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Is SSL X-Rack a dead investment over 500 series?? Other Modular Audio Processors
Old 8th September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
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Is SSL X-Rack a dead investment over 500 series??

I've been eyeing up X-rack and it's modules, thinking of being different to the masses (who are going the 500 series route) but still extreme high quality and the SSL sound that permeates through the music that I most enjoy listening to and therefore want to try and re-create - looking at the 4000 series EQ's and comp modules to produce polished sounding progressive folk music (if there is such a genre). Will be used on the way in and over inserts and busses during mix.

Worried about it being a dying format, as the majority of people are going the lunchbox route (if wanting to use modules as such) - Will the X-rack hold it's re-sale value reasonably well like most outboard gear?

How many X-rack / Mynx users are out there? Is SSL selling much of this gear? It's just that you don't really read much at all in the way of feedback against all of the traffic that there is about modules in the 500 series format.

Maybe I should just 'go with the flow' and start building a nice 500 series lunchbox.

I'd like to hear from any other SSL X-Rack users
Old 8th September 2011
  #2
jac
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jac's Avatar
Happy user of 2TWO xrack here.
32 channels of summing, 4 black eqs, 2 black dyns, and 1 each of the superanalogue eq/dyn.
Still have 3 slots empty on the second unit, but it's tough to find good used modules, probably because xrack users are very happy with it.

I also would like to get into the lauchbox world, a lot of options (maybe too many?), but at present time I can say that i would prefer to invest on additional xrack modules instead of jumping into the 500 serie...
Old 8th September 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
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Great, exactly the feedback I'm looking for. Good to see you like the SSL format.

Anyone else care to share their thoughts.
Old 8th September 2011
  #4
jac
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It's easy. If you want THAT sound you can try to get closer with an xrack. The summing is really good. The low end is amazing, mids are punchy and sweet top end.
The "problem" is that once you start adding modules they won't never be enough... :-)
Old 8th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

Just worry about if you want the SSL stuff. Enough to fill a rack? If you do, grab it. Do a search - there are tons of users.

I have one and have plans to expand with another! Like any modular system (500 etc), it's cool because once you're 'in', it's cheaper to get 'new stuff'. Total recall is great and 'just works'. I currently have 2 VHD input modules, a black EQ, and the bus comp (3 spaces left) I'm going to grab 2 black comps and another black EQ to fill this one out.

Then i want another X-Rack with 2 4-input summing modules to add extra inputs to the X-Desk i'll be getting shortly, and slowly expand with some more black EQ/Comps to fill it out. I am going for an X-Desk instead of the X-Rack summing because it's more useful to me, and i don't like the cramped master section. I love that i can add inputs to my X-Desk (i don't even have one yet!) by simply buying X-Rack modules - as and when i can afford it!

It's like crack.

Seriously, as jac mentioned - once you buy one you're gonna wanna fill it out, etc etc.
Old 8th September 2011
  #6
Gear Head
 
FastlanePro's Avatar
 

Many of SSL's mid and very expensive DAW-optimized products (x-desk, matrix, xpatch, etc) are really designed with the x-rack gear in mind.

In talking with their NA sales rep - I think they are very invested in this product.

It's not going anywhere any time soon. That's my 2c.

Cheers,
Lane
Old 8th September 2011
  #7
Gear Addict
 
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Would love Black EQ in 500 series format but that's not going to happen! Closest thing would be the GR Harrison 32EQ.
Old 8th September 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I'm a relatively new SSL XRack user, in that I started demoing the E series and XRAck EQ's/Comps a couple months ago. I wanted to try a demo because I found the Waves plug-ins pretty useful in my mixes, I liked the sound/functionality, and I wanted to see how the hardware reacted. After some tweaking, I pretty much fell in love with the E Series EQ, and I found the E series Dynamics module pretty tasty as well. As a result, I just ordered 3 more E series EQ's and comp's to fill out the rack. I don't know where SSL as a company stands on the long term sustainability of the XRAck products, but they sure are making it compatible with a lot of their gear which is a good sign. I also thought I'd add that I'm a big 500 series user, and I have 3 10 space racks filled with just EQ's and Comps if that says anything. Soundwise, I think they are different from what is presently offered in the 500 series, and I really like them. You just have to try things out and see if the sound and functionality do it for you. There are a lot of great modules in the 500 series, and the XRack offers you a different flavor in a similar size. I've got to say though, I love the way the controls are laid out on the SSL stuff. The fact that the units are slightly bigger than the 500 series makes it a tad easier to twist/turn knobs, and the layout is very organized and logical. Also, I love the diversity and tweakability of the EQ. It also has some mojo which is great. If only it'd had hi/lo pass filters, it would have been perfect, but as it is, it still kicks some major arse. Anyway, I can't wait for them to arrive so I can start using more of them in the mix. My 2 cents is that the Xrack stuff is some cool gear. Definitely demo worthy. - paul
Old 9th September 2011
  #9
Solid State Logic
 
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X-Rack has done amazingly well for us, and is a key part to our "lego brick" approach to building up a studio. I love mine.

