Solid State Logic .. SSL Big SiX

“It does the things” - HoldMyBeer

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Are there any comparable mixer/interface combos? I can’t find anything that offers the number of stereo ins, and the flexible routing.

Also, does anyone prefer an all-analog mixer plus a separate audio interface?

I personally come from 2x SSL SiX with an Apogee Symphony MK2 interface. The sound quality of this combo is insane, but for multitracking tasks not the ideal setup.

An alternative would be to go with the Cranborne Audio 500 devices and some 500 series modules (e.g. six channels). But this still is a different approach.

The next upper level option would be a Trident 68 plus audio interface - where you land somewere at 20k.

I don’t have any SSLs. I found the vocal comparison video to be the most compelling, but that suggests that the Big SiX’s real value is in making podcasters and office zooms sound much, much better. A 3-piece suit for your vocal cords.

And if my WFH budget was bigger, I’d try to expense one. :innocent:

If you want to use “a 3-piece suit for your vocal cords” or anything else I said, just cite me as an anon forum poster.

Or, if you prefer deep cuts, “Vajazzle for your vocal cords”

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Apart from the teething troubles with the power supply and so on, do we consider this to be perhaps the best small(ish) USB mixer around?

I would have preferred if they didn’t include an interface and given us separate outs on all of the channels instead. Right now there are inserts on the first four mono channels, but no inserts on the four stereo channels. And there are the stereo cue sends and Bus B, but I don’t want to burn those up trying to get individual tracks out. It’s not a deal breaker for me of course, but it would be nice to have the option to choose my converters. As it is though, SSL nailed the routing, and having a mixer with two stereo cue sends is great.

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It is very expensive, and has features that are very application specific. For some users, it is probably the best possible USB mixer, for others far from it.

It isn’t a USB mixer, but I’m currently using a Mackie 402, and it’s great. I’ll add a 1202 soon, but I don’t see much need for the SSLs, other than making my voice sound like gold plated butter on Zoom calls. Which is tempting.

Edit: I’m a (software) engineer in my day job, so I’m allergic to calling anything “the best”. Everything is a compromise, and for a $3k mixer the best review will be one that is very forthright about the pros and cons and feature minutiae.

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Did you make a decision? I’m in the same boat and the ProRack looks damn good.

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Well… heavy choisy!

I haven’t made the decision yet, since I don’t need it THAT much at the moment, still have my MixWizard and small Mackie for everyday studio / live routine. But listed them for sale to make an upgrade later this year ; )

ProRack is damn good, no doubts. I talked to a few who uses it and they are supper happy, asked that they think about this SSL B6 - most replies were like “it’s a poser fancy stuff : ) ProRack is a real pro hard work solution : )”

Well, I see it this way - if more channels / sends needed - ProRack is the way of course. If you want it for live space / studio, probably B6 limitations will cause problems sooner or later. And I think for recording even basic RME / Universal Audio interface will do better than B6.

If you really have a small project personal studio and 12 channels are ok for your workflow, maybe give SSL a chance and see how it works in your environment, probably could be a joy to use and a bring a bit different, maybe a slightly “better” sound. Both mixers are quite “neutral”, but maybe SSL offer a bit more “sonic magic”.

Personally, I still want Big Six, I love fancy things : ) But want to try / see it first in a store, gather more info together. At least see how big it is : )

Both choices are very good and won’t be disappointing for sure. Anyway would love to hear more comments from real users. Let’s keep talking here!

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It is hard to say that something is the definitive best. We all have our own needs for the gear we purchase. A lot of people loved the Six, but needed more channels, and SSL listened and delivered.

On top of that, they added an interface, mid bands on the EQ’s, and EQ’s on the stereo channels.I think when you look at the current price of the Six at $1799, or the price for the Six 500 series channel at $499, the Big Six comes across as a pretty good deal, although still a bit pricey and out of some peoples budgets.

Just a side note, there must be limiters on the channels before the converters. I was purposefully slamming the channels very hard, where it was all red on the ableton meter, and red on the board, and I never got that nasty digital clipping I’ve gotten with other interfaces when hitting it too hard. Granted, you don’t always want to do that because your signal will get a bit squashed, but, for live recording or studio jams where you don’t want to have to baby the interface/mixer, it is nice.

