AMS-Neve Capricorn Digital Mixing Console (part 7)
Moving down the strip there is a good supply of buttons for the functions you would like to have readily available. Things like an Overdub switch, Track Send/Return (so that the strip can monitor the track send or return signals obviously), a Lock key which locks the send and return keys into their selected states, regardless of later setting of the global send and return keys. Three varieties of solo can be set globally: Cut Solo cuts all other signals so the channel can be heard in isolation, including any processing applied. APL is After Pan Listen which routes the signal from after the pan control to the monitors, PFL is what you would expect. The three modes can be set separately for input channels, monitor paths and groups. The Link Iso button isolates any strip control that has previously been ganged or linked with the other controls, allowing changes to be made in the relationship between an individual control and other linked controls. Above the large Mute button are Mute Play and Mute Rec buttons which are obviously to do with the automation. More on these later.
I hope AMS Neve have made the next two buttons I am going to mention especially durable since they are probably going to receive a lot of wear and tear. These are the two Access buttons for the strip. Two signal paths can be assigned to the strip to the upper and lower access buttons respectively. You can almost think of this like a conventional in-line console where instead of swapping the large and small faders you just hit the access key of the path you want to adjust. And of course there is no sharing of facilities between the two paths, both can have as much processing as they need subject to the overall limit of the power of the console. Late breaking information on the Access keys (which I picked up at the AES exhibition) is that apparently users were expecting, almost instinctively, to be able to access a signal path just by pressing the solo button and were surprised to find that you had to press the Access button as well. The advantage of software based operation is that almost anything enough people want is possible and AMS Neve will be responding to this.
Jumping back up to the top of the strip there is a VFD - a Vacuum Fluorescent Display - meter with a very fine matrix of dots. By default this meter provides information on the track send/return level, input level and dynamics metering. If your preferences waver between PPM and VU characteristics, they are of course both available. At the top of the meter are record ready lights showing machine status, and four small bar graphs at the bottom show compressor/limiter and expander/gate gain reduction. You can also see an representation of EQ settings if you wish, which makes this meter pretty versatile - and you get one of these little wonders per strip!