Liquid Saffire 56 is Focusrite’s new flagship 2U multi-channel firewire audio interface. Liquid technology combines with Saffire PRO firewire interfacing to deliver a host of authentic pre-amp flavours, seamless software integration, excellent routing flexibility and future-proof, rock-solid driver stability.In addition to six of Focusrite's legendary mic-pre's, two of Liquid Saffire 56’s pre-amps utilises the third generation of Focusrite’s Liquid Pre-amp, providing the choice of ten different pre-amp emulations. These include emulations based on the Neve 1073, the Pultec MB-1, Telefunken V72 and seven more. A harmonics dial on each Liquid pre-amp lets you account for variance in vintage originals of the same model, or use levels of 2nd, 3rd and 5th Harmonic distortion creatively to shape your sound.
Liquid Saffire 56 doesn’t just offer pre-amp variety; sonic integrity is also guaranteed throughout. Both the Liquid and Saffire pre-amps ensure low noise and distortion, whilst quality digital conversion and JetPLLTM jitter elimination technology ensure pristine audio quality as your audio flows between the analogue and digital domains.
Alongside the two Liquid- and six Saffire pre-amps, are a host of i/o options; 10 analogue outputs, 16 channels of ADAT i/o, stereo SPDIF i/o, MIDI i/o and 2 virtual ‘loopback’ inputs for routing digital audio between software applications - ideal for capturing audio playback within your computer. Mic, Line and Instrument inputs all utilise independent connectors, with the input type for each channel selectable via custom control software. Consequently, all the inputs can remain permanently connected, ready for whatever your recording session demands. In addition, word-clock i/o is provided on BNC connectors, allowing Liquid Saffire 56 to act as either a master clock for your studio, or as a slave to an existing clock. Every channel features an independent phantom power and a high pass filter, switchable from the front panel, with the two instrument channels also featuring -9dB pads for additional headroom. Front panel 5-LED metering for all inputs, including ADAT and SPDIF, offers accurate viewing of all levels.
Saffire Mix Control, the zero-latency 18 x 16 DSP Mixer/Router software provided with Liquid Saffire 56 features unparalleled output routing and monitoring. It also provides intuitive one-click set-up solutions, a clear and concise mixing layout, large on-screen metering for inputs, outputs and submixes and control over the choice of liquid emulation. Two independent headphone buses are provided, each with their own level controls available on the front panel. A dedicated stereo monitor mix output features pads for improved sound quality when connected to active monitor speakers. An 'anti-thump' circuit protects your monitor speakers from spikes when booting up or shutting down the unit.
Liquid Pre Technology
Rather than creating a similar sound to vintage units, as with modelling devices, Liquid Technology samples their sonic behaviour. This is achieved through Dynamic Convolution; the application of a unique, level-dependent 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 accurate emulation. However, Mic-pre emulation can't be achieved with software alone. Hardware is required in addition to account for the physical interaction with the microphone. Mic-pre's have always had to connect to the source microphone, but it's an interactive system that isn't 100% efficient. Mic. pre-amps have been designed since 1920's to suit a wide variety of different types of mics.- passive carbon dynamics, then coil-based designs, then valve amplifiers, large diaphragms, phantom powered condensers etc.
Hence, different vintages and types of mic. pre-amp, will vary dramatically in terms of the way that their input has been designed. For example, the range of electronic/transformer front ends that have been used over the years exhibit a wide-ranging set of impedances, and this is why an analogue front end needs to be included. If a specific mic. is not being loaded by the analogue circuit just as it was by an original vintage device, then the sound from that microphone will be different. The is no real mic-pre standard. Take a transformer for instance. It has two coils of wire, the 1st coil generates a magnetic field, and this then passes into the 2nd coil- which in itself is not a fixed transfer mechanism, there's a lot of variation in transformers.
What impedance appears at the input of the pre is also a key factor- when you connect a mic. it has an output impedance of its own. The two sides (mic. and pre) react, and frequency-related level can vary wildly as a result. Capacitances also interact as both mic and transformer have capacitances that vary, so HF roll off may occur for example, or you may get an HF peak (The famous Focusrite 'airiness' typified by the ISA range for example,) Older mics. designed for broadcast applications often roll off at e.g. 12kHz, since before 1970 few people cared about HF matters. (Designers used to just roll off at c12kHz to filter out problems above this threshold.)
Consequently, The only way to accommodate the full range of different designs is to allow huge flexibility in the resistance and capacitance parameters in a custom analogue circuit designed specifically for that flexibility. By including a 'Liquid' pre-amp circuit containing a flexible signal path and variable impedance value, Liquid Saffire 56 can mimic that of the classic mic-pre to ensure that the interaction with the microphone is close to the original.
Hence, The Liquid pre-amp physically changes analogue circuitry as well as using dynamic convolution technology to create mic-pre emulations. Focusrite has built in the variations required to reproduce the vagaries of a range of electronic mic-pres. The capacitance and resistance are then varied in the circuit, and Dynamic Convolution technology is used to emulate the full range of electronic pre's. Tube emulation is also covered 100% - this is taken care of by the Dynamic Convolution process. Whatever artefacts were present in a classic vintage tube piece are also present in the Liquid Pre-amp. The sound of every opto, and every VCA compressor, every transformer-balanced, electronically balanced (including tube pre's) can be emulated, because each device's response has been calculated.
- All of Focusrite's FireWire interfaces are fully compatible with Thunderbolt using a simple FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter. Focusrite fully supports the use of Thunderbolt with our FireWire interfaces.
Two Liquid Pre-amps
The marriage of a hugely flexible analogue front end with cutting-edge dynamic convolution DSP, each Liquid Pre-amp lets you choose from ten different classic pre-amp emulations, with an eleventh ‘flat’ option.
Six High Quality Award-winning Focusrite Pre-amps
Six award-winning Saffire pre-amps complement two Liquid pre-amps. All eight pre-amps demonstrate the same wide bandwidth philosophy behind the early vintage Focusrite units.
High Quality 24-bit/192kHz Firewire Interface
Professional digital conversion and JetPLLTM jitter elimination technology; pristine audio quality and reliable synchronisation are guaranteed.
Total I/O Count of 28 Inputs and 28 Outputs
A host of i/o options are provided*, including a unique loop-back facility for routing audio between software applications via Saffire Mix Control.
Suite of Focusrite VST/AU plug-ins
Upgrade your standard sequencer effects and bring a touch of class to your session with Focusrite Compression, Reverb, Gating and EQ VST/AU plug-ins.
Two separate headphone buses
Two artists can receive independent and fully customised monitor mixes. Each output has an independent level control available on the front panel.
Saffire Mix Control Zero-latency DSP Mixer/Router
Routing flexibility and intuitive one-click set-up solutions; Saffire Mix Control provides an 18 x 16 DSP mixer with excellent output routing and monitoring capabilities.
Front panel 5-LED metering
LED metering for each of the analogue, ADAT1, ADAT2 or S/PDIF inputs offers accurate viewing of levels direct from the front fascia.