Our guide to the updated SSL 500 Series module range
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Our guide to the updated SSL 500 Series module range

If someone told you that you could hold a piece of legendary SSL hardware with just one hand, you’d think it was too good to be true! But thanks to the 500 series lunchbox format, a palm-sized device can pack decades of analogue electronics expertise into a module ready to be slotted into your 500 series rack of choice!

With 7 carefully curated modules, SSL’s 500 series range offers the key ingredients of SSL magic including the classic Stereo Bus compressor, E-series EQ and Dynamics processors, as well as the Listen Mic compressor (made famous by Phill Collins of course!). 

To partner the SSL staples, there are also new designs such as the enhanced VHD+ preamp and newly announced UVEQ and SiX channel strip that add more versatility and power to the range.

So with the announcement of the UVEQ and SiX Channel strip modules joining the established marquees of the range, we thought it would be a good time to break down the entire range and discuss their unique, console-inspired features.

SSL Ultraviolet EQ – Stereo EQ Module

Let's start with one of the brand new modules! The SSL Ultraviolet EQ (also known as UVEQ) is a double-width stereo mastering-grade EQ based on the acclaimed Ultra-Violet EQ developed for SSL’s Fusion mastering processor. With two parametric mid-bands, high and low shelves, as well as a unique ‘focus’ mode, the UVEQ offers carefully selected frequencies and response curves to create musical and intuitive EQ adjustments - perfect to quickly dial-in warmth and detail into your mix.

Using its innovative “Focus” mode, the UVEQ allows the user to ‘hone in’ on a specific frequency range by narrowing the Q setting and increasing the gain range to help identify complementary or problematic frequencies before taking action with the EQ itself. This is a unique feature that is commonplace on digital EQs and plug-ins, but is unique on an analogue module.

With a minimum phase-shift design, the UVEQ is perfectly at home across a stereo mix bus to add warmth and detail to any mix without adding harsh or problematic side effects. Combined with SSL’s stereo G-Comp, the UVEQ is a crucial piece in a powerful mastering chain for large and project studios alike.

Read more about the UVEQ in our First Look blog.

Where to Buy the SSL Ultraviolet EQ in the UK

Solid State Logic ULTRAVIOLET EQ Andertons Gear4Music Giraffe Audio Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre KMR Audio SX Pro Studio Spares StudioCare

SSL SiX CH – SiX Channel Strip

Another new module to the range, the SiX Channel is a single-width 500 Series mini channel strip packed-to-the-brim with the SuperAnalogue channel processing developed for SSL’s SiX console. With a Mic-pre, low and high frequency EQ, as well as the single knob compressor on a single-slot module, the SiX Chanel is an excellent way to add additional Mic inputs to any audio interface, or additional channels of ‘summing’ with subtle EQ and Compression for line-level stems and mixes.

With 72dB of gain available from the ultra low noise SuperAnalogue preamps, the SiX Channel provides both Line and Mic inputs options with gain ranges and impedances to match, There’s also a front panel ¼” input that can be used with line and Hi-Z sources using the Hi-Z switch.

 With a broad-stroke, two-band design, the EQ features +/- 15 dB of gain on each band as well as shelf/bell modes that change the centre frequencies for greater versatility from limited controls. To round up the features, the versatile ‘one knob’ compressor features powerful and versatile performance from a deceptively simple control. With a three LED gain reduction meter as well as auto makeup gain, the compressor is perfect for gentle compression during tracking or more aggressive parallel compression effects during mixing.

 A greatest-hits collection of analogue processes, the 500 series range from SSL is one of the strongest and most recognisable collections of analogue circuits on the market - and they’re all available under one roof and one brand. 

All perfectly adapted to the 500 series standard, these modules can be inserted into any 500 series rack/lunchbox and seamlessly integrate with your recording and mixing process to add SSL magic directly to your music.

Read more about the SiX Channel in our First Look blog.

Where to buy the SSL SiX Channel 500 Series module in the UK

Solid State Logic SSL SiX CH (SiX Channel strip) Andertons Gear4Music Giraffe Audio Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre KMR Audio SX Pro Studio Spares StudioCare

SSL VHD+ - Variable Harmonic Drive (VHD) Mic Preamplifier

The VHD+ is a newly enhanced replacement for the previous VHD pre-amp module. 

At its core is a ‘SuperAnalogue-grade’ mic preamp with +75dB of clean gain, a variable high pass filter, and switches for 48v, Pad, and Polarity. New to the facelift series, the VHD+ now features an instrument DI, allowing you to connect guitars, bass, and piezo pickup-equipped instruments directly to its front panel.

However, the SSL VHD+ is a jekyll and hyde mic preamp - offering clean, modern performance, or vintage-inspired tones at the turn of a dial. 

Using SSL’s patented Variable Harmonic Drive (VHD) system, the VHD+ introduces a variable blend of 2nd or 3rd order harmonics for valve-style warmth or a touch of transistor edge. At extreme levels, it can even deliver thick, grungy overdrive - perfect for room mics, drums, or effected vocals. But as it lives on a variable control, it can be dialed-in to taste, and crucially, bypassed when SuperAnalogue loveliness and purity is required!

With High and Low input impedance options for use with Ribbon and other low-impedance microphones, as well as Hi and Lo-Z options for its front ¼” jack, the VHD+ is a perfect match for a wide range of microphones/instruments and is a stellar preamp to amplify your mic signal before it is sent to other modules in the SSL range...

Where to Buy the SSL VHD+ in the UK

Solid State Logic VHD Pre module KMR Audio SX Pro Studio Spares StudioCare

SSL E-Series EQ – Four band parametric equaliser

The SSL SL 4000 E (or E-series) is an icon of music production, but for most of us, it will remain an Icon and we will never be able to sit behind the real thing in our home studios. Well, with the SSL E-EQ, you can get a small piece of SSL prestige directly in your studio!

A 4-band parametric EQ at its heart, the SSL E-EQ oozes the unique response curves and tonal character heard on countless recordings from the 1980s to the modern day.  

But there’s more, with this module, there are in fact two different EQ characters lifted from different editions of the SL 4000 E consoles produced between 1981 and 1989. 

With options for either ‘Brown’ or ‘Black’ EQ flavours (named after the LF knobs on the original consoles), the low frequency band on the E-series EQ goes from sweet, broad, and musical in Brown mode, to aggressive, responsive, and tight in Black mode - each changing the amount of Cut/Boost available as well as the resultant EQ curve characteristics.

The E-series EQ features High and Low shelving bands (with options for Bell shapes) for musical tonal shaping as well as two semi-parametric mid-bands (Lo Mid and Hi Mid) for more surgical EQ moves. 

 Packed to the rafters with prestigious EQ circuits, the SSL E-EQ is a powerful tone shaping tool with vintage inspiration that you can use during mixing or during tracking to add analogue character and hands-on control to the tonal balance of your sources.

Where to Buy the SSL E-Series EQ in the UK

Solid State Logic E-Series EQ 500-Series Module Absolute Music Giraffe Audio KMR Audio SX Pro StudioCare

SSL E-DYN – E Series Dynamics Module

The SSL SL 4000 E was one of the first large format consoles on the market to feature compression and gates on every channel. Whilst a time before there were compressors on every channel is unthinkable in today’s modern workflow, at the time, the E-series Dynamics processors were the engineers’ most crucial tool and were subsequently plastered across most major recordings in the era.

The E-series dynamics module is unique in that it features both a compressor/limiter as well as an expander/gate, both of which are faithful to the original circuit - two for the price of one!

Based around the same Class A VCA circuit as the original console, the dynamics module’s compressor provides punchy compression and powerful limiting thanks to its unique RMS side-chain, switchable compression curves, and a Linear release control option.

