Sonic Circus interviews Todd Humora, Director of Engineering at API, about the Legacy AXS
The API AXS A New Legacy
Legacy AXS: It’s sort of an evolution from the Legacy plus. The AXS is an inline console. So it’s two inputs per per channel strip. We refer to them as large and small. We normal the mic preamp in the compressor into the small thing that will be a record path most likely, and then we bring the line into the large. You can flip so you can flip those either way. The direct out is assignable from the large or small. We added a new feature of direct out pre. That was something new on this console. It allows you…if you are using the direct out as your record path, which we intend it to, it allows you to bypass as much as possible and get basically the shortest path from your mic preamp.
The 500 slot is the EQ, it’s a standard in the large, but you can send it to the small, and then if you go direct out post, which is not pre, then the EQ would be in that path. But there’s nothing that says you couldn’t throw a compressor or something in there. I mean we obviously offer the dynamic via compressor or gate.
The small, as far as high pass, there’s a variable high pass on the large fader which is taken from the Vision and they’re just the fixed frequency, the same as a 1608 in the sense it has a fixed frequency on the small. Both have a trim like all the large format consoles do. There is insert on both large and small and that is recallable in the automation system.
The small input, if you’re not using the mic pre, we offer something called an alt line input which is just another line input – not bypassing the mic pre and coming in that way. So on a 32 input frame like this during mix down, you could have 64 mono inputs for mixing and that doesn’t even get into the six stereo returns. We have 12 boxes exactly the same as a Legacy Plus. First six mono, last six stereo level pan. You can take a small fader into the upper set. The lower set is always large fader.
Pre-post: the 200 slot – dynamic slot – compressor most of the time. Normally, as I said, into the small but you can flip that into the large. So there’s a lot of flexibility of moving those two things into either path. And that can be done locally here and some of them globally as well. You can do an entire console flip if you want. Can set the out line input on everything if you want, you can clear it, you can protect channels with safe from those functions as well. You can do the compressor large globally as well. We do offer a compressor bypass which literally takes it out of the path and then you could patch that spot around if you really wanted to.
3 stereo busses assignable. Both large and small can assign to the stereo and then 24 buses only large or small to the 24 bus. That’s selectable right there. 24 bus masters up here. 3 stereo bus masters, and then you have a grand master. They assign down from your 3 stereo faders for your starters and grand masters. Your 12 aux masters are across here. You can AFL those if you want here but you can also monitor some of them down here.
Now this is the new cool thing – we have 6 stereo returns on the AXS that are with automated large fader and automated insert. In a strict traditional sense you know you have 12 aux’s, or 6 stereos if you want, so you can bring six stereo returns back. You can feed just straight into them. They show up on the patch bay right here. Six stereo inputs so if you had, say, stem stereo stem somebody provided you, you could have a six stereo sub mix here. These six are assignable to the three stereo A, B, and C, and the grand master. So the grand master effectively has nine stereo inputs to it. Ten if you count its own external in. Those nine are the three stereo busses and then the six stereo returns.
And then, one other cool thing we do is, we have a bus button here. And what that does, is it would take buses one and two and assign them directly within the console, no patching necessary, as the input here 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 . You could then use them as bus masters. But because they have an insert, and that insert is also under automation control, you can insert compressors here, start running some parallel compression under automation right in the console in front of you.
All your standard monitoring – you can do program monitoring of A,B,C, Grandmaster, plus those last three stereo auxes, so if you’re running cue mixes out of there you can pull those up quickly without having to go up and AFL them up here.
Four 2-track returns, Two 6-tracks so you can actually set the monitoring up in surround. The only inputs in the console that are surround are the two 6-tracks so it’s just for monitoring. There’s no mixing of it here. Main stereo plus 2 alt stereos with level trims. A studio output as well.
Sort of circling back, the direct out pre… If I was going to let you record that, I wanted to be you to be able to solo it. So we have traditional PFL so yes AFL. You go PFL which is literally just in front of the fader. Or you can go PFL 2 which is further up the path to the point where that pre is. So you can solo it and monitor it if you need to run the ears or things. Standard solo in place. Have a mix over for the solo so that if you want to continue whatever program you’re listening to at a reduced level when you solo a channel, that’s what that would do. It’s a cool little feature.
Bypass, or 0 DB’s. We’ve added in a few consoles. Again, we talked about the alt line input into the smalls, but these are manual faders. So there’s a 0 DB small. And what that does is basically bypasses the fader at Unity on all the smalls. So if you have some automation written in your DAW for those, and then you can have the automation here, and can all sort of work together. And then just some VU selections up there. Talk back, talkback assignments, and all that stuff.
The 1608 has the screen and all the hard buttons. This basically has just taken the hard buttons and put them all into the touchscreen and it’s actually working out really good for us. It also incorporates the DAW control or bringing in the labeling of the DAW. So I can go in and out that way. This is really an evolution of that 1608 system. The Vision system still has the external computer but the Vision… so with the 1608 the only things you can control are the fader, the mute, and the insert. With the AXS, you can do a fader, large and small mute, large and small insert. So basically four switches on a channel plus the fader. A Vision you can control 2 faders, plus 14 switches on the module, plus another 32 switches on all the routing. So they’re all sort of an evolution from that uptown system of years ago.
So the automation runs itself and you know controls the fader and the levels here, but the DAW function which is the control of faders, and a few other select and write enable functions, is done over the HUI protocol and that’s consistent from the 1608, to the AXS, to the Vision. Because that’s the way Pro Tools let’s outside manufacturers talk to it. Audio running through these faders motorize everything.
There’s a row here that’s tie line in, and there’s a row here which is multi track out. And those normal to the mic pre in and the line in, but you can obviously patch them. Early on they appeared at the back as a connection so we’ve achieved the normal, you just couldn’t patch it. We have an optional one extra row that fits in ours that you could use for additional tie lines or whatever.
Speaking of a channel, it controls the channel mute. You can override it but it controls the channel mute. But in a DAW mode this switch can actually do a different function. But yeah these are the mutes that would be written into the automation on the channel and the same thing up here. We just have separate buttons down here whereas this just the one button here so. And the insert as well that goes into the…the automation is controlling this right now. It’s a soft button…