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Anyone experience the SSL Duende DSP processor?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ballz, Mar 4, 2007.

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  1. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    I'm so curious about this unit.

    "authentic SSL channel strip with filters, E and G series EQ and dynamics processing, as well as the legendary SSL Stereo Bus Compressor"

    "up to 32 channels of SSL signal processing and supports sample rates from 44.1kHz to 96kHz"

    this sounds like a magnificent addition to any DAW-based studio. All I've heard 1st hand was from a reputable mastering engineer in town who says the bus compressor is amazing.

    Have you tried it?
  2. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    sounds like a no?
    I'm REALLY interested in this thing, so if ANYONE has had any experience, please share. Sharing is niiiice
  3. eveaudio

    eveaudio Guest

    I have not tried it either, but if anyone replies I'd be interested to know if they also had an opinion of the Duende vs. the Waves SSL bundle....
  4. mallardduckman

    mallardduckman Active Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I have a Duende. I've had it for about half a year now

    I have a love/hate relationship with it. When it works I love it, when it doesn't work I hate it. Go figure.

    I bought it on ebay, not from an authorized dealer so I can't return it. I've talked to SSL many times trying to get it to work and they've been very patient and as helpful as they can be in troubleshooting. However, they are quick to blame my setup for the problems and it still works only about 1/3 of the time.

    When it works I can say it sounds fantastic. The Channel strip adds something even without turning a knob. The eq is very smooth, especially in the 2-5 khz it adds this nice shimmer without being harsh. The compressor in the channel strip is just ok - I can get a better sound out of many other compression plugins. The bus compressor however is the real value in Duende. It's simple and elegant and it can squish the heck out of drums while keeping them sounding musical and loud. I often put a few on the 2-bus as well with a 1-2db reduction on each and suddenly my mix sounds much warmer and together. I've never used a real SSL console but from what I've read the Duende does a decent job emulating it.

    The problems is that it often randomly just won't output sound or when it does it's all chopped up and spitty. When it's acting up like this it maxes out my CPU instantly as well. Which is strange because the whole concept of Duende is to take the load off. I use a Fireface 800 into a PPC G5 Dual 2ghz with 3gb of RAM running Logic. Everything I do is 96k. SSL claims the unit is funtioning properly and that it's the fragile firewire achitecture of the PPC Dual 2.0 (yep, only the PPC Dual 2.0 :roll: ) that's to blame along with a high sample rate and it's my computer that won't properly interface with Duende.

    Occasionally, with the right combo of powering up the Fireface then Duende then Logic with the highest possible buffers allows Duende to work for that session but lately it's just not working at all.

    I've tried all the new drivers, firmware. I've reinstalled Logic, Fireface drivers and even OSX. I bought a separate PCI firewire card dedicated to just Duende. Nothing has fixed this problem. My next plan, when I have the time is to purchase another Duende and see if it works on my system and then return it. That should let me know if I have a defective unit or if my system just doesn't jive with Duende.

    So, there's a summary. If you buy it, just don't be dumb like me and make sure you can return it if it doesn't work. Sure I saved a few hundred bucks but now I have a $1400 rack shelf. :cry:


  5. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    well it sounds like it WOULD be worth it if it worked all the time. I'll see what else I can find out about compatibility problems.

    thanks duckman.
  6. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    I have read from other users that dsp firewire devices and other firewire devices do not play well together at times.

    My Fireface is finicky on a PC with a firewire controller using a TI chipset, which is supposed to be the most reliable for the Fireface, and it's the only firewire device on that PC. If possible, I would try running Duende without the Fireface (use the Mac's internal audio if Logic can access it) and see if reliability changes. If it does, I would serious consider an inexpensive lightpipe card for audio and run the Fireface standalone (or see if you can still use Firewire just to access the control panel).

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