Recording - March 2017 - 34

Slate Media
Technology
Slate Control

For the DAW studio without a
console-a console's worth of
monitor and routing options
ast month we took a look at the new Virtual
Microphone System from Steven Slate, which
merges his company's software designs with the
hardware side of the Slate family. This month we
look at another Slate product that, while 100% analog
hardware, owes much of its existence to the RAVEN series
of touchscreen virtual mixers-the Slate Control.
When we move our studios into the box and leave behind
hardware consoles, significant hurdles can arise. We lose
many of the console features we take for granted, from simply
controlling the volume of our monitors to routing signals to the
artists, talking to them in the tracking room, and more. Slate
Media Technology's answer is The Slate Control. Designed by
famed API and Tonelux console designer Paul Wolff, it's more
than a monitor controller-it's an adaptation of the center section found on large-format mixing desks.

Ext 2-are available on a rear-panel D-Sub, while the last is a
stereo minijack on the desktop unit for clients to plug in smartphones or MP3 players. While this is becoming more common
on monitor controllers, Slate was among the first to bring this
idea to the table with the first-generation RAVEN monitor controller.
The talkback section includes a pair of female XLR jacks
for connecting external dynamic microphones for both control room and studio talkback. Each has its own setscrewadjustable volume attenuator, and there is a 1/4" footswitch
jack for engaging talkback.
There are a pair of individual left-right balanced 1/4" outputs for connection to an external headphone amplifier, and
lastly a dedicated LFE (subwoofer) output section. This includes
a setscrew-adjustable mono male XLR output, along with three
2-position toggle switches for engaging a lowpass filter,
selecting its value 80/120 Hz at 12 dB/octave, and flipping
the polarity.

In the rack

On the desk

REVIEW BY PAUL VNUK JR.

L

The Slate Control is a 2-piece system. Its physical inputs and
outputs are housed in a 3U rackmount box with external power
supply, which connects to a desktop control box via a 25' 50-pin
cable (a 50' is also available). Before we get to the fun buttons and
dials on the desktop unit, let's look at I/O on the rack. The currently available version, on review here, is configured for stereo use;
we're told a very feature-rich 7.1 surround model is forthcoming.
The front of the rack unit is a simple blank faceplate with the
Slate logo. On the back of the unit, however, is every in and out
one might need for monitor control and routing. There are also
several specialized ins and outs that make the Slate Control
backward-compatible with older consoles and studio setups.
Most of the I/O is located on one of four 25-pin TASCAM
D-Sub (DB25) connectors. These include speaker outs, main
inputs, cue inputs, and extra inputs. Additionally there are a
pair of DB9 connectors, for use with older talkback systems as
well as external traditional VU meters.
The Slate Control offers a selection of seven stereo input sources. Six of those-Mix 1, Mix 2, Cue A/B, Cue C/D, Ext 1, and
34

RECORDING MARCH 2017

The desktop module measures 101/4" across x 7" deep and
stands slanted at 11/4" in the front and 2" in the back. Its top
panel features a 1/4" lip, which also allows it to be recessed
into a purpose-built RAVEN desk, as well as into the standard
7" fader section of an older console frame.
It is available in a black or white finish and is a curious blend
of modern and old-school. Its 26 chunky pushbuttons are very
1980s "War Games" retro, made of clear plastic with their functions labeled on the inside. They are dimly-lit white when inert
and light up brightly in various colors, with a robust click when
pressed. There is a large silver volume dial and nine smaller
black-capped pots. All but four of these are connected to relays
on the rack unit; with each minute incremental turn of the pot,
you're greeted with a relay click.
Just looking at the picture, it's easy to see that the Slate Control is
much more than your average monitor controller/speaker switcher.
It really is designed as a central routing hub for your studio, replacing and replicating most of the routing features found in traditional
large-format desks, including a center-section solo logic system.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - March 2017

Contents
Recording - March 2017 - Intro
Recording - March 2017 - Cover1
Recording - March 2017 - Cover2
Recording - March 2017 - 1
Recording - March 2017 - 2
Recording - March 2017 - 3
Recording - March 2017 - 4
Recording - March 2017 - 5
Recording - March 2017 - Contents
Recording - March 2017 - 7
Recording - March 2017 - 8
Recording - March 2017 - 9
Recording - March 2017 - 10
Recording - March 2017 - 11
Recording - March 2017 - 12
Recording - March 2017 - 13
Recording - March 2017 - 14
Recording - March 2017 - 15
Recording - March 2017 - 16
Recording - March 2017 - 17
Recording - March 2017 - 18
Recording - March 2017 - 19
Recording - March 2017 - 20
Recording - March 2017 - 21
Recording - March 2017 - 22
Recording - March 2017 - 23
Recording - March 2017 - 24
Recording - March 2017 - 25
Recording - March 2017 - 26
Recording - March 2017 - 27
Recording - March 2017 - 28
Recording - March 2017 - 29
Recording - March 2017 - 30
Recording - March 2017 - 31
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Recording - March 2017 - 33
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Recording - March 2017 - Cover3
Recording - March 2017 - Cover4
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