Console 1: Questions and Answers
Henrik Andersson Vogel, February 2017

Softube's Console 1 offers a straight-forward and intuitive approach to computer based mixing. Nevertheless, the concept is unique and a few things may need to be cleared up. So here you go—questions and answers on Console 1!

What is Softube Console 1?
It is an integrated hardware/software centerpiece which works in tandem with your DAW. It takes the quick and intuitive workflow of a digital mixer and pairs that with the great sound of an analog Solid State Logic SL 4000 E mixer. On the hardware, you select the track you want to work with and then you adjust the equalizer, compressor, gate and saturation settings using physical knobs and buttons.

So: Select a track, tweak the knobs. Select another track, tweak the knobs—that's essentially how you use Console 1.

But What if I Want to use Other Plug-Ins?
You can customize your Console 1 channels with over 60 world-class plug-ins from Softube and Universal Audio. They're all pre-mapped and ready to go. You can mix and match as you like, so for example, you could add a Teletronix LA-2A limiter and a Trident A-Range equalizer to your SSL 4000 E channel. Save your favorite combinations as presets and call them up whenever you want to.

What UAD Powered Plug-Ins are Currently Supported?
These are the currently available UAD Powered Plug-Ins that are integrated with Console 1. More will be added in the future.
UAD 550L
UAD Chandler Limited Curve Bender
UAD Chandler Limited Zener Limiter
UAD DBX 160 Compressor/Limiter
UAD Empirical Labs Distressor
UAD Fairchild 660
UAD Fairchild 670
UAD Fairchild 670 Legacy
UAD Harrison 32C
UAD Harrison 32C SE
UAD Helios 69
UAD Manley Massive Passive
UAD Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor (Mastering)
UAD Manley Variable Mu Limiter Compressor (Standard)
UAD Precision Buss Compressor
UAD Precision Equalizer
UAD Precision Limiter
UAD Precision Maximizer
UAD Pultec-Pro Legacy
UAD Pultec EQP-1A
UAD Pultec EQP-1A Legacy
UAD Pultec HLF-3C
UAD Pultec MEQ-5
UAD SSL G Bus Compressor
UAD Summit Audio TLA-100A
UAD Teletronix LA-2A Gray
UAD Teletronix LA-2A Legacy
UAD Teletronix LA-2A Silver
UAD Tonelux Tilt
UAD Tonelux Tilt Live
UAD Trident A-Range
UAD Tube-Tech CL 1B
UAD Tube-Tech ME 1B
UAD Tube-Tech PE 1C
UAD UA 1176LN Legacy
UAD UA 1176LN Rev E
UAD UA 1176 Rev A
UAD UA 1176SE Legacy
UAD UA 610-B
UAD Valley People Dyna-mite

What do I Need to use UAD Plug-Ins With Console 1?
Apart from the Console 1, you need a UAD Accellerator (Satellite or UAD-2 PCIe card) or an Apollo interface, and you need to own the Console 1 ready UAD plug-in you want to use. With that in place, it's plug and play. The Console 1 system will automatically identify the Console 1 ready plug-ins (both UAD and Softube) that are installed on your system, and they will be pre-mapped for you. Just open them from within the Console 1 system and mix away.

What About Those Additional Console 1 Channel Strips?
There are currently three entire channel strips available for purchase: British Class A For Console 1, Solid State Logic XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1 and Summit Audio Grand Channel for Console 1. These emulate entire hardware channels, including distortion characteristics from the original hardware. The individual sections can also be mixed and matched with Softube or Universal Audio plug-ins. More Console 1 channel strips are in the works.

What DAWs Does Console 1 Work With?
Console 1 works in tandem with any DAW that can use VST, Audio Unit or AAX plug-ins. Mac and Windows, 32 and 64 bits. Different DAWs offer different levels of Console 1 integration, please see below.

Is there a DAW compatibility chart?
Yes, here you go (click image to enlarge). We are aiming to have all of these functions added to all major DAWs.

So it can Control Some DAWs?
Yes. Presonus Studio One, Cakewalk SONAR and Cockos REAPER feature additional integration with Console 1. In these DAWs, the Console 1 track selection is reflected into the DAW's track selection, and vice versa. Furthermore, the Console 1's Solo, Mute, Pan and Output Volume can control the corresponding parameters in the DAW as well as the send levels on the selected DAW track.

