Combining the benefits of digital audio with analogue electronics is widely accepted as a desirable setup for most modern recording studios. However, recording budgets are falling and many professionals are now working from their own setup. The cost of high-quality analogue audio equipment is so high that project or home studio owners often miss out on the analogue dream. Many professionals try to accommodate analogue consoles where they can, but commonly only use 25% of its features, making a difficult business model potentially even more unattractive. Arthur, a new concept by Schertler, aims to provide a solution that fits exactly around your specific requirements, whilst still being of high-quality.
Schertler Arthur, a modular analogue mixer
This is a really interesting design concept, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more manufacturers following suit. This is a product that couldn’t come any sooner for today’s market, both in the studio and on the stage for live sound. I really like the idea that you can add modules to your desk, as funds become available or your requirements change.
There are many modules available in the Arthur range. These include different input channel strips such as mic, line, instrument, stereo or mono inputs, and various output channel strips. It appears as though a very comprehensive mixer could be built using the modules available. However, inevitably there our limitations with such hardware. I assume in the future we can expect to see new modules being added to the range.
All in all, this looks like a great product. However, due to the very essence of working in the analogue domain, it comes down to how good these modules sound. They claim the electronics at play here are of the highest quality, but only time will tell. I’m very curious to use one of these mixers and believe that its success hinges on the audio quality gaining a good reputation. If you are going to invest in analogue equipment, many will automatically buy into established names. If SSL was to release a similar product for example, it would be very successful.
Schertler now have Arthur modules in production and are currently taking pre-orders. You can head over to their webpage, where you will find a configurator to design your own mixer and see how much it will cost. It’s easy to get carried away, but if you’re honest with yourself about what you actually need, it is a very cost effective solution. Modules vary in price, but are in the region of 220 EUR each.
Here is a video by Sound On Sound on their YouTube channel, where Stephan from Schertler explains the new concept behind Arthur, earlier this year at Musikmesse 2016: