Digidesign, the North American distributor of Focusrite products,announced Focusrite’s Liquid Technology, which is capable ofaccurately emulating mic pre’s and compressor combinations insideof a single 192kHz-compatible 2U device.
This emulation is achieved through a two-part process. The use ofdynamic convolution techniques is applied, using lightning-fast SHARCchips that apply unique level-dependent impulse responses to everysample of audio. While this is sufficient to re-synthesize acompressor’s sonic behavior, the mic preamplifier must physicallymatch the way in which the unit interacts with a given microphone inorder to emulate every subtle nuance. The Liquid Channel’ssolution lies in its vast analog front end: a preamp that can changeits impedance and vary its signal path to reflect either transformer orelectronic characteristics, replicating the interaction characteristicsof the original while remaining transparent within the signal path.
With entirely digital front-panel controls, all parameters can besaved in one of 99 User Memories, so that a user can recall entiresession setups at the touch of a button. A brand-new digital EQ basedon Focusrite’s ISA110 is also available.
A USB connection on the rear panel links to a software applicationenabling the archiving of both replicas and surplus User Memories, aswell as providing remote operation of the unit itself. The LiquidChannel comes with 40 classic mic pre presets and 40 classic compressorpresets, but can be expanded because the USB port also facilitatesdownloads of further replicas from a dedicated Website at www.ffliquid.com.
To account for variances in amounts of second-order harmonicdistortion from one vintage preamp to the next, a dial is included topermit control over this value.
In other news, Digidesign announced the new Focusrite ISA 430 MKIIProducer Pack, which expands on the original ISA 430 Producer Pack, andadds new features.
The transformer-based mic pre now incorporates a variable impedanceoption featured on the ISA 428. In addition, an Air switch introducesan inductor circuit into the secondary of the transformer, addingclarity and spaciousness to the signal without the need for EQ.
To accommodate the need for more colorful dynamics, a vintage optocircuit is included in the compressor section, as well as the originaldiscrete Class-A VCA design. Improved Blend control is also present,allowing the engineer to restore natural dynamics to a track. Inaddition, 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 ofuse.
The MKII also offers selectable signal path order and twomultipurpose inserts. The inserts can be used to split the EQ anddynamics so that, should the post-mic pre output and external ADCinputs be in use, the unit will act as a separate preamp, EQ, dynamicsand stereo A/D converter (i.e., four discrete processorssimultaneously).
The optional stereo A/D output option provides the ISA 430 MKII with24-bit 192kHz capabilities and employs the same converters as those inthe ISA 428. Both the analog outputs and the inputs to the A/D outputpass through a soft limiter, which gradually changes in ratio leadingup to 0 dBFS.