How do I Integrate Console 1 With my DAW Session?
You insert the Console 1 plug-in on all your DAW tracks, which routes the sound to the Console 1 mixer and then back to the DAW. The tracks will now show up in the Console 1 system where they are each assigned to one of the track selector buttons. So you can now select and control each track from the hardware. In some DAWs, refer to the chart above, track selecton will also follow track selection in the DAW. Vice verca the DAW will follow the selected track from the Console 1 hardware.

The settings for the selected track are shown in the On-Screen Display—Console 1's mixer window—and the LEDs around each knob and button on the hardware. Use the hardware knobs to adjust the settings to your liking. Then select the next track you think needs work, and tweak that.

I Only see 20 Track Selector Buttons on the Hardware, is That the Limit?
No, the track count is unlimited (or rather, only limited by your computer's processing power). The tracks are organized in banks of 20, and you select bank with the Page +/- buttons on the hardware (labeled Page Up/Down on the first generation hardware). Just press Page + once, and you'll see track 21-40, press it again and you'll see track 41-60, etc. The limit to your channel count is how much your computer can take, just as with other plug-ins.

What Software Effects are Included?
With the purchase, the Console 1 software comes loaded with our model of the classic analog console Solid State Logic SL 4000 E, which was developed in close collaboration with SSL themselves. We have modeled the equalizer, the channel compressor, the gate/expander, the high and low cut filters and also the harmonics and non-linearities you get from overdriving the signal through the analog circuits of the Solid State Logic SL 4000 E, with adjustable intensity and character. We also added Transient Shaper, which is purely a Softube effect and not part of the original Solid State Logic SL 4000 E console.

What is the Shape Section?
With the Shape section, we combined a slightly simplified SL 4000 E gate with our own Transient Shaper. The Transient Shaper lets you soften or sharpen the onset of the sound, and also make the sound sustain shorter or longer. This effect has been expanded further and has now been released as a separate plug-in, the Transient Shaper. For other channels, such as Solid State Logic XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1 and British Class A For Console 1, the Shape section is simply a gate.

Is the Console 1 Software and its Effects DSP Powered From the Hardware?
No. All signal processing takes place within the computer. The hardware only controls the software and has no built-in processing power. You can actually use the Console 1 software without even having the hardware connected to the computer, which is practical if you work on a laptop and you're sometimes away from the hardware. Most parameters can be adjusted using the mouse in the Console 1 plug-in window, accessible from the DAW.

Why Isn't There DSP Power in the Hardware?
For a number of reasons. First and foremost, today's computers are powerful enough to handle even big mix sessions, so adding a DSP chip is unnecessary. It would also have added to the cost and it would have meant that the user was forced to always have the hardware connected. Furthermore, Console 1 could not have been solely powered by the computer's USB buss.

But This Looks Like it Requires a lot of CPU Power?
Not more than you'd expect from any other Softube plug-in, and we're well known for making plug-ins with a low CPU usage (with TSAR-1 Reverb and Modular as possible exceptions). When you first add the plug-in to a channel, all its sections are bypassed by default, and if you keep it like that, the CPU usage is barely measurable. But you still get pan, input level and output volume for that channel (as well as Solo and Mute), so we recommend that you create a mix template with the Console 1 plug-in inserted on all channels to get complete control of your mix from the Console 1 hardware.

What Else is Included in the Console 1 Mixer?
You will find phase reversal and input gain/output volume. There is also pan, plus Solo and Mute switches. You can change the order of the sections, if you for example prefer to put the compressor before the equalizer in the signal chain, and you can group any or all channels to tweak their settings simultaneously. You can copy settings between tracks and save and call up presets. You can route external sidechain signals to the compressor or the gate/expander. Everything is controlled from the hardware and almost all functions have their own dedicated switches or knobs.

