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SSL G Buss or API 2500

Member for

21 years
Looking at adding another 2-bus comp to my chain. I'm going to get them both sooner or later but just wanted to hear some opinions. Please chime in and share your experiences on either of these.



Member for

21 years

audiokid Tue, 04/23/2013 - 08:54
Hi Dave, I know some SW reviews are hit and miss so a few years back I posted some info there about a product I use and wondered if it would in fact be edited or left in full. It was entered exactly as I put it. Either they liked it or they don't edit any of them, good or bad.

Nice suggestion on the 160SL, I've been looking at that for a few years. I ended up with the STC-8 for that task but would still love to have one, or at least try it out one day. I've read they add just enough of that DBX VCA sweetness which might make a really good combination.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:32
Just bought an API 2500 to complete my mixing basic's now. I'm a happy guy and somewhat re-leaved for now. I love this hybrid flavoring flavoring concept. You guys lay it down and I help spread out the splatter with an nice ambient dining experience lol. Well something like that. smoke

And now I just discovered the [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.retroinstrumen…"]176 Retro[/]="http://www.retroinstrumen…"]176 Retro[/], which is an 1176 on steroids. Looks like an amazing piece for vocals

Member for

21 years

audiokid Fri, 05/03/2013 - 21:11

Now I'm thinking about the 5500! It would be extra nice to have a bit more API flavour.

Hey, are you participating in the gearfest mixing contest? I am using it on that. I'll post the track if i ever get confident on it. It was a live recording, and the bass is killing me. I've been trying to mix this one for days. Fab wants it kept "as is, otherwise I would replace that bass in a heartbeat lol. Anyway, the 2500 is sounding special on this track. Its perfect for it!

Also, to give you a more accurate taste of it, I would be very happy to mix some stems of yours through sometime. PM me anytime for that, it would be my pleasure.

To give you an idea of what we're up against, here is the link to all the participants. [MEDIA=soundcloud]groups/gearfest-mixing-contest

Member for

10 years 5 months

Paul999 Fri, 05/03/2013 - 22:30
That is awesome. I have a mixed track I Just finished for a band that I'll stem out in the next few days. I'd love the hear the 2500 in action. I really love API and it is always a winner in my book.

I've seen that contest however I am so busy that I just can't spare the time. It looks like a great one!

Member for

21 years

audiokid Mon, 10/28/2013 - 20:54
slap review

After serious GAS, hearing how an API 2500 and the SSL XLogic G Series are must have compressors on the mix or master bus, I bought them both and I am really happy I did!
But, not because I liked them, because I know better now and its one more mystery solved.

The Neos is so open, when you add something in its path that's not up to par, it exposes it.
At first I thought both these were never going to leave my rack. But once I started using them for a while, I had to keep convincing myself they must be more useful than this.
These two comps are the most over rated products I think I have ever owned.

The API 2500 was without question, a bass killer, the complete opposite to what I was expecting. It was the first one out the door with NO remorse. And it sold in a matter of hours. Hype sells everything.

It took me a few weeks longer to try and like the SSL XLogic G . The one thing I really miss about that is the auto fade. That is a cool thing.

A little on both.

API 2500

The API is a bass destroyer. Even hardy on, I noticed it chocking up the bottom end and messing with center focus. It also added a noise that might be okay, beneficial in a gritty way for drums but that's about it for me. The pumping thing it does is also way over rated too. Useless. A Transient Designer and a distortion plug-in is much more useful. Without question, I might as well not invested in the Neos with that puppy on the master bus. Enough said on that.

SSL XLogix G Series

The SSL is cooler but no comparison to an STC-8 H which I have and learn to appreciate more and more. The SSL"sound" people like was okay, I get it but definitely don't want it on anything. It does kind of glue a mix but in a gentle smeary way. Its very simple to use, I liked that about it. If you just kiss things, it does what it is supposed to do and it works great for what it is.

