The large-scale DSP film console business shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. On the contrary, many customers are choosing to upgrade for immersive formats, with hybrid mixing workflows also finding favour, as featured in our article on Goldcrest Post. AMS Neve : Legendary console manufacturer (and little-known AAX Plugin developer) last year released Version 1 of their DAWSync plug in for Pro Tools. Unsurprisingly, uptake was quick among the DFC3D-using community worldwide.
More recently, AMS Neve have started to show – and deliver – to select customers the accompanying DST (DAWSync Transport) panel for DFC3D. Very much the companion hardware to the more comprehensively featured V2 of DAWSync. To fully understand the panel, it’s helpful to rewind and take a look at the DAWSync plugin, what it does and why it exists.
The Back-Story : DAWSync
Released in early 2017, DAWSync v1’s existence allowed certain customers to dispense with some of the sophisticated and costly 3rd party synchronisation hardware needed in a typical feature/drama mix scenario. In much the same way as the Satellite Link functionality between Pro Tools systems marries timelines together, cascaded over Ethernet for instant lock; DAWSync v1 performs the same duties between Pro Tools (typically the master recorder/video playback system in a multi-rig setup) and the DFC3D’s automation. So far so beneficial.
Timeline sync alone, though, doesn’t solve the whole problem, in that there remains a need for the aforementioned 3rd party hardware. DAWSync v2, launched later in 2017, completes the picture.
The update brings with it a comprehensive set of control features, allowing transport, track arming and PEC/Direct switching via an innovative hybrid approach of 9-Pin and ‘virtual keystrokes’. Beyond the Pro Tools AAX implementation, DAWSync V2 also comes in VST and AU flavours.
DST Panel for DFC3D
Having successfully circumvented the cost and complexity of 3rd party hardware via a plugin, AMS Neve’s new DST Panel integrates this functionality, feedback and tactile control into the console itself. Designed to drop into a module space on the DFC3D master section, the panel (or panels, up to 6 are supported) brings the DAW to the mixer’s fingertips.
We know what you’re thinking: “It’s silver – and the DFC is grey/black/blue-ish!” (Delete as applicable). Given the DFC’s long-standing ubiquity and with a number of recent upgraders in mind, the DST Panel is available in all the finishes AMS Neve have offered down-the-years.
Particularly impressive with the implementation of DAWSync and the DST Panel is the selective hybrid approach to machine control. Rather than adhere slavishly to the 9-Pin protocol (which has a frustrating tendency not to read the mixer’s mind and understand priority when presented with a flurry of commands), the AMS Neve hardware/software is triggering a mixture of machine control commands and ‘virtual keystrokes’. The most obvious example being the all-important Play / Stop. Here, the virtual keystroke (for Pro Tools) is Space Bar. There’s no ignoring the space bar.
Another strong point is the way Locates are handled. Timecodes can be grabbed while mixing and stored to one of 8 local marker stores, such that a single button press will return to that location. Prominent, dedicated Back & Play and Again buttons, along with fixed and user-definable Nudge functions all combine to create an immediacy around getting to where (or rather, when) the user needs to be.
For those intending to upgrade their DFC to DFC3D, the addition of the DST Panel will likely be a must-have addition, eliminating as it does a number of variables from the task of keeping everything locked together on the stage. New DFC3D customers will benefit also: The DAWSync/DST Panel combination is a fraction of the cost of the third party hardware they effectively replace.
DAWSync v2 is available on request to all DFC3D owners. For DST Panel pricing, contact AMS Neve via their contact page