Real SSL 4k E vs BX SSL 4K E

Discussion in 'Working with Sound' started by hackerz4life, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    A question for hardware people and professionals.
    Is the real console as brittle, harsh, dirty as the bx plugin?
    Boosting highs with the plugin also goes into harsh mode fast.
    The plugin adds a lot of inner filth to the source as well.
     
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  3. Lenny Belardo II

    Lenny Belardo II Platinum Record

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    It's many years since I spent a lot of time at an SSL. It was a 4000G and it isn't anything like I have ever experienced with a plugin. I don't recall ever thinking even remotely that it was brittle or harsh or dirty. I still have many recordings of sessions recorded on a Studer 24 track and they still sound better than anything I can do with my DAW. A factor for you to consider is a 48 channel console is going to have an entirely different sonic quality compared to 48 channels of plugin instances, assuming you had the processing power. Isolating one plugin channels performance does not tell the story of an entire console. I recently bought an SSL SiX and the sound quality is amazing. So I don't think SSL is the failure here.
     
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  4. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    As a plugin only G sounds rounder and cleaner, more versatile.
    I have read here and there how E ( real console) when boosting highs is nothing like a plugin.

    I like the plugin for its character. Not dissing it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  5. Hooman.Leys

    Hooman.Leys Platinum Record

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    I have no experience with the real console, but i tried almost all ssl plugins from developers, on eq section nothing is like AA Sand specially on high and mid-high, it's completely different with the other ssl plugins.
     
  6. The-RoBoT

    The-RoBoT Rock Star

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    I've spent half my life in front of a E, as well as a K and J and No it sounds nothing like the real hardware.

    If they have modeled it after a particular desk then i would suggest a good service is needed. :hifive:
     
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  7. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    Like Hooman said, try the demo of Acustica Audio's Sand3 if you want to hear something that is relatively close to the real deal, at least for the EQ section. It is of course also based on one specific console (I think?) and they all sound a bit different from eachother, but it should however be the closest you can get in plug-in format.
     
  8. ericdared

    ericdared Member

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    I'm reading the comments and can't fully agree with those. They can't be that far off. No matter if one spends 100 Years on an SSL, it always comes down to the listening environment & the source. If similar tools can't be A/B'ed in equal conditions, this is not information, it's a personal perception that can by no mean be what defines a product.A mix is a sum of decisions based on perception of your listening environment. If it's not accurate, you'll take wrong decisions, and end up with something potentially bad but the tools are not the ones to blame. It's like trying to fit Ferrari wheels on a VW and complain.
     
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  9. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    I agree. But. We are talking about differences plugin vs console.
    Far off, is also a subjective thing. Also when these small or not so small differences start piling up you get a very different end product.
     
  10. Nimbuss

    Nimbuss Platinum Record

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    We run an X-Desk connected to the X-Rack with some 4000E Black/Brown EQ's + x2 racked G-series channels with the Dynamics and Line Input.

    The analog circuits we use for boosting mostly (you can get away with high/mid boosts of like +8db boosts at 7Khz etc without much artifact (source matters though eg: nasty vocals will always be nasty) but you definitely get that ' sound ' if you know what to do.

    Being able to really ' dig ' into each stem allows for some nice natural tone shaping (I'll even do some crazy boosts at 30hz on a vocal and have it sound warm which I've struggled to do with digital. The analog EQ sounds to me a bit more 3D.

    We still end up bussing the retuned sounds into the bx SSL G series plugins though (the G sounds MILES better than their E and J, imo of course) and do extra enhancement there. I'll also use the bx or Native SSL Dynamics since we don't have analog ones for all stems.

    I prefer cutting with the plugins and don't usually boost more than a few db (the bx TMT is a great addition and acts as a sweet ' Virtual Group ' bus, the Acustica we have but it's so sluggish to add those plugins during a mix but I love em on the mixbus. (GOLD and SAND all day :wink:).


    I'd say the ' SSL Console Sound ' comes from running your stems into the line inputs and then into EQ's/dynamics etc, you get this cohesiveness that allows you to really place every sound into the mix. I can only describe it as ' an organized soundscape ' and have never got that during my full on ITB days (ALTHOUGH some days we do just fine with a good Mic pre into a nice mic and compressor and get groovy results fully ITB).

