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Going from SSL console to Hybrid, will I regret this?
Old 23rd April 2014
  #1
Going from SSL console to Hybrid, will I regret this?

In my A room I mix through an SSL 8056 G+.

The time has come where I'm putting together a dedicated mixing room where I can mix "off the clock" at my own leisure, do away with extensive recalls, and have reasonable electricity/maintenance costs etc...

I'm wanting the new rig to be a fast workflow bad-ass system where I won't miss the tight low end big sound I had with the SSL.
99% of my tweaking will be ITB and the 2bus processing will be analog.

At the moment I'm thinking the core of this new setup will be:
  • Mac Pro, HD Native, PT11, UAD-2 w/ nearly every UAD plug (already own)
  • JCF Da8v converters (2) 16 channels (feed by a Digi 192 digital)
  • Folcrom Summing paired with JCF Levr w/trafos
    or possibly the SSL Sigma, still undecided.
  • Dramstic Obsidian 500 bus comp
  • Pair of Pultec EQP-1S3's (already own)
  • Black Lion Audio Sparrow White as mixdown converters
  • Control surface of my choice (D-command ES 24)
  • Sterling Modular Plan B

My questions/concerns:
With this new rig, what will I miss when moving from the SSL G+ desk world? (if anything at all).
Will this blow the SSL out of the water with big warm 3D sonics? Yes? No?

Still torn between the Folcrom/Levr vs SSL Sigma since I've never used either.

Basically wondering if anyone else has made a similar move, or not. Would like to hear your guys' thoughts.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #2
Concerning your transition: Its important to know if have you ever mixed in the box? Even with external summing, you are still comparatively mixing ITB. I only ask becuase it can take a little while to get used to. BTW, I can work ITB or Console and always pick console.

I am thinking about trying some ITB mixing again soon because I remember it being super fast. I don't think it is as "timeless" in sound as a console mix though. The ITB mixes do have a super clarity and spaciousness but good luck with that low end. Maybe that new SSL summing unit will help. I think the alan smart C2 does a great job with the low end that you may be describing.

What about trying it in phases so you don't buy a bunch of gear that you end up selling? ITB is going to be different and have strengths and weaknesses. Good luck... You should report back on this thread for the next year as you work through the transition / alternate work flow.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #3
Hi Chris, thanks for the post.

I've mixed ITB but never liked the sound of it. I did finally start to appreciate ITB more when I started doing tests where doing all tweaks from plugins (UAD mostly) and summing to the SSL. The results when summing were night and day better than ITB summing. I realized I'd be happy with something that could simply sum as well if not better than the SSL.

For me, slapping the SSL bus comp and Pultecs has always been the magic IMO.

If the Sigma or Folcrom/JCF can at least get close to what the SSL summing can, and maybe alittle bit of heft from the Da8v, I just hope the mixes have the tightness that I've come to love on the SSL.

Since this is a new setup, I'll have to start with something.

I'm also wondering are the JCF Da8v's possibly too colored?
Old 23rd April 2014
  #4
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gravyface's Avatar
Just a lowly project studio owner here, but doesn't the SSL X-Desk/Panda have the same SSL sound (buss/summing circuitry), minus the processing/EQ?

Sorry, was thinking of this:
http://www.solid-state-logic.com/music/sigma/
Old 23rd April 2014
  #5
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

I would miss it. for me it would be a combination of the sonics and the workflow. plus, i don't care what anybody says, analog summing does not give you the same results as a console.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #6
mixmixmix
Guest
If you like working on SSL you will definitely miss it. You will be tweaking ITB for longer periods of time and will get results inferior to SSL. If you can help it, don't do it. There are tasty small format desks options. Costly, but nice. We only live once.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #7
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

I dont have a definitive answer for you, but just wanted to say that your control room is gorgeous.

Cheers.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #8
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For me the two biggest downers were, too many damn options results in a loss of mastery. When you just have one eq, you learn how to make it work on everything and become intimate with it. This is harder when you have a million options, none mastered.
And I/O needs. I like inserting my hardware like plugins, so I have to have the io to support it. But, I find for critical elements and busses, outboard makes it easier.

Roll with it. You'll develop new habits and hopefully new perspectives. I made that transition from a tascam 3700/ADATS to a digi 001, and am just coming out of the depression that followed. . Welcome it, don't fight to make your old habits fit.

