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Any SSL XL Desk owners out there? How do you like the mixer?
Old 15th December 2018
  #1
Any SSL XL Desk owners out there? How do you like the mixer?

I have been looking closely at the SSL Matrix for a while , but after watching videos such as this one YouTube I am starting to think the XL Desk may be a great option for those who work with a DAW but want a nice hybrid setup.

I would want at least 8 SSL EQ's on the XL Desk, and probably several Rupert Neve 500 series in some of the banks on top as well. I would be able to connect my X Rack on inserts (which has the ability to save settings) as well as other hardware gear I love to use. I would be interested in hearing from some XL owners or those who have spent some time with the XL Desk.

Besides the easy workflow, and putting all faders to unity if you want to save your level settings in your DAW, you can also sum you mixes through the XL Desks to get that summing character that SSL is known for.
Old 15th December 2018
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Looks nice but I'm not crazy about the lack of eq or pres. What are there 16 slots?
I could have 8 pre and 8 comps. Then I could add a
Xrack for more I guess.
Old 16th December 2018
  #3
It has 8 VHD Pre's and you can get it with either 8 or 16 SSl Eq’s.
Old 16th December 2018
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
It has 8 VHD Pre's and you can get it with either 8 or 16 SSl Eq’s.
Ooh 8 .....I have 24 now. See what I mean?
Old 16th December 2018
  #5
Gear Head
 

Vintage King has an awesome deal on these right now: SSL XL-Desk - 1/2 Loaded - Vintage King

They seem like great, versatile boards.
Old 16th December 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 

I just realized they don’t mention it on that page, head to the front page to see the deal. It ends 12/21.
Old 16th December 2018
  #7
Everyone has different needs for their setup. For me the XL desk seems to meet the needs I would have. So I am curious to hear from XL users.
Old 17th December 2018
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Hmm guess no one has one.
Old 18th December 2018
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
...and putting all faders to unity if you want to save your level settings in your DAW, you can also sum you mixes through the XL Desks to get that summing character that SSL is known for.
Hi,

Then it would be the same to have no faders at all, in that case you could use an SSL Sigma and save a lot of money.

Maybe an SSL Matrix2 can help you better with summing + analog Total Recall and also a Control Surface + 16 insert matrix, so you can have 1 EQ + 1 Comp for 8 channels, or up to 6 insert for 1 particular channel, etc.

XL Desk seems easier and VK has a great deal, but Matrix seems more flexible.

My 2 cents.

Daniel.
Old 18th December 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielbest1 View Post
Hi,

Then it would be the same to have no faders at all, in that case you could use an SSL Sigma and save a lot of money.

Maybe an SSL Matrix2 can help you better with summing + analog Total Recall and also a Control Surface + 16 insert matrix, so you can have 1 EQ + 1 Comp for 8 channels, or up to 6 insert for 1 particular channel, etc.

XL Desk seems easier and VK has a great deal, but Matrix seems more flexible.

My 2 cents.

Daniel.
The faders at unity is only to save your fader settings when you close out a mix and work on another song. When you reopen the song and have your faders at unit you can then mix the song and adjust the faders on the XL mixer again.

You can also route tracks from your DAW through the VHD mic pre's and add some pleasant 2nd harmonic distortion. Having EQs on top also is fast and easy to work on a mix. I love the SSl hardware EQ over the plug in's as well.

I thought about the Matrix but I like the stereo group A, B, C, and D as well as the option to insert out board gear into the mixer as well. I would also use the VHD mic pre's on a regular basis.
Old 19th December 2018
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
The faders at unity is only to save your fader settings when you close out a mix and work on another song. When you reopen the song and have your faders at unit you can then mix the song and adjust the faders on the XL mixer again.

You can also route tracks from your DAW through the VHD mic pre's and add some pleasant 2nd harmonic distortion. Having EQs on top also is fast and easy to work on a mix. I love the SSl hardware EQ over the plug in's as well.

I thought about the Matrix but I like the stereo group A, B, C, and D as well as the option to insert out board gear into the mixer as well. I would also use the VHD mic pre's on a regular basis.
It seems a good option!, you have the winner choice then.

