SSL sound

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by MrBrown, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. MrBrown

    MrBrown Guest

    I'm not a pro. I want to put a PT studio together for my personal use.
    I know I'm going to use a G4 or G5, and I know I'll use
    Apogee converters unless I use Digi units. I know the
    Vipre(GrooveTubes) is supposed to be a hell of a good tube MP. I know
    the MSS10(Martech) is supposed to be a bad ass solid state MP.
    The Vipre and the MSS10 I want to use for lead vocal and featured instruments.

    I don't know what the XLogic(SSL) MPs are like, among others, and I'm interested to find out.
    I'll put it like this, I'm in no position to personally audition each unit with my own ears. These are my choices based on reading various sources for main instrument MPs: SPL GainStation8, Millennia HV-3D/8, Grace m801, Universal 8110 or a couple of Red 1s(Focusrite), XLogics(SSL), 473s(Vintech), or 3124s(API) units, all of which are 4 channels each.
    Opinions? All I want is 16 tracks, 24 max, for live recording.

    Also, but off topic, sorry, if I were to choose music recording as a career, being that I find the idea of living in a pro music studio a thrilling concept, would attending one of the various recording schools be a worthwhile investment? I am 34 now and married working in the petroleum refinery biz making good money, which I'm not sure the recording biz could match, especially if I had to start at the bottom, which I know I would.
    Never mind. Sorry to waste your time. I don't know what to do.

    I would like the MP opinions still.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Let me first start by saying, although Bob Clearmountain makes some awesome recordings on SSL's and his wife owns Apogee, I once looked at the front end microphone preamp on an SSL 4000 series console, that NBC Washington DC was considering purchasing. I WAS NOT IMPRESSED!!! It was a crappy design like a cheap PA board. It was a Dean Jensen microphone transformer (the only good part) into an older generation Signetics 5534 chip and into a couple of output "swing" transistors for additional output headroom. Any beginner could design that. Nobody has ever really said that SSLs sounded great. It's just that they had every bell and whistle you could possibly want and some unique sounding squishy limiters. Now don't get me wrong. When I worked at Media Sound in New York City, so did Bob. He made some awesome sounding recordings, not on SSL's but on those awful sounding API and Neve things, because that's all they had.

    Now if you want 24 of something in a compact space that sounds good? I would suggest 6 API 3124 units. There you go 24 inputs of great sounding vintage preamplifiers. More hits recorded on those than any fancy dodad preamps.

    Remy Ann David
  3. MrBrown

    MrBrown Guest

    You said API & Neve boards sounded horrible?
    Anyhoo...thx for the reply.
    I'm adding OSA & Sebatron to the list of possibles.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    UMMM no they don't sound horrible! I said horrible meaning (I am a wise ass) you really can't do better than those 2 legendary console sounds.

    Yes, you can get microphone preamplifiers that have far better specifications on paper, than those old legendary units but that doesn't really mean anything! It is techno-blather. If you realized that those other two legendary console's did not have great specifications, you would wonder why so many hits were made on them. Simply because, in times gone by, that's all there was and thankfully they were designed with transistors and not integrated circuit chips.

    Now we all know tubes sound great. So why aren't there more tube consoles (I think Elvis was recorded on an old radio station control Board, the precursor to real recording consoles)? Heat and the electric bill (there are still some specialty consoles made with tubes). Beside tubes sound soft and really don't make it when you want hard rock-and-roll. If you like that crispy metallic sound, then integrated circuit chips are the way to go. And remember tubes are class A circuit's, they don't clip, they just distort with rounded edges, nonsymmetrically. You can have class A circuits with transistors and they will distort differently, nonsymmetrical distortion, mostly 2nd harmonic (which is musical sounding distortion). If you have a good transistorized class A/B preamplifier, it will sound mostly like a class A circuit until you clip it, which is symmetrically clipped, 3rd harmonic distortion (which is not musically sounding). Many of the classic old Neve boards were all class A transistor circuits. Some of the slightly newer Neve boards were all transistor class A/B circuits (they also run cooler) along with their American-made API counterparts. A simple topography console like those sound better than most consoles that have integrated circuit chips in them. That is because these older consoles are referred to as "discrete" simple topography consoles, meaning that they have individual transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, within them. An integrated circuit chip uses all " transistor junctions" to imitate resistors, capacitors, etc. and therefore because transistor junctions in and buy themselves cause distortions, every time you go through one, less is more! Like they say, " the best amplifier is a straight wire". It's true. Even within a simple " microphone preamp integrated circuit chip" there may be a hundred or more transistor junctions from input, to output. Now they still may sound good but is that the sound you want? It's amazing to have ears! They are sort of like ass holes but instead, everybody has 2!! So you actually have twice the opportunity to be stupid about audio instead of just one. By the way, have you ever seen a pair of 5.1 surround headphones? No, I haven't either.

    Audio 101
    Remy Ann David
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    and when applied well it makes for a very good workhorse mic-pre
    ... which is just what you want in a mixing desk
    Trafo then 5534 and discrete drive is the basis of the famous F110 mic-pre

    It could have been worse and they could have use the 2016 or 2017 like some of their competitors did at the time.

    and I think that just about sums it all up
    any topology can sound good ... and perhaps great
    if that is the sound you want, then print it

    George M and Rupert N have vastly different attitudes to design and people find both their equipment and others well worth the money.
    There is no single correct answer.
    Head to 3dB forum and have a listen to what these and other mic-pre designers have to say.
    Dan K's interview is very cool.
  6. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    imo the 5534/32 etc. is a big part of the ssl sound....

    afaik they're not only used in the pre but all over the place.... kev?

    i don't like that sound.....
  7. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    24 ch of pro pre's? PT? Good money? Start at the bottom? You are ready to drop some serious chedda on this aren't you? Do you have any experience with recording? Its not something you learn over night. $40,000 worth of gear might literally get in the way.

    ps Go for G5
  8. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    yes they are
    and many people say the same thing
    and they are in much of the Neve 51 series and many many others from that era

    until the newer opa's and other burbrowns and SSM's came along
    the 5534 was the staple diet of the Pro Audio world.
    For some it still is.

    I like the LM833 and use it as my bread and butter opamp.

Share This Page