At the Avid Connect Live event, part of the Summer NAMM 2019 show in Nashville, Avid has announced the Avid S4 control surface as a replacement to the Avid S6 M10 range. The Avid S4 comes pre built and configured in one of 3 standard frames with up to 24 faders, with the option to have some additional modules from the S6 range including the Joystick, Post and 32 knob modules. In this article we have the information you need to know to decide whether the Avid S4 is for you.
Who Is The Avid S4 Aimed At?
The Avid S4 has been designed with the smaller recording studios, independent music mixers, and smaller rooms in mind. When it comes to audio post-production workflows, the same concept of smaller rooms and smaller footprints applies whether it is for immersive audio mixing, sound design, ADR, Foley, and sound editing. The Avid S4 has been designed to provide the workflow versatility you need to take on any project, from film, TV, and OTT media, to commercials and games, with Dolby Atmos integration, when required, to help you complete diverse projects on time and on budget, in smaller rooms than before.
The Avid S4 will also sit well in media education facilities providing the power of the Avid S6 in a more affordable solution for students to learn music and audio post-production workflows for a career in the media and entertainment industry. Its semi-modular design can be tailored to support a range of courses from music recording and production, to sound design, Dolby Atmos mixing, and re-recording workflows.
The Avid S4 will also be well suited to smaller suites in bigger facilities that need the extensive mixing capabilities, deep DAW integration, and visual feedback of Avid S6 but with a smaller footprint.
More Than One DAW - Not Just Pro Tools
The Avid S4 is a EUCON based control surface and what that means is that it can provide deep integration with a range of different DAW platforms including Pro Tools, Nuendo, Pyramix, Logic Pro, and Cubase as well as other audio and video software like Media Composer and Premiere Pro, using the S4 touchscreen and surface. With the S4, you can use two different applications simultaneously, whether that is two different DAW platforms or two different Pro Tools systems.
See What You Are Doing
Like its big brother the Avid S6, the S4 enables you to see so much more than some other control surfaces like channel meters, groups, EQ curves, and automation data, through to scrolling high-res waveforms on the display modules, all of which can be edited right from the surface, the Avid S4 has been designed to give extensive visual feedback and insight into sessions, so you can create incredible mixes with confidence.
The Avid S4 has been designed to easily assign and control talkback, listenback, and speaker sources and levels right from the surface to handle everything from simple cue mixes for music recording, to monitoring immersive audio projects.
With its compact, semi-modular design, the design of the Avid S4 enables users to configure the surface with up to 24 faders and three additional module options to meet your specific workflow needs, without dominating studio space. For audio post-production workflows you can add dual joysticks, PEC/Direct controls, and additional assignable knob controls to the S4 to handle surround and immersive mixing and re-recording workflows.
Core Modules - Included In All Avid S4 Configurations
Master Touch Module - A tilting 12.1-inch multipoint touchscreen, plus eight adjacent rotary encoders and other dedicated knobs and keys just like the Avid S6 central module. One per frame.
Automation Module - For navigating and automating projects with a full transport control section including a shuttle/jog wheel, a focus fader, automation control, numeric keypad, and other keys and switches. One per frame.
Channel Strip Module - To control track levels, plug-ins, and other parameters with eight channel faders, which we understand are the same faders that Avid use in the S3, 32 top-lit knobs (four per channel), and other keys and switches. Depending on the frame you choose, you can have up to 3 of these modules installed to support a 24-fader configuration.
S4 Frame - Choose from a 3, 4, or 5-foot pre-assembled frame layout for your control surface.
You can add up to four displays and three additional option modules depending on the size of frame you choose.
Display Module - A high-resolution TFT display that can display channel names, meters, routing, groups, and DAW affiliation, as well as scrolling Pro Tools waveforms, master meters, and more.
Joystick Module - Mix surround sound and immersive audio projects, including Dolby Atmos and Ambisonics, using dual touch-sensitive joysticks, with TFT and OLED displays, to position sounds.
Post Module - A module that enables you to switch between listening to recorded tracks/stems and their inputs using two rows of 10 PEC/DIRECT paddles to ensure they sound identical before punching in to record
Attention Knob Module - Offers 32 more top-lit knobs to your surface (or 64 with two modules), providing additional assignable controls and visual feedback for adjusting attention track functions, including plugins, EQ, DYN, and Pan.
How Does The S4 Compare With The Avid S6?
Here is a feature comparison table showing the feature differences and similarities between the 2 models of the Avid S6 and the new Avid S4. This should help to answer some of the questions that have come up in the comments…
|Features||Avid S6 M40||Avid S6 M10||Avid S4|
|Maximum faders||Up to 64 (or up to 192 max with three M40 engines to support three operators)||Up to 24 (single operator only)||Up to 24 (single operator only)|
|Fader quality||Premium TKD faders||Premium TKD faders||Standard ALPS faders|
|Master Modules||One S6 M40 Master Touch Module and one Automation Module||One S6 M10 Master Touch Module and one Automation Module||One S4 Master Touch Module and one Automation Module|
|Control surface expansion||Fully modular; customize a surface with up to 46 total Fader, Knob, Process, Joystick, Post, and Display Modules (or up to 138 modules max with three M40 engines to support three operators)||Fully modular; customize a surface with up to 13 total Fader, Knob, Process, Joystick, and Post Modules||Semi-modular; build a surface with up to three Channel Strip Modules, four Display Modules, and up to three optional modules (Joystick, Post, and/or Attention Knob Modules)|
|Display modules supported?||Yes||No - but M10+ license will make it possible||Yes (up to four)|
|Knobs per channel||Up to nine||Up to five||Four|
|Frame||Modular frame with leg assembly option||Modular frame with leg assembly option||Preassembled fixed-size frame (tabletop only)|
|Simultaneous workstation connections||Up to eight||Up to two||Up to two|
|Function assignments||Assign functions using the dedicated Process Module||Assign functions using the dedicated Process Module||Assign functions in the integrated Channel Strip Module|
Avid S4 Price And Availability
Accordingly to 2 US Avid Dealers there are now 3 published prices for S4 configurations…
8 fader model, which includes one Channel Strip Module, one Master Touch Module, and one Master Automation Module in a 3 foot frame will be $23,995.00
16 fader model, which includes two Channel Strip Modules, one Master Touch Module, and one Master Automation Module in a 4 foot frame will be $37,995.00
24 fader model, which includes three Channel Strip Modules, one Master Touch Module, and one Master Automation Module in a 5 foot frame will be $52,995.00
All S4 models will include 3 years of support from Avid. The Avid S4 is expected to be available in quarter 4, but if you are near Nashville then you can go and see the Avid S4 in the flesh and get your hands on it.