The 2010 Musikmesse show in Frankfurt saw the launch of a brand-new compact console from Audient: the ASP2802. A hybrid mixer/control surface, the 2802 features eight analogue channel strips, each with a mic preamp, two aux sends, a cue send, a line input and a DAW return, as well as Cut and Solo buttons.
The channels also feature balanced insert points, and motorised faders for analogue level automation — but perhaps the console’s biggest draw is the inclusion of what Audient are calling ‘Dual-Layer Technology’. This allows the eight faders to be switched over to control your DAW using the Mackie HUI protocol, which, on the ASP2802, looks very well implemented: the comprehensive transport section includes a jog wheel for shuttling or scrubbing through your projects, and there are four endless rotary encoders, allowing hands-on adjustment of plug-in parameters. The motorised faders can be switched in banks to allow control of up to 128 channels in your DAW, and they are all touch-sensitive, so you can select a channel in your sequencer simply by touching the relevant fader cap.
Usefully, the meters in the eight channel strips can be switched to reflect either the analogue input level or the DAW output level, with meter ballistics remaining the same in either mode.
The monitor section looks similarly well appointed, offering, as it does, an alternative monitor output, Cut and Dim switches (with an adjustable amount of attenuation when the Dim switch is engaged), a left-channel polarity invert switch, a mono button, a separate headphone level control (in addition to the monitor level), and a talkback switch with built-in mic. There’s also a 3.5mm jack socket for connecting a consumer music device, such as an MP3 player.
Though the desk only features eight channel strips, the total number of inputs available on mixdown is 28, thanks to the eight DAW returns, two stereo effects returns, and four stereo summing inputs, which have a master level control, balance knob, and mono sum button.
And finally, the ASP2802 has a built-in bus compressor, which, in addition to the usual controls, features a wet/dry mix knob, allowing for parallel compression. The compressor is also available for use on external sources, with inputs and outputs — including a side-chain input — located on the mixer’s rear panel.
The Audient ASP2802 is competitively priced, at just £3760 including VAT, and should be available towards the end of May.