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AMS-Neve Capricorn Digital Mixing Console (part 9)

Fader automation is expected. But what can Capricorn do to knock spots off the automation found on analogue consoles?

Automation

Fader automation is expected. But what can Capricorn do to knock spots off the automation found on analogue consoles? First, it can automate anything. There are few things on this console you can’t automate, 48V phantom power switching being one of them, and of course there is now no argument between VCAs and moving faders. Of course Capricorn’s faders move. They have to so they can display the levels you have set when you switch the strips to different signal paths. But hassles with updating moving fader automation don’t exist since no signal goes through the fader. Glide, where the control moves back to its previous pass position at a defined rate, is available on any of the controls. Auto takeover is there too. If there is any limitation then I must point to the lack of update mode on controls other than faders, but how often did you want to update the automation on an EQ control on your analogue console? You couldn’t do it so you never even thought about it, and I doubt whether you will now. In common with Flying Faders, Capricorn has a Mix Tree system, so you can call up a display showing every mix pass you ever did on a project and you can go back to any of them. So when the producer says at 1.30am that he rather liked that pass you did just after lunch you can go back to it in no time at all. (If it doesn’t sound like he remembered it then I don’t think it will be Capricorn’s fault). Hand in hand with automation goes recall. You can do it on an analogue console, but what a hassle! On a digital console you just have to ask for it and it will be there.

If you are getting the impression that I quite like Capricorn then you are exactly right. It seems logical at first meeting and the wealth of experience in AMS Neve’s knowledge bank means that it can almost be guaranteed to have every facility the user could require. I don’t suppose that anyone could operate it unassisted without a fair bit of hand holding, but how much hand holding does anyone need to work a VR or SSL first time round? One problem AMS Neve might have is that broadcasters have shown such an interest in it (in the sincerest possible way, by parting with their money) that it may be seen just as a broadcast console. But this is definitely not the case, the AMS Neve Capricorn is a console for every application and I am sure we will be seeing it in music studios everywhere very soon.

Thanks to Abbey Road studios for allowing me to play with their Capricorn. I enjoyed every minute.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004