Posts Tagged ‘Focusrite Liquid Mix’


Noel Gallager and Focusrite combine for TCT live sessions

April 1, 2009

Oasis songwriter teams up with Focusrite and Gareth Johnson to record and mix live sound for Teenage Cancer Trust…

Noel Gallagher Teenage Cancer Trust gig

Noel Gallagher at his Teenage Cancer Trust gig

Gareth Johnson is no stranger to recording live music. For years now he’s been drafted in for live mixing duties for the likes of Kasabian, The Who, Kaiser Chiefs and Duffy. Now he’s adding Noel Gallagher to a CV that’s littered with A-listers from the cream of major record labels and a stack of independents too.

For the last four years Gareth has also been involved with the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs, an annual outing for the charity that sees them pack the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) for a week of stellar performances from some of the biggest stars of the day.

As a part of raising awareness for the week-long festival, which kicked off  March 24th, Gareth has been drafted in to capture the sound of rock‘n’roll once again.

To coincide with this year’s concerts, Noel Gallagher released the recordings of his performance at TCT RAH in 2007. The Oasis singer and songwriter performed a selection of Oasis’ greatest songs, as well as some of his favourite tracks by other artists, including There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths and Butterfly Collector with Paul Weller.

The new live disc, The Dreams We Have As Children, was released digitally and as an exclusive covermounted 11-track CD with The Sunday Times.

Over the years Gareth has become a tour-de-force on the live circuit, assembling a rig that he can rely on to get the best results – the artists he’s recording are global superstars, so there can be no compromise and no second takes.

Gareth and his Liquid Mix

Gareth and his Liquid Mix

“To capture the performance we use Focusrite Octopre preamps. I chose them because they’re reliable and neutral enough to leave scope for a wide range of mix options.”

“Then for mixdown, I need to be able to instantly recall settings on complex mixes with high track counts, which is where Focusrite’s Liquid Mix comes into its own. Working with racks of traditional outboard on projects like this would be a massive pain, but with Liquid Mix it’s just not an issue.”

“Basically Liquid Mix has revolutionised the mix process by enabling me to introduce some great tones and colour into my mixes. No patchbays, no dodgy cables – just a virtual rack stocked full of the finest outboard known to man!”

Using Liquid Mix also means I can keep costs to an absolute minimum, which is essential when working with the TCT. So the whole rig consists of Focusrite Octopres at the front end, then into the Macbook Pro (and Logic) before bringing in the Liquid Mix. Finally I run the audio through an external 16 channel summing box before taking a stereo mix back into the computer. Of course good monitoring is always important, and for this I use my trusted KRKs.

“The Liquid Mix is a real solution for a very real problem. Yes, of course I want bottomless pockets to buy loads of great outboard for my studio, but that’s just not going to happen. I can, however, afford the Liquid Mix, which is much more convenient and packs just as much of a punch. Ultimately, what we have here is a revolutionary product.”

“Dynamic convolution is a great asset in the studio. I own a few of the units that have been emulated on Liquid Mix, and while it’s nice to look at a rack full of expensive outboard gear, in the context of a large multi-track mix you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the emulation and the real thing.”

“Liquid Mix is a great way to get character, colour and tone into your mix, and really useful for getting elements to jump out in the mix. I used API 550b emulations on the guitars, I love the 1176 on the vocal, while for the strings I opted for the Massive Passive emulation. Then I used the SSL G series comp to glue the mix together. And the results? Well, they’re just awesome.”


Liquid Mix at Dolphin

Teenage Cancer Trust website

Oasis Myspace page

The Complete Noel Gallagher Gear Guide

To view Oasis gear available at Dolphin Music, please visit the Oasis Artist Page


Midge Ure’s great adventure with Liquid Mix

November 13, 2008

The former Ultravox front man, Live Aid organiser and Masterchef runner up (!) embarks on a new solo album and a whole new Canadian adventure with Liquid Mix in his backpack.