The Gate/Expander is an industry-standard processor used to not only cut unwanted noise below a threshold (like a standard Gate) but also expand the punch and transient attack of a source thanks to its variable range control and fast attack switch.

Much loved by producers around the world, the E-dynamics module is perfect for maximizing the thump of a kick drum, the richness of a bass, or taming an expressive vocal performance.

Where to Buy the E-Dyn in the UK

Solid State Logic E-Series Dynamics 500 Series Module Absolute Music Giraffe Audio Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre KMR Audio SX Pro StudioCare

SSL G-Comp – Stereo Bus Compressor

Arguably the most sought after module in the series, the SSL Stereo Bus Compressor is a staple in high-end studios and has been glueing mixes together for 35+ years.

Lifted directly from the centre section of the SSL Sl 4000 E, the G-Comp is designed to be inserted over your stereo mix and make it sound bigger, more powerful, and punchier - this is the SSL sound in a nutshell.

With traditional compression parameters such as Threshold and Gain, as well as switchable (and crucially recallable!) Ratio, Attack, and Release controls, the Bus Comp is a stereo unit that processes the L and R sides of your mix in tandem for maximum cohesion across your mix bus. 

The addition of the HPF allows for extra control on the compression characteristics without cutting the low-end from the mix itself. The HPF removes low frequencies from the sidechain allowing the compression to be more subtle and impervious to pumping due to the low-end required in modern mixes.

Whilst designed around the same VCA chip as its predecessor, the 500 series module itself has slight improvements over the compressor found in the console itself by adding three additional intermediate ratios, giving all the original options, plus additional 1.5, 3 and 5:1 ratios for even finer control. 

Occupying two slots in your 500 series rack, the G-comp is the very last stage of the mixing process and, as SSL say, turns a mix into a record... 

Where to Buy the SSL G-Comp in the UK

Solid State Logic Stereo Bus Compressor 500 Series Module Giraffe Audio Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre KMR Audio SX Pro Studio Spares StudioCare

SSL LMC+ – E Series Dynamics Module

The Listen Mic compressor (LMC) is one of the most famous ‘sounds’ to make its way onto a recording. Not originally designed to process audio destined for public consumption, the LMC was inserted across an open mic placed in the studio’s live room to enable the engineers in the control room to ‘listen’ to the musicians between takes - think of it as talkback in reverse! 

It just so happened that after a very happy accident (involving a certain Mr Phil Collins) where the listen mic was left on when drums were being played that it became the definitive feature of the classic ’big’ drum sound of early ’80s recordings.

The LMC inadvertently had all of the characteristics required to invent one of the most recognisable drum sounds ever recorded including fixed attack and release curves that work perfectly for aggressive compression effects.

This 500 series reimagining of the LMC, the LMC+ includes High and Low Pass filters that can be used on the main path or the sidechain to hone-in on the specific frequencies needed to trigger the compressor. 

In addition to the filters, there is also a 'Scoop' button that cleverly phase inverts the wet signal to dynamically cancel out with the dry signal for a scooped effect as well as a unique 'Split' button that engages a patented bandpass subtraction mode that allows you to compresses only the frequencies between the High and Low pass filters. Engage both Split and Scoop, and you can create very unique tone-shaping compression to bring out the life in a source whilst removing the harshness associated with heavy compression.

 Perhaps most crucially for today’s recording techniques, the LMC+ module features a wet/dry blend control designed to bring back the dry signal for a more subtle parallel compression effect that can bring out the sustain and body of a source without removing its dynamics completely.

Where to Buy the SSL LMC+ in the UK

Solid State Logic LMC+ module for 500 Format Racks Funky Junk Giraffe Audio Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre KMR Audio Music Matter SX Pro StudioCare

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post on the Solid State Logic 500 Series Range! 

For more information on the 500 Series Range, please visit our product page here, or to find out more about Solid State Logic, visit our dedicated brand page here.

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This new blog is presented by the team at Sound Technology Ltd, a leading distributor of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the UK and ROI.