Author Topic: SSL 4000 EQ shootout  (Read 32398 times)

sintech

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SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« on: October 18, 2012, 04:51:42 PM »
Hey Guys,

 did a very quick EQ type shootout this afternoon with Member D.F. to help him decide what EQ to choose for his 24 channel console.

It's actually pretty amazing listening to different generations of EQ/line amp side by side.



E with Brown (02)
G with Pink HF (292)
G+ with Black E series (242)

E with Brown 02: Very harmonic, and the eq sculpts beautifully, guessing this is the original SSL sonic. Has a great vibe, and it loved drums and bass. Top end get's a little out of control above 10k. Amazing punch, this has to be the Drums :-)

G with Pink HF 292: much cleaner sonic, noted before the eq was switched in.
Having just auditioned the Brown, subtractive eq sounded very hollow, this will be useful for loosing the middle out of a Fender Rhodes.
Also good on bass, it missed the attitude of the E, but noted the top-end is much more useable and sweet. Multiply and Divide buttons, are very new to me, so looking to explore them a bit further.
You're trading a chunk of 'crunch and punch' from the generation before, for a cleaner more polished tones :-)


G with 242: Classic black eq, cleaner than the E due to the line amp. With steeper filtering and taller Bell curves, than the Brown, the amount of 100hz you can add to a Bass guitar is totally, out of this world crazy. Top end did seem better and the 02, but that might be the cleaner line amp fooling things.

The fact is, it would be very dull, just to be stuck with a single 4K flavour, in a mix they'll have something unique to offer… or at least that's the plan!!!

Looking forward to the first mix on my 24, even more :)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 04:53:50 PM by sintech »

df

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 05:06:28 PM »
Hey Andy.

Yes, my overriding impression from today was how startling a difference just the line amp afforded the signal. Much "cleaner" or "airier" or "breathier". certainly more high end detail.

E with Brown 02: I have to say I like this a lot especially with the Q wide open. That floated my boat.

G with Pink HF 292: I agree with everything Andy has stated. It certainly lacks the "vibe" on program material that may require pulling out the aggressive side of things. The top end is much more "tunable", however, and is sweet and pretty. Go to for vocals I would suspect. It sounded much more "modern" than the E with brown.

G with 242: Again I concur with Andy. The bass was rocking with this. Would like to have tried an E with 242 against this... next time maybe...

jimlfixit

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SSL 4000 EQ comparisons and other stuff
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 09:30:13 PM »
A bit of SSL eq history plus blowing my own trumpet (or rather drums!). I remember back around 1981 or so at the old Acorn studios in Stonesfield, Oxford (original home of SSL consoles) helping with comparing eq's for the 4K console. SSL produced the 02 eq card but, I think, the west coast of the US didn't like it as much as the studio guys in the East who found the original 02 version too harsh.

I brought my drums to the studio and bashed away for a few hours in the live room (which was a final test room) while Paul Frindle (SSL eq design engineer) and others compared the eq sound in the Control Room between the existing 02 card and the new version they were about to make (242?). They produced some results after that and I got more hearing damage (try hitting a Sonor 8" Bubinga snare and 24" kick for 2 hours without any suffering)! I like to think I played some part in getting a new SSL eq manufactured.

Non SSL stuff: Later on around the late 1980's I did a similar test for the new Focusrite company at Air Studios in London (where it was located then). I bashed my kit while the FAE (Focusrite Audio Engineering) chaps compared original Neve eq's with the FAE version. And, for the record, I also played drums at Sony Oxford in the early 1990's while they were prototyping the new Sony Oxford digital console to test the delay times with overdubbing tracks. A well known US Producer was brought in and I played a snare, kick and HH drum pattern, left a gap for the tom fill, did the tom fill on take 2 and bashed the cymbals on take 3. The object was to see if I could detect any delay whilst doing overdubs.

Like the Sony Oxford, the SSL Axiom digital console also had to contend with digital delay problems especially regarding cue monitoring and overdubs and I remember Mutt Lange, the producer, whose new SSL 96 channel Axiom and 2 x Mackie d8b studio near Geneva I was helping to install, having a comment about that in 2000 after his, then wife and singer, Shania Twain, complained about the delay involved over a headphone vocal mix.

I reckon that digital consoles have drastically improved since then regarding delay problems. Also, eq has moved on, been tweaked and improved. We all have unique hearing. Mic amps, eq, dynamics and loudspeakers sound different to all of us and age makes a difference as well.

I hope this proves useful to someone, somewhere. Regards from Jim Lassen (www.profcon.co.uk) and sorry to change the subject a bit from eq's.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 10:46:49 PM by jimlfixit »

sintech

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 10:48:22 PM »
Nice post Jim :-)

Matt Sartori

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 12:29:43 AM »
it's always nice to get to know the history of SSL from you Jim.

ROCK ON!!!!

Mattia.

StefanNowak

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 12:37:08 AM »
I need to speak in defence of the 292 (PINK) Eq.

Not everybody is mixing and recording rock music, this eq can be as gentle or as agressive as you want it to be. Not every cut you make is super wide at 15db. Small touches work beautifully.

S




theBank

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 06:17:42 AM »
they all have their place. I prefer the brown and black myself. For pink style eq, i'd prefer to insert. Why no orange up there?

sintech

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 09:05:55 AM »
We didn't have an Orange EQ on the day, that would've been the ultimate test :)

Kats

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 08:43:47 AM »
Interestingly we did a somewhat similar test at work just the other day as well!

Our console (6KE) is stocked full with brown 02 EQs. So we bought 4 black e242 EQs to swap in and compare to see if we would like more of them. We so far just tested them on kick and bass and TBH we preferred the brown EQ - and not by a small margin. This quite surprised us considering all we've heard about the e242 being the more popular choice. I decided to recap and calibrate the e242's before doing any further testing since the 02's are freshly serviced - to compare apples to apples so to speak.

sintech

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 01:44:34 PM »
The Brown Eq's are badass  8)

Kats

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 12:45:03 AM »
Well with a recap and calibration the e242 performed MUCH better than it did in my previous testing. I don't have a real preference between the two and basically think that "internet wisdom" on the subject is actually pretty spot on haha!

walrus

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 04:15:18 PM »
Don't forget, that the original filter pots for the Brown EQ's don't have the switch section.
So when you listen to the Black 242's, you are not hearing them as SSL designed them with the filter electronics switched totally out of circuit!
Kevin.

Kats

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 10:08:55 PM »
Correct.

Wouldn't the main difference be a roll off at 20hz?

unitedreco

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 08:21:39 PM »
i have a loaded 48 frame , 24 brown and 24 black ...if i needed any further color i went outboard, my taste buds werent to keen on the pink and the orange only sounded good to me on a certain female vocal but it wasnt worth adding a channel just for that, i have been looking around for the Maselec 9001 cards to try before i go on the hunt for them as well as , i also seem to recall smart research having an ssl mic/line amp card out as well that i have yet to try as well. Just not enough time in my days!!!!
Rae Nimeh

Matt Sartori

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Re: SSL 4000 EQ shootout
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2013, 12:00:39 AM »
i have a loaded 48 frame , 24 brown and 24 black ...if i needed any further color i went outboard, my taste buds werent to keen on the pink and the orange only sounded good to me on a certain female vocal but it wasnt worth adding a channel just for that, i have been looking around for the Maselec 9001 cards to try before i go on the hunt for them as well as , i also seem to recall smart research having an ssl mic/line amp card out as well that i have yet to try as well. Just not enough time in my days!!!!

Funky Junk London has LOADS of 9001 NOS in their drawers....

Mattia.