• Bob Davodian

Brainworx partners with SSL

Updated: Jul 10, 2018

One of my favorite emulations of the SSL 4000 E series consoles is the bx_E console by Brainworx. And apparently things are about to get even better with SSL's official stamp of approval on Brainworx's emulation. Since its inception last year touting it's 72-TMT channels, modeling the subtle nuisance and character of 72 individual channels, it quickly became a staple for me in my console emulation setup I use for mixing. The EQ with the choice of "Brown" and "Black" flavors is smooth and sprite along with what I think is a really good channel compressor.

Brainworx has announced so far that the dynamics section will have improvements. They mentioned the EQ will also be improved upon, especially the high end response. I am very excited for this and I already think it's a great product, obviously. What also is startling to me is how they keep the CPU usage and hit down so low while not compromising on sound. It still blows my mind.

Now, I, in my A/B fashion will be of course demonstrating an A/B comparison between the current version and the new one with SSL's blessing. If you don't know me by now (used to be TranscendingM), those who do, know for years now I love posting A/B comparisons. I also take a somewhat unique approach, even for comparing just EQ for example. I don't just strap a processor across a 2-bus and call a day. I try to mimic a real-world scenario, processing all tracks and gauging the interaction as well as the overall effect. What we have here is tight tolerances with bx_E and the new bx_SSL across all tracks. So gain staging from the 2-bus down to the individual tracks. When the consoles are involved, they are all being hit with the same source signals. Any post gain compensation was done with pure digital gain, not adding or taking away anything but gain! Can't tell you how much one needs to pay attention to detail here. One mistake can throw it all off!

The overall mix is at -21.5 LUFS and again this applies to all 5 mixes.

The mixes include:











The "eq+dyn" mixes include any and all EQ, Compression, and filters engaged.

The simple "e" and "ssl" mixes are just the mix intact going through the console color. This way you can just hear what they are doing simply running through "the circuit."

The "daw" mix is of course just the mix intact without any console color or processing.

For me, the true magic is in how Brainworx have elevated the EQ and compression. The high end is beautiful! The compression, much more SSL-ish with the punch; less polite. The console coloration however is also slightly different. A difference sum confirmed what my ears heard. I prefer the slightly changed color in the new bx_SSL. Overall, Brainworx just did a SICK job on this and I am loving this thing even more than I did. If I had one gripe, I liked the darker, tamed background on v1. But the true-to-the-original colored knobs are so sweet looking.

The new bx_SSL console is definitely better but not too far off from itself, which is comforting.

Hope you guys enjoy this. It took some time and focus but you get to hear exactly what's different and how different. I will add "driven" versions too in the near future!

The new Brainworx SSL 4000 E console emulation

- Bob