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SSL President Phil Wagner

Moving ahead with innovation while respecting a premiere analog heritage By Frank Moldstad

Phil Wagner

Phil Wagner, a veteran Solid State Logic executive, took over as the company's president at an auspicious time last year. 

SSL had just gotten high-profile new owners in musician Peter Gabriel and high-tech entrepreneur David Engelke. And a series of DAW-friendly new products was being introduced, carrying SSL's brilliant analog heritage into the digital domain for audio post-production, broadcast and music applications. Based in Oxford, England, SSL is a global entity with subsidiaries in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and Milan

In the following interview, Wagner responds to our questions on everything from why SSL is releasing free plugins to what it means to have Peter Gabriel involved in the company.

SSL surprised a lot of people at AES in New York last fall by releasing the LMC-1 compressor plugin for free. Why was that done? 
The LMC-1 model of the Listen Mic Compressor is a cool plugin that allows anyone with compatible hardware to have a piece of SSL capability within their recording rig.  Essentially, we were looking for a way to introduce the SSL brand to recording software users and the plugin concept was perfect – giving it away free ensured it got the widest exposure possible. In just a few months we have over 10,000 new SSL plugin users! 

LMC-1 plugin
Does it foreshadow a whole line of SSL plugins to come?

We’re developing some pretty exciting things. For the last few years we’ve been working on products that address the needs of DAW users, by providing great-sounding outboard gear (the XLogic range), or delivering superior audio and control as in our analog workstation system  – AWS 900. While continued innovation in console technology will always be the cornerstone of our business, a major component of our new strategy is to develop powerful tools for workstation users that enhance and inspire the creative process. 
Some people were disappointed that the LMC-1 was released only for Mac AU and VST formats. What was the reason for that decision?
We realize that both Mac and PC are important platforms – but it really came down to resource and time. We wanted to have the plugin ready for the AES show in NY and in that timeframe it was only possible to get the Mac versions completed.

Meanwhile, on the hardware side, there’s some serious DAW connectivity built into SSL’s new outboard E Signature Channel and the XRack Dynamics Package. Who are these products designed for?

The XLogic E Signature Channel and the XLogic SuperAnalogue Channel represent two distinct styles of signal processing from different SSL console designs. They both incorporate SSL’s Mic Pre, Dynamics and Equalizer elements with the unique ability to re-arrange the processing order. The SuperAnalogue Channel is based on the sonic purity of our flagship XL 9000 K Series console and AWS 900.

XLogic Multicompressor
The E Signature Channel is based on Colin Sanders, our founder’s, earliest design, a ‘blast from the past.’ The E Signature Channel provides a specific sound which was popular in the 1980s. It has a re-creation of the original Aphex class A VCA (now obsolete) and original E Series ‘brown’ equalizer, the first time these are available in an outboard package. Why, you might ask would we go back to the original design? The answer is that so many hit records were made with E Series consoles. 

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Related Keywords:Solid State Logic, Phil Wagner, SSL, Peter Gabriel, analog, post-production, broadcast, music, plug-in, XLogic, AWS 900

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