It is fair to say I think that given the choice a great many of us would love to be mixing on a large format console like an SSL. Sadly there are many factors that get in the way of this but THD-Lads of Montreal, Canada may have just done away with one of the more technical reasons that we don't all have the pleasure of mixing on a large format SSL console. The Automation computer of the older SSL 4000, 6000 and 8000 desks can now be replaced by their Tangerine VCA Automation Interface. This 2U rack mount unit replaces the outdated 16U SSL automation computer that was hard to maintain, impossible to find media for and cost a small fortune to run. It's fair to say that owning an SSL is never going to be a cheap thing to do but this could help make it that little bit more affordable. Sadly I don't think I will be able to get one in the shed.
THD-LABS introduces the Tangerine Automation Interface
The Tangerine Automation Interface is the first product of our line of automation interfaces. It is designed for the sought after SSL® analog audio console.
For more than 35 years, this analog classic had one of the best integrated mix automation systems. However, years have passed and like most digital technologies, its proprietary automation computer is now obsolete.
Instead of redesigning a complete dedicated automation system, we designed an interface that takes advantage of the most common digital communication protocols (midi and USB) and the latest automation advancements in popular DAW software. This allows for a choice of computer platforms, a minimised learning curve, while providing an integrated production environment in which source, mix and recall data can be kept combined.
The Tangerine Automation Interface is a modular customisable system. It's designed around "group of 8" sub modules.
It comes in two models:
TAI-32EX is the "under desk" version made from a sleek profiled aluminium extrusion, it can hold up to 32 VCA channels. It can be installed under the console keeping the flat cable wiring length minimal.
TAI-2RU is the 2U rack-mount version; it can hold up to 96 VCA channels of automation, this version is usually intended to replace the existing SSL computer in the machine room and re-uses the previousy installed cables.
Both models are fanless, silent units, they both have accessory ports for expanded functionality with the following options.
The "Recall-IT" system brings the possibility to memorise and manually recall all the console's potentiometer and switch positions. This option offers the same functions as SSL® Total Recall but with the added benefits of "intranet/web" access on any devices on your local cat5/WiFi network. Since not all SSL consoles were equipped with recall multiplexer PCBs installed on each module, please check that you console has the needed modules for this option.
We have developed an LCD interface that brings a visual and tactile interface for the Tangerine Automation Interface functions, offering more integrated UI experience. It retrofits in the existing computer keyboard section and offer features like Transport remote control (software and hardware switches), Recall-IT control, master automation function modes and a configuration page.
We are currently designing a bank of 8 motorised faders that will be available to replace the centre VCA fader section. This option, will give remote access of any automated faders in the SSL's sweet spot. It will give real-time visual feedback of fader positions. Automated VCA functions will still be active even if the faders are used for other functions. This option will be available at the beginning of 2016.