Solid State Logic (SSL) is best known in the audio realm for its huge professional consoles that cost tens of thousands of dollars. But the iconic British company is now hoping to break into home studios for the first time. Ahead of NAMM, it’s debuting two affordable audio interfaces for bedroom producers called the SSL 2 and SSL 2+.
Both interfaces have two inputs and two outputs, are USB-C powered, include two analog mic preamps, and when it comes to audio resolution, have 24-bit/192kHz conversion. There’s also monitor mix control (the ability to listen to a blend of already recorded tracks with what you’re currently recording) and balanced monitor outputs. They come bundled with software including Ableton Live Lite, Native Instruments Hybrid Keys and Komplete Star, the light version of Pro Tools, a bunch of plug-ins, and 1.5GB of samples from Loopcloud. As a nice bonus, these audio interfaces don’t require a separate power supply.
Last, there’s an interesting “legacy 4k” button that the company says is an enhancement mode inspired by its SSL 4000 console series to “add extra analogue character and sparkle to your input sources.”
The SSL 2 is meant more for streamlined solo work, with one headphone output. The SSL 2+ has extra options for those looking to collaborate or connect extra gear. There’s a second headphone output with independent monitor mix and additional unbalanced outputs for DJ mixers, along with MIDI I/O.
This is quite the pendulum swing for a company that built its heritage on massive desks squarely meant for the professional world. Coveted by many top producers, SSL consoles have played a role in countless hit albums, from Rush’s Moving Pictures to Tupac Shakur’s All Eyez On Me. Just look at the difference between its Duality console and the SSL 2+:
There have always been options for affordable audio interfaces that cost a couple hundred dollars, but competition is increasing with the rise of home studios. Last year, Native Instruments got in on the game with its Audio 1 and Audio 2 interfaces, and both clock in at under $150.
SSL’s audio interfaces are a bit more expensive than that, but the company says that it’s using the same quality in the SSL 2 and SSL 2+ that it would in its gargantuan consoles. That includes using Neutrik for connectors, which are considered incredibly robust, and Alps for the pots. (Pot is short for “potentiometer,” which is also known as the thingy that sits behind the panel and is capped by a knob.) Andy Jackson, SSL studio product manager, says using cheaper parts would be a compromise. “If you’re starting out in recording music,” he says, “why wouldn’t you start with the best?”
The SSL 2 is priced at $229.99, and the SSL 2+ is priced at $279.99. They’re available now on SSL’s website.