The Avid S6 is definitely the most flexible control surface available today. It is really like a nice Lego, you can have any imaginable module order you want, so now it is really you who define the way you want to work.
I’ve seen many different configurations and was fortunate to try a few ones. In fact, our two S6 systems utilised different module order. They are the same hardware wise, but one has the Process modules above the faders and then the Knob modules, while the other has the Knob modules above the faders and the Process modules at the top. With the help of the great RSPE Audio S6 configurator I can show you the two different layouts:
The best order
The bad news is, there’s no thing as the best exist. But the good news is you can easily re-order them if you need them in another configuration or just decided that the current configuration is not really serve you well.
To rearrange a smaller surface you need approximately 15-20 minutes, for a mid-sized one you might need 30-45. For a really large one you might need 1 or 1,5 hours, but in my opinion it is still nothing compared what you gain from a great arrangement.
At first there’s a learning curve involved but believe me this surface quite soon become addictive. From that point you start to feel your real needs and start to discover what module order might serve you best. If you have a good reason, then change the order. As I wrote it before, it is not that hard to reconfigure the whole surface. My only advice is to spend some real mix time with any chosen configuration to really get accustomed to it. You might struggle a bit at the start so you need to use it for a day or two, then you can really decide if it’s for you or need some other config.
As I mentioned above, one of our config was to have the process module right above the faders and the knob module at the top. This is a basic Avid config and it’s great. Right above the faders I could rapidly chose which process I’d like to use on the knob module. For a few weeks I felt home with this arrangement. Until I used the other one for more than a week.
At first it was somewhat confusing because I felt the original arrangement is more for me. But as soon as I delved deep into the mix I started to realise that I spend considerably more time tweaking the knob module. Of course it’s quite obvious as you only select the process, but then you tweak and re-tweak the settings multiple times. Actually a thousand times during a mix. During that week I was not only felt that it might be the better to have this module order, but I was measurably faster. Having all the controls above the faders was great both visually and to reach them.
After that week I decided we need to change the other to have the same module order. All I needed was 15 minutes of solitude.
Actually it took me only 10 minutes and I was ready to go. Since then I’m really enjoying this order and I think it’ll stay with me for a long time. But to be sure I had to test both under real demanding work.