SSL’s software department scaled its SSL Native Plug-ins Bundle down to probably the best-sounding virtual suite you can grab for USD 5 a month. The SSL Native Essentials comprises just two plug-ins, but both are key to achieving that polished, punchy sound SSL consoles are famous for.
SSL Channel Strip
First comes the SSL Channel Strip which delivers the SSL console parametric EQ and a dynamics module comprising a Compressor and Gate/Expander. No mic preamp emulation, but the case with SSL preamps is that they are generally very clean and neutral, so not truly essential to obtaining that console-colored sound. With these tools, you can dial in excellent corrective EQ, remove obnoxious sounds and get some wonderful compression going. I used this channel strip for voice recordings and man, that voice of mine came out shining through! The SSL plug-ins are the real deal, folks.
SSL Bus Compressor
Second in line is the famous “glue” compressor. Although perfectly usable as a channel compressor, its superpower is to supercharge even the densest of mixes by bringing together all instruments into a cohesive, punchy whole. Put your final mix through it, twiddle the knobs and I’m sure you will quickly dial in a pleasing result. That’s how truly fine analog gear works, and SSL has done a superb job of bringing it to virtual life.
Price and availability
USD 5 per month, via the Gobbler plug-in delivery service. The subscription can be cancelled anytime, so no commitment is to be had. Personally, I am lucky enough to own two excellent hardware clones of both the SSL equalizer and G-Bus compressor. But if I wasn’t as fortunate, those 5 bux a month for 2/3rds the SSL sound would be a no brainer for me. An SSL fanboy I am, indeed!
- SSL Channel Strip plug-in: SSL
- SSL Bus Compressor plug-in: SSL