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Microphone Month

Focusrite Liquid Channel Review

It is the only choice for somebody who wants this caliber of sound combined with this much diversity.

The Focusrite Liquid Channel is a single channel modeling microphone preamp, compressor, and EQ. By themselves, these may not seem like much to write home about (or justify a $3000 price tag). But the Liquid Channel is much more than just a channel strip that tries to be like another channel strip through digital processing or physical duplication. Rather, it has managed to become the best of both worlds through digitally controlled physical changes in the analog section to accurately and flexibly mimic the behavior of certain preamps and compressors.

When I tested the Liquid Channel, I used a Neumann TLM127. I wanted to test four things: Overall sound quality, emulation accuracy, diversity, and ease of use. To test the emulation accuracy, I recorded a spoken word passage through an LA-610, and again through the Liquid Channel set to an M610 through an 1176. I then made a composite of the two to see how apparent the difference was. The Liquid Channel was so close that I lost track of which was which. I had to scrap the first composite and make a new one from the original tracks. It really was that spot on. To test the diversity, I recorded a different spoken word passage through a Manley/Distressor combination. Then I recorded the same passage through an SSL/DBX combination. While I was recording, I was thinking that this would be perfect for an overdub facility that needs a wide range of sounds. The difference was night and day, and the unit itself didn’t seem to have its own signature sound. The unit couldn’t be easier to use. To select a preamp, you push “preamp select” and to select a compressor, you push “compressor select.” Its just that simple. Any combination can be saved and recalled. This is another huge relief for overdub facilities who have regular clients and don’t want to keep dialing in that killer sound that they had a month ago.

The Focusrite Liquid Channel is not just the best choice for somebody who wants a wide range of high quality sounds and easy recallability. It is the only choice for somebody who wants this caliber of sound combined with this much diversity. I have never used anything like it.

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