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Why the SSL 4000 Mixing Console is still Highly Coveted

Though it has been discontinued for some time, the SSL 4000 series of mixing consoles remain in high demand in the second hand marketplace.

Why this is has to do with the impact that the SSL 4000 series has had throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Solid State Logic, its brainchild, claims the 4000 console has mixed more platinum selling album than all other consoles combined.

Among its users are Bob Clearmountain (a mixer for Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin, Sheryl Crow, and Demi Lovato), Chris Lord-Alge (a mixer for James Brown, Prince, Chaka Khan, Madonna, and the Smashing Pumpkins), Tom Lord-Alge (a mixer for Santana, U2, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Marilyn Mansion, and others), and Alan Moulder (a mixer for The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, and Foo Fighters).

Originally developed in the mid-1970s, the 4000 series developed alongside the first SSL studio computer. Between these two inventions, much of Solid State Logic’s fortune was built in the decades that followed.

Though it is commonly associated with pop and rock music from the pre-2000 time period, the SSL 4000 mixing console has also played a major role in the history of hip hop. Tupac’s All Eyez on Me (1996) was mixed on the SSL 4000 and Dr. Dre, among others, used it regularly to put together his mixes.

Needless to say, if there had been no SSL 4000, a lot of what we consider to be the classics from the pre mid-2005 time period would not exist in the form that they do. The 4000 series was the first mixing console of any kind to integrate a studio computer system with an inline audio console, allowing for a leaner, cleaner production sound. SSL mixing desks in general have been coveted and acclaimed by numerous producers but there’s something about the 4000 series that is unique. It was irresistible to mixers who wanted it for its high tech and flexibility. Among its features, there’s the punch master buss compressors, an aggressive and melodic EQ section, and features of automation, routine, and computer control that people today think of as a necessity in mixing. Even today, with its plug-ins, the SSL 4000 still plays a role in shaping music for at-home producers, engineers, and mixers.

In terms of where the SSL 4000 is at today, most producers know it by its reputation and the several SSL digital plug-ins that attempt to imitate its sound. These plug-ins have helped everyone from Soundgarden to 50 Cent achieve massive success on top of huge records. So, in a way, the 4000 series lives on both digitally and in the music that it produced, some of which is still shared on radio today.

As a mixer, it’s important to know where this stuff comes from and how this stuff was built. The 4000 console has fulfilled the dreams of generations of hip hop artists. Today’s top studios continue to use its plug-ins regularly – the rich EQ band, exquisite filters, dynamics, compressions, and gates. For today’s production sounds, some of it does correlate directly with the SSL 4000 series and for the mixers who are hip enough to own one of its analog boards, the SSL 4000 experience is still one that is entirely original and unique.

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About This Listing

Here's a 1994 SSL 4000 G + console.

There's an included side car with 12 channels of Neve 8108 modules (51 series). These are Neve's last consoles before he sold it to Siemens. 2 transfos per channel, awesome units.

So you get a fantastic sounding console, with automation, featuring the two legendary leaders of British sound.

The console needs a bit of general repair before being fully re-installed, but otherwise, it's in fantastic condition. The price of the service repair is INCLUDED in the global price.
Here are some precise details about the console:
- VU meters, much more expensive and precise than LED ones.

- DL cables with GOLD connection can be included for £2000 more.

- 24 channels are G and 24 are E. 

- Computer can bug sometimes but can be easily sorted out -      Floppydisk. 

- SSL's factory Automation program.

- This G+ is from 1994. Both console & computer are G+

- One previous owner.

- Has been regularly maintained

- PSUs: 1 power supply with 2 analogue blocks, 1 controller and the computer's power supply. 

Now here are a few options if you would like to buy the console without some elements:
- SSL G+ without sidecar: £35 500
- SSL G+ without sidecar & included repair: £32 000
- As written above: Cables with DL Gold connectors can be included for £2000 more.

These prices are FIXED - No offers please. This appears to be the only real G+ on the market right now.

This SSL is in now Paris, France and it can delivered anywhere as long as the buyer pays for transport. Our studio team will help you with packing it up of course.

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.


