Solid State Logic XR627 VHD Input Module for X-Rack by Glenn Bucci
The standard SSL Pre compared to API or Neve sounds clean and a little lighter in weight. Many have said people buy SSL because of their their EQ's and dynamics.
Now enter the SSL VHD pre and things start to change. Without activating the VHD button it will sound just like the regular SSL pre. By activating the VHD and putting the distortion around 120:00 - 1:00 o clock, it starts to thicken the mids and it has a fuller sound. This is a much more usable pre which is also in the XL desk and Duality console. For many situations I will prefer my Rupert Neve, Manley or Langevin pre's. For buyers, I would recommend SSL VHD after you already own have a couple other pre's. The VHD pre though brings something unique things to the table.
If you boost the low end of the SSl pre with a simple DAW 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.
On some acoustic guitar setups, the SSL VHD 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. But the majority of the distortion is from cranking the VHD all the way up. You can get a smoother tube sound by moving the VHD to the left or a slightly pointy sound by going right which is more of the solid state emulation.
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 or acoustic 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 issue, the lp filter can be helpful.
The simple compressor included 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. Between 1:00 and 3:00 o'clock are my favorite settings which can add a little grit to a already distorted guitar sound.
As with all X Rack modules, you can also save your settings which can help reduce studio time in getting the right setting for a track. I have saved many settings for acoustic guitar, electric, and vocals on it. Its just not the mic pre setting but the hp filter and compressor as well. All of the X Rack units are very well made and they are a joy to use. X Rack modules are taller than 500 series so the knobs are a little more spread out and a little easier to work with. Highly recommend it.