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Audient - Dual Layer Technology Control Surfaces
Old 15th December 2010
  #91
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The final installment of this walkthrough guide for the Audient ASP2802.

DAW Control Section

A detailed rundown of the features by product designer Steve Flower is available on this video:



Plus a full channel strip for your delectation!
Attached Thumbnails
Audient - Dual Layer Technology-2802-strip.jpg  
Old 23rd July 2011
  #92
Lives for gear
 
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Wow, you weren't kidding when you said final installment, three months later and it's a Focusrite product!
Well, I bought the ASP2802 in those intervening three months, so I will from now on refer to it as the Little Orphan Audient.
Will updates for the original be available from Audient or will the Focusrite branded desk remain compatible allowing shared updates, for example an OSX Lion version of Aunet? As the Dual Layer Control Module for the ASP8024 remains an Audient product, I would guess updates are still going to come from the original Audient development team.
So my Little Orphan has been working out nicely. I have a Trident Trimix as well, and I wanted to add a cleaner monitor section and additional stereo returns to that desk. I looked at every outboard summing box/monitor controller/custom master section out there and didn't find anything that sold me as a complete solution.
The ASP actually came up in a search for monitor controllers. I looked at the monitor facilities and it had everything my current desk lacked. I thought an unbalanced third output would make it perfect, but it's cue and talkback sections fit the bill and the multiple summing sources were perfect for integration with a second desk.
Since installing the ASP, I've discovered it actually does have a third unbalanced monitor output: the headphone section! I hooked it up to a TRS patchbay, as the jack on the back is rather inconvenient, and realized I could patch in my boom box or powered computer speakers right there as a third reference. I figured it would be a mix time only thing so they wouldn't require the talkback speaker dimming, but in setting it up I found the phones out works exactly like the other two outs, dimming on talkback, L/R speaker cut, mono, and polarity flip. So it's connected all the time and I just hit the power button on the speakers if I want just phones without the third reference speakers on. Really nice.
So the monitor section really delivered as I hoped it would after looking at a couple of Audient stand-alone monitor products. For stereo returns, the ASP offered two dedicated stereo fx returns plus four stereo summing returns on a third set of controls. This was exactly 6 more stereo returns than my Trident had, which was zero. The Trident did however have 8 subgroups, which the Audient lacks. This allowed me to return subgroups from the Trident to the Audient either as stereo pairs on the summing inputs or taking individual busses into the fx returns for panning or two pairs of mono busses. Another good fit.
So that sold me on the master section of the board. Of course, there's a stereo bus compressor with mix control I've been abusing as well. There's also the 8 mic pres that can feed the direct out while you still use the channel path via the insert return, as well as the cue path via the DAW input. There's also the automated analog faders, though now I want to switch to Logic because the automation is much more comprehensive compared to PT9.
Finally, it's DAW control layer has caused me to re-arrange my entire control room. I used a DAW to the side arrangement with my Trident front and center. Now with the ASP and Trident side by side, the DAW layer made me move my screen to just behind the ASP, so it's about even height-wise with the Trident's meter bridge. When you page through fader layers on the ASP, the screen follows the selection. So I keep my mixer view 8 channels wide and my aspect ratio is just about spot on so the DAW channel width looks right in line with the board channel width. Once I set that up, any nit-picking over the scribble strips being under the master section became a non-issue. Another thing I didn't really pick-up on until I started using the board was the Aux layer functionality. In PT9, I leave the Aux display on the one large fader, and as you bank through your auxes on the ASP control layer, the Aux fader display follows your selection. Simple I know, but when you hit Aux again, the Aux conrol flips to the main faders and your banking up and down the session on your aux mix. Really cool discovery when you didn't realize it had that functionality until after it's installed.
After reading that back, let me just state I'm not a dealer trying to move some discontinued stock. I know this forum has turned that brand of posting into an art form, but this is from a first-time Audient buyer, long-time Trident user. So with that, here are some of the ASP's misses;
Update request number one: the DAW layer pan encoders always show up as stereo channels in PT9 until you touch them, then they update to show their mono pan position. Annoying.
Update request number two: the DAW layer insert encoders will instatiate new plug-ins, but having to scroll through the whole list makes it useless. Okay, you probably can't do much there, as I can't think of a better way to organize it either. How about it just starts at the last plug-in used so you can quickly drop your favorite in on different tracks?
Update request number three: Again, the DAW layer insert encoders don't include the bypass button on some plugs in PT9, including the stock EQ and dynamics. Really? The most important control on these and I have to stop smoothly adjusting gain on the knobs to hit bypass with the mouse? I realize this is probably an Avid/HUI profile issue, but it does hamper the usefulness of the plug-in control.
So my gripes with the board revolve around the HUI implementation in PTs. I am considering going Logic to take advantage of the additional analog automation control it offers over PTs, but PTs won't be going away.
The faders do sometimes drag when flipping layers, so their relative positions to one another won't be spot on, eventhough they're both at the same value. Would a fader calibration utility be a possible update as well, like you find on Yamaha digital boards (which have the same behaviour)?
Is there no hope for the Little Orphan?
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