Good luck!
Old 23rd April 2014
  #9
The link to this thread is a little bit similar !
Interesting is post number 17.

Syra, how do you like the Duality so far ?

I hope it helps.

R.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #10
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Short answer:

You'll miss the workflow (well I would, but I would not miss the recalls).
Sigma will do a pretty good job, especially in combination with a good bus comp.
You won't get an SSL Mix Bus out of a Folcrom.

Do as much as you can to make sure your control surface will give you that "hands-on" feel, and that means a lot of time with the manual. And also check into how that works with your UAD plug-ins. Mixing with a mouse is horrible when you're used to a console, spend the time and learn your control surface as much as you can and adapt it to your workflow. Enjoy the extra time with no recalls.
Old 23rd April 2014
  #11
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Woodwindy's Avatar
I'm sure I'm out of my league here, but you can see and hear my little hybrid setup here:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=e...m-upload_owner
Hope that helps in some small way.
Keith
www.KeithFelch.com
Old 23rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolf Ebitsch View Post
The link to this thread is a little bit similar !
Interesting is post number 17.

Syra, how do you like the Duality so far ?

I hope it helps.

R.
Very interesting...
Who knows, I may feel the same way in the end.
Old 23rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Just a lowly project studio owner here, but doesn't the SSL X-Desk/Panda have the same SSL sound (buss/summing circuitry), minus the processing/EQ?

Sorry, was thinking of this:
Solid State Logic | Music | Sigma
I've not used either of those, but from what I hear they're pretty clean as all new SSL gear tends to be (as was the goal from the beginning with SSL)
Old 23rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
I dont have a definitive answer for you, but just wanted to say that your control room is gorgeous.

Cheers.
Thanks Jeff! Wes Lachot for sure did his magic with our A room!
Old 23rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner View Post
I would miss it. for me it would be a combination of the sonics and the workflow. plus, i don't care what anybody says, analog summing does not give you the same results as a console.
As much as I'll miss mixing in there, that room will always be there as is. I can always use that room to mix if the budget allows for me to spend as much time as I'd like.

I just see it being used more for room rental and other engineers. I need my own personal mixing space where I can get into it without interruption. And many of the project budgets don't allow for mix recalls, etc...
Old 23rd April 2014
  #16
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I can mix either analog desk w/ auto (D&R OrionX) or ITB or ITB/Hybrid as I own all of the above. After a lot of comparisons, I choose ITB/Hybrid, but I've got some new stuff on the 2 Buss that makes it work for me. IMO, summing is a mirage. I can get the same effect by putting a good analog chain on the 2 buss of my ITB mix. And it sounds like you've got most of what you need to do that. It takes some adjustment compared to mixing on an SSL/console, but I think my mixes are actually BETTER now that I'm Hybrid. Good luck with it....
Old 23rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Short answer:

You'll miss the workflow (well I would, but I would not miss the recalls).
Sigma will do a pretty good job, especially in combination with a good bus comp.
You won't get an SSL Mix Bus out of a Folcrom.

Do as much as you can to make sure your control surface will give you that "hands-on" feel, and that means a lot of time with the manual. And also check into how that works with your UAD plug-ins. Mixing with a mouse is horrible when you're used to a console, spend the time and learn your control surface as much as you can and adapt it to your workflow. Enjoy the extra time with no recalls.
Jim, I'm not familiar with the sound of the new desks or gear for that matter. If I'm used to the G series desks, what am I to expect the Sigma to sound like? I've grown to love what happens to the low end of a mix on the old school desks. Even when I don't engage the EQ or Dynamics sections I still love what the desk is doing (especially when I hit the channels quite hard). Is this euphoric feeling still possible with mere summing/bus compression?
Old 24th April 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I can mix either analog desk w/ auto (D&R OrionX) or ITB or ITB/Hybrid as I own all of the above. After a lot of comparisons, I choose ITB/Hybrid, but I've got some new stuff on the 2 Buss that makes it work for me. IMO, summing is a mirage. I can get the same effect by putting a good analog chain on the 2 buss of my ITB mix. And it sounds like you've got most of what you need to do that. It takes some adjustment compared to mixing on an SSL/console, but I think my mixes are actually BETTER now that I'm Hybrid. Good luck with it....
That's what I was wondering and waiting to hear. Thanks Bill for the response.

The workflow transition won't bug me so much, but I've had my doubts about Pro Tools mix summing.

