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A New AttitudePutting A Designs' ATTY2'D through its paces
Sometimes an audio device will settle into your workflow so quickly you wonder how you ever did without it. That was my experience with the ATTY2D, a new passive level controller from A Designs that is also capable of functioning as a surround controller.
The ATTY2D (pronounced Attitude) evolved from another product, the two-channel ATTY that A Designs introduced two years ago. The ATTY2D raises the bar, with six channels, two stereo and two mono, and houses it all in a 1U rackmountable box. A Designs calls the ATTY2D an ?ATTY on steroids.
The ATTY2D is a versatile device with many possible configurations. Its basic function is to provide convenient level control or actually attenuation control for devices ranging from mic preamps to active monitors, CD players, headphone amps and talkback mics. Another handy function is for A/Bing monitors while mixing. And it can even be used in reamping applications, taking the signal from one source and sending it out to another.
Sure, there are already ways of handling most of these functions with existing studio equipment (except preamps that lack output attenuation, for which this is a godsend). But the ATTY2D centralizes level control, putting everything within arms reach. Each channel has a mute button, and a large global mute button sits in the middle of the front panel. Instead of muting monitor outputs on a mixer, wheeling around to turn up a preamps input volume, and turning down an amp, its simple to mute and unmute the appropriate ATTY2D channels. (And if youve ever experienced unearthly feedback after turning up monitors in a room with a live mic, the global mute button is your best friend.)
The ATTY2D is one of the easiest devices youll ever hook up. As mentioned, it is a passive unit, so theres no power cord to contend with. Audio connections are all balanced XLR in and out. With an active monitor system, for instance, you take the main outs from your mixing board (or audio interface) into the ATTY2D, and then route the line outs from the ATTY2D into the monitors.
I configured the ATTY2D for a number of various workflow scenarios. It can accept three stereo devices, or two stereo devices and and two mono devices. I left the main L/R in channels 1/2, and in the remaining channels swapped out a headphone amp, a mono dbx 160x compressor, a mono Avalon U5 preamp, a talkback mic, a CD player and an amp connected to a pair of passive monitors. In each case, the audio quality seemed identical, with no added noise or volume discrepancies. On muted channels, I detected no bleed through or phantom signals the muting is total. And I found major benefits from one-touch level control over each device, in both speed and convenience.
One of the most difficult things to decide is what should be connected to the ATTY2D. Everyones setup will be different, depending on their equipment and workflow. After weighing all the options, I settled on the main active stereo monitors, the stereo amp connected to passive monitors for A/Bing, the mono Avalon preamp for reamping, and a talkback mic.
That did it for stereo tracking and mixing, but I was anxious to try the ATTY2D as a surround monitor controller. So, having sorted things out for stereo, it was time to repatch.
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