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Who Here Has SSL AWS 900 Mixing Board
Old 18th June 2009
  #1
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Who Here Has SSL AWS 900 Mixing Board

I was wondering does it compete to the SSL series J 900, or any other classic SSL boards? Of coarse the official SSL resellers are gonna say this, but I want opinions from those who've really had time to spend with both boards..If you have experience with both your comments are welcome..

What about the SSL Matrix?
Old 18th June 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Sound quality wise I think it can compete with the classics.
However, it only has one fader on each channel (split console in a way). There have been situations where I've been needing those small faders.
But the EQs, comps/gates, and bus comp sound great!
Old 19th June 2009
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISayItLikeItIs View Post
Sound quality wise I think it can compete with the classics.
However, it only has one fader on each channel (split console in a way). There have been situations where I've been needing those small faders.
But the EQs, comps/gates, and bus comp sound great!
Ok right now we have a C|24, and Im thinking the SSL AWS would be a great upgrade from this, hows the recall system on this thing?
Old 19th June 2009
  #4
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Give me a 4K and I'm happy.... AWS is cool for today's world, though.
Old 19th June 2009
  #5
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
I was wondering does it compete to the SSL series J 900, or any other classic SSL boards? Of coarse the official SSL resellers are gonna say this, but I want opinions from those who've really had time to spend with both boards..If you have experience with both your comments are welcome..

What about the SSL Matrix?
Yes, i own one for about a year and a half now, and pretty much spent the last almost 2 decades mixing on big SSL's. Sonically, its every bit SSL. I actually like the EQ's better than the J&K 9000 EQ's.

Unfortunately, its only got 2 dynamics modules, which can be assigned to any channel, as well as the mix bus compressor.

Strengths of AWS900
1. use as controller for Pro Tools. This is HUGELY valuable to me
2. sonics are outstanding
3. provides excellent center section and master section
4. 2 independent mix busses which can be summed together (I use this all the time)
5. Weighs less than 300lbs, generates very little heat (all things considered), and plugs right into the wall (draws 15 amps)
6. You are basically always in the sweetspot with monitors, unlike the 9000's where you might be 6 feet out of the sweet spot alot of the time
7. Took 1 long day to completely set up console. Patchbays are all D sub connectors, and console is all XLR and 1/4 inch inputs. No soldering, unlike the 9000 which can take weeks to get up and running

Weaknesses
1. only 2 dynamics
2. faders at least on my console stick like crazy. SSL claims to have fixed this but its a bitch on my console.
3. only 24 analog channels (plus 4 stereo returns which i bring all my efx back thru)
4. repairs can be a bit tricky. unlike the 9000's which you could pop a module right out with no problem, sometimes getting to problem spots on this board can mean taking half of it apart. not fun. but certainly SHOULD be alot less labor intensive than a 9000 as they are much newer.
5. you really need the full patchbay in order to effectively use the console, and that can add alot of cost
6. To me the Awesomation is completely worthless. Havent used it once. I do all my automation in pro tools. Some might feel differently.

I've never used the Matrix. doesnt interest me. The AWS is a big monetary investment but i'm happy with my investment
Old 19th June 2009
  #6
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Give me a 4K and I'm happy.... AWS is cool for today's world, though.
yeah its about the same size as a C|24, are u saying its meant for today's sound. I never hear someone say I mix on a AWS 900, I always hear about neve boards, big SSL boards, API boards, Harrison, I cant afford these things, but has anybody here ever mix an entire record on this board?
Old 19th June 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
yeah its about the same size as a C|24, are u saying its meant for today's sound. I never hear someone say I mix on a AWS 900, I always hear about neve boards, big SSL boards, API boards, Harrison, I cant afford these things, but has anybody here ever mix an entire record on this board?
A good friend of mine mixes on the AWS a lot of projects.... It's built for today because of the DAW controller aspects.

