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SSL SuperAnalogue Dynamics - variety of uses? Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 3rd April 2016
  #1
SSL SuperAnalogue Dynamics - variety of uses?

I just scored a pair of SSL SuperAnalogue Dynamics modules and a Mynx chassis for a great price, really looking forward to getting to know these. I was searching around the forum and was surprised there weren't more descriptions of how others were using these. Was hoping some people might chime in.

These are for contemporary classical ensemble music, winds, strings, percussion, and piano, often with electronics. But mostly 2 channel Blumlein recordings with a stereo ribbon. I bought them first to use as a limiter in front of an Avalon opto, which I love how I can pinpoint overbearing resonances to dial down, like clarinet multiphonics or flute high notes, or shrill violin. But I don't like how it handles percussive things at all, so I wanted to put the SSLs first to catch peaks. I'm also interested in using it as a parallel comp to bring up low level detail or to make the transients more aggressive. I've tried this with a pair of DBX 560as and with the Waves SSL plugin, and it's definitely the effect I was hoping for but they both make it a little too hard sounding. I was thinking the SuperAnalogue modules would be so much more hi-fi that they would be able to do this a lot better. I've made some recordings on a Duality before, just using the SA preamps, no processing, but wow did I love that sound, main reason I bought the comps.

In general, I'm looking for these to either handle peaks in a hi-fi way, the music I record is VERY dynamic and I love single location recordings but it creates a lot of problems. But I'm also hoping these will help me move the music forward if I want, make it have more impact and kick. For example, I'm attaching a short piano piece that is extremely explosive. Wanting to make it even more explosive. The chain is AEA R88>AEA TRP>Apogee Symphony i/o -- I know the ribbon actually mellows it somewhat, I love that the highs are not metallic with this mic and the low end is big and clear, I'm hoping SSL will give it more oomph. Any users have advice or comments? (BTW, I'm going to record all the piano music by this particular composer over the next year or two so)
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Old 3rd April 2016
  #2
I found more on these on this forum today, if you search 'xrack dynamics' like I did, it doesn't yield a lot of results but there are prior threads. Anyway, naturally it's mostly rock comments and drums. I'd still love to hear if/how people are using these for other genres. It's a more percussive piano sound I'm looking for, without jamming the mic in close, not crazy about close mic'd piano. I have Kush Electras and they do a great job of punching up the attacks but I like the way compressors alter the attack sometimes too, figure these excel in that area.

Last edited by augustusarnone; 3rd April 2016 at 07:19 PM..
Old 4th April 2016
  #3
You have to play with the ratio and release to get it just where you need. But in your case, where you're looking to enhance the attack, I 'd start with leaving off the "fast att" switch, give the source's attack a chance to creep through before the compressor clamps down.
Old 4th April 2016
  #4
I figured as much, though the fast attack is probably great for parallel processing, yes? Am I right, it's all about the shape of the onset of the attack, which gives it its characteristic sound? I've explored the Waves plug a bit but it's certainly not the pristine sound I'm expecting, on purpose I understand.

My Symphony converters have an adjustable reference point so I can vary how hot to come into them. I bet a lot of sound variety is possible that way. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Old 4th April 2016
  #5
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My dog loves that song.
Old 5th April 2016
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostwriter View Post
My dog loves that song.
Awesome. Wait til I get in a real hall and make it slam with some new SSL comps, bet he'll go bananas over it.
Old 5th April 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
Awesome. Wait til I get in a real hall and make it slam with some new SSL comps, bet he'll go bananas over it.
Old 8th April 2016
  #8
OK, well these do exactly what I was hoping they would do. Pretty damn easy to use as well. The loud attacks just take on a kind of THWACK, don't they..

So, does anyone know, is it feedback like the bus compressor? I noticed a bit more noticeable distortion with the peak switch in. I'm thinking the knee must be very soft indeed in RMS mode as it's really musical and natural sounding, while at the same time some kind of audio habanero sauce! But I'm wondering how the release fits so well. I noticed with my Portico 5043 that in feedback it really sounds like both attack and release are program dependent even though they aren't, whereas feedforward is more obvious, I wasn't sure if that's why the SSL is able to do it as well.

