Avid is shipping the S4 audio control surface, a compact design that the company said offers a streamlined alternative to the S6.

The S4 supports Avid’s Eucon Ethernet control protocol for communication with applications including Avid Pro Tools and Media Composer, Adobe Audition and Premiere, Apple Logic Pro, Merging Technologies Pyramix, Steinberg Cubase and Nuendo, and others. Base configurations start with eight faders and range up to 24 faders; all of then come standard with a tilting 12.1-inch touchscreen that can display channel meters, EQ curves, waveforms and more.

Avid S4 control panel

Basic Avid S4 surface with eight faders, one Channel Switch Module, one Master Touch Module and one Master Automation Module in a three-foot frame.

The panel can be expanded with additional pieces including a high-resolution TFT Display Module, a Joystick Module for mixing immersive audio with dual joysticks for higher precision in positioning sounds, a Post Module that allows switching between recorded tracks and their inputs before punch-in recording, and an Attention Knob Module that adds 32 top-lit knobs to the control surface for adjusting attention track functions.

Avid S4 Joystick Module

Optional Joystick Module for mixing immersive audio formats including Dolby Atmos and Ambisonics with dual touch-sensitive joysticks and TFT/OLED displays.

The Avid S4 is what smaller studios have been waiting for,” said Joe Taupier, president of Westlake Pro, a studio design company in Los Angeles and Nashville, in a statement provided by Avid. “Music mixers and small studios don’t have to compromise power and efficiency as they’re getting the same mixing power as the larger S6 control surface, but at a budget and size that meets their individual needs.”

The main drawbacks of the S4 vs. the S6? The S4 maxes out at 24 faders and is designed for a single operator, while the S6 can be configured at up to 192 faders in a three-operator configuration with three Master Touch Modules. The S4 uses Alps faders, while the S6 is built with premium TKD faders. The S4 can have four knobs per channel compared to nine supported by the S6, and the S4 supports only two simultaneous workstation connections, compared to eight on the S6. Finally, the S6 comes in a fixed, prebuilt frame for desktop use, while the S6 has a truly modular frame with the option for a leg assembly.

Avid S4: www.avid.com