Generalmusic's LEM division is introducing a new low-cost RTC (Real Time Control) digital mixer known as the Falcon, designed for use in live performance situations as well as recording studios and broadcast facilities.
The Falcon is designed around Generalmusic's proprietary RED208 DSP microprocessor, and features 20-bit A/Ds and D/As, as well as 40-bit internal processing. The mixer is equipped with six mono mic/line inputs and two stereo line inputs, along with a single standard digital AES/EBU input, which can be processed like the standard stereo and mono input. Also included are two multi-effects processors for reverbs and delay-based effects, along with 12 additional digital effects processors which can be inserted four at a time on any channel.
The mixer also features an optional LEM ADAT extension card. This card adds a TOSLINK interface and eight additional I/Os for ADAT digital recorders. MIDI Machine Control, along with the ability to select record track enables, are available directly from Falcon's control surface. The addition of the ADAT card makes Falcon even more powerful by incorporating a second RED208 microprocessor that adds eight full-blown channels and doubles the number of available effects processors. The card can also be used to interface an optional eight-in/eight-out AES/EBU unit. This increases Falcon's capability to a total of 18 inputs (ten A/D converter, eight AES/EBU) and 16 outputs (six AID converter, ten AES/EBU).
The output section is composed of one master stereo output, two aux outputs, two user-assignable outputs (Mix 2) and one digital S/PDIF output. Via software, all of them can be configured for use in different situations. For instance, Falcon's global machine setup can combine output (Front) with two auxes (Rear) for the reproduction of special 3D sound situations. Some of the algorithms implemented also make the mixer suitable for radio broadcasting use (such as its capacity for linking mono channels) or for use in dance clubs (thanks to a moving crossfader between its two stereo channels).
Falcon's innovative interface has been developed by LEM with careful attention to maintain the "feel" of a traditional analog mixing console, which is especially important for live use. Thanks to this feature, total control of the primary mixing functions in real time is easy, as all the potentiometers (EQ, Aux, Volume, Cue and Mute) are physically located on the control panel.
A "Virtual Strip" is located on the extreme right side of the mixer that allows the user to make good use of all of the mixer's capabilities. The Virtual Strip has a motorized "Data Entry", which can be assigned to any channel in real time, and can control the console easily with only a few movements. Falcon's backlit control display (128 x 64 pixels) becomes important in "Advanced" mode to manage snapshot presets of EQ, pan, aux sends, dynamics, etc.
Assignable processors for inputs and outputs include dynamics (Compressor, Limiter, Noise Gate), Enhancer, EQ (Graphics, Parametrics, Paragraphics), complex dynamics (Multi-band Compressor, Expressor ), Noise Reduction and 3D Ambience. Reverbs are divided into Hall, Room, Plate and SFX, while the modulated effects come from the classical library of live performances, including Stereo Delay, Mono Delay, Echo Repeat, Slapback, Flanger, Chorus and Phaser.
Each single processor can be connected with up to four others inside a special virtual slot called "Environment", which is assigned to the channel and managed (in On/Off mode) in real time using the ENV button. It is possible to utilize two processors for each channel, with at least one dynamic processor guaranteed for each channel.
Management of scenes, global machine setup and FX libraries (Reverbs, Delay and processing algorithms) can all easily be handled by the Falcon's powerful internal processor. If the download or acquisition of data to or from outside sources is necessary, this can also be done via MIDI or RS-232.
The choice of configuration can be stored in the global machine setup, the management of which is completely separated from scenes, which can be recalled in real time.
Falcon is equipped with the necessary MIDI maps to provide remote control via Sysex for desktop sequencer programs such as Cakewalk Pro Audio and Cubase VST. A program is also available on the Windows 95/NT platform for total remote control of the mixer's functions.
The automation of Falcon can be divided in two distinct sections: Upper (including all controls as far as Pan) and Lower (the remaining part; Channel and Volume controls). Since all the controls are located physically on the control panel, the user can decide to manually control Mute, Channel On/Off, Environment and Volume, and use the snapshot automation to control the rest of the mixer's features, such as Filters and Auxes.
The Falcon can be used totally in automatic mode, even though this could cause some difficulty (i.e. the fact that the potentiometers on the panel don't correspond with the real value of the function recalled by the internal memory). LEM solved this problem with the P.U.V. function (Pick Up the Value) which, through some fast display wizards, allows the correct adjustment of the physical and virtual controls.
The Operating System of Falcon is stored in a Flash memory that allows easy and quick user upgrading of the machine without sending it to a specialized service center. New functions or the entire Operating System can be loaded via MIDI and serial port RS-232/422.
Suggested U.S. list price on the LEM Falcon is a highly-affordable $1,395.00.