AMS-Neve Capricorn Digital Mixing Console (part 8)
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
- Aux select
- Input select
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.
Im going to have to skip over a lot in the AFU or I wont 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 theres 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 dont 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 couldnt say that it is going to replace your favourite outboard. Ill say that its very capable and leave it at that.