Our preceding recording channels Track One and Channel One have already been successful units by combining fast and easy operation with high processing quality. These channel strips particularly benefit from previous developments for single processors: the DynaMaxx compressor/limiter delivered the essentials for the respective channel strip stage, the unique De-Esser is also available as a single, dual-channel unit – and the preamplifier modules were also derived from existing products.
The development of new units in the last years inevitably evoked the wish to conceive a new channel strip which would benefit from our latest achievements.
The Frontliner comprises the same discrete, hybrid semiconductor/tube preamplifier design like the GoldMike Mk2. The compressor module is based upon the Kultube providing a full set of classic controls. We also integrated the Kultube's highlight, a signal-dependent automation of attack and release parameters which can still be influenced manually – with this option, manual and automatic control can be merged to always find the best settings.
The EQ section provides two semi-parametric filters for low and mid band as well as a bell filter delivering a silky and smooth top end. This filter set offers a perfect frequency first aid kit and is rounded off with a Tube Saturation control.
In contrast to semiconductors, a tube does not clip from a certain level, but approaches its limits by increasingly producing harmonic distortions. The sound effects from saturating a tube can often be used to improve the audio signal. The sound results resemble tape saturation effects and increase the density and perceived energy in a very pleasant way.
The task of a channel strip is relatively complex. There is not one specialized device for one job, but a unit that combines a lot of technology for the pre-amplification and processing of audio signals. That is why especially the Frontliner benefits very much from SPL’s innovations for targeted, efficient work. The De-Esser, for example, performs a highly complex processing, but can simply be adjusted with one single knob.
The straight and clear front panel design also supports fast and safe operation.
Each Frontliner module disposes of its own inputs and outputs. Sophisticated switching options allow to integrate Frontliner’s modules into a studio environment as if they were stand-alone devices. You can also group modules in any combination and you can determine inserts at each module’s input.
If you imagine the Frontliner modules as analog plug-ins, the additional value suddenly becomes apparent: this channel strip also is a versatile analog processing station. With one single unit, especially DAW based studios benefit from a first-class recording front-end and have access to high end analog processors for the main signal processing tasks.