The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
My Opinion on the Focusrite Liquid Channel Channel Strips
Old 31st August 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 

My Opinion on the Focusrite Liquid Channel

Over the last couple weeks I've been experimenting with the Focusrite Liquid Channel in order to determine if it would work with my studio setup. I thought I might share some of my impressions to those also looking to purchase one, but might not have the opportunity to sit down with it and one out in great detail.

The reason why the Liquid Channel appealed to me is due to my minimalist style of doing things. I thought it would be great to have one or two pres that could add different flavours of pre-amplification depending on the style of music. The second attraction was the remote control option. I also do mobile recordings (with portable and collapsable acoustic walls) so it's nice to have the pres in a rack, on the floor, remoted by laptop with their Liquid Control software. Very cool indeed. My original choice was an Apogee Trak2 since I'm a fan of Apogee's stuff (the I/O options add a lot of flexibility), you can remote the pres, and it has a headphone jack. However, I can't seem to dig up a Trak2 now that they're discontinued, unless I want to purchase one off Ebay.

My first impressions of the Liquid Channel are good. It really brought out the mid range of my recordings, and was surprisingly warm for a digital modeler (oh sorry, convolution ... pffft). It's use of different analogue circuitry to emulate different classes of pres is a nice choice - compared to a complete digital recreation. This reminds me of the hybrid Vox amps and the old Digitech Pro gear that use a tube preamp into a digital section. They sound more authentic than all digital, yet gain the flexibility over all analogue. The best of both worlds.

As many of you high-end slutz know, sound quality is a subjective and relative construct. I decided to plug in an actual LA610 using a Rosetta 200 and compare the recordings with recordings of the Liquid Channel using the LA610 emulation. Obviously this might not be a fair comparison given the fact that the Apogee is probably a better converter and if what many say is true, colour the recording.

Nevertheless, the comparative results were interesting. The recordings made by the LA610/Apogee were much more detailed, articulate, with greater depth - obviously from the better converter. The similarities between the LA610 and the modeled 610 were few, but you could almost hear a slight commonality in character between the two. Perhaps if I had run the Liquid Channel into the Apogee this would have been a better comparison, but it seemed almost redundant to go through another conversion stage when it isn't necessary.

I spent another night recording acoustic guitar through the Liquid Channel running through the different pre replicas and confirmed what many pro reviews have been saying. There are subtle differences between the different models (sorry, replicas). You really have to listen carefully to hear the change in character, particularly from within a mix. I suspect that this is because, like most modeling, the Liquid Channel uses a base capture of the actual sound, converts it to digital, then manipulates it based on that original signal. That original signal I suspect, is what gives all of the models their common timbre. You'd think that the distinct switching of the analogue circuitry might prevent this, but only to a certain degree I suppose.

I didn't really get into the compressor replicas since you could easily get a compressor replica from a software plugin. The compressor block was disabled through the recording processes.

This being said, it makes me wonder if similar results could be obtained using a clean, articulate, neutral pre, with good conversion and simply colour it using an analogue plugin such as the UA, API, SSL. This is something that I'm currently looking into, and hope to experiment with tonight if my SSL Alpha arrives today (I'll be comparing plugs with the SSL, API, and UA.
Old 31st August 2007
  #2
Gear Nut
 
rochishin's Avatar
 

Would the diffrence in sound (good or bad) be due to the comp section in the LA-610 always being in the chain? As far as I know you can't bypass it on the LA-610. Whereas the liquid channel is modeling just the 610? Just a thought. Reviews are always welcome.
Old 31st August 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
gainstages's Avatar
I know this is a love it or hate it type of machine, but really, the analog path on this is really great. if you just run it on the flat setting with and without the transformer input you have a great sounding mic pre with 2 different personalities.

the models are good and in my experience are (on most models) very close. take 10 neve 1073s and put them in a room and people will swear that at least a few of them sound a bit different - this is due to manufacturing inconsistencies, different ages of the units, and perhaps even the environmental conditions in which the units are used. I think that the LC is within the normal range of variance for vintage gear. I have only used perhaps a dozen of the pre's modeled, and at least on those dozen, i think it is really good.