    Overall, they definitely aren't the same but both have their uses. If we had no digital plugins like Fabfilter Pro Q3 etc, our mixes wouldn't sound as good at all. It's a Yin and Yang relationship I guess...

    The Analog VS Digital conversation often overlooks the fact that your signals are altered during your A/D and back which will also add to your sound.

    At the end of the day it's awesome to have so many emulations ITB now, that new bx API EQ has a liquidy vibe I like. The Waves E-Series is also a sleeper, it ' pokes ' like an SSL for sure.

    Peace
     
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  11. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    Thank you very much for this detailed answer.
    You also confirm my findings about BX G sounding a lot better than BX E.
    I am all for flavor but maybe brainworx modeled the worst E they could find, lol.
     
  12. dkny

    dkny Producer

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    I really like the E, and don't like the G, go figure. I guess I like the E for it's slightly rocky, aggressive sound, whereas everytime I've tried the G, it's a little polite and I guess felt a little flavourless (or at least, wasn't giving me the flavour I wanted that the E did.)

    I do agree that wild EQ boosts sound a bit harsh - when I've seen what people do with the E eq's on the hardware, I cringe as I'd never dream of boosting that much in general. The EQ is certainly not subtle on these things!

    I also want the J for more modern stuff, but I'm waiting for sales etc...
     
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  13. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    It has a nice vibe, yes, but inner filth is what puts me off.
     
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  14. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    Tomorrow @giancarlo will show up saying "ah this explains the unexpected Sand sales". :rofl:
     
  15. Zenarcist

    Zenarcist Audiosexual

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    I have a friend who works at SSL, and he said all of the main software emulations are "in the ballpark".
     
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  16. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Audiosexual

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    I like the fact that with Sand, you have several different strips sampled from that board, so you can avoid the "piling on" effect from using the same exact strip sampling/modeling on every track. So that makes it much more like running through different channels on an actual board. Gold is the same way.
     
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  17. Sinus Well

    Sinus Well Audiosexual

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    I worked for many years on both an old E-console and a Duality. And the answer is: No, the brainworx plugins do not sound like their hardware counterparts. But I like the bx_console plugins anyway.
     
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  18. shankar

    shankar Platinum Record

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    It is not the plugin or the hardware that brings the track to life.
    It's the person behind it!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  19. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Rock Star

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    I've got well over ten thousand hours logged behind SSL consoles. I've sat at several SSL 4K E consoles, many 4K G and G plus, some of the largest J's including that monster at Patchwerk Leslie lived at, several Duality's, a 6000, AWS's galore, and even that SSL digital console in Interscope's Boiler Room within the Malibu Universal building. Atlantic, Def Jam, Universal, Capital, Interscope, and others paid me working behind SSL's.

    I've got tons of mixes to compare with plugins.
    I was a beta tester for Acusica Audio until last year, my presets were planned to be in the last version of Sand until their server switch prevented it.

    Here is the truth from my experience...
    Sand is the closest in the EQ to hardware except the top end extension, but the compressors have work to do and auto is not like hardware as the compressors do not grab like the real deal.

    Algo plugins mimicking hardware never add to a sound, they have to have the harmonics already there as the math is just not up to par with real components, BX included.

    So while you can get into the pallpark with plugins, the secret with the SSL sound is how you drive it into each consoles sweet spot and smack the bus comp.... and EVERY plugin fails when driven next to hardware.

    I work hybrid today, I love the advantages of both worlds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  20. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Rock Star

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    Except that some of us worked for years in front of a bunch of SSL's and had to have a consistent listening environment nightly as we worked in different studios nightly, and we would bring our own monitors and headphones we know inside and out to help remove the different listening environments as best we could. We spent years making decisions that way and still use those tools to make decisions today. We can compare our work from the past 10-20 years in those environments with our current environments closely and offer our professional opinions and experiences for others to do with as they will.

    The bottom line truth is that you can't drive digital like you can hardware, they are different tools that have different strengths.
     
  21. Lenny Belardo II

    Lenny Belardo II Platinum Record

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    How do you rate Softube Console 1 SSL 9000K?
     
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