Best regards,
Daniel.
Old 19th December 2018
  #12
t_d
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i've got a friend who has one and really loves it. he and i were shopping for small consoles at the same time and both considered all the options in that price range. i ended up going with an API box as the footprint was exactly what i needed and i don't need so many main input channels. he went with the XL desk. we're both super happy and use our consoles every day.

he's filled his 500 slots out by now with Rupert Neves, API stuff, SSL, and others. it's so great that these 500-based consoles allow for that flexibility.

one thing to always remember when you buy a console is you'll need to budget 2000-$5000 for patch bays and cables. outfitting either of these consoles with a well-connected patchbay really opens them up to many possibilities.

i've worked on his XL and it really feels great.
Old 20th December 2018
  #13
SRS
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I have an XL Desk and love it. It is a true SSL and serves me very well. If I can answer any questions you might have about it, I'll give it a try.
Old 20th December 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
I have an XL Desk and love it. It is a true SSL and serves me very well. If I can answer any questions you might have about it, I'll give it a try.
First questions I would have are:

1) Did you fill all the slots? What with?
2) Did you wire up a full patchbay solution?
3) If you have recorded a full band with it, how did you organize that and how did it go?

I’m going to assume that for mixing you are doing your pan and volume rides ITB and using the summing out to the busses.

Thanks,
Old 20th December 2018
  #15
SRS
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To answer these questions:

1) Did you fill all the slots? What with?
Yes, all full. And also another 10 modules in a RND chassis.
The XL Desk currently has 8 SSL 611EQ modules on the first 8 channels, then a pair of RND 542 modules, a pair of RND 551 EQs, a pair of RND 543 Comps, and a Smart C1LA (2-space module). All able to be used as “inserts” on the individual Mix busses, if desired. Or used anywhere via the patchbay. And of course the SSL Bus Comp, that sits on Mix A.

2) Did you wire up a full patchbay solution?
Yes. I have literally everything going through the patchbay. There are 5 Switchcraft 9625 that comprise the patchbay setup.

3) If you have recorded a full band with it, how did you organize that and how did it go?
I have yes. I have a total of 18 preamps. 8 on the XL Desk and 10 outboard in a RND 10-space chassis. My workflow however to do these sessions was to get some “keeper” tracks on initial tracking, then later dub in additional tracks, or re-record any that needed final takes. The options on the desk are many for both tracking and mixing. Only restricted by your IO really. I have 2 UA Apollo 16s as my front end. I don’t do orchestras or large ensembles at once type tracking, so that’s not an issue for me.

I’m going to assume that for mixing you are doing your pan and volume rides ITB and using the summing out to the busses. Yes, for the most part, this works very well. It’s a true hybrid setup and is very fun and intuitive to work with. Then the busses/groups can be individually pushed or pulled back on the desk (ie, if you need more of something during the mixdown pass).

You can see the detailed equipment list better on the website to give you a clearer idea of the configuration. solutionroom.com

Last edited by SRS; 22nd December 2018 at 05:27 AM..
Old 20th December 2018
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Pushy salesmen at vintage king says today is last day of the sale. Despite the Dec 31 date mentioned online.
Old 20th December 2018
  #17
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
Pushy salesmen at vintage king says today is last day of the sale. Despite the Dec 31 date mentioned online.
I just went to the VK site and it says ends 12-21-18. But never fret... it is an SSL England manufacturer deal. Sweetwater has it through December 31st. I got the same type of deal on mine, but did the purchase mid 2016 and the price has increased somewhat (hasn't everything?) I feel that it is still a great board for the money. The SSL modules are over $1k each, so that is well over $8k right there ($8,552 to be exact). I'm not trying to sell an XL Desk to you, just giving food for thought from a loyal and happy owner. I've always had really great service from the latter mentioned retailer, who I purchased mine through (drop-shipped from SSL directly to me).

Back on topic, the board is very functional and serves my needs perfectly and leaves me wanting nothing. You just need to decide if automation and DAW control are important for you. For me, they were not nearly enough to step up to an AWS console and its price.

EDIT: Oh, and I was able to tell them what modules I wanted with it too. I'm sure you could do that as well. I got 6 of the 611EQs and 2 of the 611DYNs, as I already had 2 of the 611EQ modules. Worked out well.
Old 21st December 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
To answer these questions:

1) Did you fill all the slots? What with?
Yes, all full. And also another 10 modules in a RND chassis.
The XL Desk currently has 8 SSL 611EQ modules on the first 8 channels, then a pair of RND 542 modules, a pair of RND 551 EQs, a pair of RND 543 Comps, and a Smart C1LA (2-space module). All able to be used as “inserts” on the individual Mix busses, if desired. Or used anywhere via the patchbay. And of course the SSL Bus Comp, that sits on Mix A.

2) Did you wire up a full patchbay solution?
Yes. I have literally everything going through the patchbay. There are 5 Switchcraft 9625 that comprise the patchbay setup.

3) If you have recorded a full band with it, how did you organize that and how did it go?
I have yes. I have a total of 16 preamps. 8 on the XL Desk and 8 outboard in a RND 10-space chassis. My workflow however to do these sessions was to get some “keeper” tracks on initial tracking, then later dub in additional tracks, or re-record any that needed final takes. The options on the desk are many for both tracking and mixing. Only restricted by your IO really. I have 2 UA Apollo 16s as my front end. I don’t do orchestras or large ensembles at once type tracking, so that’s not an issue for me.

