SSL, API or Neve console?
denial
Thread Starter
#1
7th November 2003
Old 7th November 2003
  #1
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
SSL, API or Neve console?

Well I'm on the verge of purchasing a used large format console so I'm conducting some research into sound and maintenance issues before I start flying all over the place to check them out.

I'll be running it with ProTools and currently have enough outboard mic pre's (API 512C's, Neve 1073's, VIPRE, V76's etc.) to track a whole band live.

Mixing (not tracking) console for pop/rock with about 48+ channels for both private and commercial use. Budget up to $150k USD.

Current contenders are:
SSL 4048 E
API Legacy Plus 48
Neve 8048 (this will cost a little more but hey, it's a Neve!)

Your opinions are appreciated. Thank you.
#2
7th November 2003
Old 7th November 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

I'd go with the SSL. They are the easiest to maintain of the 3. I have a personal preference for them because I like their sound, and the E computer isn't that bad.

Where are you located? They are the most requested (the SSL line) console out here according to someone I spoke with from Studio Referal Service in LA.

If you already have some API and NEVE gear, I think it would make the most sense.
par
#3
7th November 2003
Old 7th November 2003
  #3
par
Gear Head
 
par's Avatar
 

Go for the SSL.
#4
7th November 2003
Old 7th November 2003
  #4
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Dude.. SSL and buy more averill 1073's and while your @ it grab a Wagner mic!

Cheers
Wiggy
#5
7th November 2003
Old 7th November 2003
  #5
Gear addict
 
Robotnik's Avatar
 

SSL. Even the E series is about to go up in value. The day of the tracking console is numbered. Get a bunch of Neve, API, etc... mic-pres (32 varied mic-pres total) and you're set for just about any session that comes your way.
#6
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #6
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Robotnik's got it in a nutshell.

As cool as the Vintage 'tracking' neve console is, they really are not that flexible in a mixing sense unless its an 8078 or some toher beastie of a neve console. Most of them have few few routing faciltiies and even few Aux sends etc. Also you run into the 'double FAT' thing where everything starts to chunk up like Oprah before her wonder amphetamine diets.

The mere fact that from tracking to mixing, on the neve i worked on the mic signal goes through the mic input Xformer, direct line out xformer, buffer transformers to the Aux and BALANCED inserts, fader line amps. That is nearly a minimum of 7 transformers in the signal path just for tracking!!!!!! Rupert loved his iron! and then when it comes to mix it the same except with the mic input tranny being subsitiuted for a line input and there are stereo buss transformer line drivers to drive the master recorder.

So whilst transformers subtley colour the sound when the signal goes throguh so many of them it colours and somewhat mangles a bit of the sound.. go Slippy!!!! hence all the PHATNESS associated with Neve... I think its an appropriate coloru for somethings but definately not all. Im a bit over the whole recrod/mixing on vitnage Neve and as sacriligious as it sounds im looking for something like the SSL option for mixing purely for the transparency, crunch factor and facilities it can offer during the mixing phase of a project.

In the Long run the SSL is a totally more flexible and commerically viable business option. Robotnik also got it right again insaying that even some of the dare i say it 'vintage' E series are becoming sought after for their particular sonic traits. Who would have thought it in the 80's and early 90's?

So Get an E that has been all tricked out and is in nice condition. Get an armload of wikid pre's comps, EQ. Im definately no officiando of the SSL and have only used one once! but many tell me that the blakc EQ is teh prefered one, so perhaps u can hunt one down with that?

The only thing caveat here is that if you are trying to open the room as a comercial entity there is a fair bit of gear that is almost taken as a given that goes along with an SSL:

These inlcude:

LEX 480L
TC 2290
LEX PCM 42
AMS RMX 16
AMS DMX 1580
Eventide HSE 3000/4000?

I dont know perhaps others can add to that list?

Cheers
Wiggy
#7
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #7
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entropy's Avatar
 

I'd agree with what's been said above.

Just to further Wiggy's post, I'd also add a couple of 1176's, a couple of Pultecs, 2 x DMX 1580 and even a Lexi 224.

As for the E series, I used one for a few years and (i'll go out on a limb here) but I preferred to E eq to the G series. You can put in a G+ automation so it doesn't fall over as often (and of course, it has much better functionality). Keep a few spare modules about and it should be fairly problem free.
#8
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #8
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entropy's Avatar
 

Wiggy, sounds like you're going to be changing your signature..... my pet hell is having no SSL
#9
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #9
Gear maniac
 
Chae Ham's Avatar
 

I personally would get the API over the SSL anyday--especially the 4000E series, they sound too dirty for me. If you really like that sound by all means... Everything from the preamps the dynamic section, the eq just sound icky. The 2-bus compressor is the only thing that I somewhat like about it. If I was given an SSL I would have it sitting in the corner with the bus compressor module missing, getting more comfortable in my rack.