Midge Ure and Liquid Mix

After fronting the uber-successful synth rock outfit Ultravox in the ’80s, it would have been easy for Midge Ure to sit on his pile and retire gracefully. But that was never going to happen, so a quick stint at changing the world followed as he helped organise Band Aid, writing the second best-selling single in UK chart history (Do They Know It’s Christmas?) along the way.

Midge has since enjoyed success as a solo artist and is still gigging around the world to this day – but even that’s not enough. Recently he embarked on his biggest adventure yet: building a new home in the wilds of Canada – but thanks to his laptop and Focusrite’s Liquid Mix, the music continued.

“We’ve had a stint living in Canada, north of Montreal,” he says on a flying visit back to the UK. “We built a log cabin on a lake and I took the family over there – big changes, but fun! I went to finish off a new solo album I’ve been working on for the last three years as well. My studio over there is what the Americans would call a ‘studio lite’: a Mac laptop and a few key bits of gear.”

And one of those choice bits of gear is Focusrite’s Liquid Mix, which Midge chose for its quality and portability…

“The whole idea of the Liquid Mix is that it sits in your backpack and you can take it and use it wherever you happen to be, so that’s what I’m doing! I use the Liquid Mix to keep my set-up as minimal and portable as possible because I come back here [to the UK] for quite a few gigs. Now I can take my set-up, put it in a backpack and off I go, which has always been a dream of mine. The idea is to use all that dead time – waiting in airports, travelling on planes, sitting in hotel rooms – and being able to utilise it. So I need a set-up that sounds great and does what I want – and that’s where Liquid Mix comes in.”

So what else attracted Midge to Liquid Mix, aside from the portability aspect?

“When you read interviews with other engineers raving about something, you think ‘hold on a second, if they say it’s good then I’m going to check it out’. And that’s how it works with me as well. Plus, of course, Focusrite have such a good name and track record – they’re never going to put something out that’s substandard.”

And much to Midge’s satisfaction, it turns out his hunch was right.

“Plug in the Liquid Mix and it’s instantly useable – and everything you do suddenly sounds better,” he says. “Whether it’s the EQ or compressors, it just beefs up your sound, giving your music a quality that just isn’t there with my standard sequencer package. Without naming names, it [Midge’s sequencer] has all the EQs and compressors in there, but Liquid Mix just sounds better.”

View Focusrite Liquid Mix page for more info.

For further information about Midge Ure, head to  


Qemists prescribe Focusrite!

September 3, 2008

For The Qemists, there’s just one way to get that killer sound – a pair of Liquid Mixes and the ISA 430…

The Qemists’ Dan & Liam.jpg

For Brighton-based production trio The Qemists, rocking the dancefloor is simply a question of creating massive, peak-time bombs… and their secret weapons of choice? Focusrite’s Liquid Mix and the ISA 430: “Focusrite have an immense reputation for high fidelity products.”

So says Liam Black, one-third of The Qemists – Drum & Bass production outfit for the legendary Ninja Tune label. They may have started out as a traditional rock band over a decade ago, but a mutual love for the exploding Drum & Bass scene of the late 90s has seen our production trio become renowned for tearing up dancefloors the world over with their three-man, 2-deck, 2-laptop set-up.

These guys know just about everything there is about getting big sound – how else do you get to live-engineer the likes of Basement Jaxx, Kano and Lady Sovereign?

And from their Brighton-based studio they’ve remixed the likes of Coldcut, Cooper Temple Clause and Roots Manuva, while their tracks have garnered huge support from such heavyweights as Zane Lowe (Radio 1), Andy C and Pendulum.

In the studio they need to be sure they’re getting the very best quality signals into their PC set-up, which is why you’ll find the legendary Focusrite ISA 430 Mk.II permanently strapped across the front end. “We needed a real workhorse for our recording setup – and what’s better than an ISA 430?” Liam suggests.

“We needed a really high quality channel strip for recording the live aspects of our album – guitars and vocals and the like… and this thing is the business – it makes cheap mics sound great and great mics sound just fantastic. But it’s not just the sound – the ISA 430’s routing capabilities are also really useful. To be able to switch the order of the processing is great – it’s amazingly versatile.

