Xynergi's interactive keyboard has application awareness, which means the keys display only the symbols and commands appropriate for the application currently in use. If an engineer needs to jot some notes down in Microsoft Word, for example, he or she can push a key on the Xynergi keyboard to activate Word. The Xynergi's keyboard then switches to a QWERTY keyboard. When finished, the engineer can push the Edit key to return to Xynergi's editing software, and the keys will change again.
Because every key is actually a small color monitor, keys change colors to indicate active functions. For example, if an engineer wants to work on a specific track, he or she can push a button mapped to that track. The key will change from blue to red, indicating the track is active and ready for mixing or editing applications. If the engineer assigns a name to a specific track, the name will appear on the key mapped to that track.
Engineers use the jog wheel whenever they need to scan through an audio track quickly. Rotating the jog wheel clockwise or counterclockwise advances or reverses the track, respectively. This feature also allows engineers to designate specific sections of a track for editing -- the engineer uses the wheel to mark the beginning and end of a range within a track. The engineer can then add effects to the marked range without affecting the rest of the recording.
Fairlight calls the area that includes the color screen and the surrounding buttons and knobs the pad. The screen displays information about audio tracks, giving users a visual representation of the digital file. It can show the name of an audio track, bars that indicate the distribution of the track's sound across different speaker channels, an equalizer and a time code display. The buttons and knobs surrounding the screen allow an engineer to manipulate the track or set Xynergi in its automated editor mode.
Here are just a few of Xynergi's functions:
- Recording tracks: Xynergi can record incoming audio. Audio can come from other digital devices or straight from an instrument or microphone feed.
- Editing tracks: Engineers can edit audio tracks extensively, adding in effects like echo or reverberation, looping sections of track and adjusting frequency equalization.
- Mixing tracks: Once an engineer has his or her audio tracks adjusted just right, he or she can mix it with other tracks, eventually creating a complex master track. Xynergi can even take over mixing duties with an automated mixing program.
- Playback: Xynergi can play audio tracks, sending the signal to speakers connected to the media center. Engineers can isolate a specific speaker to make sure the right level of sound is reaching it, or listen to all the speakers together to create a surround sound effect.
The Xynergi system includes the same functions you'd find on a large audio or video editing console, but has a price tag that's only a fraction of what those systems cost. In the next section, we'll find out just how much the Xynergi system costs and where you can find one.