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Vintage: SSL 4000 Series

In the early 80s, SSL changed the face of recording studios forever. Mike Willox looks at the genesis, and subsequent impact, of the SSL 4000 series

When business-savvy Colin Sanders and his original partner Paul Bamborough started their business developing electronic control systems for pipe organs in churches, they couldn’t possibly have foreseen their incredible influence on the recording process – and the sound of a period in music-making that you either love or hate.

The SSL desk fundamentally changed the working practices of nearly everyone working in the mainstream music industry from the 1980s. The seeds of the total recall and automation that we now take for granted were sown at Solid State Logic’s own staff recording facility, Acorn Studios. In the mid-70s they’d come up with the idea of using a computer to automate the desk that they’d designed and built for Acorn, and this led to the launch of the first SSL 4000B series at the Paris AES show in 1977.

Nick Robbins of Sound Mastering, London recalls seeing an SSL for the first time: “I went to an APRS show at Earls Court in the early 80s and visited the SSL stand: it was like stepping onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise!”

The SSL was radically different from anything that had gone before. Every channel had its own compressor and noise gate, and the centre panel that housed the VDU and QWERTY keyboard enabled you to take a snapshot of the desk to be recalled at a later stage, by carefully matching the settings on the desk to those stored on the eight-inch floppy disks that were used by the first E series computers.

This new-found functionality delighted record companies and producers alike, as tracks could be recorded and mixed, and the mix settings saved and then revisited later if the A&R man thought the lead vocal needed a further nudge, for instance. It wasn’t long before the SSL became a ubiquitous feature in the world’s recording studios.

Like any desk, the SSL had its own unique sonic character – one that delighted some and offended others. The EQ was considered harsh in comparison to the Neves and Tridents of the day, while others loved the brightness of the desk, which was out of keeping with the ‘tweed’ of SSL’s competitors.

Mike Hillier of Metropolis Studios, London still uses the 4000G series that’s in Studio B. “While some EQs are deliberately warm or flavoured, the SSL EQ just seems to get the job done in a clinical way, which I love for carving up sounds to leave behind only the sonics I want on the record. It’s never going to be my first choice as a glamour EQ, but it’s a workhorse – you could do a whole mix with nothing else.”

SSL developed four different channel EQ modules in the 80s: the O2 type (brown knob), 232 type (orange knob), 242 type (black knob) and the 292 type (pink knob), with the latter two the most popular these days. The fact these desks are still around – and holding their value – is testament to their design and build quality as well as their unique sound.

Another feature of the centre panel that defined the sound of the 80s was the Quad Compressor for the quad outputs – left and right front and left and right back. Whether you love or hate the EQ, most people agree that the Quad Compressor is amazing. Hillier again: “The buss compressor is like magic dust! You can just drop it across the master buss and with next to no effort, everything just sounds better.”

The SSL helped to define the sound of PWL Studios, the home of Stock-Aitken-Waterman. It suited their production-line style of working but there were many others who embraced the digital revolution.

Hugh Padgham’s drum sound was the zeitgeist of the late 80s. SSL developed a reverse listen mic input for the centre panel, which had a whopping great compressor over it, so that a single mic could be placed in the live room for people to communicate with the other side of the glass. He accidentally opened this up when Phil Collins was banging away in the live room and the sound leapt out at him.

Adding an in-line noise gate to the signal path, he gave birth to the gated drum sound that plagued us for so long.

No other mixing desk has ever had such a profound effect on the wider music business; indeed, it could be said that the SSL’s contribution to our modern musical world has been as profound as that of the multi-track tape recorder. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit with now-standard features like automation and total recall, but none managed to be synonymous with the computerised mixing desk to the same extent that Solid State Logic was – and still is.


Solid State Logic

Solid State Logic (SSL) is a manufacturer of high-end mixing consoles and recording studio hardware which is headquartered in Begbroke, Oxfordshire, England.

Company information[edit]

Founded in 1969,[2] SSL has since expanded to its present 15 acre (61,000 m2) science park in Oxfordshire, England.[2] The company invents, designs and manufactures technology for the manipulation of sound and the production and delivery of video.