If you want the "SSL" vibe then nothing in 500-land really does it quite as well. If you want other vibes as well, then you might need to mix up a bit of both :-)
Old 9th September 2011
  #10
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
X-Rack has done amazingly well for us, and is a key part to our "lego brick" approach to building up a studio. I love mine.

If you want the "SSL" vibe then nothing in 500-land really does it quite as well. If you want other vibes as well, then you might need to mix up a bit of both :-)


Can I just say [email protected] what an absolute pro you are, I have always been keen to read your thoughs and yes you do work for SSL, NEVER do you push your products so hard even when to be quite frank you should. Case in point above it is clearly a post about Xrack yet you still have the non sales man hat on to suggest he might want to check out 500 series for other vibes. ok here it is a bit straightforward but i have seen your posts on other products like Nucleus v Zed GSR24.

A top top bloke who clearly loves his music and oh youre NOT doing a bad job at SSL either.

Sorry just wanted to post this.

One thing though do you have plans or maybe even think about having a firewire/thunderbolt option for the mixing consoles using your top notch converters as well.

Last edited by digi882; 9th September 2011 at 08:58 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 9th September 2011
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
X-Rack has done amazingly well for us, and is a key part to our "lego brick" approach to building up a studio. I love mine.

If you want the "SSL" vibe then nothing in 500-land really does it quite as well. If you want other vibes as well, then you might need to mix up a bit of both :-)
oh no, I used to love Lego, I can see it now, my awesome decked out Xrack and my wife and kids huddled in a dark, cold corner of our house with bread and water for dinner - its ok kids, at least my mixes sound sweet, now eat your bread.
Old 9th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
shortstory's Avatar
I have 32 channels of summing ([email protected] [email protected] input plus the buss module that feeds my AWS900 and they are amazing for summing. There's no way they're going away that I can imagine. They're perfect for many hybrid studios so I can't see them stopping making them. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see more support- like a fader board or such.

If you like the sound of SSL, there's nothing in the 500 series that is truly like it (and we have 5 BAE racks of 500 stuff- nothing like that either as far as mixing of pres, EQs, & comp flavors).

Get an Xrack- then a 500 rack down the road. You won't be disappointed.
Old 9th September 2011
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
saggsy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorG View Post
Would love Black EQ in 500 series format but that's not going to happen! Closest thing would be the GR Harrison 32EQ.
So Doc, I notice your a local, do you own any modules? Where do you buy them, locally or from abroad?

We get ripped off here for any pro audio gear - is it really worth spending twice the money just to secure local service and warranty? With the aus dollar now so good, why do we still pay so much?

Anyway back on topic - one thing that bugs me about the EQ modules is the lack of HPF and LPF's - only found on the mic pre modules, which I dont really have a need for, do you guys that own EQ modules find that this is an annoying ommision?
Old 9th September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
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The SSL Xracks are awesome. I love being able to recall analog settings digitally. If you get a Matrix it integrates perfectly.

SSL is doing some innovative stuff for the smaller/home studio market. The. Xrack is no exception. I don't really compare it to 500 series because you can't digitally recall your 500 series settings.

I would love to have a Matrix/Xrack setup. It's in my not so distant future.
Old 9th September 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Digibear's Avatar
I have a Matrix and 2 Xrack. I also have a 500 series rack. All really good stuff. The Xrack recall and integration is great. Sonically wonderful. If you want that sound, buy it.

As an aside, someone mentioned the Harrison EQ 32 sounding like the Black SSL. Not at all. The Black is much edgier and more aggressive. The Harrison more laid back and sweet. I use the Harrison more, but the Black still gets play.
Old 9th September 2011
  #16
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Sorry, I didn't say the Harrison sounds at all like the SSL Black EQ. I was just referring to it being the closest in terms of flexibility as an EQ in 500 form.
Old 9th September 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
jjboogie's Avatar
Depends on the sound you want! If you want the SSL sound stick what you got.


Phil Tan uses the X-Rack because that's the sound he likes.
Old 9th September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorG View Post
Sorry, I didn't say the Harrison sounds at all like the SSL Black EQ. I was just referring to it being the closest in terms of flexibility as an EQ in 500 form.

