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SSL UVEQ & SiX Channel 500 Series Modules | First Look
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SSL UVEQ & SiX Channel 500 Series Modules | First Look

500 series started as a modular format for API consoles back in the late 60s, and has evolved into a diverse ecosystem of preamps, EQs and other processors from a variety of manufacturers. It’s not widely known about outside of professional studios, but it provides a compact solution for building a premium hardware signal chain, and usually at a lower cost


SSL entered the 500 series arena with a selection of classics – EQ & Dynamics modules based on their E-Series console channel strips, a module version of the classic Bus-Comp and a VHD (Variable Harmonic Drive) preamp found in a lot of their hardware. They even created a module that specifically applies the ‘Listen Mic Compressor’ called the LMC+.

The whole range has recently had a refresh, or ‘face-lift', with brand new anodized faceplates to match up with their new hardware – SiX, Fusion and UF8. As well as the new look, SSL have also brought out two brand new modules to add to their series – Ultraviolet EQ and SiX Channel.

In this blog, we take a first look at both these modules to find out what they’re all about.


SSL Ultraviolet EQ Module

First up, we take a look at the brand new Ultraviolet EQ, or UVEQ for short. It’s a stereo 4 band EQ module designed primarily for processing your mix or stereo stems, but you can run any other audio through it as well. This is a relatively fresh circuit design from SSL, informed by their experience with equalisers, rather than an adaptation of a classic design.

If you know the SSL Fusion, you may have made the connection between Violet and Ultraviolet EQ. As the name suggests, the Ultraviolet is an extension of the Violet EQ, which is the 2-band shelving EQ. It's also designed to impart as little phase shift to your signal as possible, to help maintain your mix’s fidelity. This same minimal phase shift design is present in Ultraviolet, along with the high & low bands, but there are also two fully parametric mid-bands in between. These are very gentle, musical curves by design, but they can also be used for more precise equalisation by engaging the focus control. Let's break down these features in a full module tour.


LF & HF Bands

As we’ve already mentioned, these are the high and low shelving bands of the EQ. They have a gain range of +/-9dB, and fixed frequency selection – 30Hz / 50Hz / 70Hz / 90Hz for the lows, and 8kHz / 12kHz / 16kHz / 20kHz for the highs. These frequencies have been selected because of their significance in music. Gentle adjustments at these fixed points can do so much to add weight or air to your sound. Equally, they can help focus the low-end of a mix, or reduce harshness in higher frequencies.

LMF & HMF Bands

The fully parametric low-mid and high-mid frequency allow further control over the shaping of your sound. They are a bit more flexible, with frequency selection that’s continuously sweepable between 100Hz – 1100Hz on the LMF and 600Hz – 9kHz on the HMF. You can boost or cut by 9dB, and you can also adjust the ‘Q’ or width of the parametric band. With these controls, you can achieve anything from a gentle bump to drastic changes across the spectrum of your audio.


Focus

Focus adds a little something extra to your LMF and HMF EQ bands. When engaged, it pushes the gain range from +/-9dB to +/-18dB and further narrows the EQ. This transforms these bands from a sweet sounding EQ to a far more precise tool for corrections or creative effects. This additional control for the mid bands makes UVEQ a truly versatile EQ.

HPF, Trim, and In

Here we look at some really handy controls on the UVEQ. The ‘In’ button is pretty self explanatory – it allows you to bypass the module for quick mix comparisons. Partnered with the Trim control, you can level match the original audio with the EQ’d signal by attenuating or boosting the signal level after processing. Perfect if you need to give yourself a bit of extra headroom, or you just need to keep your levels in check. Last but not least, there’s an 18dB/Oct High Pass Filter that eliminates unwanted low frequencies below 30Hz / 40Hz / 50Hz. This can also be switched off if you don’t need it. Due to their frequency overlap, the HPF and LF band can interact in a pleasing way around the low frequencies in your audio.

Ultraviolet EQ is a fantastic addition to their 500 series lineup, giving you a stereo EQ module that has all the best bits from old SSL and new SSL. It’s a great all-round EQ with some nice additional touches that make it truly flexible as well. One thing we’re certain of is that it’s going to be an excellent partner for the 500 series Bus Comp!

SSL SiX Channel Module

Now we move on to the other new module offering from Solid State Logic – the SiX Channel. It’s an all-in-one mini channel strip, complete with preamp, EQ and dynamics. Again, to those who know SSL’s latest range of products, this one is also going to be very familiar. It’s essentially one of the Superanalogue channels from the SSL SiX analogue mixer condensed into an individual module, minus the mix controls of course. Let’s take a look at what this ‘deceptively simple’ module has to offer


Preamp

The preamp in SiX Channel is the same that you’d find in SiX. It offers some serious gain, up to +72dB, whilst maintaining an ultra-low noise floor and exemplary performance. You have a full range of input options – Mic (with 48V phantom power), Line and Hi-Z for your instruments such as guitar. You also have the added benefit of a phase inversion switch and HPF at 75Hz to eliminate unwanted rumble. Whatever you want to plug into this module, it’ll do it!

HF & LF EQ

SiX Channel also has a broad-stroke 2 band EQ, so that you can add some tonal shaping to your audio as passes through the module. The high shelf and low shelf centre around 3.5kHz and 60Hz respectively, with a range of +/-15dB. Both of these bands can also be switched to a bell curve shape, with the centre frequency shifting to 5kHz for high and 200Hz for low. This EQ is designed to be simple, allowing you apply broad boost / cuts in a sonically pleasing way. Of course, if you don’t want to apply any EQ to your signal, you can bypass this part of the module entirely.


Channel Compressor

There’s nothing more pleasing than a ‘one knob compressor’! Simply turn the dial to enhance your audio. That’s what you get on the SiX Channel. The feed-forward circuit design, program dependant attack and automatic make-up gain means that the only control you need is the threshold. A traffic light style LED bar lets you know how much compression you’re using. As with the EQ, if you don’t need dynamic control of your audio you can bypass it entirely.

Line / Hi-Z Input on the Front

The ¼" jack input on the front of the SiX Channel module makes it easy to plug in line level sources with TRS jack, or a high impedance input such as a guitar without an adapter or DI box. This allows you to make use of SiX Channels preamp with almost any audio source you can think of!

We absolutely love the sound of SiX, and this module carries all that SSL Superanalogue goodness over to the 500 series format. These mini channelstrips would be perfect to build a modular summing mixer, or a premium tracking system.

In Summary

SiX Channel and Ultraviolet EQ are excellent new additions to the SSL 500 series range, tying in some of SSL exciting new circuit designs with a well-loved hardware format. If you haven’t already heard of 500 series, now is as good a time as any to get into, because you’ll certainly want to get these modules in your rack!

Thanks for taking the time to read this First Look at Ultraviolet EQ and SiX Channel. To find out more about the rest of Solid State Logic’s 500 series range, check out our SSL 500 Series Guide

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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.