The SSL 4000, 6000, and 8000 are the most legendary mixing consoles of all time. Their sound defined British Pop in the 1980s, and with more than a thousand consoles worldwide, they’ve solidified themselves as powerful and prolific, even long after their discontinuation.
Our SSL 6000 E was commissioned in early 1986 by Atlantic Studios in New York City as a mixing-only console. That was where it stayed, mixing artists as diverse as Miles Davis, Grim Reaper, and Winger, until 1990 when the studio closed. It then spent a time at Starke Lake Studios in Ocoee, Florida, and then disappeared into the mist. When we found the console, it was somewhere in British Columbia… Yeah, we don’t get it either. The power supplies were dying, the computer was stone dead, and it was riddled with faults.
Well… mostly living
Re-commissioning happened between the 17th and 20th of July 2017, with help from some friends for muscle and great tech Dave Thibodeau for the electrical. With the exception of some smoke, things went uneventfully, but it was clear that even though the console mostly worked, there was a lot of work to do before it was ready to rock. Power supplies were on their last legs: replaced with a new S1 by Atomic Instrument. Studio Computer was completely screwed: taking its place is a Tangerine Automation Interface, handing VCA automation and machine control over to our recording system. By August, we were recording our first sessions in the studio.
The Console’s Future
It’s 2019, and the SSL is happily chugging along. It works great, sounds immense, and is a truly indispensable piece of our studio. But we’re not leaving it at that: There’s immense potential here to make the console sound cleaner, quieter, and fuller.