Perhaps I misread. I certainly didn't mean to insult. I just wanted to clarify the sound differences, since I have both, in the spirit of being helpful to someone considering either or both.
Old 9th September 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Agreed on the E series EQ sounding pretty different from the Harrison 32. They are similar in functionality though. Still, it's tough. The Harrison has the hi/lo pass filters which i love but the E series has the adjustable Q on the mid freqs which is soooo useful. Sound wise I actually prefer the E series to the 32EQ. It's just got more excitement to its sound IMO. I use them both though. Pick your poison I guess. - paul
Old 9th September 2011
  #20
It really would depend on what you're looking for. For me I need both. I love that I could fit 5 API's and 5 Neve ish pres in one rack space, both of which I'd prefer over the SSL preamps. For mixing however the SSL X Rack seems to be the way to go for me. EQ's and Comps that sound really good with full recall facilities. The recall is where SSL has the huge advantage over 500 for me.
Old 10th September 2011
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
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Now that some of you have mentioned it, I'm a bit silly to compare the lunchbox stuff with the XRack, your right, the total recall is a massive advantage for analog outboard. I knew it was there but hadn't really had a good think about how much total recall would come into play with the way I want to use these modules. With 500 series I guess you could take photo's of settings, but definitely not as accurate or efficient way of recalling.

I'm going to investigate the collaboration of XRack with the Matrix console, although I kind of see myself going the Xdesk and maybe Xpanda in the future for the summing aspect.

Hey [email protected],
Are you looking for anyone to 'preach the good word' about SSL gear in Australia, we don't really get to see much SSL gear at all here in Aus, the project studio market is growing here on a daily basis with most opting for lunch boxes (if going modular) rather than the XRack, I'm guessing because I don't think anyone here would offer the opportunity to demo SSL gear due to lack of availability / store stock and therefore SSL have reduced their market in Aus to the people who would buy gear without a demo. Maybe you consider the Australian market too small a percentage, but to be honest, don't you think that the market for this equipment is a niche one and to be able to offer it to as many potential customers as possible is only a good thing for the company that you work for?

P.S. love your enthusiasm in your video's, clear and easy to follow. I like it when your obviously talking to a Japanese camera crew and you make sure that your words are slow and easy to understand, and you bow alot, it makes me laugh!!
How does someone get a job like your's, you get to jet set around the world talking about products that you love and know inside out, how cool.
Old 11th September 2011
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
saggsy's Avatar
 

bump to retain the life of the thread a little longer, man things move quickly around here, I guess there's so much gear and so little time, literally!!
Old 11th September 2011
  #23
Gear Nut
 
naths101's Avatar
 

After being interested in an XDesk + XPanda the last few months, you have me intrigued with the XRack now... more money!

When I'm about to buy the XDesk I'll borrow a demo unit however I think there's only 1 demo available in the whole country...
Old 11th September 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
I love my lunchbox and considered a ssl module or two if i had the money. I think it's more of the product. The ssl e channel is one of my favorite eq and I don't see it in the 500 series. That reason alone I could see maybe buying a 2 unit version. Never would buy a whole box full though, as it's only SSL, unless I was rich and wanted to sum or something. I see the purchase as more of a single rack thing as a customer for me personally. I wish they just made a rack of say 2 or a single eq g or e channel instead of doing the lunchbox style thing. I think they would be a lot smarter to find a way into the 500 series...I'd sure buy a ssl eq on my top 2 list of next modules to buy if it were 500 series...Buying a whole new system not so much, but still a possibility.
Old 11th September 2011
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Some of the X rack stuff is stellar....some is soso....bus comp....soso

VHD pre with filters and comp...great....white comps...great...black eq...great

frankly I could use 16 of each and still wish I had a couple more
Old 11th September 2011
  #26
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattg082 View Post
I love my lunchbox and considered a ssl module or two if i had the money. I think it's more of the product. The ssl e channel is one of my favorite eq and I don't see it in the 500 series. That reason alone I could see maybe buying a 2 unit version. Never would buy a whole box full though, as it's only SSL, unless I was rich and wanted to sum or something.
I would love to get into the X-rack but I'm too heavily invested in the 500 series to start investing in an entire x-rack. That being said, I'd love if they could make a mynx with total recall. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!


Regards,
Frank
Old 11th September 2011
  #27
jac
Gear Addict
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
I would love to get into the X-rack but I'm too heavily invested in the 500 series to start investing in an entire x-rack. That being said, I'd love if they could make a mynx with total recall. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!


