June 25, 2006

SSL Duende first user review...

by Chris Randall

Continuing my Duende fetish, here's the first review I've seen. People that had ordered them started receiving the first units this week, so we'll see some more of these. (I should just make a reusable Duende icon now, because I'm going to be talking about this a lot.)

It's interesting to note that this guy has two PoCo PCI, a UAD-1, and a FW PoCo in his system already, and didn't have any problems adding a Duende. A lot of people were worried about that. It is a Mac, obviously, so that may color your opinion on that particular subject. I plan to run the Duende and a PoCo FW on the same Windows box; we'll see how that goes.

That all said, the review reads about like I thought it would. I'm looking forward to September when the PC software becomes available.



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Jun.26.2006 @ 1:07 AM
Why would someone want this much processing power dedicated to SSL plugins? Can one really make use of 32 buss compressors at once, because that's the only part of an SSL console worth routing signal through. I'm sure some professionals like the sound of an SSL console but I believe many more people think they're great because they've never heard one. For what this costs you could build a couple SSL/Alan Smart clones (sans dbx202s) and still have money left over for a couple Melcor, Quad Eight, or other interesting EQs.

Jun.26.2006 @ 1:26 AM
> I believe many more people think they're great because they've never heard one.

Those who drool over something they've never heard/seen are fucktards.



Jun.26.2006 @ 2:07 AM
Chris Randall
I dunno. About 2/3 of the 71 albums I'm on as either artist, producer, or both were either recorded, mixed, or both on a 4000 or 9000, including both the gold one and the platinum one hanging right in front of me.

And anyone who hasn't heard a 4000, 9000, or C200 hasn't listened to a single album recorded in the last 20-odd years, since roughly 70% of _all_ albums are either recorded, mixed, or both on one of those three frames. There are hardly any multi-room studios that don't have at least one.

The reason for this is, of course, the fact that they are eminently usable and good-sounding consoles. I'm an API whore, to be sure, but until API starts making their own plugins, or I can afford a whole 7800 setup, this will be a fine second-best. (And god help us if Neve shoehorns the Capricorn DSP in to a box like this. Then again, God help Neve if it crashes like a Capricorn.)

So, if you're calling _me_ a fucktard, know two things:

1) I'm not some sniviling idiot who thinks SSL automatically equals good. I know from whence I speak.

2) You better find yourself another web page to type on.



Jun.26.2006 @ 8:00 AM

Aren't you curious in the focusrite Liquid Mix ?
If you like focusrite or not or only early focusrite, forget about the name for a moment.
-They licensed a technique from a company who has been doing these emulating maths for years.
-If it doesn't come 80% near the real thing does it come closer than for example the WAVES SSL software does compaired to the liquid mix.
-We can argue about soft against the real hardware but maybe it comes closer than anything to the real thing if you have a good daw setup.

There is no reason in getting a crap 8 channel A/D D/A with a duendo hooked up and than into an ssl summing mixer. It will stink because most people think 1 and 0's are always the same so i will sound like an ssl with an addition of the duende and even a summing mixer.

I don't know how SSL emulated theirs, also with dynamic convolution ?

The price, half of the duende, first gave me a twitch because is it half as good, you get more including what the duende emulates ?
Since it comes from focusrite we might expect the old focusrite line to be classic...
Half the price might not be the case if they didn't had the liquid released, we might have seen a +1000$ price also because most of the basic emulation development went into that expensive machine.

If the focusrite can for example replace the entire URS and waves emulation plugins that is actually a good deal.
The controller is actually a very good idea.

Compairing it with all the hardware it emulates is much harder to do because not all SSL consoles sound the same, the xl9000k which the duende is coming from (as mentioned by some purists) doesn't sound as nice as the 4000 so you've got a bridge there.
Not all 4000 consoles sound the same. Not all neve's, etc...

Universal Audio emulated 1 neve, which they searched for as being the best.
Even the focusrite has the serialnumber of the neve they emulated.
I think focusrite gets less positive credit because of the name instead of the quality.

I do believe that a company shouldn't focus on very low quality gear and pro-gear because just like digidesign , their hobby-gear sucks.
But those are the economic times that we live in.

Final note. Some audio analog purist don't believe in convolution dynamics ... but the liquid mix has 20 eq's ! For the eq's alone this could be a great machine.

No reviews can be found at this moment, just a sneak peak but not about the sound in "sound on sound".

What we can do is remix Peter Gabriel and you might win an SSL DUENDE !



Jun.26.2006 @ 8:42 AM
ok i've seen something disturbing on the liquid mix controler.
+1 and +3 db on a FS meter.

Another reason why people tend to think digital is like analog.
If you start adding FS numbers which aren't there... 32bit floating or not i don't want to hit -6dbfs in a plugin.


Jun.26.2006 @ 9:45 AM
Why the hell did SSL licence the name to Waves when they were working on their own solution? I still can't figure this out.

Jun.26.2006 @ 10:26 AM
Chris Randall
Not entirely sure what the point of that was, truth be told. I imagine it went something like this:

1) License name to Waves.

2) Waves takes years and years to develop a plugin

3) In the meantime SSL goes bankrupt, and is saved by a group of people, some of whom are incredibly creative thinkers.

4) That same group of people tells the SSL engineers "this is what we want to release. Make it so."

5) They do that. Obviously, there's far more money to be made in the Duende than in the couple bucks per unit they're getting for the Wave emulation.

And to answer bugsstar, I've got to take issue with your detective skills. The Duende is _not_ a convolution products. It has the actual EQ and dynamics DSP from the C200. It's the same thing, with no knobs and faders. Code is code; it doesn't care where it lives.

I don't trust Focusrite any more. The company that exists now is not the same company that made those gigantic desks that you got bruises on the front of your thighs from trying to reach the gain knob. The Mbox is such a fucking dog, and the Saffire such a fucking joke, and the Platinum series so bad, that I don't take anything that company does seriously any more. Plus, the Liquid Channel gets terrible reviews all the time. Since the Liquid Mix is a subset of the Liquid Channel, one would assume that it is _NOT_ as good.


(That said, I wouldn't turn down an ISA 428 if the price was right.)



Jun.26.2006 @ 10:44 AM
I know they used the same code but how did they develop that code in the beginning ?
Waves did dynamic convolution last time i checked , if anything on these immense forums can be taken as 10% truth ?

I've read many bad reviews about the liquid channel but i've also seen many reports of appearing on many albums, some i do respect as producer (nin) others as plain pop which i don't like since the asian girl left (sugababes) ;)


Jun.26.2006 @ 11:00 AM
Chris Randall
The Waves plugins are probably convolution, I won't argue there. We're not talking about the Waves plugins, though. I don't believe I've ever brought them up on this site before. What they model/don't model/whatever is beyond uninteresting to me.

As to how the C200 code was developed, can't help you there, but it is definitely not convolution.

All that being said, I don't generally have a problem with convolution. If it sounds good, I could give two shits how they got it that way (except from a professional standpoint in my roll as the VP of Audio Damage.) What I care about is a company's reputation for making good products. Waves? Okay. Focusrite? Not so hot. SSL? Can do no wrong. Except maybe the E software? One can get really tired of a Night At The Beach in a quick-like fashion.



Jun.26.2006 @ 11:14 AM
I think I figured it out while I was brushing my teeth:

1. Waves develops SSL plug-ins on their own
2. Waves approaches SSL to licence name
3. SSL figures they have choice of:
a. Get paid for licencing name to plug-in
b. Waves releases "EuroChannel 4000" series and SSL gets squat
4. SSL takes the money
5. SSL releases own plug-ins. Waves people re-read contract for exclusive clause and find none.


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