The next generation of analog consoles from Solid State Logic has arrived: the XL 9000 K Series. At four private showings last month in Los Angeles, New York, England and Tokyo, SSL unveiled its new high-performance analog console, which is designed specifically for the needs of DVD-Audio, SACD and surround sound mixing.
REV IT UP!
The new XL 9000 K Series is SSL's first totally new analog console since the debut of its award-winning J Series in 1994. This new release brings audio performance to the next level, with a bandwidth said to extend nearly two octaves beyond that of a 96kHz recorder. Audio purity was a major design goal, and the K Series incorporates touches such as DC coupling, short signal paths, no electrolytic capacitors in the audio pathways, OFC (oxygen-free copper) internal wiring, fully balanced mix buses, and a new SuperAnalogue™ all-discrete mic preamp design with quieter, more transparent circuitry that exceeds the specs of any previous SSL preamps.
Taking the improvements of the new preamps further, a Super-Pre™ option creates blocks of eight to 24 mic preamps in a package remotely controlled from the console, with Total Recall of all settings. Remoting the mic pre's improves signal quality by reducing the critical mic-to-preamp cable distance, and conventional-looking console gain knobs allow an engineer to control the stepless, servo-driven remote potentiometers on the Super-Pre unit in the studio. Additional switches on the board adjust the 48VDC phantom power, high/low-impedance setting and -20dB pad in/out functions — all without leaving the control room.
The new K Series processor running the console automation is up to 100 times faster than that used on the J Series, but it also adds features such as screen display of individual transport positioning (for easily setting multi-machine offsets) and Online Mix Compare, for auditioning up to six different mix passes without interrupting playback. Compatible with nearly 200 SSL J Series consoles in use worldwide, the K Series supports the import and replay of Total Recall information from J Series consoles, as well as relevant data from G Series boards.
To maximize flexibility and display the system's enhanced graphics — including new Advanced Photo Realistic Total Recall™ — the center of the console is fitted with a multi-angle, high-res TFT screen. An additional X-VGA input allows the TFT display to be switched from console operations to a workstation output. Similarly, the system's wireless mouse, infrared QWERTY keyboard and pen/tablet can be switched to control any USB peripheral, computer or DAW. This facility, combined with SSL's familiar tape recorder-style transport buttons, provides for simple system integration and allows the engineer to remain in the console sweet spot. Speaking of transport control, the K Series can run both parallel and 9-pin devices simultaneously, and both SMPTE LTC and MIDI Timecode generators can be active at the same time.
One of the K Series' most intriguing features is its UltiPan™ screen-based panning, which enables various styles of automated panning across two, three, four or five outputs. Conventional X/Y axes offer panning across a 2-D soundfield, with center focus and divergence controls for bleeding signals across the LCR outs for phantom center effects. A Freehand mode allows users to pan anywhere within specific soundscape axes, with full dynamic panning between any designated sets or pairs of speakers. The slickest mode within UltiPan is ThetaPan™, which can spread a point source signal across adjacent speakers without the need for divergence controls, while also permitting precise circular pans (with width control). Up to six automated UltiPan panners can be used simultaneously; additionally, LCR panning is provided on every channel, as are LCR focus controls and surround routing on effects returns.
The console's expanded center section adds flexibility and more functions, yet retains the SSL operational familiarity. A full 5.1 mix bus, master fader and mix compressor, and full simultaneous fader access to all mix buses are standard. Monitoring sources include the main 5.1 mix, three 5.1 mix returns and 15 other signal sources. A downmix matrix allows the fast creation of 5.1-to-stereo mixes, with user control of center, surround and LFE channels feeds. An insert point for surround encode/decode systems is available, as is switched access to -12dB/octave lowpass filters for generating LFE signals in Dolby Digital (120Hz) or DTS (80Hz) formats.
Adding to the K Series package are an attractive Raven Sparkle appearance and a new frame design. The console is available in any number of configurations, ranging from 24 to 120 (or more) channels — with wings if required by customer/facility needs. Options include the remote preamp packages and the award-winning 956 Multi-Stem/Scoring system developed for the 9000 J. Next month, the first XL 9000 K Series mixers are slated for delivery to Larrabee West (West Hollywood) and two to Hit Factory in New York City.
For more information, visit Solid State Logic at www.solid-state-logic.com.