Regards,
Frank
I'm not fully sure about, but the idea behind the mynx was to get a G comp in a small portable way. I also started with a Mynx, but then I gave up, it was too good to simply have only a couple of slots avilable for my studio, that's why I ended with a 2 X-Rack.
No need to talk about the TOTAL RECALL, that's a real benefit for the working flow. I can easly jump from a project to another in few minutes, which is always good when you work on a couple different project at the same time.

Lunchbox is great, especially because you can load it with full of different flavours.. but for mixing, which is my main business at present time, the SSL sound is much more interesting, even if I cannot enjoy great stuffs from API, SH, Harrison... maybe in the future.
Old 12th September 2011
  #28
Solid State Logic
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saggsy View Post

Hey [email protected],
Are you looking for anyone to 'preach the good word' about SSL gear in Australia, we don't really get to see much SSL gear at all here in Aus, the project studio market is growing here on a daily basis with most opting for lunch boxes (if going modular) rather than the XRack, I'm guessing because I don't think anyone here would offer the opportunity to demo SSL gear due to lack of availability / store stock and therefore SSL have reduced their market in Aus to the people who would buy gear without a demo. Maybe you consider the Australian market too small a percentage, but to be honest, don't you think that the market for this equipment is a niche one and to be able to offer it to as many potential customers as possible is only a good thing for the company that you work for?

P.S. love your enthusiasm in your video's, clear and easy to follow. I like it when your obviously talking to a Japanese camera crew and you make sure that your words are slow and easy to understand, and you bow alot, it makes me laugh!!
How does someone get a job like your's, you get to jet set around the world talking about products that you love and know inside out, how cool.
Actually, one of the team just spent 12 days in Aistralia doing events and seminars. It's a long way for us to get to, but our man Filip Saelen at Amber tech does a good job fir us down under.

Videos in Japanese? A careful balance between speaking English as a second language and needing subtitles! Keeping the enthusiasm up is pretty simple - I get to play with all of the kit :-) Thanks for your kind words, flatery gets you everywhere!
Old 12th September 2011
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by saggsy View Post
Now that some of you have mentioned it, I'm a bit silly to compare the lunchbox stuff with the XRack, your right, the total recall is a massive advantage for analog outboard. I knew it was there but hadn't really had a good think about how much total recall would come into play with the way I want to use these modules. With 500 series I guess you could take photo's of settings, but definitely not as accurate or efficient way of recalling.

I'm going to investigate the collaboration of XRack with the Matrix console, although I kind of see myself going the Xdesk and maybe Xpanda in the future for the summing aspect.

Hey [email protected],
Are you looking for anyone to 'preach the good word' about SSL gear in Australia, we don't really get to see much SSL gear at all here in Aus, the project studio market is growing here on a daily basis with most opting for lunch boxes (if going modular) rather than the XRack, I'm guessing because I don't think anyone here would offer the opportunity to demo SSL gear due to lack of availability / store stock and therefore SSL have reduced their market in Aus to the people who would buy gear without a demo. Maybe you consider the Australian market too small a percentage, but to be honest, don't you think that the market for this equipment is a niche one and to be able to offer it to as many potential customers as possible is only a good thing for the company that you work for?

P.S. love your enthusiasm in your video's, clear and easy to follow. I like it when your obviously talking to a Japanese camera crew and you make sure that your words are slow and easy to understand, and you bow alot, it makes me laugh!!
How does someone get a job like your's, you get to jet set around the world talking about products that you love and know inside out, how cool.
I considered the Xdesk/Xpanda setup with the Xrack modules as well but, no recall and for me that is extremely important. Unless there is an aftermarket fix for the Xdesk/Xpanda (I'm assuming you need recall) and you don't want a conventional summing bus I'd go with the Neve 8816 with fader pack, full recall and from what users say it sounds sweet and you'd get the best of both SSL and Neve. I really liked the idea of doing my mix with prefader inserts on the Neve but I couldn't afford it space and money wise. If a conventional summing box will work for you then your options will depend on how much coloration you want. Matrix looks really cool, but now we're in a totally different ballpark financially.
Old 12th September 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
I would love to get into the X-rack but I'm too heavily invested in the 500 series to start investing in an entire x-rack. That being said, I'd love if they could make a mynx with total recall. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!

Regards,
Frank
Unfortunately, as cool as that sounds in theory the cost would be way too high to do a MYNX with the Total Recall computer (plus it would make it quite a bit larger), and no one would buy it. The MYNX was developed for those people who needed to take X-Rack modules with them on mobile recordings, or for those who didn't care about Total Recall and just wanted a small taste of the SSL experience.

If you want Total Recall the X-Rack is quite an amazing product and the modules (especially the 4000 series) are excellent.
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