In this video Pro Tools Expert meets Sam Bath from Solid State Logic (SSL) about the XL-Desk, a 24 into 8 into 2 analogue mixer. As a studio owner who is actively looking for a console for his studio, James was very keen to get hands on with the XL-Desk and see if it has got what it takes to fit in with his Pro Tools workflow.
Sam shows James around the channel strip of the console and they talk about its signal path and routing options. Could this be the console that James has been looking for to use with Pro Tools?
The SSL XL-Desk - The Smart Dumb Analogue Console.
SSL say that the XL-Desk is a modern twist on the classic analogue studio console. It's designed for tracking or mixing engineers who require an analogue console within a DAW centric studio, but don't want or need the integrated DAW control and analogue level automation other SSL console products have made the new hybrid studio standard.
XL-Desk is in many ways a traditional 24 into 8 analogue console but it packs in an incredible collection of features. It has 20 channel strips: 16 dual input mono (switchable between main input or DAW return) and 4 stereo channels. The first eight channels have VHD mic pre's.
There is an 18 slot 500 format rack built in that can be used for processing or mic pre's. XL-Desk ships with a legendary SSL Stereo Bus Compressor module in slots 17 & 18 (hard wired to Mix A). The rack has its own dedicated high spec' power supply. There are four main Mix Busses (A, B, C, D) with buses B, C and D able to be summed into Mix A. The Busses and channels can access the 500 rack and each have a separate insert point for processing.
There are two mono aux sends and two stereo return inputs. Direct outputs on every channel, stereo return and mix bus enable convenient stem printing. Each channel has a Cue Stereo Bus section (with Pan and Volume) used to provide one of the headphone mixes while tracking.
At mixdown the mono channel DAW return signals can be routed to the CUE ST bus and then summed into Mix A, so there are 16 main faders + 16 Cue ST inputs + 4 Stereo channels providing 40 summing inputs (using the stereo returns and insert Sum functions you can squeeze in over 50 summing inputs).
There is also a fully-featured monitoring section with bass management (3 sets of speakers + subwoofer), Foldback A and B with individual talkbacks for headphone mixes and a built in Listen Mic input + classic compressor circuit, with its own direct output.