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Why not SSL preamps? Single-Channel Preamps
Old 12th January 2012
  #1
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Edward Shnapper's Avatar
 

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Why not SSL preamps?

I'm wondering why preamps built these days often replicate neve preamps but never SSL preamps? SSL is obviously a huge name in the industry but its preamp sounds aren't desired?
Old 12th January 2012
  #2
Gear addict
 

Because you can still buy them new?
Old 12th January 2012
  #3
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gear is cool's Avatar
I have no idea how to make a pre amp...none.

I also have no idea why someone has or hasn't built a knock off.

I do however have some experience using Neve, API, Trident and SSL pres.

I had my theory's and parroted what others said about SSL pre's.

Old 12th January 2012
  #4
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Edward Shnapper's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
so today's SSL preamp hasn't changed since the golden days?
Old 12th January 2012
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Shnapper View Post
I'm wondering why preamps built these days often replicate neve preamps but never SSL preamps? SSL is obviously a huge name in the industry but its preamp sounds aren't desired?
when they part out an ssl, the pres sell for like $150 no one wants them. The SSL eq is ok but the console itself is very boring with exception of the buss compressor. The ssl computer was cool up until 1990 I suppose.

I wouldn't mind having one just for looks, but they are cool to mix on, it will sound much much better than ITB.... but that doesn't really say a heck-of alot. You have to put it in perspective, SSL was the first integrated automated solution as a desk and a complete system. It was not the first automated desk but it was revolutionary as an integrated system. The Pres and EQ were just general purpose. The buss comp they somehow got lucky on. But htose didn't become classic till people stopped using them and realized wow those were great! Who knows maybe they just made generic pres and eqs to save on design and mfg costs from the start? not sure? it's all pretty much ic pcb nowadays. The new boards & stuff are prolly stamped out and soldered via CAM in china. Who knows?. But there were some great records made on SSL and tens of thousands of great records mixed on them. I remember my first SSL album mix cost me $4000 in the 80s. It wasn't cheap. There were only 3 in my area in the 80s and it was like $75hr. That was alot of money then. But oddly we still used outboard pres for alot of stuff then. I recall actually tracking drums on outboard racked Neve broadcast modules over SSL pres in 1985. First time I heard the word Neve. didn't mean a whole lot back then but looking back I guess it was a turning point.
Old 12th January 2012
  #6
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4'33"'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Shnapper View Post
I'm wondering why preamps built these days often replicate neve preamps but never SSL preamps? SSL is obviously a huge name in the industry but its preamp sounds aren't desired?
Many people started using outboard preamps specifically to bypass the preamps on the SSL boards...
Old 12th January 2012
  #7
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suedesound's Avatar
 

they work just fine but there's nothing all that exciting about them. i used mostly outboard pre's when i worked in an ssl room for a couple of years.
Old 12th January 2012
  #8
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depulse's Avatar
I recall the high-end "standard" in the 80s was to track with Neve and to mix using SSL.

Everyone back then seemed to hate the SSL sound, but still used the consoles due to the computer recall. Now many companies (inluding SSL) are using the "SSL sound" as a selling argument. Strange are the times.
Old 12th January 2012
  #9
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Shnapper View Post
I'm wondering why preamps built these days often replicate neve preamps but never SSL preamps? SSL is obviously a huge name in the industry but its preamp sounds aren't desired?
Because everyone buys into the myth about them. Hundreds of great-sounding albums were tracked and mixed on SSLs so they can't be that horrid. Also factor in that there were around 40 different variants of the 4000-series mic pres (including custom ones) were produced and the fact that the 9000 series became the de-facto choice for film scoring this only ever ends up an argument based on heresay, individual preference, and a clouded history.

You might as well ask why so many people try and clone the SSL Bus Compressor and not the neve one. Equally pointless. They're both good.


