vintage enthusiasts are satisfied, bringing total control over every sonic attribute. Essentially, Liquid Channel provides an unlimited supply of vintage sonic performance for the price of one unit, with all the added benefits of digital processing and control.
Digidesign will be auditioning Liquid Channel at selected North American Focusrite resellers in coming weeks.
The Liquid Channel is expected to ship in Q4, 2003. MSRP US $3,495