Solid State Logic reports that producer Jerry Boys recently built a personal studio in his home in Bodmin, UK, installing an SSL Matrix console. Boys began his career assisting at London's Abbey Road Studios before moving on to Olympic, Sawmills and Livingston. Over his career, Boys has assisted on or engineered sessions for The Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, REM, Ry Cooder and Buena Vista Social Club, among others.
“I bought Matrix and X-Rack as a package when I decided to build a home studio," Boys says. "Sure, there are other good consoles out there, but SSL consoles just do what I want them to do. One of the main reasons is the sound: I tend to produce fairly cleanly, and SSL just gives me a bit of ‘oomph,’ a bit of dirt, I would say. I hope they don’t take that as an insult—it’s very much meant as a compliment! I find it really suits my style because it just adds a bit of edge to what could otherwise end up being rather pretty recordings.
“With the X-Rack I specified Black Knob EQ, because there are particular things about the black knob EQ that I like," Boys continues. "The top and bottom have a bell curve, which is pretty sharp. So if you want to put a bit of serious bottom on the bass then you can without muddying up the rest of the sound too much, which is quite important. Digital EQ can do the same thing but it doesn’t add any artifacts to the sound, so it can sound a bit boring. And it’s the same at the top. You want a bit of air and ‘tizz.' The Black Knob EQ is really good at that. I use it a lot, and I miss it when I haven’t got it. You can get quite good digital models of SSL EQs, which I’ve got for Pro Tools, but in my opinion none of it is as good as analog.
“And then there are the compressors. The SSL compressor has one totally unique function that no other compressor has: If you set it to slow attack and put it on a bass drum or a snare drum it really does accent the transient—the ‘hit’, if you like— so you can quite severely shape the sound, giving it less or more front end. And no other compressor does it as well.
“So with the combination of Matrix and X-Rack, my setup is incredibly flexible. I haven’t come across anything that I think Matrix ought to do that it doesn’t do. And it sounds like I hoped it would. It’s nothing like one of the cheaper consoles that are on the market. Matrix is a proper console, but it’s small and it’s only got the minimum number of features on it so you’re not paying for things that you perhaps don’t need.”
Because Boys is accustomed to working in big studios, SSL asked him whether the Matrix has affected the way he works at home. “Not a lot! With Matrix and X-Rack I have the ability to work without much compromise. And this is all while I’m at home in this wonderful place in Bodmin. Sometimes I get stuck on a project, but now I can go outside for a walk or go to the pub, which is just wonderful. Then you come back and work when you feel like it. That freedom is brilliant. I don’t have to travel or stay in hotels. I have all this freedom but without feeling that I’m making substandard records, which is the best thing. I feel I’ve got the equipment I need.”
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