SSL Advice?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by audiofileman, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. audiofileman

    audiofileman Guest

    I am a senior in high school and I am trying to earn myself an interning job as a recording studio in my home town. I think it would greatly help my chances of getting a job if I somewhat knew how to operate a Solid State Logic mixing console. I have never used one before and have no current access to one. Any advice on how I might familiarize my self with the layout and functions without actually handling a console? Anyone know where I might be able to find a Manuel?

  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    I'm not so sure that you really wanna' hear this, but why in the heck are you so all fired up about an SSL?

    Granted there is still a boatload of em' out there in use. They're certainly fine consoles as are Neve's, API's, Focusrite's and a whole bunch of others including; MCI, AMEK, Soundcraft, Calrec, D&R and a whole host of others.

    However, the thing I would be setting my sights on is learning are all the different types of automation systems.

    But even more importantly, and a definitely the most serious about this... what you want to know how to do, to get into any professional studio as an intern, is a whole host of tasks...
    1. EXCELLENT penmanship
    2. Make a GREAT pot of coffee
    3. Know how to set up a ProTools session, including labeling tracks and file folders.
    4. Wrap and un-wrap cables
    5. Clean a sink and bathroom... spotless
    6. Correctly load paper towel dispensers and toilet paper dispensers so they aren't overloaded.
    7. How to set up different types of mic stands
    8. Proper, confident, handling of a $10,000 microphone
    9. Know how to take a food order without writing it down
    10. Have a clean driving record

    If you are going to follow the traditional route of intern, you're at least a year or two from handling anything close to your first session. Think about it. Can you really expect a studio owner who's probably spent close to half a million dollars on a studio, to just turn you loose on all that gear without making damn sure you won't blow stuff up?

    It's not necessary to start learning the manuals now, but it's not going to hurt. I'll give you that much. But don't just lock yourself in on the SSL. Learn all of the console's you can... and all of the DAW's you can as well. But you should also familiarize yourself with DASH, and 1", 2" and half track machines as a serious backup of knowledge.

    Even the busiest of rock shops in NYC and LA are hybrid. Often the practice is to track drums to 2" tape, then bounce everything to ProTools or Logic for the rest of the tracking, editing and mix.

    Again, as an intern, you're gonna be taught by the staff, slowly over time, their room, their gear and their workflow. The console surely is an integral part of it, but it's probably the least important part of the gig.

    Check out this site...
    There should be a few of the guys over there that will kick you a coupla manuals. If nothing else, call all the console manufacturer's you can, and ask for a copy of the user manuals. Some may give them to ya'... some will charge ya'. But if you were going to college, you'ld be paying for books, so think of it as college books... that you'll never throw away.

    Just a final comment... I think it's admirable that you're willing to go the traditional intern route. You have a tough row to hoe, but if you're dedicated, and detail oriented, you'll likely find a home in a good shop. But if you came in to interview and you only knew SSL manuals and were really adamant about working on one... You'ld miss out on a gig in my shop. If you aren't flexible and willing to learn, you'll find it all but impossible to get a gig anywhere. But, if you're coming in and telling me you have dug through the manuals of a dozen consoles, half a dozen NR systems, Studer and MCI tape machines, ProTool, Logic and Sequoia, and can make the best cup of coffee I've ever tasted... I think I'd HAVE to hire ya on the spot.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Quote: "Anyone know where I might be able to find a Manuel? "

    Yeah, I do. Manuel's back in the kitchen making that great cup of joe for Max.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    This is a flashback to my audio learning curve. Only add about 50 more lines of wrap and un-wrap cables with the rest of Max's list.

    Also, add pre planning job site sketches (positions and how many of cables, speakers, amps, consoles, coffee pot, # of LCpls, LtCols, oh $*^t! where did the Drum Major go.....)

    sigh.....those were the days.....
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    Hey, I was gonna go there... but I was trying to be kind....

    (wonner if anyone's gonna buy that line?)
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Those are two you don't want to mix up...

    First - to the original poster:
    Welcome to RO!