Do you really feel Pro Tools does a good job summing? I always get the feeling it's very accurate, but I've never been as excited hearing an ITB mix.

I'm dying to do an A/B.
Old 24th April 2014
  #19
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ARIEL's Avatar
Go for the Sigma ! I just picked one up , Get a midi fader system for it or the nucleus . You can also look into the bettermaker stuff for recallable eq or even audiotouch's compressor - both or fully plug in controlled for easy recall.
AudioTouch C-BUSS : Buss Drum Part 1 - YouTube
Old 24th April 2014
  #20
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jindrich's Avatar
 

From a very similar move, 4K to ICON from close friends, this much I can tell:


-The workflow and usual tricks from analog and particularly on a 4K, DON'T work (sound) ITB. It's back to square one.
-Gain staging is 100% different. You'll have to learn all over from scratch.

-It will take a couple of YEARS to do the switch, to "finally understand" ITB mixing and start being somewhat comfortable with it, finally knowing what to do, how to EQ, how to bus, how to comp and which plugs are the ones.
-You'll start buying UAD cards for breakfast

-Even after a couple of years, you might still miss this analog "something", and you'll try EVERY single sumer out there, which will fail, BTW. You'll even consider buying a few racked 4k (E) channels, just to send busses to them. And even entertain the thought of buying a 4K again (!), if only a cutdown version with just 1 power supply and no noisy computer.

-Working ITB/Hybrid will be a LIBERATION, in terms of recall and being able to switch from one project to another in a couple of minutes! You just WON'T come back from this to anything else.
-You'll go from Hybrid at the beginning -including a bunch of st comps in series in the master bus-, to just ITB plugins, to Hybrid again.

-You'll try all st (bus) comps out there, ending up buying an used FX G384
-You'll become very lazy, hardly moving from the chair and will burn your retinas by looking at a screen the entire day. Get an Airon chair if you didn't have one.

-Spreading tracks on a 4K and adjusting some eq and comp here and there gets you 80% of THE sound (like a record) in 15 minutes. To get to this stage ITB it will take you several hours.

-Unlike Post guys, Music engineers are equally served with the D-Command as much as with the D-Control, but your clients will ask themselves why do they have to still pay this much now, if you replace the monster 4K with the smaller D-Command rather than with the more impressive 32ch D-Control (of which you'll ONLY use the center section plus the faders, btw)

-The ICON's XMON monitoring rack sounds worse than the 4K (which might have been modified to start with)
-You'll hate AVID

-You might end up buying some SSL X-RACK filled with Comps and EQs.
-You can't rest your feet on an ICON like you can on a 4K

-Most of your FX processors will be sold. But not the tube comps. Or Pultecs.
-Clients will be used to unlimited changes now. Expect to get emails with even more tweak petitions, even when you thought the mix was done (can we have some more BGVs on the 2nd chorus?)
Old 24th April 2014
  #21
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Looneytune's Avatar
I am not an SSL like yours but I use the SSL Matrix strictly and all the time.
I know if someone took this away from me today I would badly miss the workflow.
And I dont care what anyone says ITB does not give me the same punch and low end I get from my SSL Matrix.

I hear the difference. Having said that if you are a good mixer nothing is stopping you from producing great mixes ITB either. It just depends what you are used to I guess.
Old 24th April 2014
  #22
I would say if your making records stick with the 4K, if you do jingles, tv work,
go ITB. If your SSL is running up too high of an electric bill try turning it off at night.
Old 24th April 2014
  #23
Gear Addict
 
toolz's Avatar
 

After selling my 4k in 2003, and fooling with everything from ITB to Hybrid..for almost 10 years...I've ended back with a 4k again, and to that place.. that sounds like a record.
Old 24th April 2014 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-661 View Post
That's what I was wondering and waiting to hear. Thanks Bill for the response.

The workflow transition won't bug me so much, but I've had my doubts about Pro Tools mix summing.

Do you really feel Pro Tools does a good job summing? I always get the feeling it's very accurate, but I've never been as excited hearing an ITB mix.

I'm dying to do an A/B.
You're exactly right - the PT summing bus is ACCURATE. ie: Digital.

What you insert into the 2 buss is what takes you where you want to go. Summing will net you nothing unless you're going thru a signal path that you can push to get the non-linearities you describe. BUT, you can do the same on the Mix buss and spend a lot less $$$, and achieve the same thing.

