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Connect Live has kicked off over in Nashville, and Avid have taken the opportunity to launch two new consoles: the Avid S1 and Avid S4.
The Avid S1 and S4 are designed to bring the power and control of the S6 to smaller facilities. The S1 in particular is designed for multipurpose spaces where a permanent mixing console might not be practical, while the S4 allows you to buy a three, four or five foot base unit and fill it with whatever modules best suit your workflow.
Big mixes in small spaces: Working with the S1
Thanks to the optional integration of ipads running the Pro-Tools control app, the S1 has imported the S6's high-feedback approach to mixing, giving you a huge amount of information for such a small unit. This visual feedback includes high-res metering information (including gain reduction and 9.1 surround support), automation statuses, EQ, dynamics and panning graphs, so you can get insight into your mix without having to navigate sub-menus and clickthroughs.
The control surface combines motorised, touch-sensitive faders, touch-sensitive knobs and physical keys with an integrated touchscreen that supports VCA spill, monitor control, custom layouts, and other pro-level capabilities like Soft Keys, taking you beyond what MIDI-based controllers can offer.
The S1 has imported several views from the S6 too, including Track View, which lets you instantly jump to tracks, Mix View, where you can swipe through multiple channels, and Monitoring View, where you can quickly assign and control talkback, listenback, speaker sources and levels.
If you need to scale up, you can link the S1 to a Dock, or even link several S1s together – although bear in mind that while you don’t need specialist studio furniture for a single S1, you may for a larger setup.
S1 offers deep integration with Pro Tools and Media Composer, plus native support for third party audio and video applications, including Logic Pro, Cubase, Premiere Pro and more.
Who’s it right for?
Any producers who are sick of their keyboard and mouse and would like more tactile control over their mix; anyone who’s doing small-scale sound for picture work (if you’re primarily a video editor but want to up your audio game, this is a great place to start); independent audio post outfits.
Choose your own adventure: Working with the S4
The S4 is available in four base configurations: an eight fader 3” model, 16 fader 4” and 5” options, and a 24 fader 5” model. At the core of each is Avid’s new Channel Strip Module (CSM), a compact set of controls that combines three former S6 modules into a single unit with eight faders and 32 knobs, plus a Function Select feature that allows you to assign multiple commands to each knob and key.
Compressing those controls into a single module has allowed Avid to create a console that’s extremely easy to set up and configure. Once you have your base unit, you can add up to three CSMs, four Display modules (the same as the top-end S6 M40), two Attention Knob modules and one Post or Joystick module. This compares pretty favourably to the S6 M10, which also maxes out at a single operator and 24 faders, supports a total of 13 modules (but no displays) and supports a maximum of five knobs per channel to the S4’s four.
A key feature of the S4 is that it provides access to efficient Dolby Atmos mixing workflows, meaning sound for picture facilities that lacked the space for an S6 can now start mixing and delivering Atmos content effectively.
Who’s it right for?
The S4 is a great choice if you’re looking to kit out a smaller studio in a large facility – it’ll work seamlessly with any S6 consoles you’re already using in bigger rooms. Its Atmos support means that it’s a great choice for anyone who’s doing sound for picture, and its lower cost should endear it to any schools or training facilities who’d like to teach students the S6 workflow without carving out an S6-sized chunk of their budget.
The S4 will be on general release in the autumn, with the S1 to follow at the end of the year – Avid are yet to confirm exact shipping dates, but we’ll keep you posted.
(£5,038.80 inc VAT)
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Avid have announced that they’ll be doing away with Pro Tools and Sibelius perpetual licence reinstatements.