You get a more in your face center mid sound that I see being helpful for squashing a mix down so it will translate better on the radio with the rest of the crowd. But, if you mix well in the first place, it actually does a bad thing to space. I think mixing into it is about the only way I would use it. However, slapping it on after a good mix is just useless imho, if you have better choices.
My mixes always sounded fuller and more open without it.
But, I did like it a lot better than the 2500. If you need a mix bus comp and can afford a used one for around $2200, maybe its worth testing it out. You'll be able to sell it for the same so. But for another $1000 you could get an STC-8 and that will work for everything.

Both these , had I never owned a Neos or plug-ins that I think are equally "good enough" I doubt I would be saying it like this. But in all sincerity, they do not help sonic beauty on well mixed songs. I'm constantly comparing OTB, my processes to plug-ins. Sequoia 12 is so complete that the analog I add, has to be special.

Neither of these did anything worth wasting a channel on. Everything sounds more open without them, and, that was the deal breaker. I'm all for colour a texture, thats why I'm mixing with hardware, but not at the expense of sacrificing openness.
If you are wondering about taking the plunge, I say don't wast your money, plug-in comps are much better. You just need to be in control in the mix over relying on these to help fix it later. Good comps don't effect the open sound of a mix.

And finally, if you have one of these, I don't mean to disrespect your chain, they very well may be everything raved about. For me, they just didn't do it for me.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 04/06/2013 - 06:13
I've worked on Neve consoles and with Neve peripheral OB gear quite a bit in the past (the real thing not the plug ins) and I was certainly plenty happy in doing so.

I mixed on an SSL G Series Console a few times. Have also had the opportunity to work with API, Trident, Harrison, Fairchild, UA, etc.

(I never actually owned any of this stuff... my studio was considered "mid grade" with gear like Neotek (Elan), Amek (Scorpion), Soundcraft (DC 20-20) Yamaha (O2R) etc., but, I did work on the high caliber equipment mentioned above as a hired gun engineer working at other studios besides my own)

I would agree with Kurt that SSL tends to be more "transparent", while the Neve and API stuff does have its own "sound"... but I think you're still probably looking at six in one hand / half a dozen in the other, sonically.

In short: I don't think you're really gonna go wrong with anything of true pro quality, and in saying that, I don't believe we are telling you anything you don't already know, Chris. You're living proof of what can be accomplished by having a highly skilled engineer on high caliber gear.

I suppose that perhaps the question you need to ask yourself, is what you expect to get out of any gear you'd buy.

If you're looking for coloration within the application, well, IMO, you've already got a lot of that going on in your Neos and your OB rack with your LA2's, 1176's, etc.

So maybe something a bit more transparent would be in order as it would give you the choice of which to use, depending of course upon the application at hand.

IMHO of course.


Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:17
funny you mention radio, i know a (old timer) dude who raves ssl, and claims "i mix for the radio". besides inserting 'used to', i ask 'who listens to the radio'?. i happen to, but most new cars come w/ some sort of sattalite radio thing, and my bet, is that the least heard version of a song is on terrestrial radio. i think the internet exists.

Member for

11 years

pan60 Wed, 04/24/2013 - 21:59
That [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.retroinstrumen…"]176 Retro[/]="http://www.retroinstrumen…"]176 Retro[/] looks sweet for sure.
I have plenty of comps ( NOT!! ), for now, LOL: ) . I think I am leaning to the API 2500 next but who knows.

Being a 500 format slut there are a few 500 formats comps I plan on checking out first just to stay up on them.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:25
Hi guys, I made a few typo's just as you were reading this and just fixed them. And I'm sure this one will have a few too. Writing is not my fort-ay.


I owned these for months. I did both. The API was so disappointing inserted on a channel, group and master bus. Had it not been so hyped out, I wouldn't even talk about it. But these two "go too's" got me thinking big time.

