Initially, I thought this was a recall on a dangerous product – like a set of Ikea drawers. But no, this is a different sort of recall. The WesAudio Titan is not just a dull 500-series rack frame. It also integrates the new ng500 and GCon protocol. This allows it to recall settings on analogue modules, making it very interesting indeed.
Titan – The Next Generation
Ng500 or “Next Generation 500 series” is a new open standard. Modules can be designed to communicate outside of themselves for digital control and recall. It adds another slot connector above the regular 500 series connector so that regular 500 series modules should work in the same space. The communication is achieved via USB or LAN for up to 10 modules. The control is implemented through a proprietary protocol called Gcon which WesAudio will make available to any manufacturer for free.
The Titan is WesAudio’s first rack frame to implement the ng500 connector and Gcon protocols. Other features include stereo linking, an internal audio router allowing integration with summing modules or audio interfaces, XLR in/out on each slot and remote firmware upgrading.
So far so analogue
How does the digital control part work? Simple, it’s all in the plug-in. Each Gcon compatible module comes with a VST/AAX/AU control plug-in which mimics the modules controls along with additional parameters. You can then insert and automate the plug-in as you would any other plug-in. The control data is fed back out to the module. This is bidirectional so anything you change on the module reflects back in the plug-in and vice versa.
To achieve this the modules themselves have to incorporate some digital wizardry. The analogue pots now need to be digital rotary encoders. Essentially you are putting a digital front end onto the analogue circuitry. This may be too much for analogue purists. However, the advantages apparent in combining digital control with the analogue hardware are very compelling.
Previously WesAudio’s hardware modules had to be connected individually to the computer via a USB socket on the front but now with the Titan there’s a 10-slot solution. WesAudio’s ng500 series modules include the Mima FET compressor and Dione BUS compressor. And there’s more to come.
WesAudio are not the first to introduce a plug-in controlled analogue unit. However, with their commitment to open source and making the API’s available for free maybe they will create a new standard around their protocols. The simple concept of being able to recall the settings on your analogue hardware from your saved DAW project is pretty awesome.
The WesAudio Titan is available now for EUR €899.
More information available on the WesAudio Titan product page.
- WesAudio Module Connector: wesaudio.com
- WesAudio Mimas - Module on the left, Plug-in on the right: wesaudio.com, soundonsound.com