And I hope the automation system has been updated, or you plan on doing so after purchasing. Have you seen those HUGE floppies?

I know this probably isn't a popular opinion and more people know "SSL" than "API" but can anyone really argue that SSLs actually sounded good, before the 9000 series??

I'm just as big a fan of Neve as the next guy but if we're talking all around, overall, I would pick API for sound quality and versatility.

Just my thoughts.
Good Luck!
denial
Thread Starter
#10
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #10
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the feedback so far.

So far it seems that the SSL is a clear favorite for mixing. So with that in mind what configuration (computer, channel type, meters, automation, etc.) would be desirable for strong and somewhat aggressive rock/pop material.

I'm a bit surprised that the API Legacy Plus is not a stronger contender here.
#11
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #11
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mac black's Avatar
SSL all the way (to the bank..)
#12
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
entropy's Avatar
 

Just to disagree with Chae, there's plenty of great records done on E and G series....it don't sound THAT bad

As for configuration, you can get 'em with 3.5 floppies as opposed to the old MEGA floppy. I like VU's and G+ automation
#13
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #13
Gear maniac
 
Chae Ham's Avatar
 

If you buy the SSL what you should do is tear out the automation system and get someone to retrofit a FADEX system!!! Now THAT is vintage!

My strange sense of humor seems to peek out at this time of night.
#14
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #14
Gear addict
 
Robotnik's Avatar
 

I'd look for a 48-frame E-series (with the 2E242 "black" EQs) with G+ computer (v4.x) with Total Recal and VUs (the bargraphs burn out quickly). Add a few stereo channels as well. And, to add to the gearlist given above, consider getting Pro Tools (with at least 32 outs), Masterlink, quality AD/DA converter (PSX100), analog 2-track mixdown machine (1/4" or 1/2") if you don't already have them.
#15
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #15
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drundall's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Chae Ham
can anyone really argue that SSLs actually sounded good, before the 9000 series??

For hard rock, yes. I know guys who prefer older SSL's to the 9K because of its "crunch".
par
#16
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #16
par
Gear Head
 
par's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Chae Ham

I know this probably isn't a popular opinion and more people know "SSL" than "API" but can anyone really argue that SSLs actually sounded good, before the 9000 series??
I consider the 9000 to be TOO clean. If I were mixing a classical recording, sure, but if its a rock/pop session I easily take the 4000G+
#17
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #17
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Entropy..


I will allways love NEVE!.. i just will and its what i learnt on and will allways track thorugh them, or at least track through modules etc. They really are the bomb for tracking. I really wouldnt like to make a whole album on a SSL, however i dont mind using a Neve to track everything. Yet i would prefer a clean desk to mix from.

As an one of my favoruite albums of all time 'The Stone Roses' was tracked 100% and mixed on an old E series cos ZOMBA had specified that to use their own studio. And i felt that as awesome that the album was, if it was tracked with better pre's etc it would take it another level sonic, but im just still picking the shit out of things. Still its the songs, so thats what really matters.

There are a fair few of the E series around. Again Mr Robotnik is right in saying that the G+ computer is the way to go. As mentioned again before i aint really had much miles on them but ive sat in on a few mixes and im not sure if you really will need TR, perhaps u can poll some more regular member to guage its usefull ness. If your felling really rich perhaps ultimation could be an idea.

Another reason i could use the SSL would be during mixing where the EQ is much more surgical so i can cut and sculpt things a lot better than the more broader and fatter Neve EQ. I like to boost with neve during tracking then then make space and cut the gnarly shit out with a finer EQ during the mix. also the flexibility would be much more conducive to mixing.

Again froma comerical point, an API really is not a commercial option in Australia. Its basically and SSL or Neve, which is shame cos the API would be an awesome thing but its more of a cult desk that sounds fantastic, but very few would know what it is. I figure that getting an API would be like getting a Helios or a Trident a Trident-A range where its really about a desk for u alone. Cos you would have to be pretty much married to it like a Vintage neve, just without the name and gearslutz boasting rights..lol

Cheers
Wiggy
#18
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #18
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Robotnik
and VUs (the bargraphs burn out quickly)
I'm still a complete sucker for Plasmas. I lecture the SSL dillholes everytime I see them about the lack of plasmas and the bullshit LEDs on the 9k's (hopefully others do too).
#19
8th November 2003
Old 8th November 2003
  #19
Gear maniac
 

