Mastering Complexity: Unleashing the SSL L350 Console for the Ultimate Sound Experience
I had attended the SSL Live demo and training, held only a few months before, and was very intrigued with how the console was able to deal with everything thrown at it, and how good it sounded while doing it!
We were planning a 2-day show at Monte Casino with The Parlotones, a 67-piece choir, a violinist, a cellist, and 5 solo guest artists, 2 of which had back tracks, and guitars. The original plan was to go with 2 consoles, and 2 stage boxes, however running the show over 2 consoles brings in another level of complexity, and then we couldn’t send each person a mix. (we ended up running 12 IEM, 2 of which were stereo, and 5 wedges). We also wanted to record the production and doing that over 2 consoles was going to be tricky.
At this point we approached Surgesound to see if the new SSL L350 would, simplify the setup and allow us to use a single console and record the show at the same time. With the help of Jacques Mostert at Surgesound, in no time we managed to sort out all the patching, setup a couple extra channels in case, and patch the output to my 2 laptops using Dante so we could record the show (and have a redundant backup!)
We had arranged the audio equipment from the Sound Corporation which included as main PA, 24 x EAW KF730 ((12 x per side) with 4 x EAW SB730 Subs flown behind each stack. Another 8 x EAW KF730’s was used as front fill.
The SSL is a different beast altogether. From the interface to the power behind the console, there is so much to work with.
I LOVE the flexibility of the console. You can send anything anywhere, move the signal chain around and setup multiple banks of custom layers. The query function is also very useful, and you can set it to do pretty much anything you’d like. We ended up setting it as a flip to send function and an overview of what is assigned to the channels, as I was doing monitors and IEMs from FOH.
The big screen is also a huge help. You can see everything you need to, immediately, and the touchscreen is extremely sensitive, being capacitive. I wish more consoles started doing this, capacitive touchscreens are WAY better than resistive touchscreens, you don’t have to hit the screen to make sure you’ve touched something!
The other big thing was the way the console sounded. It was incredible. We were running on Blacklight MADI boxes for the show, and ended up needing 64 channels from stage, and 32 returns, and it all sounded great. The noise floor is very low, so you don’t have the problem of some other systems when you open 64 channels of audio and get a massive hiss. We also ended up needing more channels on the surface and used Dante to get audio in from a laptop for backtracks, and to record all 64 channels of audio for the show! We were only running at 48KHz instead of 96KHz, but you couldn’t hear the difference.
Having the expand-ability that the SSL allowed really helped me enjoy the show and not worry about IF I’ll be able to get a converter to record everything, or IF I’ll be able to get audio from other sources in. It was as simple as using the on-board patching to send exactly what I wanted where I wanted it to go, with 1:1 patching. With Dante, MADI, Blacklight, and Analogue and AES/EBU connections all on the back of the console, we were pretty much sorted, whatever we wanted to connect.
~ Joshua Pike – The Parlotones Sound Engineer