This year’s AES convention in New York kicks off with a major splash: British pro audio royalty SSL announced its first large-format mixing desk in over a decade. The SSL Origin is a 32-channel console designed for modern hybrid workflows. It’s also the latest stage in the evolution of SSL’s legacy, featuring a number a “greatest hits” like the E-series parametric EQ, the classic “glue” bus compressor, and the nifty Listen talkback mic compressor alongside a brand new development – the PureDrive mic preamp.
Configurable center section
First things first, the middle of the desk has a roomy 12U 19-inch rack section that takes your choice specimens of analog gear while leaving space for computer periphery like keyboard, mouse, DAW/software controllers, and monitor. There’s also a drop-down meter bridge. This way, the Origin can be used purely as a tracking console with outboard additions, or in a hybrid digital/analog configuration typical for modern studios. On each channel, you will find a 0 dB bypass switch to create stems or use your DAW’s channel automation. Other amenities include 100mm large and 60mm small faders on every channel, four monitor outputs, separate headphone output for mix referencing, dedicated channel direct outputs, and balanced insert points per large and small fader channel path.
The Origin employs a new mix bus and mix amp architecture designed for ultra-low noise floor and large headroom. With 32 analog channels, the console handles 16+2 buses, three Foldback outputs, and 88 channels at mixdown.
E-Series ‘242’ EQ
The Origin channel EQ uses the E-Series ‘242’ design, which is said to be the most popular EQ from the iconic 4000-series console range. The EQ has four parametric bands with variable cut/boost per band, HF and LF Bell/Shelf switches, sweepable HPF on each channel and, of course, the SSL EQ’s characteristically precise, yet deep sonic character.
New PureDrive mic preamp
The Origin debuts a totally new mic preamp whose goal is combining traditional SSL preamp qualities like linearity, low noise and fast response with a new ‘Drive’ circuit to add warmth through gain-dependent non-linear harmonic saturation. The two styles – ‘Pure’ or ‘Drive’ – can be changed with the push of a button.
An SSL desk cannot be complete without the Bus Compressor, which is represented here with side-chain access, an HP filter, and an insert point. Another addition is the Listen talkback mic compressor, which SSL debuted on the compact SiX mixer.
Price and availability
The SSL Origin is to start shipping by the end of Q1 2020, starting at USD 50,000. You want an SSL, you pay for it – it’s always been like this and always will be.