Solid State Logic has unveiled their new XL 9000 K Series console, the company’s first analog console introduction since the J Series in 1994. Combining second-generation SuperAnalogue circuitry with a comprehensive 5.1 surround bussing, panning, and monitoring architecture, the XL 9000 has been optimized for the extended bandwidth and feature requirements of SACD and DVD-Audio production.
Surround features of the XL 9000 include a 5.1 mix bus, master fader, and a 6-channel mix compressor with sidechain, LCR panning throughout, and simultaneous large and small fader access to all mix busses. The compressor allows users to control the level to which surround and LFE signals influence the sidechain input. Subgroup insert points, switchable prefade and patchable postfade, allow the application of signal processing prior to their combination in the main mix.
Channel pan controls are individually switchable between left/right and LCR operation, and feed four stereo busses and a routing matrix that allows the creation of sophisticated 5.1 mixes with creative panning and subgrouping options. The XL’s 11 mix busses may be accessed from both long and short faders simultaneously or from a combination of the long fader and assignable effects send.
A user-controllable stereo downmix matrix, with operator-variable controls that dictate the contribution of each channel, provides a simultaneous stereo output of the 5.1 mix. The downmix is also available for foldback systems and studio speakers.
K Series autopanning allows point-to-point panning of each input channel via input faders across all mix busses. UltiPan automated spatial positioning, a feature already available on SSL’s digital consoles, has been added to the analog domain for the first time, providing conventional X/Y panning or ThetaPan, which facilitates point source movements without requiring complex divergence controls, across two to five outputs. ThetaPan also allows signals to be moved throughout the boundaries of the soundfield in a circular motion, with attendant width control. Up to six UltiPan panners may be used simultaneously.
The monitor section supports three 5.1-channel main monitors plus two stereo nearfield speaker systems with level-matching trims. Monitor selection includes the main 5.1 mix plus three 5.1 mix returns for in-context listening, plus 15 other signals.
Two 6-channel bus injects allow 5.1 effects devices to be returned to the main mix bus. The effects of a 6-channel encoding scheme may be monitored, and there are switches for the introduction of 80 Hz or 120 Hz low-pass LFE filtering, respectively replicating the filters in DTS and Dolby codecs and facilitating accurate bass management. For more demanding applications, users may order the optional 956 Multi Stem monitoring system, which is standard equipment on Hollywood’s scoring stages.
The XL 9000 K Series sports a new frame design and Raven Sparkle finish with a new multi-angle high-resolution TFT screen integrated into the console’s center section. The new K Series automation, based on the high-speed HS Control Processor in SSL’s digital consoles, enables screen display of individual transport positions, On-line Mix Compare of six passes, and SSL’s advanced photo-realistic Total Recall system. The pen, wireless mouse-like “puck,” tablet, and keyboard may optionally control any USB-enabled control for complete integration of DAWs and recorders into the workflow.
The flexible solo system includes the ability to dim the mix around a soloed signal for auditioning in context with the other tracks, and offers multi-function solo on both large and small faders. Metering has also been optimized to meet the performance of modern-day digital recorders.
Optional SuperPre remote-powered DC amplifiers integrate with input channel controls and may be fully reset through the Total Recall system. The new SuperPre design is said to exceed the sonic performance of previous SSL mic preamps.
According to the company, a great deal of attention has been paid by the SSL R&D team to the quality of the signal path, producing a console with an extended bandwidth that is flat over practically the entire proverbial DC to light range thanks to the use of DC coupling. Phase coherence, transient response, and transparency have all been optimized, and the XL 9000 offers barely measurable distortion and a noise performance approaching theoretical limits.
SSL has launched the XL 9000 K Series with the announcement that two very high profile studios will take delivery of the first three consoles during April 2002. The Hit Factory in New York City will install two 80-channel consoles in Studios 6 and 7, while Larrabee Studios in L.A. will furnish Studio A at their Larrabee West facility in West Hollywood with a 72-channel desk.