I personally would rather have a 4K, because I like the sound and want the dynamics on every channel.
Old 19th June 2009
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
Ok right now we have a C|24, and Im thinking the SSL AWS would be a great upgrade from this, hows the recall system on this thing?
You can use the SSL AWS as a controller, and everything is saved in your DAW session like with the C24.
If you wanna use the analog channels, I think you can dump your settings and automation with sys ex, if I remember correctly. Better double check that for yourself..
Old 19th June 2009
  #9
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Yeah thans Ken, Tony, and Say It Like This, I would take this into consideration, as I am not upgrading right away, I would test it over here but Guitar Center doesnt have one on display to mess with, The Sam Ash next to Legacy Studios has one to test but im not going up there....But thanx for your opinions....If anyone else wants to join please fell free....
Old 19th June 2009
  #10
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
hows the recall system on this thing?
The recall is great to a point. you need to basically do a midi dump into your mix session every time you take a snapshot. Typical SSL, absolutely archaic computer design but elegant functionality for what it does. If you get in the habit of doing midi dumps, its very quick and easy.
Old 19th June 2009
  #11
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
The recall is great to a point. you need to basically do a midi dump into your mix session every time you take a snapshot. Typical SSL, absolutely archaic computer design but elegant functionality for what it does. If you get in the habit of doing midi dumps, its very quick and easy.
Ok thanx, this is more than a retail salesmen would tell me, they need people like you at Guitar Center in central jersey, dunno about other places
Old 19th June 2009
  #12
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
Ok thanx, this is more than a retail salesmen would tell me, they need people like you at Guitar Center in central jersey, dunno about other places
dont get me started about Guitar Center. I used to go there for everything i didnt buy from Ebay. That has since changed. I wont set foot back in the place if they were having a fire sale.
Old 19th June 2009
  #13
SSL UK
 
samw@SSL's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
The recall is great to a point. you need to basically do a midi dump into your mix session every time you take a snapshot. Typical SSL, absolutely archaic computer design but elegant functionality for what it does. If you get in the habit of doing midi dumps, its very quick and easy.
Hello,

Well this is the old way of doing the archiving.

Since last year all consoles are now "SE" enabled which allows you to use Ethernet for all housekeeping, a little more elegant than MIDI dumps.

All AWS consoles can be upgraded to this feature set by virtue of a software upgrade.

I have enjoyed your comments about this product.

Thanks,

Sam
Solid State Logic
Old 19th June 2009
  #14
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

Ken pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Sonic wise, its great. I really like the EQs and the general sound of the board.

The lack of dynamics on every channel is a bit of a bummer, but at its price point you can't really complain about that. A plus is it does have the master bus compressor in addition to the two dynamics modules.

Another drawback is the number of FX sends and the way they're set up. It takes some planning and getting used to in order to really get what you need in terms of routing them. But once you get in figured out how you want to route and where to put things for maximum effectiveness its not so bad.

As Ken said, a patchbay is crucial to the setup and operation of the board. Do yourself a favor and get more Pro Tools outputs than just 24 for the console, because you'll want them for additional FX outputs and routing.

Other than patchbay wiring, setup of this thing is a breeze.

I also agree with Ken in that the master section is very cool and flexible, and the two master busses are very handy.

I do use the Awesomation feature, but only for small volume rides. The majority of automation is done in Pro Tools.

Both Total Recall and Awesomation info gets saved with MIDI dumps, so its really easy to keep everything organized within the session

I wasn't aware of the Ethernet option, have to check that out.

All in all, its a great little board. If I were you I'd try to pick up one used, they can be had for a good price.
Old 19th June 2009
  #15
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickrock305 View Post
Ken pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Sonic wise, its great. I really like the EQs and the general sound of the board.

The lack of dynamics on every channel is a bit of a bummer, but at its price point you can't really complain about that. A plus is it does have the master bus compressor in addition to the two dynamics modules.

Another drawback is the number of FX sends and the way they're set up. It takes some planning and getting used to in order to really get what you need in terms of routing them. But once you get in figured out how you want to route and where to put things for maximum effectiveness its not so bad.

As Ken said, a patchbay is crucial to the setup and operation of the board. Do yourself a favor and get more Pro Tools outputs than just 24 for the console, because you'll want them for additional FX outputs and routing.

Other than patchbay wiring, setup of this thing is a breeze.

I also agree with Ken in that the master section is very cool and flexible, and the two master busses are very handy.

