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No Console is No Problem for Chuck Ainlay

After switching to working from home in 2020, Chuck Ainlay adopted Solid State Logic’s DAW and plug-in controllers and 360° link software.

Chuck Ainlay on his home turf.

Nashville, TN (May 3, 2024)—After switching to working from home in 2020, multi-award-winning producer, engineer and mixer Chuck Ainlay adopted Solid State Logic’s DAW and plug-in controllers and 360° link software.

“I don’t really miss the console anymore,” he says. “SSL 360° link allows me to set up a knob-per-function workflow on any plug-in and control them with UC1. I now use UC1 with all my favorite SSL and third-party plug-ins.”

For almost his entire career, multiple Grammy, CMA, ACM and TEC Award-winning producer, engineer and mixer Chuck Ainlay has sat behind a large mixing console—more often than not a Solid State Logic desk—while tracking and mixing. In 2020, Ainlay started working from home, and has since integrated SSL’s UC1 plug-in controller, multiple UF8 8-channel advanced DAW controllers and the new SSL 360° Link software into his setup.


Record production has been moving towards hybrid-based production workflow for years. But then, observes Ainlay, who has amassed more than 3,500 record production credits during his career, “The industry changed significantly because of the lockdown. Before that time, give me the hardware and I’m going to sit and mix on an analog console, use console automation, the whole deal.” For many years, he says, he was “the SSL guy” in town. “I’ve just always worked on SSLs. That’s home, to me.” So when SSL introduced its plug-in and DAW controller hardware and the 360° link software, he was ready to try it out.

Peter Frampton, with whom Ainlay has collaborated for many years, gave him the UC1 plug-in controller. Then, SSL’s senior vice president, Phil Wagner, told him, “You should just put one of SSL’s Channel Strip plug-ins on everything. It’ll be just like working on an SSL analog console.”

“Now, when I open a session, I just put Channel Strips on everything,” Ainlay says. “Then I scroll through the channels with the controller. It still feels different than an analog console, but I know exactly what to expect from years of turning the knobs, and you can see on the controller what’s going on without having to look at a screen. It’s as close as you can get to being on an analog console.”