** RANT MODE OFF ***
Old 12th January 2012
  #10
Registered User
 

SSLs are renowned for their automation and recall not necessarily for their preamps. Not to say they are inadequate, they just don't have the reputation of Neve, Quad8, Herios, etc.
Old 12th January 2012
  #11
SSL preamps are clean and good on lot of sources. But never had a special "mojo" soundwise. Mixing is a different story and can't imagen NOT mixing on a SSL. I prefer tracking on neve trident you name it. Mix always on a 4k/9k. I even prefer mixing
Itb with ssl plugins then a neve v-serie
Old 12th January 2012
  #12
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many old school guys i talked to said outboard became interestiing with ssl, because ssl was bought because of the routing but not for the sound
Old 12th January 2012
  #13
Gear maniac
 

SSL preamps should do the job...they are fine in general...many varieties of them...the new ones are NOT the same as the old ones...different materials involved...
Old 12th January 2012
  #14
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I built some 9000 series preamps just because I came into 2 DIY boards already drilled for them.

very clean. it's like a dmp3 preamp or possibly a grace (both of which are excellent preamps without any mojo at all by intentional design). which is great if you want to hear, well, nothing but exactly what you put into it. It's certainly accurate and all that.

just not really all that interesting.
Old 13th January 2012
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Shnapper View Post
I'm wondering why preamps built these days often replicate neve preamps but never SSL preamps? SSL is obviously a huge name in the industry but its preamp sounds aren't desired?
Because SSL makes clean preamps. The cleaner the pre the less it does to your sound.

But a lot of people want what transformers and other things do to make the sound "cool" more than they want clean. They want it so much so that they associate clean with "bad" because it's not doing the cool thing their Neve or API does.
Old 13th January 2012
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Because SSL makes clean preamps. The cleaner the pre the less it does to your sound.

But a lot of people want what transformers and other things do to make the sound "cool" more than they want clean. They want it so much so that they associate clean with "bad" because it's not doing the cool thing their Neve or API does.
Bingo. Clean isn't bad... infact, for lownoise quiet source's and when no mojo needed, i prefer ssl pre-amps before any neve/api stuff.
Old 13th January 2012
  #17
The pres on the new AWS's (which I think are the same as on the duality? someone correct me if I'm wrong…) are great. I've used them for overheads, guitars and vocals and they've got a really detailed top end and very low noise floor.

I've also used the newest Neve desk (the Genesys) with the 'clean' preamp option (no or less transformers in the signal chain). Again, great sounding which you'd expect for a £100k console but the SSL does perform better on certain instruments.
Old 13th January 2012
  #18
I think they sound good. The early ones definitely almost marked a transition from the 70's sound to the 80's, but only by coincidence of timeline I guess.

When was the first SSL made? 1977 or something? Or right after the 5532/4 was released? I heard it was built by the designer to keep for himself, and was talked into selling it, and more followed?

Enlightened is right. There is not a lotta euphonic altering of the signal like in some older 70's pres. Even the transformer coupled preamps used Jensens, and we know how clean these are.

There were some great records cut on them though, even the early ones. Rush? Genesis?

I'm going to say something, and I want everyone to know I DON'T feel this way, but apparently others did when the first SSL's were hitting. I do not want to disrespect anybody or anything.

I have heard some silly stories about when switching over to SSL from other consoles in the early 1980's (keep in mind, I was like 12 then) and what not, some engineers lovingly referred to them as "Sounds Sorta Lousy".

Probably just a learning curve and adjustment period?

Again, I don't feel this way. Just saying that wanting the "colored" preamp thing ain't new. People wanted them back then too it would seem. Or at least missed the dirt when it was taken away.

Sorry [email protected], again, I don't feel this way at all, just repeating what some guys were saying back then. No disrespect, and I'm certain it was more of a joke back then too.

FWIW, I have worked on a 4000 g a fair bit, but almost all but the tom toms were via outboard preamps. Vocals via Manley etc.

Some of my favorite records were cut with those preamps though..

Gotta love songs like "Paperlate" etc. for their fidelity and clarity. Punchy and big too. Earth Wind and Fire helps.

I heard or read that was ssl, not sure, but it sounds like it to me.

Please correct me if mistaken.

Peace,
john
Old 13th January 2012
  #19
Gear nut
 

I have a couple of API 312 clones and a couple of SSL 9k clone preamps, and I reach for the 9ks more often than anything else, its just transparent and gives you your mic, amplified- like a preamp should!
Old 13th January 2012
  #20
Yeah, I imagine the newer ssl preamps are far cleaner than the old ones too.

