Classic Console Sound: XLogic Superanalogue Channel Strip -- Stereo Pair

Like many 21st Century studios, BB4 goes about its business without a large-frame console. Replete with reflective surfaces and the other acoustic anomalies that they introduce, big desks still have their place, but we’ve known from Day One that a full-blown board wasn’t a fit for our mission of an unmatched critical listening environment.

That said, consoles have a devoted following for reason: Their mic pre’s, EQs, dynamics, and filters have a classic sound that’s indispensable for tracking and mixing. Over here, the sonics we just couldn’t get out of our ears comes from an SSL. That’s why the latest addition to our space is two SSL XLogic Superanalogue channel strips.

No longer in production, the XLogic Superanalogue channel strip has distinguished roots: a 1RU channel strip taken pretty much verbatim from the famed SSL XL9000K console. It’s one channel of massively musical mic pre, EQ and dynamics from that board, which for many represents the peak of analog audio, where SSL optimized its big board to surpass the 9000J, with an audio path designed to exceed the standards of the high-resolution formats DVD-A and SACD.

The two Xlogic strips that just found a new home at BB4 are particularly pristine -- their previous owner sent them to SSL HQ in England to get them fully refurbished and matched so that they could be a true stereo pair. Our clients were immediately into these SSL’s, and it’s clear why: They have a beautifully gritty sound, but not with soooo much character that it won’t blend well with everything else on the track. You can tell that these come from a different era, and with everything sounding so clean with plugins today, this is definitely a good thing.

Ask our studio manager Kiara Mudd, and she’ll tell you that the Superanalogue highlights start with the EQ section, followed closely by the dynamics. “We love using the EQ settings,” she confirms. “It really clears out any muddiness, and brightens up the sound of whatever we put through it. With the transparency of the compressor, you can compress things really hard without destroying the sound.”

On the tracking side, these XLogic Superanalogue channel strips have proven to be awesome for vocals. For mixing, we use it the most keyboards where they give extra sparkle. Ready for a mix tip? “On keys, I’ll scoop out 400 Hz and add a little at 5 kHz,” says Mudd. “For compression, it’s a fast attack and a slow release. To give it that old school feel on guitars, I’ll take out some of the brightness and boost some of the midrange frequencies.”

With our stereo pair of SSL channel strips, we really amped up EQ and compression at BB4 – this is our most precise EQ yet for the mixing stage.

Dial it in with the XLogic Superanalogue channel strip when you track and mix at BB4.

David Weiss