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about limiter - interesting…
more info would be good on this…

Main issue for me is good routing opportunities. 12 mono channels with direct out and insert, 6(!) aux sends, 5/6 with stereo option and 4 sub groups. Pairing this with a Flock Audio Patch and you are all set. Thanks for posting about this mixer!

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yeah, those routing options are quite normal at least I’m got used to groups, more than 2 auxes, flexibility with channels etc… absolutely free to do what you need at the moment.

SSL will always push you to think what you really need at the moment, use patchbays, limitations, so one can always feel a bit incomplete… So something to consider… Decide if you want to be in super trendy analog heaven or just work with what you need on a quite good level.

Haven’t heard before about Flock Audio. How it exactly works with ProRack?

B6 has a major advantage with the USB integration. Switching from a recording mixer to working with stems from your DAW is a button press away. With Prorack, you have to setup a kind of complex patchbay routing system. But maybe I’m overcomplicating things.

Flock Audio Patch is a digitally controlled analog patchbay matrix which makes it easy to re-patch and stack outboard gear without cables. It is mention in a video posted earlier in this thread.

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Yeah it’s a big advantage… Really easy to process something already recorded thru EQ or COMP or other external gear (for example effect processor on auxes or some 500 series dynamics on the channel insert… or I’ve heard inserts are not accessible when getting audio from computer on B6? anyways… ) and so - record it all back immediately. Probably good for “mixdown” basic things, doing most inside the box of course and just mix the final “groups” to stereo channels, some things like a bass and kick on mono channels… enhance it all a bit… analog summing… I still think it’s nice!

I theoretically can mix at the moment with Allen Heath and some little but nice outboard (like some Eventides, Lexicons, UREI dynamics, tons of interesting pedals… ), but I haven’t made any analog mix since last 10 years I guess. Why? TOO DIFFICOULT TO RECONNECT ALL… easier to do same thing in DAW, plugins are fine… that’s always an answer… But if it would be 1 button press away from start mixing, I would definitely do it more and more… I still remember “the art” of mixdown, when you almost “play” with your mix live and find some unexpectedly great sound by accident, and animate all a bit with hands… it’s cool.

Also very easy for recording jams, like 1 drum machine with 2 - 3 ind outs, mono bassline, stereo sampler, another stereo synth + some effects… not a lot but I don’t use more during jams anyways.

With the ProRack for example such a setup would cost me getting another 8 channels of RME AD/DA, have all the ins/outs on patchbay, 30 cables, and each time I want to record a jam - I have to reconnect all the ins and outs for proper connection (take something from ind outs and something from 4 groups to the “right” inputs on interface ). It is some work, and as soon as we are all lazy, such a simplification with SSL could encourage to work and record more often. And get better music at the end.

I can see many nice usages of Bix Sis and probably it will enhance the workflow and bring the way of working music / sound to the next level. That’s what I still expect and that’s what makes it very appealing.

So this Hybrid thing is very clever and nice as far as I understood… Not just the quality of sound but the quality of the workflow. To have the same amount of features with ProRack, one has to spent much more time and $ and maybe still not be in the same place…

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Admittedly haven’t read through the entire thread, but is anyone using B6 as a front end for any of the new Akai’s (MPC/FORCE)?

Curious about RT latency when playing back midi tracks and simultaneously tracking audio.

Unfortunately right now it doesn’t seem to work. Connects fine but there’s pops and crackles in the audio. Unfortunately all too common with the MPC and interfaces…seems like the Tascam 12 works well tho.

Ah, disappointing but not surprised. It is class compliant for OS X but driver required for Win.

Wouldn’t hold my breathe at this point.

yeah this is really the magic sauce with the B6 and probably the thing that @Mistercharlie most wants to touch on in his review. so many mixers are actually made for clubs or general purpose use, and trying to use them in a home studio for both tracking and mixing requires re-configuring the desk when you want to switch between one and the other. instead of just pressing a button. my understanding is that consumer level/home studio-focused mixers used to be built this way, so that you had two inputs to each channel, and a button press swapped between them. but not for the last 20 years or so. there are exceptions, like the Toft mixers, and the SSL X Desk (and I’m sure more). but this puts all that in one box with your audio interface, plus adds the mix tools you’re most likely to use and enjoy having in hardware.

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Yes, was fairly common in the 90’s. That feature was called “inline”. Tascam m2600’s had it.

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