I can see this. They probably work on well on anything, whereas the api's do what they do and work on some sources better than others.

Did you build the clones? What's in them?

john
Old 13th January 2012
  #21
Gear nut
 

No transformers, a LM394 matched transistor pair at the input, 4 NE5534 opamps, a TL052 opamp (for servoing away the DC offset at the output, which means you don't need an electrolytic capacitor there). Nothing to get excited about really!
Old 14th January 2012
  #22
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Quiet, transparent...high fidelity. That's what they were designed for. The modern SSL "sound" is exactly that - clean.

I'm not a huge fan of the VHD feature but I know a few people who really like it. I can see how it would be good for adding a bit of texture and air to things like cymbals, vocals, strings etc.

It's the EQ and dynamics sections that make these desks so fun to use.
Old 14th January 2012
  #23
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Showcase's Avatar
 

Its a very high quality pre, compare it to all the other top pre`s and you`ll be amazed of how little it differs in the end, I´ve compared it to API 512c, Chandler LTD-1, Telefunken V72, Telefunken V76, Neve 1073, SSL 9000K, ssl 4000k, tl audio, joemeek....

There`s one preamp I did not want to get rid of, and that is the V76, its a pre that actually make things sound very analougish! A very not SSL type of thing!
Old 14th January 2012
  #24
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showcase View Post
Its a very high quality pre, compare it to all the other top pre`s and you`ll be amazed of how little it differs in the end, I´ve compared it to API 512c, Chandler LTD-1, Telefunken V72, Telefunken V76, Neve 1073, SSL 9000K, ssl 4000k, tl audio, joemeek....

There`s one preamp I did not want to get rid of, and that is the V76, its a pre that actually make things sound very analougish! A very not SSL type of thing!
Wouldn't the sound of analogue, be the sound of using analogue gear? As in all the pres above. Analogue does not equal dirty.
Old 14th January 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 

Yeah, there seems to be somewhat of a internet myth that they are just... well....****. I think they are great. I do have a bunch of Neve,api, etc - the SSL's are getting used more than the api's now - especially on toms, maybe I just got bored.
Having 24 means that you really can hook up all your mics and have a fair comparison
Old 14th January 2012
  #26
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Showcase's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick_Money View Post
Wouldn't the sound of analogue, be the sound of using analogue gear? As in all the pres above. Analogue does not equal dirty.
SSL is not analouge gear? What do you mean?
Really, what are you guys trying to proof?
Old 14th January 2012
  #27
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showcase View Post
SSL is not analouge gear? What do you mean?
Really, what are you guys trying to proof?
SSL is analogue, hence my comment. Hence why it is the sound of analogue as much as the others. I'm not trying to "proof" anything. Think it's already "proof" that SSL pres are analogue.

Unless I misread your comment, betting you meant sounded the most like a tube pre. Which ssl is not obviously. Which can be a good thing.
Old 14th January 2012
  #28
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There's nothing wrong with SSL pres. Clean, low noise. Not a whole lot of character which you may or may not find a desirable quality. Use outboard when you need to, but a zillion albums have been tracked on SSL pres.

The reason you never see them racked up is... have you seen the size of an SSL channel strip? As for cloning, why bother? They are a fairly neutral pre so not a whole lot to get hyped about. But there would probably be some interest if you could clone and add that greasy VCA sound that you could get from SSL, and maybe the channel compression.

It would be a pretty expensive clone, though. And you'd compete with XRack gear.
Old 14th January 2012
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
There's nothing wrong with SSL pres. Clean, low noise. Not a whole lot of character which you may or may not find a desirable quality. Use outboard when you need to, but a zillion albums have been tracked on SSL pres.
THis is one of the most sensible posts here. Some of my favorite albums were tracked and mixed on SSL. THey didn't know they were not supposed to use the preamps according to GS.

The early SSL's were inspired by the MCI JH-500 series consoles.
Old 14th January 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
many old school guys i talked to said outboard became interestiing with ssl, because ssl was bought because of the routing but not for the sound
Interesting point. But could you not say that for Neve consoles as well??
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