I’m going to assume that for mixing you are doing your pan and volume rides ITB and using the summing out to the busses. Yes, for the most part, this works very well. It’s a true hybrid setup and is very fun and intuitive to work with. Then the busses/groups can be individually pushed or pulled back on the desk (ie, if you need more of something during the mixdown pass).

You can see the detailed equipment list better on the website to give you a clearer idea of the configuration. solutionroom.com
Thank you so much. It’s the set up I was thinking about when setting up my studio but I needed budget for studio build and soundproofing. Nice to hear it works somewhere :-)

I only had enough left for the RND5060 which is awesome but Ido feel the need for some kind of console. Once I get things moving I will be looking at this again.

Thanks again.
Old 21st December 2018
  #19
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javamad View Post
Thank you so much. It’s the set up I was thinking about when setting up my studio but I needed budget for studio build and soundproofing. Nice to hear it works somewhere :-)

I only had enough left for the RND5060 which is awesome but Ido feel the need for some kind of console. Once I get things moving I will be looking at this again.

Thanks again.
You're welcome.
Old 22nd December 2018
  #20
Thanks for your input, it seems to be a great option.

The one problem I have is I prefer the Silver modules that are on thr AWS and Duality. So I have been thinking about getting a Matrix 2 and two X Racks, one with their EQ s and another with the Dynamics. Wit the Matrix 2 I would also sum 16 tracks through it as well to get that SSl character as well

The SSl Dynamic modules don't get enough praise. They are so good and useful in many applications. Their gate is also very helpful so you don't have to go to the wave file later and mute areas on a track that are suppose to be quiet.

Last edited by Glenn Bucci; 22nd December 2018 at 04:16 PM..
Old 22nd December 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
I have been looking closely at the SSL Matrix for a while , but after watching videos such as this one YouTube I am starting to think the XL Desk may be a great option for those who work with a DAW but want a nice hybrid setup.

Besides the easy workflow, and putting all faders to unity if you want to save your level settings in your DAW, you can also sum you mixes through the XL Desks to get that summing character that SSL is known for.
You haven't really clarified your major criteria. You say "DAW" and "hybrid" but conclude XL Desk; obviously the Matrix is the DAW and hybrid desk!

Your last paragraph workflow obviously can be done on either desk.

If you're talking now Matrix w/ two X-Racks you are into double the XL Desk price wise, and might as well get a used AWS...

The XL and Matrix are drastically different desks. Obviously they are both good and can achieve great results, but it seems like that alone would answer whatever your deciding factors are.
Old 22nd December 2018
  #22
I will always work hybrid. Either the X Rack gear or the 500 series on the XL desk. I have a very clear understanding on both and could make either one work for me with the workflow I want. The point of the post was to discuss working with the XL desk with actual users. The Matrix with X Racks and fully loaded XL Desk are both around $32k. Bear in mind I already have a X Rack with Silver modules.
Old 22nd December 2018
  #23
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
Thanks for your input, it seems to be a great option.

The one problem I have is I prefer the Silver modules that are on thr AWS and Duality. So I have been thinking about getting a Matrix 2 and two X Racks, one with their EQ s and another with the Dynamics. Wit the Matrix 2 I would also sum 16 tracks through it as well to get that SSl character as well

The SSl Dynamic modules don't get enough praise. They are so good and useful in many applications. Their gate is also very helpful so you don't have to go to the wave file later and mute areas on a track that are suppose to be quiet.
You're welcome. If you have any other questions, I will do my best to help from my perspective. I, like you, know there is not a ton of information on the XL Desk. I did the same thing researching before I pulled the trigger. I don't know about you, but I like to spend my money wisely and I don't have any lying around to waste. This board will be the last one I own (providing it keeps working properly). So far so good! And yes, there are many ways to build a hybrid setup. This is just one. And a great one in my humble opinion. I'm very happy.
Old 27th January 2019
  #24
Here for the gear
 

XL Desk Owner

I got my from Jason Koons at Sweetwater. Look for SSL's promotional deal. I got mine half loaded with SSL Eq's for $20,000. Best buy ever. It's a beast.
Attached Thumbnails
Any SSL XL Desk owners out there? How do you like the mixer?-desk.jpg  
Old 16th April 2019
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by budw59 View Post
I got my from Jason Koons at Sweetwater. Look for SSL's promotional deal. I got mine half loaded with SSL Eq's for $20,000. Best buy ever. It's a beast.
Very nice set up there .. you can do a lot of damage with that

A few months on, how is it settling in to your space?
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