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L-Acoustics L-ISA review

This mixing application makes creating immersive soundscapes a doddle

  • £29/month
L-Acoustics L-ISA
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A dream mixing tool. Setting audio in specific places in the stereo field or even a 3D volume is a joy, and the interface is easy to navigate.

Pros

  • Attractive, easy-to-navigate UI.
  • Intuitive and fun workflow.
  • Fantastic results.

Cons

  • Initial setup can be a little involved.
  • 96 channel maximum.

MusicRadar Verdict

A dream mixing tool. Setting audio in specific places in the stereo field or even a 3D volume is a joy, and the interface is easy to navigate.

Pros

  • + Attractive, easy-to-navigate UI.
  • + Intuitive and fun workflow.
  • + Fantastic results.

Cons

  • - Initial setup can be a little involved.
  • - 96 channel maximum.

L-Acoustics L-ISA: What is it?

Mixing complex stereo or surround sound audio projects can be a daunting prospect. L-ISA steps up to the plate to make modern mixing a simpler, more rewarding task. Here the primary focus is on placing audio across a sound stage, rather than setting levels and EQ, although L-Acoustics’ L-ISA Studio can help with both.

The initial install can take a little time, as there is a process to follow, including routing your audio signals, setting up aggregate devices and so on. This will vary slightly for each user but there is a fantastic manual and some handy getting started videos. 

L-ISA can run standalone or in your host DAW, where you need to choose L-ISA as your audio i/o, with up to 96 channels. There are a few applications, the controller and processor, that must be running for the system to work but it’s simple to get them opening on system boot

L-Acoustics L-ISA: Performance and verdict

Now the fun begins. Let’s take a basic project in Logic with four tracks as an example, with the aim of mixing this to retain the live room feel, with placement and reverb all under control. L-ISA makes this easy, with a fantastic view of the space your instruments or channels occupy. Sending the audio from your DAW of choice is a simple case of setting the output channel, which the L-ISA software directs to the controller, which then becomes visible in the source list. 

L-Acoustics L-ISA

(Image credit: Future)

L-ISA is a powerful system, with options for organising, routing and placing audio. Once audio channels are set up in the sources and processing sections you can begin to shape the listener’s experience, directing different tracks to parts of the stereo field. For most of the work, this takes place in the easily navigated Soundscape section.

Audio can be brought in as mono, or stereo, with stereo tracks adjusted inside the soundscape, so that they can have their own spread in the overall output. This makes it easy to retain the benefit of stereo effects and instruments but keeps them in check and gives them a localised area to sit in, preventing muddy output.

L-Acoustics L-ISA

(Image credit: Future)

L-ISA has more on offer than this review can possibly cover, from the wonderful reverb designer section, which allows volumes of space to be heard and felt, to an incredible 3D audio volume engine to create immersive sound experiences – perfect not just for scoring and music but for designing audio placement for live venues and so much more. 

A bit of a game-changer for this type of work

Better yet, the files are speaker agnostic, so you can take projects to different venues safe in the knowledge that the experiences will remain the same.

It’s quite possible that L-ISA is a bit of a game-changer for this type of work and the fact that it is accessible and has a very shallow learning curve means that artists of all levels can achieve some wonderful results.

MusicRadar verdict: A dream mixing tool. Setting audio in specific places in the stereo field or even a 3D volume is a joy, and the interface is easy to navigate.

L-Acoustics L-ISA: The web says

"A comprehensive toolset to encourage creative multi-channel, surround sound-mixing, regardless of the scale of the project you’re working on."
MusicTech

"If you are creating immersive experiences, L-ISA makes it easier than ever to make sure your work is transferrable to the real world."
Audio Media International

L-Acoustics L-ISA: Hands-on demos

L-Acoustics

EventElevator

L-Acoustics L-ISA: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: Immersive sound mixing, Standalone or plugin versions, Intuitive visual interface.
  • CONTACT: L-Acoustics