Almost exactly one year after outfitting, designing and installing a brand, state of the art recording system at PonderRosa Studios in Lafayette, New Jersey. I was a bit surprised and excited to get a call from studio manager and head engineer Tom Askin. Tom was interested in taking their system to a whole new level.
You can check out the original blog post of our first installation at PonderRosa Studios here.
Over the past year, business was booming at PonderRosa Studios. And the majority of inquires they were receiving from potential recording clients included a demand for an analog console. PonderRosa's original set up combined...true analog front end with DAW connectivity and control. But when it came to mixing and summing, a genuine analog console was the missing piece of their puzzle.
Along with the installation of the Solid State Logic XL-Desk, we expanded PonderRosa's Pro Tools HDX system with some additional Inputs and upgraded some of their software.
After chatting with Tom about console options.... and what would be the best fit for him and his staff's work flow...the XL-Desk made sense. It's functionality, footprint, reliability and most importantly budget were all within PonderRosa's needs. Tom wanted to primarily track and sum through the console. All monitoring and cue mixes would still take place on their original set up. All automation and processing would still take place within the Pro Tools HDX environment but tracks could be mixed/stemmed down the XL-Desk and then (if preferred) 2 Buss compressed with either the built in SSL G Buss Compressor or PonderRosa's Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Processor. Of course, the desk has an array of insert points on most channels including the mix buss sections. The 500 Series section of the XL Desk not only has individual Ins and Outs but also has dedicated Insert Points for each 500 series slot. Which really means you get 3 inserts points on the first 16 channels. Which really really means if you have a ton of outboard gear...this small footprint console can take a lot. PonderRosa can take advantage of all this as they expand their outboard or if guest engineers and producers bring in their own.
Design and Installation
PonderRosa's existing set up would not change for the most part. All of the gear from the original install would stay in it's same place except for their respected location on the patchbay. The SSL XL Desk would essentially become what we call a "sidecar". I unhooked all the patchbays and started from scratch. We were adding an additional 216 Ins/Outs to the set-up. For those who are not aware, the rear connections of the XL Desk are all Tascam Pin-Out DB25 (except for the Listen In Mic and Main Monitors Outs).
New Audio Accessories DB25 Patchbays are Labeled and Ready to Go
Thanks to Tim Symonds at Audio Accessories
Putting It Back Together
After re-labeling and re-configuring all the Normal and Grounding switches it was time to get the bays back into place and starting connecting the XL-Desk to the Patchbays.
Firing up the console for the first time and getting signal flowing is a great feeling. One of the coolest features included on the XL-Desk is the SSL G Series Buss Compressor hardwired into Mix Bus A. As most engineers know, the G Buss compressor is an iconic 2 Bus compressor used for adding the "glue" needed to keep your mix inline. Some people prefer to add it at the end of the mix but I really find it useful to engage it from the start of a mix. Either way it is a really solid 2 Bus Compressor.
And of course no blog entry or installation is complete without some artsy shots of this beautiful analog console
Another Install is complete
Thanks to both Jim and Rod at Sterling Modulars Systems for designing and building the Custom Desk for the SSL XL Desk
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