SSL employs over 160 people worldwide[2] and has regional offices in Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris, and Tokyo, with additional support provided by an international network of distributors.[2]

One of the first SSL consoles (in fact the first in the UK, and only the second console sold) was a 4000B installed at The Townhouse Studios on Goldhawk Road in London. The earliest 4000E console was at Battery Studios London. RG Jones in London, closely followed by Eden Studios and Sarm Studios. Eden had a 48-channel console with integral patch and automation using 8" floppy drives. Sarm East had a 40-channel console with remote patchbay and automation with 8" floppy drives. Both consoles had Total Recall enabling console settings (and hence mixes) to be recalled & remade with a high degree of accuracy.

SSL analogue and digital audio consoles are used in both pre- and post-production for film, audio, video and broadcast sound. Notably, in May 2001,[3]Studio 3 at Abbey Road Studios was refurbished with a 96-channel SSL 9000 J series console,[4] the largest SSL console in Europe.[3]Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California, which also makes extensive use of SSL consoles, was fitted out with an SSL 9000 K console in its main studio in 2013.[5]

SSL also produces rackmount audio hardware for use in recording studios.

In 2005, musician Peter Gabriel and broadcast entrepreneur David Engelke became majority shareholders of the company; the SSL 4000 had previously been used to achieve the gated reverb drum sound on Gabriel's "Intruder" in 1980. The change of ownership has seen some changes in strategy for the company including new product releases to address the fast-changing state of the pro-audio marketplace. The proprietaryaptX-codec was sold in a management buyout.[6][7] (On 1 March 2005, APT Licensing Ltd. was incorporated in Belfast.[8])

The company was sold to Audiotonix Group in 2017.

SSL response[edit]

Xlogic Rackmount[edit]

In 2003, SSL entered the rackmount market with semi-modular offering from its 9000K console including its first channel strip. By moving to surface mount technology, SSL have been able to offer selected features of their large format consoles at prices more affordable to smaller studios and committed home recording enthusiasts.

2005 saw the release of further rack mount units such as the E-series channel strip and the X-rack. The XLogic G Series Compressor unit is a 1U rack mounting stereo compressor. It utilises the classic SSL G Series center compressor design elements within a Super-Analogue design topology.

Analogue Workstation System[edit]

In late 2004, SSL launched AWS 900, an integrated analogue console and DAW controller.[9] Bearing in mind the considerable, £50,000+ entry level price tag for this smallest of SSL desks, the unit has proved popular[citation needed]. SSL now lists over 300 studios using the AWS900; they received a TEC Award in 2005 for this new design.[10] 2006 saw the release of its successor, AWS 900+. The most recent updates include the AWS 916, 924, and 948 supporting the delta control plug-in.

Duality Console[edit]

In late 2006, SSL launched the Duality, a large format console that is similar to an XL9000K, with the control surface features of the AWS 900. The duality features updated signal routing controls, accessible from the console's center section rather than on each channel. The console's channel strips include both E-Series & G-Series equalization, which is selected via a single button per channel. The Duality was also designed with 'Variable Harmonic Drive', or VHD preamplifiers. These microphone/line preamps can be operated as standard low-distortion preamps, or in a mode which introduces 2nd (even) & 3rd (odd) order harmonic distortion.

Duende DSP[edit]

Further releases in 2006 include the Duende DSP, platform designed to emulate SSL console-grade audio quality for home recording enthusiasts. Based on the digital technology behind SSL's C-Series consoles, Duende is designed to integrate into Digital audio workstation environments using a FireWire cable connection, though a PCI-e card is also available. The digital processing channels appear as audio plug-ins. The system supports Steinberg VST, Apple Audio Units and Digidesign RTAS, (support via Fxpansion wrapper).

Using the system DAW users can emulate SSL channel strip features including filters, SSL E and G series EQ and dynamics processing. The system also allows access to the SSL Stereo Bus Compressor, a popular facility of large format SSL consoles. On 25 April 2007, SSL announced the release of another plug-in for the Duende, called Drumstrip, which contained a noise gate, a transient shaper, high frequency and low frequency enhancers, and the Listening Mic Compressor.


Also in 2006, the company also announced its expansion into broadcast video content management and delivery with their MediaWAN system.