With those signals tracked to perfection, Liam turns his attention to the mixing process, and because their projects often contain around 100 tracks they reach for the Liquid Mix to process the more important parts within a song…

“We really needed more DSP, and Liquid Mix  is the only thing out there that can emulate so many different modern and vintage compressor and EQ models for a sensible price. The Liquid Mixes are used as extra dynamics and EQ processing in our two PC-based production studios. It’s the quality that counts – if you use cheap EQ and compression on parts that sit high in the mix… well, that never works out particularly well, especially with vocals.”

“So not only do we have the Liquid Mix’s 32 channels of whatever vintage or modern EQ or Compression you can imagine, but there’s also the scope to make up your own processors from the best bits that you like. Really, what more could you want!?”

“So when we’re producing we’re now able to make sure that the real core elements of our songs can run through a huge choice of really high quality plug-ins. This in turn makes the whole mix process far less problematic – mainly because of the quality of the EQs and compressors, but also due to the fact that the computer isn’t taking quite as much of a hammering as it would do without the Liquid Mix!”

“We did some mixes at a top London Studio recently, and they had just about every bit of gear going. This was the first time we had experienced analogue gear on such a large scale. But ultimately we were amazed at just how close the Liquid Mix  sounds when compared to the original hardware. But sometimes we thought the Liquid Mix  sounded even better, especially in terms of background noise.”

More info:

Focusrite Liquid Mix 16 (Firewire Mix Processor)

Focusrite Liquid Mix

Focusrite Liquid Mix Expansion Card

Focusrite ISA 430 Mk II

Look out for The Qemists album, Join The Q, out January ’09.


Liquid Technology picks up yet more awards!

July 24, 2008

Four years in and Focusrite’s Liquid Technology is still picking up the awards?!

Focusrite still picking up awards...

Focusrite still picking up awards...

Despite Focusrite’s Liquid range already racking up 18 awards, Focusrite’s Liquid 4PRE – the second Liquid product to provide Liquid pre-amplification – has just been nominated for yet another major industry award; the TEC Award in the mic pre category…

Focusrite’s Liquid Technology is already a ‘must-have’ for the studios of many of the world’s top producers and engineers who are getting stunning results with Liquid Technology – be that the Liquid Channel or Liquid Mix, Liquid Mix 16 or Liquid 4PRE. The reason Liquid Technology has become the weapon of choice for discerning producers everywhere? Simple. Inside these compact and ergonomically styled studio solutions are emulations of the most respected hardware in the history of music production, providing a variety and quality of sound that is quite simply unparalleled. Classic mic pres, vintage compression, sought-after EQs – they’re all in there!

Surely that’s why Liquid Technology has just been put in the frame for a 19th award in the four years since it revolutionised modern music production. Good reason for the Focusrite team to hope to pick up another prestigious TEC Award this October in San Francisco, as Giles Orford, Marketing Director for Focusrite, states:

“Technical Innovation is what the TEC Awards are all about, and in my mind the Liquid pre-amp has been the only real innovation in mic pres since they were first invented. In terms of sheer audio specifications it holds its own, but when it comes to variety of sound, well… it’s quite simply incomparable. With Liquid Technology, and in particular the Liquid 4PRE, Focusrite comfortably retains its title as the market leader for microphone pre-amplification”

About Liquid Technology:
Rather than creating a similar sound to vintage units, as with modelling devices, Liquid Technology samples their sonic behaviour. This is achieved through Sintefex’s patented Dynamic Convolution process – the application of a unique, level-dependant set of responses to an audio signal. These measured responses, sampled at numerous levels and with every possible setting combination, are applied to the input stream on a sample-by-sample basis for genuine emulation.

About the 4PRE:
Focusrite’s new Liquid 4PRE four-channel microphone pre-amplifier utilises The Liquid Channel’s proven Liquid technology, marrying a hugely flexible analogue front end with cutting-edge dynamic convolution DSP to deliver the sounds of 40 vintage and classic microphone pre-amplifiers across all four channels. Augmented by fully digital controls and remote software control over Ethernet, Liquid 4PRE provides the ultimate fluid multi-channel front-end.