A correct A/B comparison will tell you what you need to know. Good luck.
Old 24th April 2014 | Show parent
  #25
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Looneytune's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolz View Post
After selling my 4k in 2003, and fooling with everything from ITB to Hybrid..for almost 10 years...I've ended back with a 4k again, and to that place.. that sounds like a record.
So in other words are you saying the final mix on the 4k sounded better then any ITB Mix?

I have done allot of comparisons lately using a friends AWS and a the Matrix VS ITB mixes.
What I notice is the difference in the bottom end. Kick and bass, dramatic difference.
Old 24th April 2014
  #26
Gear Addict
 
toolz's Avatar
 

Get better into the zone on the SSL, pushing Pro Tools trolly away, driving the track from the SSL computer.. no pulldown plugins list.. just using the verbs that have been set up on the Aux.. not tying to overthink it.

The 4K E/G/G+ sounds very 3D and super wide, and I'm going back to 'Ten to Two' and 'Quarter to Three" Panning, it's a bigger sound stage to fill.

Can't compare to AWS or Matrix, never had the pleasure to use them, But own an X-desk and have used the Duality in the past, and it's a newer level of clean, that says nothing at all.
Old 24th April 2014 | Show parent
  #27
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Looneytune's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolz View Post
Get better into the zone on the SSL, pushing Pro Tools trolly away, driving the track from the SSL computer.. no pulldown plugins list.. just using the verbs that have been set up on the Aux.. not tying to overthink it.

The 4K E/G/G+ sounds very 3D and super wide, and I'm going back to 'Ten to Two' and 'Quarter to Three" Panning, it's a bigger sound stage to fill.

Can't compare to AWS or Matrix, never had the pleasure to use them, But own an X-desk and have used the Duality in the past, and it's a newer level of clean, that says nothing at all.
Okay cool, ahh how I would love to get my hands on a 4k, anyone I know who has used one only says great thinks about them.
Enjoy the time back on the 4K then and super wide sounds nice to me.
Old 24th April 2014
  #28
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syra's Avatar
I've been mixing hybrid for the last couple of years stemming out the most important elements of a track through my Duality. I can do a lot of things with plugins as they have become much better but I still need hardware for my key elements. Keyword *I*. Getting to the end product is only half the picture for me. HOW I GET THERE is the other half and I can't give up on grabbing my pultec/neve/fairchild knobs and turning them while the music changes and the smile on my face is getting bigger. I'm not interested in being able to jump through 3 different mixes in a day and work on them bit by bit. Even if the ITB outcome was identical (which is not IMO) I want to have fun while doing it and mixing with a mouse is not my kind of fun. A toyota will get you where you wanna go just as much as a ferrari. I'll still take the ferrari.

Having said all that, I do want to make my life easier so 99% of my analog processing is pre-patched on my console. Compressors have a specific place for specific instruments and I change compression depending on how much I feed in them. I have a routing system for my Buss A and B going through a Dangerous Liaison and a Manley Backbone giving me instant access to everything from an 8200, 5500, EQP1As... to EARs, 2254s, 176s, A820... all without patching a single cable. Duality automation is saved with my PT session since I have A-FADA, Duality processing is saved through total recall and I only take pics of my EQs because comps don't change. And trust me when I say that when I open a session later in time I'm more concerned about what plugins won't open than the analog side of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toolz View Post
Can't compare to AWS or Matrix, never had the pleasure to use them, But own an X-desk and have used the Duality in the past, and it's a newer level of clean, that says nothing at all.
I won't argue that a G/E is more colored than a Duality, but from your statement I gather that you haven't really pushed one hard. X-Desk/AWS/Sigma are much cleaner than a Duality although SSL's marketing department would love to tell you otherwise. In short, when you slam the Duality the low end becomes big and the high end much smoother - very far from subtle or clean. Back off, and coloration drops to a minimum which might be suitable for classical or jazz.
Old 24th April 2014
  #29
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Looneytune's Avatar
syra you are 100 percent right. I tried to drive my Matrix hard and even an AWS and neither sounded good driven hard. So I asked SSL about the differences and they told me the Duality is the only one in there new range of consoles that can be driven hard.
Maybe Jim can confirm this?
Old 24th April 2014
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Why not keep the ssl and mix ITB and the console sum to the SSl the best of both worlds
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