How do I Know What Settings I Have Made?
The On-Screen Display gives detailed visual feedback on all settings and functions of the Console 1 system. You can toggle it on/off with a dedicated button on the hardware to reveal your DAW behind it, resize the window to your preference, or drag it to a second computer monitor if you have one. You can also have the On-Screen Display automatically pop up as soon as you change a setting on the hardware. The LED meters and rings around the knobs on the hardware also give you plenty of visual feedback, so it's possible to complete an entire mix without watching the computer screen at all.

Will There be Latency in the System?
In most use cases, plug-in latency is not a problem as any major DAW offers automatic compensation of plug-in delay. But even for use directly on the incoming signal, the latency of the Console 1 channel is very low—4 samples in 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rate, and 0 samples in sample rates above that.

Can I Copy Settings Between Channels?
Yes, you can copy an entire channel strip setting, or select as many or few sections of the channel strip you would like to copy. Still without using your mouse.

What Does the History Function Do?
It is an undo function which lets you scroll back in time and step by step undoing the adjustments you have made to the selected channel. Very few DAWs offer this for plug-in settings—with Console 1, you don't only get the function with any DAW, you can control it directly from the hardware.

Will the Console 1 Channel Strips be Released as Separate Plug-Ins?
No, Softube's Solid State Logic SL 4000 E, Solid State Logic XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1 and British Class A For Console 1 are Console 1 exclusive and we have no plans to release them as stand alone plug-ins. Summit Audio Grand Channel for Console 1 started as a traditional plug-in, and is still available as such.

Can I Control TSAR-1 Reverb With Console 1?
You cannot control the parameters of TSAR-1 Reverb, Fix Flanger and Doubler, Vintage Amp Room or any plug-ins that aren't compressors, equalizers or gates. The parameters of such plug-ins are simply too far off the Console 1 controls. It might still be a good idea to add the Console 1 plug-in to an Aux channel with a reverb or delay on it, so you can control the output level and EQ of that effect.

What Operating Systems Does the Console 1 Support?
Mac OSX and Windows. See System Requirements for Console 1 for details.

How do I Connect the Hardware to my Computer?
By a standard USB connection. The hardware is USB powered, so it has no extra power connections.

Can I run the Console 1 Software Without the Hardware Connected to the Computer?
Yes. You can change the settings from a graphic user interface on the computer, that resembles the hardware unit. In this case, you will of course need to use your computer mouse.

Can the Console 1 Effects Settings be Automated?
Yes, all the effects settings can be automated in your DAW, using the knobs on the hardware controller.

Why Doesn't Console 1 Support AAX DSP? Most of Your Other Plug-Ins Do.
When you run Console 1 in native (AAX, as well as the other formats) and turn off the different effects section of a Console 1 channel, this reduces the CPU power usage. So if you have a channel inserted but with everything in bypass, that channel uses virtually no CPU power. This is why we recommend you to insert the Console 1 plug-in on all tracks even though you don't intend to use it, it doesn't cost you anything CPU wise, but the track will still appear in the Console 1 mixer so you can for example control Volume etc.

This is not so with DSP systems. A DSP system will determine how much power the plug-in might need, and reserve that amount of processing power—regardless of whether you actually use it or not. So having 40 tracks of Console 1 on AAX DSP will take up the same amount of processing power if all channels have all sections in use, or if all channel sections are in bypass. Most plug-ins do one thing, for example equalization or compression, so this is normally not a problem. But for an entire channel strip like the Console 1 plug-in, this means it eats up a lot of processing power you might want to allocate differently. So we simply blocked AAX DSP from the Console 1 plug-in.

What are the Physical Dimensions of the Console 1 Hardware?
It's 427 x 186 x 52 millimeters, about 17 x 7.5 x 2 inches.

What is Apollo Central For Console 1?
This enables you to control your Universal Audio Apollo Console that comes with UA Apollo interfaces. You can control mix features, like volume fader, solo, mute, pan, sends, etc. It can also load and control UAD plug-ins inside the Apollo Console, and all plug-ins comes pre-mapped for Console 1.

Note that you need a Universal Audio Apollo interace to use Apollo Central For Console 1.

I Have a Question That Hasn't Been Answered Here, What do I Do?
Send us the question via Contact Softube Support. We'll answer you, and put the question here as well if it's a good one!

Freelance writer.