Last week we began writing a series of posts about studio gear, featuring our ‘Bock 251’ microphone.  Our intent is to educate the DIY musician / independent producers and engineers about studio equipment and help them select an appropriate facility for their next project.  This week, we focus on the biggest piece of gear in our space…The Solid State Logic AWS 948 audio console.

SSL AWS 948 is a revolutionary hybrid mixing console, launched in 2004 by Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of professional digital and analog consoles.  The AWS 948 combines classic SSL analog sound with the ability to control a digital audio workstation (such as ProTools or Logic Pro) within a single interface.  This gives the user the best of both worlds — the sound of a classic analog console combined with the flexibility of modern digital tools.

The_Rattle_Room_SSL1Since its foundation in 1969, Solid State Logic has produced a number of critically acclaimed consoles such as the SSL 4000G, 6000, 8000, 9000J and 9000K which all have played vital roles, in both recording and mixing on some of the world’s top selling albums. Today, the company still pursues the business model of its founder, the late Colin Sanders, in creating the highest quality, large format consoles for the professional recording industry.

You may be curious as to why we chose to install the AWS 948 at The Rattle Room, as opposed to a simple all-digital DAW controller (aka “in the box”) setup.  Owner founder, Jaron Luksa really wanted a large format console that could deliver professional radio ready sounds for his clients in the tracking and mixing phase, yet fit in with today’s modern production methods.

Here’s a rundown of some of the 948’s most important features;

Firstly, the AWS 948 offers the user 24 microphone preamps and 48 stereo/dual mono channel inputs which can handle any tracking or mixing setup.  It also comes with 2 switchable classic styles of analog EQ on every channel, 8 track busses and a host of flexible routing options throughout.

In the consoles master section, you will find the world-renowned SSL Stereo Buss Compressor.  This compressor gives mixes a distinctly tight and punchy sound.  When applied correctly on the stereo mix or record buss, the elements within your mix get “glued” together, giving you a polished, huge and exciting sound. Also found in the master section, SSL packed in two assignable channels of analog dynamic compression/gating.

Most importantly, the console can be used to access many parameters of the DAW, such as inserting/controlling plugins or automating send levels, muting and panning.  The fact that the user is able to touch physical knobs and dials to control the DAW, as opposed to only the mouse, allows control of multiple parameters simultaneously and enables a faster and more intuitive work flow.  This creates a better and more hands-on experience during the creative process.  Forget clicking a mouse and staring at a screen all day, focus on what actually matters — the music.

The AWS 948 has also won the Outstanding Technical Achievement award for Large Format Console Technology at the 27th annual TEC (Technical Excellence & Creativity) awards in 2011, which furthered our decision to install it at The Rattle Room.

Some well-known artists who have used the SSL AWS console include;

-Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder for their work on The Social Network soundtrack.  (The soundtrack won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for “Best Original Score.”)

-It was also exclusively used (Tracking and Mixing) for Jack Johnson’s chart-topping 2008 album, “Sleep Through the Static.”  http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may08/articles/insidetrack_0508.htm

If you are in the Los Angeles area, feel free to make an appointment to tour The Rattle Room and hear the SSL AWS948 for yourself!  Don’t forget to look over our full gear list and email us with any questions or to book studio time.

See you in the studio, happy tracking everyone! – Team Rattle Room