Asif Illyas talks SSL Nucleus, MX4 and Alpha Link

Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and control surfaces, is pleased to announce that Asif Illyas recently installed a Solid State Logic ‘Nucleus’ control surface and ‘MX4’ + ‘Alpha-Link MADI SX’ virtual console and I/O system in his home studio. The award-winning film score composer and producer scored his first film soundtrack back in 2002, going on to win the Best Score award at that year’s Atlantic Film Festival. He’s since scored a wide range of Canadian documentaries and films. His home studio – ‘The Shire’ is based in Nova Scotia and gets results that are more commonly associated with major studios, something Asif attributes to his Solid State Logic virtual console set up…

I have always mixed in-the-box – something of a necessity when you live in a small apartment! But about five years ago I moved to a house with a basement and’ The Shire’ film scoring studio became a reality. We have a lot of SSL gear in The Shire. I used to work exclusively in-the-box, but then I discovered SSL’s MX4 and Alpha-Link.” Explains Asif. “As soon as I incorporated them into my set up the sound of the studio was transformed. All of a sudden we could hear things we never knew were there… and our old mixes sounded just horrible! The SSL gear revealed how our ears had been tricked with poor quality converters and pro-sumer soundcards.”

We then decided we wanted to work with ‘real’ equipment – tape, preamps, a console. But big studio analogue gear is expensive, so I set out to see how I could use the computer to recreate a proper large format SSL console. And that’s when I discovered MX4, the world of MADI and SSL console plug-ins. We wanted to create the zero-latency set-up that one is privileged to work with in bigger studios with analogue consoles. Now we’ve set up a virtual SSL console by using a pair of Alpha-Link MADI SX’s, an MX4 MADI card, the SSL’s Soundscape Mixer with SSL plug-ins on each channel strip, and a Nucleus to drive the whole ship. The sound is just unbelievable. We can run at 24-bit/96kHz with a fraction over 1ms latency. That’s across 64 Ins and Outs, including direct monitoring for a 2” 24-track tape machine. And this is all on one PC! The clarity and definition is second-to-none for a home set-up. We are getting the space, stereo definition and detail that you would expect with a large format digital desk but in a small format set-up and on a small studio budget.”

In conjunction with upgrading the sonic performance of his studio Asif also wanted to regain tactile control of his system. “We also wanted a control surface, but after seeing how below-par most of them were I was rather discouraged. Then I attended an SSL seminar, and that’s when I discovered Nucleus. As a control surface, Nucleus is in a class of its own. It’s super-intuitive and feels like a lot of thought went into how it would work. The ergonomics don’t get annoying, the buttons feel strong and nothing feels like it’s going to break on you. The automation functions are great and the faders are the real deal. In fact, we haven’t used a preset digital fade-out since we got it! The song can have that nice, analogue, human, fade-out using the hands-on approach. We’re also using the two SSL Superanalogue Preamps in the Nucleus because… well, they sound amazing.”

I’m very pleased with the system we have now at The Shire. I would dare say that it sounds better than many supposedly more professional systems that some of my colleagues use. I hope they don’t read that!

Solid State Logic


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