    Also, congratulations on attempting to take such a proactive role in your potential future!

    Now, the sad thing is, the guys that have already posted are speaking the truth. There really is no need to learn the SSL board. Here would be my advice. Get the following:

    A mackie 1202 mixer
    A dbx compressor (cheapo)
    A lexicon reverb (another cheapo)
    An SM57

    Now...figure out which cables you'll need to hook all of this up correctly. (If you can do that, you're light years ahead of any intern I've ever had work for me!)

    Next, figure out how to route your way around that board (again, light years ahead)

    Then, figure out what those effects do and come up with at least 3 different ways you can route them and use them for each effect.

    If you can do these 3 things, you can do 95% of what you'd ever need to do on an SSL, CalRec, Studer, MCI, Neve or API board.

    Then, as these guys point out, the process of interning begins. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with you pushing a single fader. Most of my previous interns haven't touched one of my mics until they've been working for me for at least 6 weeks - sometimes much more.

    The most important thing is:
    1 - take notes of everything you see and do
    2 - ask questions (but only when it's appropriate. don't interrupt a session and certainly don't ask questions in front of the client!)
    3 - sit quietly and absorb everything the engineer(s) are doing. If you have a question - jot it down and ask it later.

    I never mind my interns asking me questions. The only time it pisses me off is when:
    1 - it's at the worst possible time
    2 - it's something that's not relevant to my kind of work. (I had one intern that would spend 30 minutes at a time talking to me about what pickups worked best in his Squire. I really didn't care, but no matter how often I told him I didn't know and didn't care, he'd ask me unrelentlessly again and again and again and again....GGEEEEZZZZ!)

    Best of luck to you!

  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Tough love comming.....

    Only a real frickin fool would let some high school kid any where near a decent SSL console regardless of what school or any other training that they might get.

    There is much more than knowing how to use an SSL console and it's technology. You have to EARN the right to sit in front of desk like that. Part of earning that right is showing that you can do all the other service related tasks very well that really have nothing to do with music production.
  8. audiofileman

    audiofileman Guest

    Thanks all for the great advice!

    To clarify my earlier question:
    I was asking specifically about and SSL console because it is the model that the studio I am trying for uses, and at the time it seemed to be the biggest gap in my knowledge. Now after reading some of your posts I see that may not be true.

    I am familiar with the traditional role of an intern, and am willing to do anything that is asked of me. Yes, I make a mean pot of coffee, but should the day come that one of the engineers asks for my help then it would be nice to know what I am doing.

    A bit I left out about my background:
    I have been teaching live theatrical sound to my peers at school for two years, and by now would have to count the amount of cables I have warped in miles. I have been working as an intern for a guy who owns his own live sound business for about as long. Within the last year I have started producing a number of local bands on my own using a MacBook Pro, a Digi 003, and a Mackie 1642-VLZ3 to record and do live gigs for the bands renting any equipment I need and don't own. I am proficient with Protools, Cubase, and Logic.

    I love music and I love recording. Currently I am just trying to learn as much as I can. I'll take your advice and dig through as many manuals as I can to increase my knowledge. Thank you all so much for your help! Any further advice on how I may improve my chances of getting hired would be greatly appreciated :D
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Be sure you use spell-check.

    And take great notes.

    And forget everything you've ever learned until you need it.

    There's a meaning here that seems stupid/simple.

    There's not a single high-end engineer that wants to hear from an intern about whats right and whats wrong in their room. SO. Even if you really KNOW something and feel the need to POINT_IT_OUT_WHILE_WHILE_A_SESSION_IS_GOING...........dont.

    Gaff made it simple. You earn your spot.

    The very best thing to know is the interfacing of unlike protocols.

    Getting some clients Cubase to play well with the ProTools is a life saver as well as a money maker. I use these two only as an example.

    But knowing that stuff like the back of your hand trumps any time spent on a big console for securing a place in a situation that you may be allowed to work up to a big console eventually.

    Learn to align a tape machine. And do it properly.

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