SSL is known for its legendary channel strips and big mix consoles which are the first choice for professional studios. BUT, they are now starting to penetrate the home studio market, and one of their compact product is they launched SSL BiG SiX Analogue Desktop Mixer and Audio Interface.
Desktop mixers are quite popular these days. These multipurpose mixers can be used for both home studio recording and small concerts.
In this article, I will review SSL Big Six analogue mixer for you. This SSL Big Six review will give you better insights about it and help you make sound decisions.
Well, let’s start the review.
SSL BiG SiX Features
First off, we’ll see what features SSL is providing in their desktop mixer “BiG SiX”.
- SSL Big Six has 4 mono pre amps which obviously provide you wider available gain range then any other analogue desktop mixer. SSL is known as their award winning channel strips that you will also see in this mixer.
- Along with SSL SuperAnalogue™ Mic’ Pre’s you will obviously get separate phantom power to operate condenser mics.
- It has four SuperAnalogueTM stereo line level inputs with dual mono switching.
- You will laso get a built in 16 channel 96 Khz/24-bit USB audio interface with advanced routing. This audio interface makes it a standalone recording equipment.
- All the channels are equipped with legendary G-Comp Bus Compressor with ‘Auto’ release.
- All channels feature 3 Band SSL LF/MF/HF EQ whih is the same sued for SSL big mic consoles.
- As you know SSL is best known for thier channel strips so you will get there classic SSL channel dynamics processing for each seperate channel.
- Another great feature of SSL BiG SiX is the Listen Mic Compressor.
- It has dual independent headphone outputs so you can connect 2 headphone semultaneasly.
- All the faders are 100mm full sized.
- They are providing Two stereo cue feeds for external effects.
- Two seperate fully balanced stereo external inputs.
- You can mix upto 18 inputs at mixdown.
SSL BiG SiX Pros and Cons
Well, SSL BiG SiX is a great desktop mixer, I want to point out some pros and cons of this mixer that will help you make your decision, whether you should go with it or not.
- SSL BiG SiX offer you the same sound quality you will get in their larger consoles.
- The integrated USB audio interface allows you to record multitrack recording, stem mixing and hybrid mixing in one console.
- Channel strips are equipped with additional feature and erogonomic style for long time use.
- Seperate EQ on stereo channels.
- Simple routing.
- Lack of digital In/Out so you cannot expand this mixer to record more tracks semultaneuasly.
- Higher price then other alternatives.
SSL BiG SiX: In Detail
There is a hype about this mixer that you will get the same audio quality as big SSL mix consoles. I do confess that it’s a good buy at this price but comparing this to big SSL consoles is not right.
This mixer is specially built for home studios, indie music producers, and live sound. It is not built for pro recording studios so we cannot expect it to perform like a big mix console.
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BUT, there are some features that tease you to buy this mixer. Such as the channel strip is equipped with a high-quality SSL preamp, EQ, and compressor which enhances your audio like a pro mix console. If you use them wisely.
In this section, we’ll discuss the main features of SSL BiG SiX in detail.
Inputs and Outputs
This mixer features four Mic / line / Hi-Z / 48V / HPF inputs with polarity switch backed by SuperAnalogueTM SSL chip. You can use them as condenser/dynamic mic inputs as well as line, instrument inputs.
These four inputs are packed with high-quality SSL preamps that provide you with the best quality sound.
There are four separate line-level inputs given for external line-level instruments and audio devices.
All eight inputs have their separate channel strip equipped with 3 bands EQ. The mic inputs have panning and compressors features.
There are 8 inserts available to connect external effect processors for each channel.
You will get 2 headphone outputs, 2 main outs, 4 alternative main outs, 4 ST Que outs, 4 sends, and 2 Bus outs.
That means this compact mixer has all the features that you want in a mixing console.
There is a USB 3.0 connection given to connect your computer with its audio interface.
Hybrid Production Environment
SSL BiG SiX provides you with a hybrid production environment. The G-Series Bus Compressor with ‘Auto’ release feature, separate E-Series EQ, SSL mic pres with channel processing, and routing functionality, backed by SuperAnalogueTM gives you the analogue feel in your audio.
On the other side, all the processing is done through your computer by connecting its 16 channel audio interface so the computer is involved and so the DAW.
This arrangement is amazing for those who want high-quality analogue audio with a digital recording environment.
SSL BiG SiX desktop mixer comes with a 16 channel audio interface, which makes it a standalone mix console. You can use it with your DAW without the need for a separate audio interface.
Its in-built audio interface can process up to 96 kHz/24-bit audio signal. That means, along with a hybrid environment you will get to record in the mix in HD quality audio.
However, the DAC is not as precise as separate high-end audio interfaces, yet it can easily beat most of the mid-range audio interfaces.
The audio interface is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.
In this desktop mixer, you will get BiG SiX’s SuperAnalogueTM preamps which can easily record through a wide range of microphones including ribbon mics.
The preamps provide you with a super-wide gain range so you will get precise audio with these preamps.
The preamps also feature dedicated line inputs with Hi-Z, 48V, high pass filter, and polarity switch. All this arrangement gets you the vintage analogue feel in your audio with precise sound quality.
SuperAnalogueTM technology was initially developed for the SL 9000 Series consoles to get next-level analogue performance.
This technology is the result of constant invention dedication to optimizing each and every detail of the audio.
The technologies behind SuperAnalogue are bespoke circuits, ground-breaking low-noise gain control, servo-coupled amplifier stages, etc that power up this feature.
Now, it’s available in SSL BiG SiX desktop console. Derived from the super professional analogue console series SL 9000.
This technology serves you the original SSL analogue feel in your audio.
My Verdict About SSL BiG SiX Mixer
Above you’ve read the features, pros, and cons of SSL BiG SiX mixer, it’s time for me to give my verdict about it.
Well, it is the advanced version of SSL SiX desktop mixer if you’ve already used that mixer then you would know about the sound quality.
For those, who didn’t use the previous version of this analogue mixer, it provides superb audio quality that today’s music demands.
It provides you with a hybrid recording and mixing environment so you can use it with just a computer and a pair of studio monitors.
If you are an indie composer, a live sound operator, or own a home studio then you can go with it. BUT, it is a bit costly than other alternatives.
If you buy this, you don’t need a separate audio interface which is actually a good thing for indie composers.
For me, it’s a good mixer for my home studio.
Who should buy SSL BiG SiX Mixer?
Indie composers, songwriters, home studio owners, etc can buy this mixer.
I have Mac System. Can I use SSL Big SiX Mixer with that?
Yes, this mixer is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.
Can I use SSL Big SiX Mixer in live concerts?
Yes, you can use it in concerts but the inputs are only limited to 8 ins, and this mixer is not expandable. So if you need extra input you should go for other mixers.
What is a hybrid production environment?
In a Hybrid production environment, you will get the analogue sound quality in your audio while the recording takes place in your DAW. BiG SiX is a true hybrid production mixer.
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