Another vote here for an SSL. If it wasn't for a commercial facility or you were not going to be running it yourself I would also suggest as Euphonix CS3000 or 2000. They sound fantastic and have been used by a lot of great artists/Producers including Glenn Ballard, Bruce Springsteen, Babyface, Trevor Horn etc to name a few. However they take a while to get your head around. The beauty of the SSL is that anyone can walk in the door and get mixing.
denial
Thread Starter
#20
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #20
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
Anyone else with an opinion on the subject and which SSL configuration for rock/pop mixing would be most desirable?
#21
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #21
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Syki's Avatar
 

Custom made Daking with uptown automation. Eq and comp on every chn, and Geoff gets together with Wade from Chandler limited and hooks up a custom TG1 2 buss for the mix bus. Hey ...one can dream right?
#22
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #22
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Robo's post pretty much summed it up, but... Like I said I prefer Plasma meters (yeah, call me a wimp.... A WIMP THAT CAN SEE LEVELS ACROSS THE ROOM!). I've heard of them going at a budget of $150k these days. Man oh man. What should I buy: A cabin for piss cheap in the Big Bear Area or an SSL these days? Yeah right, like either will happen.
#23
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #23
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atticus's Avatar
Maybe I'm just different, but if I had the cash to do a top of the line desk I'd get a Forssell console. It's got all of the bells and whistles plus it's very well built. I know that it doesn't have the name recognition but I trust that the sonics would be superior in every way.

http://www.forsselltech.com/3036.htm
#24
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #24
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by everglass
... The beauty of the SSL is that anyone can walk in the door and get mixing.

And that's ALWAYS the bottom-line when you go to rent a studio.

Hopefully people will begin wrapping their heads around making easier to use consoles than SSLs instead of cheaper imitations or more complicated competitors.

I REALLY like that retrofit dedicated line and mike input modules idea!
#25
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #25
Gear addict
 
Songhead's Avatar
 

Ok, I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but this is for Denial's benefit, and not to start a "purity of gearslutz" discussion...been there, done that.

Professional Audio Design is North America's exclusive factory authorized reseller of Pre-owned SSL consoles. We also carry Neve, API, and other Large format consoles. We currently have 7 4K consoles (all sizes), 2 6K and 2 9K consoles, plus others (Neve VR, Focusrite Studio 48, Tridents, Euphonix, etc.)

Give us a call, we have the best service dept in the industry (All SSL factory trained), and we can make sure you get the best console for your money.

PS: Would've emailed directly, but Denial's address isn't posted
#26
11th November 2003
Old 11th November 2003
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Syki's Avatar
 

Hey whats going on Mr Songhead. Can I take the trash out and wash your dishes fot 10yrs? Please...please all I need is a 56 input E series

Actually do you have a lease program ? Perhaps you would take my 2nd born?
#27
12th November 2003
Old 12th November 2003
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Does anyone prefer the G+ automation over Flying Faders?
#28
12th November 2003
Old 12th November 2003
  #28
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

SSL's rock for mixing and flexability. As stated before, they are also fairly easy to maintain. However if sonics are your main determining factor, I would suggest the API. All three are outstanding, but the preamps and EQ's in the API are S-I-C-K
#29
12th November 2003
Old 12th November 2003
  #29
Gear addict
 
Bernd G's Avatar
 

Hello,

we had to make the same decision a few months ago and we went for a 4056 G/G+. I know the E series EQ sounds different and some people prefer it. I also wished for flying faders over VCAs, but in the near future we will retrofit the console with the new THAT 2181 chips if necessary. Consider that most E series consoles by now are almost 20 years old. Replacing plasma meters can get very expensive. Also remember, unless it has the right processor card, the upgrade from G to G+ is not just few shekels. We paid $ 75K for ours and I considered this a good price. You could put the rest of your money into all of those things that WIGGY suggested. I am not sure about the AMX though - sounds a bit too 80s.... .
Oh and SONGHEAD, just to give you hell, I think your salespitch belongs in a PM.


Cheers

#30
12th November 2003
Old 12th November 2003
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Dude.. the ams RMX 16 is THE 80's ... but then agian so is an 'E' series.. so go figure.. i love the ams verb cos its really natural and nothing else sounds like it. IT's a very 'New Romantic' verb.

And how is your new SSL going Bernd G?.. will the THAT VCA's go into the automation signal path for more headroom and quieter noise floor and specs etc?

Has it increased you studio profile and or business?

I have found a cool weirdo SSL... a 5000 series that was used to do film. Im thinking long and hard about that one cos its VERY affordable and for purely mixing PT outputs im thinking it couls be a solution and then i really can hose the rest of the $$ on choice cuts of the finest outboard known to man.

Cheers
Wiggy
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