Big and powerful too, I'm not worried about mucking up my original recording or losing details and frequency, really powerful bass sound! These are definitely staying. Thanks SSL for exactly the sound I was hoping for.
Old 8th April 2016
  #9
Also, I love some of my 500 series stuff but those modules feel kind of flimsy by comparison, I love how solid the Mynx is and with more real estate on the modules. But am I missing something or is the only way to turn it off unplugging it? Not so much a fan of that. I'll probably just buy a powerstrip with an on/off switch, what a pain.
Old 13th April 2016
  #10
Solid State Logic
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
So, does anyone know, is it feedback like the bus compressor? .
Channel compressors are feed-forward.

For your use I'd stay well away from Fast Attack unless using as a peak limiter - smashes the hell out of any transient you present to it and will bring out the room sound on percussive elements. Low ratios, low thresholds and low ratios for all round gentle squeeze.

BTW - Bus Comp is an awesome alternative on heavy-hit pianos but won't give you the same all-round "hi-fi sheen"...
Old 13th April 2016
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Channel compressors are feed-forward.
Thanks for the info. I noticed the 611dyn has this choice between linear and logarithmic release. Is the release on this logarithmic? Just trying to wrap my head around why it sounds the way it does, which is a bit different than the other feedforward vca comps I've got to use much. With some other comps I've noticed a more mechanical sounding release, kind of like you get with synth envelopes, whereas this seems a little more intelligent somehow.

Or is it all just a function of the shape of the knee? Do I understand it right that the release time is how long it gets back to no gr given the ratio and threshold controls, so 20ms coming down 1-2db at 2:1 ratio is much slower than 20ms coming down 6dbs from a 10:1 ratio? So in that sense it would always be somewhat program dependent? And then depending how soft the knee is there would be a lot of variety in the release.

Anyway, it's an outstanding piece. I'm going to try out the EQ as well when budget permits. I've been looking for things that give a bit more attitude and vibrant, robust sound without killing the top end or getting so weighty that it blunts the details. I think this Superanalogue sound may be exactly that. I record a lot of strings and percussion as well and it's really spiky, dynamic, extreme virtuosity music. A little attitude is called for.
Old 13th April 2016
  #12
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don't forget to play with the exp/gate as well, i often reach for the ssl stuff just for that alone. man o man why don't more manufacturers put expanders/gates into their dynamics processors?
Old 14th April 2016
  #13
Sorry, one other question.. I did RTFM, but there's no explanation. The ratio goes from 1 to infinity, what do any of the dots represent? I know it's probably so you can tune by ear, but any hints what 6 o'clock is for example? Or at least, where is 2:1? Thanks for any insight.
Old 14th April 2016
  #14
I think what I'm already seeing with these is that they become more flexible if you have a leveler of some type in front of them. Maybe going from the converters into my TRP preamp and then into them is the answer.
Old 14th April 2016
  #15
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Lots of guys mix all kinds of music with nothing more than than the SSL channel dynamics and the SSL desk compressor.
Old 14th April 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
Sorry, one other question.. I did RTFM, but there's no explanation. The ratio goes from 1 to infinity, what do any of the dots represent? I know it's probably so you can tune by ear, but any hints what 6 o'clock is for example? Or at least, where is 2:1? Thanks for any insight.
You might want to look into this thread.
Old 15th April 2016
  #17
Solid State Logic
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
Sorry, one other question.. I did RTFM, but there's no explanation. The ratio goes from 1 to infinity, what do any of the dots represent? I know it's probably so you can tune by ear, but any hints what 6 o'clock is for example? Or at least, where is 2:1? Thanks for any insight.
Logarithmic release. All legending on SSL hardware is for indication only, historically inaccurate - ask anyone who went from an analogue E/G series to a digital A series.

Use your ears and the GR meter :-)
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