First Impression: SSL Live Console
The specs are most impressive. For example, you can chose from 972 (yes 972, that is not a typo) possible input and output paths.
SSL has long been a staple of the studio console world. Highly regarded for their sound quality and functionality, SSL has recently entered the live market by announcing the introduction of the Live L500 digital audio mixing console. The company says it will begin shipping this fall. We were able to spend a few minutes with an early version of the console at the Gurus event, held last month at Willow Creek, located near Chicago. Based on that brief demo, and the company’s published information it looks like the SSL Live is clearly loaded for bear. The specs are most impressive. You can chose from 972 (yes 972, that is not a typo) possible input and output paths. Mixing takes place with 192 processing paths (144 with full processing, 48 dry) any of which can be configured as channel inputs, stem groups, auxes or masters; and a 32x36 matrix handles output routing.Local I/O on the console consists of 14 mic/line inputs, two talkback inputs, 16 outputs, and four AES inputs and outputs. Optional are another 16 analog ins and outs, plus four more AES pairs. Standard equipment also includes two fully redundant MADI pairs on coax that can be split into four if redundancy isn’t required, two redundant optical MADI pairs, and a dedicated optical MADI “FX Loop.” But wait, there’s more! If you need more than that, you can also add another two pairs of MADI coax bringing the total MADI I/O to 12. But there’s still more! SSL’s Blacklight optical connection (optional) will carry up to 256 channels of MADI at 96 kHz over a single fiber. The Blacklight connects the console to an SSL MADI Concentrator that breaks out to eight redundant pairs of MADI. Of course, the stage boxes and MADI concentrator also have additional MADI outputs for sharing with other SSL Live desks. Internally, the new SSL-designed Tempest processing engine operates at 64 bits delivering 24-bit/96-kHz audio that the company says is flat from 20-20,000 Hz with a THD of 0.005%. The internal architecture is said to be extremely flexible allowing you to assign processing paths as needed for the event. You can arrange any of the standard channel processing blocks in any order you like. This would apparently make it easy to put the compressor ahead of the EQ or even high- and low-pass filters, for example.