The Liquid Channel, a professional channel strip unveiled at last year's AES show that emulates classic front-end processing, has started shipping.
The Liquid Channel emulates the sound of classic mic pres and compressors. It does this with a combination of analog and digital technology. The digital side makes use of dynamic convolution, using multiple impulse responses from classic compressors rather than a single impulse response since compression is not a linear process. While this alone might sound sufficient, Focusrite also wanted to capture the interaction with microphone by including a variable impedance preamp section with both transformer and electronic paths. So not only does the Liquid Channel capture the characteristics of a compressor's internals, a microphone will see the same load just as if it was hooked up to the original hardware. A brand new digital EQ loosely based on Focusrite's ISA 110 is also available, plus two Liquid Channels can be cascaded for stereo-linking of all settings.
A USB connection on the rear panel links to Focusrite's LiquidControl software application, available for free for Mac OS and Windows machines, enabling the archiving of both replicas and surplus user memories, as well as providing remote operation of up to eight Liquid Channel units.
Connections on the rear panel include mic in, line in (XLR), AES digital in and out, wordclock in and out on BNC, and digital link bus connectors on RCA (for linking units together). The Liquid Channel supports sample rates up to 192kHz.
The Liquid Channel comes complete with forty classic mic pre replicas and forty classic compressor replicas. The end user can "mix and match" pres, compressors and the EQ section to create customized channel strip configurations in The Liquid Channel's 100 user memories. The Liquid Channel is fully expandable because the USB port also facilitates downloads of additional replicas from a dedicated website: www.ffliquid.com. The first group of additional compressor and preamp replicas are expected to be available for download on June 11, free to registered users.