I liked your review though - good feedback, good comments. At the old price range, I probably wouldn't have bought another one, but at the price they are now, I would consider adding another myself.
Old 8th October 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
soundsubs's Avatar
 

awesome review, thanks!
im considering "upgrading" my 6176 for a LC.
one question: can you overdrive the preamp section and have it model the preamps its based on? for example, "neve" overdrive?
also, can you overdrive the compressor section similarly?

it would be great to have a single signal run through various preamp models and compressor models and see if they are indeed radically different.

i havent been able to find any examples online.

thanks in advance!
Old 8th October 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
gainstages's Avatar
you can download special "hot" models from focusrite
Old 8th October 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
lowfreq33's Avatar
 

I've used the L.C. before, it's pretyt cool. While I don't think it "nails" every pre or comp, it does give you lots of "color" options in one box. Wouldn't be on my "next purchase" list, but if I had a few grand lying around I might get one just for the variety.
Old 8th October 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
theflyest1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfreq33 View Post
I've used the L.C. before, it's pretyt cool. While I don't think it "nails" every pre or comp, it does give you lots of "color" options in one box. Wouldn't be on my "next purchase" list, but if I had a few grand lying around I might get one just for the variety.
I've had my liquid channel for several years - and the statement above is very true. The unit just gives you a large variety of colors whose usability is project dependent. Are the emulations "exact" - no...but the replicas should almost be viewed as different sonic options on their own...for you to choose from (i.e., not tied to sounding like X, Y or Z pre/comp).

I use it for VOX, and have had sessions where it was the last choice...and sessions where the artist felt it was the best fit for them. You really have to download some of the "hot", driven pres and figure out what sounds you like, and what you don't. You can spend a LOT of time doing this...but I find myself reverting to a few settings that consistently give me what I'm looking for (specifically the SSL emulations). The Liquid Control Recall software is very handy as well.

All in all, the LC is a pretty useful tool that will see use if you have it in your arsenal. I've thought about getting rid of it a few times...but knowing that some clients dig it, it's stayed in my rack and will continue to do so...

Peace,
Lohit
Old 9th October 2007
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundsubs View Post
it would be great to have a single signal run through various preamp models and compressor models and see if they are indeed radically different.

i havent been able to find any examples online.

thanks in advance!
It would, wouldn't it? Consider it done. Not free, but available.

http://www.3daudioinc.com/catalog/pr...e8b3eaebed2bb0
Old 9th October 2007
  #9
Gear Head
 
ramzijr's Avatar
 

been using it for a few months , sounds pretty good .
Old 22nd January 2008
  #10
Gear Head
 

Liquid Channel Love Or Hate

My two cents here is that it being such a "busy Box" one has to really learn to use it. I bought mine a year ago and tinkered with it quite a bit and at one point thought about getting rid of it. I decided to give it a second chance and reallly learn how to use it. Long story short, I just ordered my second unit. When dialed in correctly and carefully, it performed big time. All of the color or transparency was there. It truly is a powerful box. It is not for the turn on and go type. You must spend some time honing but once you do, you will be able to call your preset and adjust from there. It works for me with my DAW as well as with my 2" 16 track recorder direct. You gotta hear it coming back off tape!!!
Old 16th March 2015
  #11
SEA
Lives for gear
 
SEA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratech View Post
My two cents here is that it being such a "busy Box" one has to really learn to use it. I bought mine a year ago and tinkered with it quite a bit and at one point thought about getting rid of it. I decided to give it a second chance and reallly learn how to use it. Long story short, I just ordered my second unit. When dialed in correctly and carefully, it performed big time. All of the color or transparency was there. It truly is a powerful box. It is not for the turn on and go type. You must spend some time honing but once you do, you will be able to call your preset and adjust from there. It works for me with my DAW as well as with my 2" 16 track recorder direct. You gotta hear it coming back off tape!!!
I know this is an old thread but I just bought 2 Liquid Channels. One was 1K and hardly used and the other was a factory refurbish unit for $1,095 with a 1 year manufacture warranty. Both units had free shipping as well.

I just did an AB comparison to an AML ez1073 Neve clone
and the LC Neve setting. With a bit of EQ on the LC to match the AML it was almost spot on! Nobody could tell the difference.

So why would I spend $1,200 on the AML or better yet, $2,500 on 1 Neve pre?

And let's not forget the slew of vintage compressors and the built in EQ that's modeled after the ISA 110.

These units will never leave my studio!

SEA

Last edited by SEA; 16th March 2015 at 12:30 PM..
Old 6th September 2016
  #12
SEA
Lives for gear
 
SEA's Avatar
 

Has anyone A-B the digital AES out to the analog out? If so which do you prefer?

Thanks
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Dutchmuzik / High end
51
e-cue / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
5
superbee / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
powercord / High end
10

Forum Jump
Forum Jump