Further SSL Mini Consoles Details
Re no recall – if you take into consideration that every recall I ever did on a 4k was never the same anyway (& I’ve been using them for over 20 years) then you really don’t have that much to loose.
The VCA To Meter function is invaluable. Apart from being an integral part of the sound of a 4k this gives you accurate recall of the main fader positions. All I do at the end of each mix is take one photo of each bucket of 8 VU meters (so three photos in all, channels 1-24). I then take one photo of from above (of all the eq, comp, aux & routing settings) of channels 1-16 & then another photo for the centre section & channels 17-24. Obviously I do the same for any outboard & the patchbay too. I then stick all the photos in a folder called recall photos & put that folder in Pro Tools session folder. The whole console can be recalled with 5 hi res photos. When recalling all you do is open the photos on your monitor & zoom in (ironically not unlike the TR computer) & reset. I’ve found this method to be accurate and as fast as the TR on my old G+.
If you’re not going to use the small fader as additional sends then you have 48 channels + the 4 stereo effects returns. What I do with the Small Fader (tape inputs) when I need more returns I set all the small faders I’m using to the 0db mark on the panel. It doesn’t matter if this is 0db or not. The point is it’s the same all the time and therefor repeatable. I then use the Waves SSL plugins with the Analogue button switched out on those channels. Obviously this gives you full recall within the Tools session. Sounds pretty close too.
Re effects. I’ve come up with a way of using reverbs etc from Pro Tools from both the console and from within Pro Tools. I route all my aux send effects outputs to between 1 and 8 Pro Tools outs and patch them to the effects return section of the console. It just sounds better to me that way.
Set your sends from Pro Tools as normal. Obviously the tracks on the small fader will access these effects from within Pro Tools as normal (ie, after eq and comp etc) via the Pro Tools mixer sends.
You then create 24 mono Aux inputs (I also create 12 stereo ones for stereo tracks) in Pro Tools & route all their outputs to a bus you are not going to use. If you don’t assign the Aux tracks to a output then it won’t work post fade and that’s the whole point of this.
Assign the inputs of those Aux track to SSL ins 1-24 (multitrack sends)
When you want to put the same reverb on say the lead vocal that is maybe on the bvs you have on the small fader simply press the Direct out button on the SSL channel that the vocal is returning on, go to the aux track that corresponds to that desk channel & send to your reverb in Pro Tools from that aux track. You now have automated sends with recall that are post fade, eq and comp from the console.
Using the Aux sends on the desk introduces all sort of latency issues if you are using effects from within Pro Tools & this way solves that too. Obviously sending from the desk to normal outboard is totally fine and the Auxes on the console are still free to do this so you just end up with 16 Auxes in mixdown!
I have to say that for me there are no real downsides to having no recall. I’d much rather work this way than deal with a computer dating from the 70/80s that was a pain in the arse at the best of times.
I’ve tried nulling the faders on the whole console and automating from within Pro Tools on every track. The truth is your gain structure ends up so out of whack that you’re not getting the benefit of driving the channels and compressors properly. You’re missing out on a huge part of what makes these desks sound so great. The method above gives me a dynamic range of just under 90db when recording my stereo mix back into Pro Tools with all channels in the desk open and master fader set to zero. This is without the Quad Comp engaged but still is ridiculously quiet.”