I do use the Awesomation feature, but only for small volume rides. The majority of automation is done in Pro Tools.

Both Total Recall and Awesomation info gets saved with MIDI dumps, so its really easy to keep everything organized within the session

I wasn't aware of the Ethernet option, have to check that out.

All in all, its a great little board. If I were you I'd try to pick up one used, they can be had for a good price.

Wow ok thanx, I was thinking about used, but usually used boards are sold on the net and shipped by pick up only, as I stated earlier I'm not ready to purchase now, but its lingering in the back of my head....Thanx to all who submitted reviews and ofcoarse more are welcomed
Old 19th June 2009
  #16
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
Wow ok thanx, I was thinking about used, but usually used boards are sold on the net and shipped by pick up only,



well when you're ready, definitely look into the used option because its like half the price of a new one.
Old 19th June 2009
  #17
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Hello,

Well this is the old way of doing the archiving.

Since last year all consoles are now "SE" enabled which allows you to use Ethernet for all housekeeping, a little more elegant than MIDI dumps.

All AWS consoles can be upgraded to this feature set by virtue of a software upgrade.

I have enjoyed your comments about this product.

Thanks,

Sam
Solid State Logic
Actually, it takes me about 30 seconds to do a MIDI dump into PT, and check that it got saved correctly by loading it back into the console. And i have an "import session data" template set up that i import into every mix session before i start which has all of my efx and master bus routing, as well as a "RECALL" MIDI track thats already assigned to the right MIDI in's/out's. this template takes about another 30 seconds to import.

I looked at the SE option and decided an extra $1,000 was way too much to spend for something that takes me under a minute per mix anyway.
Old 19th June 2009
  #18
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Actually, it takes me about 30 seconds to do a MIDI dump into PT, and check that it got saved correctly by loading it back into the console. And i have an "import session data" template set up that i import into every mix session before i start which has all of my efx and master bus routing, as well as a "RECALL" MIDI track thats already assigned to the right MIDI in's/out's. this template takes about another 30 seconds to import.

I looked at the SE option and decided an extra $1,000 was way too much to spend for something that takes me under a minute per mix anyway.
Is there A way I can use this with Protools HD and just a Apogee AD 16x? DA 16x with the X-HD Expansion Card? That's the current setup except with a C|24. Also am I able to control more that 24 tracks, as well as the EQ sections on each strip being a controller for the plugins?
Old 19th June 2009
  #19
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Hey guys I'm gonna tune into the videos on the SSL site, I figured I'll get some of the negative sides on the AWS 900 here, because they wont tell you that on their site lol....Thanx for the input
Old 19th June 2009
  #20
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Actually, it takes me about 30 seconds to do a MIDI dump into PT, and check that it got saved correctly by loading it back into the console.
haha, i screwed myself once by not checking it...went to load it the next day and NOTHING, mix gone.

thats what i get for being lazy and not double checking i guess heh


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post

I looked at the SE option and decided an extra $1,000 was way too much to spend for something that takes me under a minute per mix anyway.


wow, $1000? heh yea, i'll just stick with MIDI dumps.
Old 19th June 2009
  #21
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyflo View Post
Is there A way I can use this with Protools HD and just a Apogee AD 16x? DA 16x with the X-HD Expansion Card? That's the current setup except with a C|24. Also am I able to control more that 24 tracks, as well as the EQ sections on each strip being a controller for the plugins?




Yes, you can use it with just one interface, although you're going to be very limited. you won't even have enough outputs to fill up the board. And trust me, you'll want them. You'll actually want more than just 24 to fill up the board. Another DA16 would fit the bill nicely.

Yes, you can control more than 24 tracks, as many as in your session actually. You can scroll through.

As for the EQ sections, they are analog only. Its kind of hard to explain without seeing it put to use, but the only functions that work as Pro Tools control is the fader, the pan knob (which is assignable to different functions, so its a lot more than Pan...thats just what it defaults to) and there's a whole section in the master section dedicated to plugin control. When you switch from "Analog" mode to "Pro Tools" mode, the entire analog section is still working under the surface, its just the faders and pans are now controlling your tracks within pro tools. Then when you hit the button to go back to analog, your faders will jump to their previous levels. You can still use the analog section while you're in Pro Tools mode and everything is still active.

