As we’ve already mentioned, UC1’s control surface ties in with 2 of SSL’s native plugins – Channel Strip 2 and Bus Compressor 2. Both are included free with the UC1, making it an excellent value option for literally getting your hands on these amazing SSL mixing plugins. Let’s take a closer look at how UC1 gives you thorough control over these plugins.
SSL Native Channel Strip 2
First up we have the Channel Strip 2. The majority of controls for this plugin are found down the left- and right-hand side of UC1. They also include the In and Out gain controls in the black strips. The layout of these controls closely resembles the UI of Channel Strip plugin itself. Most of them are very intuitive for newcomers, and those familiar with SSL’s channel strips will feel right at home on UC1.
EQ & Filter Section
The Filter Section in the top left comprises of a Low Pass and High Pass filter. These gently remove any unwanted low frequencies, and roll off highs respectively. Below that, we find the SSL EQ section of the channel strip with 4 frequency bands:
- HF / LF Bands – High / Low Frequency bands which are shelves by default but can be switched to a bell curve. HF operates between 1.5-22kHz and LF operates between 40-600Hz.
- HMF / LMF Bands – High / Low Mid Frequency parametric EQ bands. Both have a gain boost / cut, frequency control and Q control (frequency bandwidth)
When you load Channel Strip, the EQ’s characteristics are derived from the SSL G series Consoles – clean, precise and versatile with a variable Q design. Variable Q means that as you boost / cut around the selected frequency, the EQ band becomes sharper.
With the ‘E’ Button, you can alter the EQ to sound more like an SSL E series channel strip. The E series EQ was a little warmer and full of character, with a Constant Q design. You may find it better suited to certain types of music or audio sources.
The channel EQ also has an ‘In’ switch, which allows you to completely remove it from the signal chain. This is handy for A/B comparisons, or if you just want to remove the EQ and utilise the rest of the Channel Strip.
Now we move to the right-hand side of UC1 which controls the Dynamics module of the Channel Strip. Here you’ll find the Compressor and Gate / Expander for your channel.
- Compressor – Based on the sound of the dynamics section of legacy SSL mixing consoles. The attack time is pre-set, but you can use the fast & peak buttons to change the compressor’s response. It has a continuous ratio control, threshold and release time. The mini LED dB reduction meter on UC1 shows you how hard the compressor is working. There is also automatic make up gain, which can be counteracted with the output gain if required.
- Gate / Expander – Also has a fixed attack with a fast option. Threshold, Hold and Release controls set how reactive the Gate / Expander is to your source audio. The range sets the level of the gated audio / when the expander isn’t active. This can be set anywhere from fully silent to the same volume as source, making it inactive.
As with the EQ section, the dynamics can be switched in and out of the signal chain using the ‘In’ button. The Dynamics section also has a key input for side chaining, which can used for a number of techniques, including the typical sidechain ‘pumping’ you get in dance music.