Existing large console market[edit]

SSL large format consoles remain popular. Both the 9000-series consoles and the older 4000 series consoles are discontinued, but there is still a huge second hand market and a number of third party companies that are offering spare parts for these consoles. In 1996 Billboard Studio Action Chart reported that 83% of number one singles that year had been produced using an SSL board. The company claims that more platinum albums have been recorded on SSL mixing consoles than any other company's equipment combined.[11]

4000 series[edit]

The company began with the SSL 4000A series consoles. A total of two were built and sold.[12]

The SSL 4000B was first built in 1976 with the first delivery to Abbey Road Studios in London and the second to Le Studio in Montreal.[13] Virgin's Townhouse Studios in London and Record Plant in Los Angeles also used 4000B consoles for many years.[14][12]

The SSL 4000 G-Series (including the G+) continues to be popular among mixing engineers in Rock and Pop genres. Notable mixing engineers using the 4000-Series are Bob Clearmountain, Chris Lord-Alge, Tom Lord-Alge, Andy Wallace, Mark "Spike" Stent, Will Schillinger and Alan Moulder. In 2005, platinum-selling Bristol band Massive Attack based their new studio facility around a 4056 G+ Special Edition console.[15] SSL claim that the 4000 has been the mixer behind more platinum selling albums than all other consoles combined except the MCI series of consoles that did most of the classic hits in the 70's and 80's. SSL's first 4000E (serial #001) is currently in service at Sonic Ranch Recording Studios in Tornillo, Tx.

According to chief engineer of Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, the 4000 series is responsible for "mixed more number one records that any other console that's ever been built or probably ever will be built". Tree Sound Studios 4000B console in studio 11, named for the console's serial number, was purchased in 1993. It was originally purchased by Le Studio in Montreal where it was used from 1980-1985 recording such albums as Rush's Moving Pictures.

5000 series[edit]

5000 was one of Solid State Logic's most esoteric and expensive mixing consoles. Primarily used in the film and broadcast industries. Disney, Mediaset, SAE and Skywalker Sound, among others, employed them in their facilities, though the console was plagued with design faults and a poor automation system. SSL made only 120 desks, often customised to customer requirements, but then was deemed too expensive to support and develop. One senior SSL executive was quoted as saying "the desk was an absolute nightmare from start to finish and almost crippled the company."[citation needed]

6000 series[edit]

6000 series has six mix buses. Three stereo. A, B, and C. The 6000 has an additional stereo program bus compared to the 4000. E series equalizers: Low and high shelving equalizers, which can be switched to bell curves. These are normally 'black' equalizers. Low frequency equalizer controls have color caps. Similar to the 4000 series of classic consoles, the SSL 6000 E-Series[16] was very popular among mixing engineers in Rock, Pop & Hip Hop genres. Notable mixing engineers and producers using the 6000-Series were James "Jimbo" Barton, Keith Olsen and artists ranging from Whitesnake and Kiss to Fleetwood Mac and Tupac Shakur.[citation needed]

9000 series[edit]

The 9000 J and K series have been widely acclaimed for use in R&B, Classical and Pop genres. Wyclef Jean, formerly of the Fugees, has equipped his Platinum Sound studio with two control rooms, one with a J-series and the other boasting a K-series console.[17]

C series[edit]

  • C100 On-Air Broadcast console.
  • C200 Production Console.
  • C300 Post-production consoles.
  • C10 On-Air console.


In its infancy, SSL was the first firm to manufacture solid-state control systems for pipe organs. The name 'Solid State Logic' was coined by founder, Colin Sanders, to explain the then modern technology of transistor and FET switching to organ builders. Sanders' real enthusiasm was for music recording and he built mixing consoles for his recording studio, Acorn Studios, in Stonesfield, Oxfordshire. Sanders was killed in a helicopter crash on January 28, 1998.[18]

The organ division was sold in 2002 and is now known as Solid State Organ Systems.[19] Shortly after, artist Peter Gabriel became the majority shareholder in Solid State Logic. In 2017, SSL became part of the Audiotonix Group, while Gabriel became a major investor in the group following this transaction.[20]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


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