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Can the Avid S4 fix your mixing workflow?

If you’ve outgrown your current console and aren’t sure that the S6 is right for you, you might want to take a look at the S4. Due later this year (and already doing the rounds at live demos and events), the S4 is a versatile, modular control surface that addresses a combination of challenges. Here’s how it can help you.

 

Liz Sunter
Customisation

When you buy an S4, you choose a three, four or five foot chassis. Avid add the central Control Strip Module and an initial bank of faders, and then you’re free to fill in the rest of the bays in the chassis with faders, attention knobs, joysticks, displays and whatever else you need.

This means that while the S4 may not be much smaller than other consoles, especially if you go for the four or five foot chassis, it is one of the most customisable at its size and price point. The S6 M10 suffered because it was the same size as the flagship M40 console, but had set limitations (no displays, max 24 faders). The S4 manages to strike a balance between form factor and customisability: you can get 24 faders into a chassis smaller than the M10’s, and you don’t have to pay for a 48-fader desk in order to get a built-in display. As a result, it’s far easier to get the workspace you want from the budget you have.

 

Extensibility

Because the S4 comes in a pre-made chassis, growing studios can order a frame with plenty of spare bays, which they can then fill in on an ad hoc basis. Rather than having to guess how your business might develop and order the appropriate hardware, you can simply place your initial order in a larger chassis and extra faders, post modules and knobs as and when your studio grows.

We would always recommend leaving at least one spare bay in your chassis when putting together your order. And don’t worry about the technical toll of adding those new modules on the fly – things are much easier to integrate now that Avid are using their consolidated Control Strip Module to house and configure your key controls. Which leads us to…

 

Build simplicity

Despite having more options than previous versions – it’s inherited the joystick, display and post modules from the M40 – the S4 is simpler to build then previous Avid interfaces, and packs more controls into a smaller space.

The knob, fader and process modules, previously all separate purchases that needed to be integrated and configured manually, have been combined into the new Control Strip Module, a single unit which offers all three types of control. When you want to expand, you can simply add extra Control Strip Modules, rather than choosing between controls and integrating them all separately. The S4 supports up to three strips, plus four displays and three other modules of your choosing.

 

Visual feedback

Avid’s flagship S6 M40 introduced a new display module that gave you visual feedback on every aspect of your mix. The display integrated visual tools for metering and EQ right into the console, rather than forcing you to set up separate monitors, and also offered a number of different track and mix views so that you could get visual cues about the state of your project.

The display was widely praised by users and the fact that it wasn’t compatible with Avid’s last mid-range console, the S6 M10, was a source of some consternation. Happily, Avid have seen the light and the S4 will support up to four display modules, giving you all the waveforms and metering tools you need.

 

EUCON integration

EUCON integration isn’t new, but it bears repeating quite how many programmes this console will work with. The S4 supports Avid’s video editing software as well as Pro Tools, and is also compatible with Adobe Audition and Premiere, DAD’s DADman, MOTU’s Digital Performer, Cubase, Nuendo, Trinnov D-MON and Mackie-driven solutions like Ableton live and Propellerhead. If you need a flexible, multi-purpose mixing space, a EUCON desk is the obvious choice.

 

Availability

The S4 will start shipping later this year. We’re currently taking pre-orders – get in touch with the team on the details below for pricing and to start building your config.

 

Want to know more? Fill in the form below, or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 210 or at audio@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us onLinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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