15th January 2009
Winter NAMM 2009 sees the launch of Focusrite's latest addition to the Saffire range and, for the first time, the integration of Liquid pre-amp technology with Saffire PRO audio interfacing.
Liquid Saffire 56 is Focusrite's new flagship 2U multi-channel firewire audio interface. Liquid technology combines with Saffire PRO firewire interfacing to deliver a host of authentic pre-amp flavours, seamless software integration, excellent routing flexibility and future-proof, rock-solid driver stability.
Two of Liquid Saffire 56's eight pre-amps utilise the third generation of Focusrite's Liquid Pre-amp, each providing a choice of ten different pre-amp emulations. These include emulations based on the Neve 1073, Pultec MB-1, Telefunken V72 and seven more (for emulation details, visit focusrite.com). A harmonics dial on each Liquid pre-amp allows the user to compensate for variance in vintage originals of the same model, or to creatively add levels of 2nd, 3rd and 5th Harmonic distortion to shape the pre-amps performance.
Focusrite's Liquid Pre-amp technology marries a hugely flexible analogue front end with cutting-edge dynamic convolution DSP. Sintefex, Focusrite's Liquid technology design partner, patented the Dynamic Convolution process, which involves the application of a unique, level-dependent set of responses to an audio signal. These measured responses, sampled at numerous levels and with every possible setting combination, are applied to the input stream on a sample-by-sample basis for authentic emulation of the amplification stage.
However, Mic-pre emulation cannot be achieved with software alone. Analogue hardware is also required to account for the physical interaction with the microphone. The Liquid pre-amp analogue front-end allows for huge flexibility in resistance and capacitance parameters. With a flexible signal path and variable impedance value, it can mimic the interaction characteristics of different classic mic-pres. Combined with comprehensive dynamic convolution data, the Liquid pre-amp captures all the key variable elements of different mic pre designs.
Liquid Saffire 56 doesn't just offer pre-amp variety; sonic integrity is also guaranteed throughout. Both the Liquid and Saffire pre-amps ensure low noise and distortion, whilst quality digital conversion and JetPLL jitter elimination technology ensure pristine audio quality as your audio flows between the analogue and digital domains.
Alongside the two Liquid- and six Saffire pre-amps, are a host of i/o options; 10 analogue outputs, 16 channels of ADAT i/o, stereo S/PDIF or AES i/o (on RCA phono), MIDI i/o and 2 virtual 'loopback' inputs, unique to Focusrite, for routing digital audio between software applications - ideal for capturing audio playback within your computer. Mic, Line and Instrument inputs all utilise independent connectors. Consequently, all the inputs can remain permanently connected, ready for whatever your recording session demands, with the input type for each channel selectable via custom control software. In addition, word-clock i/o is provided on BNC connectors, allowing Liquid Saffire 56 to act as either a master clock for your studio, or as a slave to an existing clock.
Saffire Mix Control, the zero-latency 18 x 16 DSP Mixer/Router software provided with Liquid Saffire 56, features unparalleled output routing and monitoring, according to Focusrite. It also provides intuitive one-click set-up solutions, a clear and concise mixing layout, large on-screen metering for inputs, outputs and submixes and control over the choice of liquid emulation.
Liquid Saffire 56 also comes bundled with the Focusrite plug-in suite (Focusrite Compression, Reverb, Gating and EQ VST/AU plug-ins).
Each channel features independent phantom power and a high pass filter, switchable from the front panel, with the two instrument channels also featuring -9dB pads for additional headroom. Front panel 5-LED metering for all inputs, including ADAT and S/PDIF, offers accurate viewing of all levels.
Two independent headphone buses are provided, each with their own level controls available on the front panel. A dedicated stereo monitor mix output features pads for improved sound quality when connected to active monitor speakers. An 'anti-thump' circuit protects your monitor speakers from spikes when booting up or shutting down the unit. Front panel controls include a main monitor dial with dim and mute switches, all of which fully integrate with customisable software to cover every possible monitoring need, providing a set of controls for any set-up, from basic stereo to full 7.1 surround.
The new Liquid Saffire will be available worldwide in the first quarter of 2009 from a selection of pro audio retailers worldwide. Contact your local distributor for further details.