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AMS-Neve Capricorn Digital Mixing Console (part 8)

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AFU

The Assignable Facilities Unit gives you control of most of the clever features
of the Capricorn. And since you will be spending a lot of effort EQing and compressing
and the like then it helps to have it centrally placed (if you have two or four
banks of twenty-four strips that is). No longer will you get a pain in your
neck as you reach over to EQ channel 1 while attempting to keep your ears central
and equidistant to the monitors. Let me go through the AFU in parts starting
with the Functional Assignable Control Selection.


The FAC Selection section controls the operation of the four FACs in each
strip. The upper FAC can be selected to one of the following:

  • Input gain
  • Input gain trim
  • Offset balance
  • Track contribution level
  • Delay
  • Aux select
  • Input select
  • EQ

To give one example, when EQ is selected then the first FAC becomes EQ band
select, the second FAC is frequency, the third cut/boost and the fourth Q. The
display above the upper FAC shows the EQ band and the circular bar graphs around
the lower ones show the EQ applied graphically. In normal operations, the centre
two FACs would be aux sends, selectable to as many auxes as your Capricorn possesses.
The bottom FAC, in normal use, would be pan or it is switchable between balance
and width for stereo paths.


I’m going to have to skip over a lot in the AFU or I won’t get to
the really interesting stuff, such as dynamics. Any top console will have a
decent dynamics provision in the channels, but the limiting factor is the panel
space available. Consoles are wide enough and deep enough as it is. On an assignable
console, suddenly there’s enough space available to interest an estate
agent and designers have provide whatever facilities they feel the operate will
have a need for. The limiter only has three FACs, which is probably all you
need, but it does have its own side chain filter and gain reduction meter. The
compressor has goodies like Auto Release and Auto Gain Makeup, if you want to
save yourself some trouble, and like the limiter has a side chain filter and
gain reduction meter. The expander gate is just as adequately featured. The
side chain filter – one set of controls to look after three independent filters
– is parametric (with a shelving option) and you can route it to the monitor
easily to check on what you are doing to the side chain signal. Of course you
can easily take another signal path from the console to key the dynamics and
the key may be inverted to reverse the normal action of the side chain. The
dynamics section normally uses a delay to compensate for the attack time but
this can be switched out if desired.


EQ is another very tasty section of the AFU. Above the EQ section are high
and ow pass filters, and responses can be switched to 12dB or 24dB/octave, or
to a notch filter. The EQ itself is four band parametric with individual controls
for frequency, gain and Q for each section. This is a particularly good feature
so that you don’t have to adjust one band before selecting and adjusting
the next, you can get your hands on as many controls simultaneously as you have
arms (twelve including you, your assistant and a friendly octopus). AMS Neve
make the point that analogue EQ has a propensity to bring up noise as you boost
a particular band. This digital version is certainly very quiet, although EQ
is such a personal thing that I couldn’t say that it is going to replace
your favourite outboard. I’ll say that it’s very capable and leave
it at that.

Ebook = Equipping Your Home Recording Studio
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David Mellor

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