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SSL VHD Module, how do they sound?
Old 14th June 2017
SSL VHD Module, how do they sound?

I was wondering how the SSL VHD mic pre sounds compared to other high end mic pre's. How is the character of the distortion you can add and is it a good option if you already have Portico pre's?
Old 15th June 2017
Gear Addict
shalimo's Avatar

I have 8 channels, they are all purpose from clean to warm to shredded. Get it and forget it.
Old 28th December 2017
I have the SSL VHD in my X Rack. In comparison with my Rupert Neve, it has a lighter character and of course is clean. With the higher impedance it adds a little more air which can be great on vocals for that extra top end. Not only is there also a hp filter but also a lp filter as well. If you have a vocal track that needs reduction with sss, the lp filter can be helpful. The simple compressor is very effective in controlling the peaks. You need the time to get the setting correct and not overdo it. The VHD when active does not affect the sound too much up to 12 o'clock. After that it starts to add some nice break up. A smoother (tube like) distortion when moved to the left and a more pointy distortion (solid state) to the right. You can get pretty close to the Beatle guitar sound on Revolution with it on the tube side. Full distortion is a little much for rth guitar but better for leads. Between 1:00 and 3:00 o'clock are my favorite settings which can add a little grit to a already distorted guitar sound.
Old 29th December 2017
Gear Nut
cdruzeta's Avatar
Ssl vhd

I have a four channel SSL VHD unit.
I also have 4 channels API, 4CH Focusrite, 4CH GML and 2CH Trident.

IMHO the SSL is the worst of the bunch. The sound lacks depth. That said you can obtain very usable (and recognizable) sounds pairing the pre with the rest of the SSL chain.

If I want something to sound like it came off an SSL I use the SSL chain. Generally I prefer the GML/Focurite for vocals, API for bass and guitar. The Trident is very similar sounding to the API.

Occasionally the SSL can shine by driving the signal of a guitar mic. Both odd and even distortion patterns can be useful but really using it like this is more of an effect.
Old 29th December 2017
The standard SSL Pre sounds thin, clean and un-inspriing. However once you activate the VHD and put the distortion to 120:00 - 1:00 o clock, it starts to thicken the mids and it has a fuller sound. For many situations I will prefer my Rupert Neve, Manley or Langevin pre's. The SSl pre would not be my first or second choice of pre's to recommend to someone to buy, but I would recommend them after you have a couple other pre's as they bring unique things to the table.

I spent great deal analyzing the difference with the SSl and Neve. I found if I boosted the low end of the SSl pre with my Cubase EQ plug in around 100, it adds a little bit of weight which gets a little closer to the Neve. The Neve still has a thicker character that helps guitars or vocals sound bigger and richer.

However on some acoustic guitar the SSL could be a better option. I also was able to nail The Beatles Revolution guitar tone with the SSl VHD, a Fender Twin, and a little distortion from my Mess Boogie Flux pedal.

I also find the SSl pre can be enhanced by a Neve EQ or compressor, just as my Neve pre's can be enhanced with SSl Eq's and compressors. They help each other out in nice ways

Last edited by Glenn Bucci; 30th December 2017 at 07:27 PM..
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