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New Toys!

My new toys!

I think this purchase is the second most expensive gear acquisition I have ever made since Moog Voyager.

SSL Fusion is my first pro-grade outboard gear. I've heard the magic it can do to your stereo signal, have read lots of rave reviews and now its time to run my music through it and see it for myself. Can't wait!

The other piece I am excited about is Vermona DRM1, which is going to be my first analogue drum synthesizer. I just about had enough of downloading and browsing thousands of drum samples. This unit will give me a hands-on approach.

Tascam 202 MK VIII. This one is not a necessity at all. I just wanted to experiment a bit using cassettes tapes. Although there are countless cassette tape emulators in the form of plugins, I am hoping that this thing will provide a level of authenticity that plugins cant. Moreover, I have the option to experiment with number of different cassettes, ranging from brand new all the way to tapes that are decades old. I am sure such a variety of tapes will give me an interesting color palete to chose from.


Some thoughts on the SSL Fusion

SSL Fusion is a "coloring box" that is made up of six components: a high pass filter with selectable 30hz, 40hz and 50hz cutoff frequencies; a 'vintage drive' section that adds subtle harmonic saturation; two EQ parameters with low and high frequency gain knobs and selectable frequency knob with pre-determined frequencies; a high frequency compressor much like a de-esser or, as the company likes to put it, high frequency roll off, such to be found on recording to tape, and finally, stero image tools that are vaguely defined in the manual. Apart from these, these, there is an external input section where you can route an outboard compressor into the signal chain, with an option to enable M/S processing. As I don't have such a gear, I was not able to try this feature.

I have been using a lot of plugins throughout the years, and although the quality of plugins are exponentially increasing over the last few years, there is something hardware such as SSL Fusion imparts to your sound that I am yet to experience with any plugin.

I think this unit excels when used subtly. Pushing it any further imparts its unique sound quality with the expense of over processing your carefully balanced stereo bus. So my suggestion is to use it subtly at the end of a mixing session or have it running on your stereo bus from the beginning of the session as to balance out your sound as you go.

Some uses:

Using analogue drive to bring grit and saturation to a drum bus. Can also be used subtly on the stereo bus.

HF compressor on vocals to ease off excessive high-end information, which in turn can lend the vocal a digital quality. This portion can be used in any track, or bus with an excessive high end information. I found that using it on the stereo bus to be less desirable.

Gently boosting highs and lows of a stereo bus using the violet EQ. This one is quite easy to see. but as stated above, it is best used while mixing and not afterwards. This will minimize your tendency to boost needlessly. This is a common trap, as we tend to prefer boosts, and boosting highs and lows will usually create an illusion of a better sound.

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