The biggest news out of the gate today at the annual AES convention is the announcement of the Solid State Logic Origin recording console. Solid State Logic has long been one of the world's leading console creators and the Origin looks to be another definitive desk in their storied history.
The Solid State Logic Origin is an inline, 32-channel analog console with two independent signal paths per channel, 16 buses with centralized bus switching, and advanced communications controls in a compact, ergonomic design. Inspired by the iconic SL 4000 E, SSL Origin combines classic SSL components like the legendary 242 EQ and Bus Compressor with innovative new features like a fully customizable Center section and an all-new transistor-based PURE DRIVE preamp design to deliver unparalleled sound quality and versatility.
To appreciate the full feature set of the Solid State Logic Origin console, it's important to understand the brand's past. Continue on to learn more about some of the tools Solid State Logic has brought to consoles and how they have been used in the design of the Origin.
Solid State Logic's Legacy of Consoles
Over the last 50 years, SSL have firmly cemented themselves as pioneers of the recording industry. Often credited with revolutionizing the mixing process with their innovative designs, SSL consoles have been used to mix countless hit records.
Founded in 1969 by the late Colin Sanders, Solid State Logic released their first console in 1975, the SL 4000 A Series. But it wasn’t until 1979 that they would release the renowned SL 4000 E console, whose punchy and aggressive tone would go on to define the sound of the 80s. The original E-Series consoles were equipped with the “Brown Knob” EQ circuit, which featured fixed high-pass and low-pass filters that were always engaged. In 1983, it was replaced with the “Black Knob” 242 EQ, developed with the help of the legendary George Martin.
Over the years, SSL would go on to introduce a number of highly influential analog consoles, including the 4000 G, 4000 G+, 6000 E, 6000 G, 8000 G, 8000 G+, 9000 J and 9000 K. But as the art of recording continues to evolve, it’s becoming harder for modern engineers to invest in vintage consoles. That’s why SSL has created the all-new Origin console.
Now that we've got this history out of the way, this Buyer's Guide will be dedicated to showing you everything you need to know about the new Solid State Logic Origin console.
An Overview Of The Solid State Logic Origin
Solid State Logic Origin's Pure Drive Preamps
Each of Origin’s 32 channels is equipped with all-new PURE DRIVE preamps. Inspired by the iconic E and G Series consoles, PURE DRIVE preamps utilize a fully discrete transistor-based design and modern FET components to deliver pristine sound and vanishingly low noise. With crisp, clear highs and a detailed transient response, PURE DRIVE preamps capture crystal-clear recordings with plenty of vintage vibe.
Engage the built-in Drive circuit to warm up signals with subtle musical harmonics, perfect for complimenting sterile digital systems. Both the preamp and line input can be routed to the large or small fader path using the Path Flip button.
Below the preamp are controls for the Monitor input and Direct Out. Each channel has a direct output designed to feed a DAW. Outputs are set to post-fader by default but can be toggled to pre-fader as needed.
The Flexible Sends of the Solid State Logic Origin
Although technology has advanced significantly since the golden era of analog recording, many engineers still agree that in order to get the best performances, you need to record musicians in the same room, at the same time. That’s why Origin has two cue buses and four aux sends for creating up to six unique monitor mixes.
Both stereo Cue buses offer level and pan control, making it easy to create separate mixes for the artist and the engineer. Pre-fader by default, both cue buses can be switched to post-fader and can toggle between the Large Fader and Small Fader paths as a source.
The four built-in Aux sends can be used for effects sends in post-fader mode or additional monitor outputs in pre-fader mode. Signals can be sourced from either the Large Fader or the Small Fader paths. For even more control over monitor mixes, Origin’s 16 buses can be routed to a studio headphone distribution system.
Classic EQ For A New Solid State Logic Console
Engineers all over the world still rely on their trusty E Series EQs to this day. That’s why Origin is equipped with a versatile four-band EQ adapted from the original 424 “Black Knob” circuit from the E series signature channel. This renowned EQ circuit is full of growl and crunch and packs a powerful bottom-end, making it versatile enough to use in almost any situation.
The new sweepable high-pass filter offers fully variable frequency selection from 10 - 400 Hz. Those who have worked on a 4K console will instantly recognize the familiar controls. The high filter can be switched from bell to shelf, with variable frequencies from 1.5 kHz - 16 kHz.
The two mid bands are fully parametric will with variable frequencies from 600 Hz - 7 kHz and 200 Hz - 2.5 kHz respectively. The low filter can be switched from bell to shelf, with variable frequencies from 30 Hz - 450 Hz. Both the high-pass filter and EQ circuit can be independently inserted into the channel and/or monitor paths as needed.
Origin's Intuitive Routing
Unlike traditional consoles that feature a massive matrix of routing switches, Origin uses an innovative new centralized busing technique to speed up your workflow and minimize fragile moving parts. Simply hold the route button on the channel and press the route button on one of the 16 dedicated buses for quick and easy routing. Bus sends are post-fader, with the option to send post-pan to stereo pairs of buses using the channel pan control, which is essential for mixing and bouncing stems.
Origin offers two independent signal paths and two faders per channel strip for true old-school inline tracking. Both have their own insert point, which can be moved pre- or post-EQ. Both have their own Solo, Cut, and “to Mix” controls. A convenient new 0 dB button removes the fader from the audio path, allowing you to pass signal through unattenuated for quick and easy routing.
The Center Section of the Solid State Logic Origin
As recording technology continues to evolve, so does the way we make music. Even though analog consoles are still very much a part of the process, the DAW is now the center of the session. That’s why the Solid State Logic Origin features a fully configurable Center section.
Two empty rack spaces in the Center section give you the flexibility to mount a small control surface, additional signal processors and more. Or move the rear meter bridge to the Center section, making room for a mountable monitor that won’t block your meters. You can even leave the spaces empty to leave room for additional accessories like keyboards, trackpads and MIDI controllers.
The ability to make space for your own digital workflow around the console’s core functions makes Origin a more comfortable place to work.
An Ergonomic Design For The Modern Engineer
Origin’s Center section makes it easy to take control of your session with its ergonomic design and intuitive controls. Quickly route signals to any of Origin’s 16 buses using the “Route” switches in the Center section in conjunction with the switches on the Small and Large faders.
Below are the four stereo returns (typically used for FX units), which have input trims, level controls for both Foldback buses and a master level pot. Each of the stereo returns can be routed to the Buses or to the main Mix.
Monitoring and Talkback Controls
At the top of the Center section, there is a dedicated Talkback mic input with phantom power as well as an input for a Listen mic, both of which feature the infamous Listen Mic Compressor. These signals feed into the Communications panel at the bottom right on the Center section, and a “Slate” switch allows talkback to be sent to the Bus outputs to print to tape if needed.
In the Communications panel, you can control studio speaker output, Foldback A and Foldback B selection. From here, you can feed combinations of Control Room, Cue A, Cue B, Ext and minijack inputs into each of the three communications outputs, which each have dedicated “Talk” buttons, as well as a “Talk to All” for quick and easy communication. The “Listen to All” button lets the musicians in the room hear each other speaking on their headphones. To the right of this section are the Cue and Aux master controls.
The Legendary Solid State Logic Bus Compressor
At the top of the Center section is the iconic SSL Bus compressor, known for its unparalleled ability to glue tracks together and apply radio-ready polish to mix buses. This particular model also features a high-pass filter built into the side-chain to help prevent unwanted pumping.
Traditionally, the Bus Compressor operates pre-fader, post-insert, but by pressing the “Insert Return” button on the Bus Compressor, you can connect the insert return path direct to the sidechain of the compressor, enabling frequency-specific ducking or extreme EDM pumping effects.
Advanced Controls of the Solid State Logic Origin
Origin is a truly comprehensive console, designed to cover all of the needs a modern tracking studio might face. Also found in Origin’s Center section is the built-in oscillator for testing and calibrating equipment.
Below that is the Solo Master panel. By default, Origin works on an AFL system. Solo-in-place can be toggled for the Large Fader, Small Fader and Group buses instead, or PFL engaged as a global setting.
Beneath the Solo Master Panel are the Metering controls. The individual metering for both Channel and Monitor paths above each channel in the meter bridge can be dimmed using the two buttons on the right-hand side.
Next to the Control Room monitoring switches, there are three sets of speakers select switches, each with their own trim, as well as the Master Level knob. In addition to the main Mix Bus, three stereo external inputs and a minijack input can be routed or summed together to the control room monitors.
Stereo Faders In The Solid State Logic Origin's Center Section
Last but not least, below the Center section are eight stereo group faders, which can be used in two different ways. The Track Bus outputs are directly above the Stereo Group inputs on the rear of the console. To use these as traditional mix subgroups, simply use a short jumper cable to link the two connectors on the rear panel. To use the Track Buses as record sends, the cable can be disconnected and the Stereo Group faders then become 16 additional inputs to the Mix bus, ideal for stem returns from your DAW.