Solid State Logic goes Live
SSL has introduced its first ever console for the live sound sector, promising a ‘fresh approach’ to live mixing
Marking one of the most dramatic product launches of 2013, Solid State Logic has revealed its first mixing console for the live sound sector. Named simply Live, but also carrying the designation L500, the new console was officially unveiled at the recent Pro Light & Sound exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany, and builds on the UK manufacturer’s 35-year legacy of producing high-end consoles for the broadcast and postproduction markets.
Live is described by SSL as bringing its own ‘unique approach to audio quality and console ergonomics to sound for the stage’, while also promising ‘to bring something very special to the party’. According to managing director Anthony David, the console follows long-term customer demand for an SSL live sound mixer. He added that its arrival has been ‘a couple of years in the making. We are very confident that we have created a console engineers will fall in love with’.
In real terms that equates to a system based on SSL’s new Tempest processing platform, delivering ‘plenty of power deployed in a uniquely versatile way’. The console offers 976 inputs and outputs and 192 full processing audio ‘paths’ at 96kHz. Those paths are reportedly designed to deliver extreme flexibility to the end-user – they can be allocated to channels, auxes, stem groups and masters, configured to suit the requirements of a particular application or show and the preferences of the engineer.
Crucially, all of Live’s processing is built into the console’s compact surface, while a collection of I/O connectivity is built into the frame. Additionally, a ‘full range’ of Stagebox I/O can be connected to the desk via Madi, offering the potential for larger systems to make use of the manufacturer’s own Blacklight technology, carrying up to 256 channels of bidirectional audio and control via a single fibre connection.
Meanwhile, particular attention has been paid to the console’s surface to deliver what SSL calls ‘truly excellent control’. The result encompasses multiple tablet-style, multi-gesture touchscreens – not least a striking, centrally-located, 19-inch screen – plus more traditional hardware. The concept is to allow engineers to work in their own style, either focusing on touchscreen operation, the physical faders and knobs, or a combination of both.
Other notable features include SuperAnalogue mic preamps, 24-bit/96kHz A/D D/A conversion, 64-bit internal processing and 96kHz operation throughout. Additionally, channel processing tools encompass 30 new effects and audio analysis tools, effectively taking SSL’s long experience in studio-grade processing and refocusing it for live sound.
Speaking to Pro Audio Asia after the Pro Light & Sound launch, marketing manager Dan Duffell was enthusiastic. ‘We have combined high-end build and SSL tonal qualities with new processing,’ he explained. ‘It’s open and flexible with a 19-inch true multi-touch control panel, which can be pinched for dynamics and EQ. The new generation of engineers will probably work directly from the touchscreen, whilst the old school will probably drive it from the hardware. We’ve looked very carefully at how live sound engineers work and engaged with them to produce a console that is both versatile and flexible with up to 300 mix pattern paths.’
Shipping: September 2013