Solid State Logic

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Solid State Logic Ltd
Company typePrivate limited
IndustryMixing consoles
Studio hardware
HeadquartersBegbroke, Oxfordshire, England
Key people
Colin Sanders (founder)
ProductsAWS900+ console
4000 series console
9000 series console
Xlogic rackmount series
Duende rackmount DSP
Number of employees

Solid State Logic (SSL) is a British company based in Begbroke, Oxfordshire, England that designs and markets audio mixing consoles, signal processors, and other audio technologies for the post-production, video production, broadcast, sound reinforcement and music recording industries. SSL employs over 160 people worldwide and has regional offices in Los Angeles, Milan, New York City, Paris, and Tokyo, with additional support provided by an international network of distributors. Solid State Logic is part of the Audiotonix Group.


Early history[edit]

Solid State Logic was founded by Colin Sanders in 1969 as the first manufacturer of solid-state control systems for pipe organs. Sanders coined the company's name to explain the then-modern technology of transistor and FET switching to organ builders.

Sanders also owned and operated Acorn Studios, a recording studio in Stonesfield, Oxfordshire. When he sought a mixing console for recording, with routing flexibility and settings recall unavailable on consoles at that time, