XL4 -The Ultimate Analogue Console

The next project was the flagship XL4 which still stands as the ultimate statement in analogue live performance mixing consoles, and is still specified on concert tour riders today. The console toured the world with Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Simply Red and many other high profile acts. The XL4 featured 48 mic/line input channels, with an all-new preamplifier design and the channel equalisation from the XL3 console, plus an additional line-level 16 auxiliary return inputs. The XL4’s total of 45 mix buses was augmented by an 18 x 8 output matrix. It featured ten VCAs with an additional two grand master VCAs, all with motorised faders.

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The XL4 set the benchmark for the next decade. Audio engineers were amazed at the sheer depth and scope of what they were able to achieve with the unbeatable combination of the XL4’s audio performance and comprehensive moving-fader automation. Many elements of this legendary console are still available to today’s engineers in the current range of MIDAS digital mixing systems.

The XL4 project however consumed all available R&D resources to bring it to reality, which impacted the ability to also create new designs for KLARK TEKNIK. A solution was found in the form of a collaboration between Kidderminster and its counterpart R&D team in Straubing, Germany which was responsible for the electronics for Mark IV Audio brands Electro-Voice and Dynacord. Straubing contributed the mechanical and digital electronic designs, whilst the Kidderminster team focussed on the analogue designs that were critical to the products’ performance for them to meet the brand’s high standards.



Live Sound Tin Ear Award 1997