As a drum comp, I see both useful, the SSL even more so. But, a few UA 1176's are smoking and how much is a 2500. Other than that, I really don't have much good to say about the 2500. Well, I never lost money on it. That was a good thing. I made $200 on it.

I'm really beginning to wonder if all the fuss about "glue" isn't more related to missing acoustic info right from the get go.

This is old news but is it?

Acoustic information, the key ingredient. Rather than killing it, we need to understand a lot more ( not just in the room, but in the mix). My focus in on how tones blend via natural space around the performance. So, my whole process is about trying to preserve it or recreate it some how. Not take it away even more. So, these took it away.

Generally speaking, I don't think the mass is concerned or aware so we dismiss and blindly reach for compressors.. Before all this digital stuff came on board, it never got squashed like it does now. I think tracking too hot compromises the space almost instantly too. That stuff isn't tracking well on most DAW's. I dunno, can we even see it on a meter?

The fundamentals . The problem I see, we have such high end technology now, because we can track so loud and clear, maybe we aren't realizing the space didn't come along with it.

Ironically we are using tools which remove the transients that contain the glue of the performance and then try and re "glue it all back together using compressors and limiters that negatively effect space. Isn't this insane!

The more I study this, and hear it with my own ears, the more I understand how delicate and important it is to hear and preserve, or try recreate the transparent space. ITB (a place that is so easily compromised without knowing its happening) , we either never captured it, or its already dead vsti, or simply editing and altering it out and loosing that space the minute the performance is captured ITB.

I know this isn't new information to us, but, is it? How serious do we take this?

Our brilliant minds and keen ears do understand space more than we realize, we know there is something unnatural to this but what is it. Eq, compression, what? We reach for tools to gel these tracks back together. What its doing is tightening up the screws even more, squashing the hell out of the space resulting in a wall of noise screaming for glue. Its a friken nightmare. An so it continues.

Compressors like the SSL and 2500 are imho, the wrong direction for me. They aren't preserving space, they are creating a sound and effect to help masks the black widow.

That's why I didn't like these.

Approx: digital -20db = analog 0db. if your digital tracks grossly exceed -20db there will be little space for further processing and summing (mixing) will be, if not impossible, very impractical and will generally yield lifeless results due to waveform clipping from all the attenuation that will have to be applied.

Using these comps when most music today exceeds these secs, its even worse.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 04/07/2013 - 17:48
Everyone likes those SSL bus compressors. But then for those that like that API sound, you've got that. Neve limiters are also quite desirable. But with your system, that kind of coloration might not be what you want? Your system is already meticulously assembled and quite transparent. So I think you should look into the GML limiters? DBX VCA's have been used in his previous limiters with his input and output circuitry that we all know is stellar and relies on higher voltage rails than most others. George was one of the first to pursue high voltage rail preamps and EQ's along with his limiters. Right up your alley. I've used a Manley Variable mu and I wasn't wild about that. I know their stuff is good but it does not wow me. At the same time... I think it's Manley that is now making all of the GML stuff? Both great quality. Both quite different.

I guess that's what Kurt is talking about also? But that's not really George's version of an SSL. That's George's version of George's version. I guess they both use VCA's? And probably the same ones? And George's also gives you the option of peak, fast RMS and slow RMS sensing. I just can't get my head around " Crest Factor "? Reminds me of the Spectra 610 Sonics Comp Limiter, which I also could never figure out what it was good for LOL? I sold off my pair from a bulk purchase of used audio gear. All I could do was get them to pump in a nasty way I didn't care for much LOL. Almost the same with those API 525's. Though there are folks that swear by those. I just swore at them.


Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Sun, 04/07/2013 - 18:22
i can't find anything on it now ... they used to be advertised in the back pages of Mix and EQ ... one space SSL compressors racked up by George Massenburg ... they even had the weird square meter.

for rucks Chris, you should get a Valley People dyna-mite. they're cheap and unique. as far as i'm concerned a DBX 160 or a dyna-mite are the only vca comps i like. everything else is opto.