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Old 5th November 2017
Gear Addict
Nuisance's Avatar
The SSL duality is an absolutely amazing sounding console that was ruined by the bone heads in SSL's development department.

Whichever clutz decided to stick the PSU's in the back of the meter bridge needs sacking.

The PSU's run at up to 80 degrees C and dump out a huge quantity of heat that if the back of the console is not seriously force cooled with A/C (which freezes the engineer's feet).

It is like sticking an electric heater in the back of the thing.

I'd assume that SSL were trying to "consumerise" the product, the engineering quality, from a design aspect, is awful.

What muppet sticks IEC power connectors, vertical, in the cable bay, the metal clips that hold them in snap off at the slightest knock, then after that the plugs are prone to falling out. In the process they can be intermittent, and such a thing can ruin the desk. We had to drill the frame and cable tie them in!

I mean...... Hello SSL???? There is a plug called a "POWERCON" a really great high power, low resistance, locking, rugged connector that professionals use.... How dumb can a designer get? It's like £3 a socket for Powercons to someone like SSL. Hardly a deal breaker, but it seems that SSL don't have engineers that have proper pro audio experience any more.

I can't even get into the logic of whoever put that IEC in there like that. What went through their mind? In many cases this ends up being the main grounding point for a studio if nobody straps the frame to earth. IEC cables are often of questionable manufacture and some can be very prone to contact failure over time in high current applications.

The 48 channel desk is sensitive to the order it is switched on.... (Like how hard would it be to have one side's power switch trigger a relay in the other side?)

The -18V supply DC to DC converter is highly prone to failing at intervals just over the warranty period... (SSL now changed manufacturer the problem is so common) but the thing still runs at 80 deg C.

On a console of that size and power it is STUPID to slam all the PSU's in the back. Anyone even designing a control room is faced with a puzzle of how to dissipate all that heat from a space between the speakers and the engineers ear without blowing a gale or adding fans.
What was the big problem with putting the PSUs in a separate rack like every other pro analogue console does.

Heat kills electronics, especially extreme heat cycling, Surely a competent console designer would consider the implications of racks of PSUs cooking the desk. When we left the duality on during install for only four hours without the A/C blowing at it it got so hot in the room that we struggled to work, the desk was crazy hot and we had to abandon testing until the A/C installers had done their stuff.

I'm sure much of the problems with some folks reliability is down to the terrible thermal design of the console as we have been looking after a client with a now 3 year old duality that is well cooled and other than the stupid recurring PSU failure issue the console has had zero operating failures in those three years.

SSL have probably lost all the really good industry folks that made it such a good console designer, they are probably full of college graduates and software whizzes that simply don't understand the mechanical issues in the field.

Power supply integrity is essential. A vertically hanging IEC connector is simply NOT PROFESSIONAL as a way to power a console like a duality. IEC locking clips are notorious for getting knocked off in normal use.

It wouldn't surprise me if half the software glitches people have are a result of dicky power connections and spikes and noise.

On a £180,000 console a customer does not expect to see kettle technology on the mains power input. It is ludicrous, Who QC'd the product?

I would consider that removing the PSU's to a remote rack would improve reliability no end (and fix a big "how to keep it cool in a control room" problem).

Such a terrible shame as the sound of the console (in my opinion) is the best that SSL ever did, it is so clean, the EQ is surgical, and the mix bus sounds great. DAW integration is basic but very functional.

What a shame that SSL don't have any really good mechanical designers any more. If they did the Duality would probably be one of the best consoles ever made.

Probably "sales and marketing" had too much input.

I've professionally installed, serviced, and re-built professional console now for 35 years, it is sad to see the dumbing down of build quality, and lack of mechanical engineering understanding that is creeping into products like the Duality.
It needn't be expensive to do it right, it just needs a little knowledge.

I would still recommend a Duality to a customer, but I'd suggest we re-engineer the PSU's to an external rack. We almost did it on the last one I installed, but instead we ran out of time, so just blew an arctic gale at it from the A/C system.

Last edited by Nuisance; 5th November 2017 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: spelin