Like I said, kinda hard to explain...it will make sense when you see it in action though.

The EQs, inserts, etc. are analog only and do not function as digital controls.
Old 19th June 2009
  #22
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

With the AWS, you will more than likely end up getting yourself a x-rack full of dynamics modules. It's definitely a board worth looking into.
Old 19th June 2009
  #23
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mobilemozart's Avatar
 

This is from a blog

AWS900 vs. 4000E/G

eccentricblog - Fact, opinion and blah...

This is written by the owner of Funky Junk UK, one of Europe's best dealers in new and used vintage studio equipment.
Old 19th June 2009
  #24
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

its kinda silly to compare the 4000 to the AWS. two very different beasts.
Old 20th June 2009
  #25
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I agree, but I guess it's because they're in the same price-range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickrock305 View Post
its kinda silly to compare the 4000 to the AWS. two very different beasts.
Old 20th June 2009
  #26
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Alxi's Avatar
 

Sorry if this is a newbie question.

But if you have , let say, a 60 track mix session and only 24 channel on your Mixboard, what do you do ?

Group them on the same output in PT so that , let say , fader one on the SSL controls de kick and the bass at the same time ?

Is that it ?

-Alxi-
Old 20th June 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alxi View Post
Sorry if this is a newbie question.

But if you have , let say, a 60 track mix session and only 24 channel on your Mixboard, what do you do ?

Group them on the same output in PT so that , let say , fader one on the SSL controls de kick and the bass at the same time ?

Is that it ?

-Alxi-
In theory, yes - however, I would always route the "criticle" main elements of the mix to their own SSL board channels and less critical stuff to one main DAW L/R Output that just goes in the SSL "as is".
A 60 Track session gets pretty tough to manage, thats why - for example - Chris Lord-Alges comps down bigger mixing sessions to 48 tracks. He has a 56 Input SSL which leaves him with a few SSL channels for subgroups, FX-returns with EQ/Compression etc.
Check out this article for reference - he's da man:

An Evening With Chris Lord-Alge

Best,
Marc
Old 20th June 2009
  #28
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Keyflo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobilemozart View Post
In theory, yes - however, I would always route the "criticle" main elements of the mix to their own SSL board channels and less critical stuff to one main DAW L/R Output that just goes in the SSL "as is".
A 60 Track session gets pretty tough to manage, thats why - for example - Chris Lord-Alges comps down bigger mixing sessions to 48 tracks. He has a 56 Input SSL which leaves him with a few SSL channels for subgroups, FX-returns with EQ/Compression etc.
Check out this article for reference - he's da man:

An Evening With Chris Lord-Alge

Best,
Marc
Yeah i kinda wanted to ask, this same question but it makes more sense to map the important elements to the board, but it like someone stated earlier it would be smart to purchase a bunch of X-rack E series modules
Old 20th June 2009
  #29
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one thing is for sure. Your are gonna make a big sonic jump from a control 24 to a aws. But i think if your in the market for a new AWS your could also be in the market for a used "big" console. Quite a few guys would love for you to take it off the hands.
But you would need a tech if you don't have large format experience. Keeping em tuned up is pretty routine.
you could also consider keeping your c24 and moving into a shadow hills unit and some nice outboard more I/O.
Lots of options these days!!
Vintage King Audio | 248.591.9276 | The Largest Selection of New & Used Pro Audio in the World
check used categories!
Old 20th June 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobilemozart View Post
In theory, yes - however, I would always route the "criticle" main elements of the mix to their own SSL board channels and less critical stuff to one main DAW L/R Output that just goes in the SSL "as is".
A 60 Track session gets pretty tough to manage, thats why - for example - Chris Lord-Alges comps down bigger mixing sessions to 48 tracks. He has a 56 Input SSL which leaves him with a few SSL channels for subgroups, FX-returns with EQ/Compression etc.
Check out this article for reference - he's da man:

An Evening With Chris Lord-Alge

Best,
Marc
Thanks

Yup it makes a lot of sense to keep the ''cliticle ' instrument seperated.
Off to to read the article now

-Alxi-
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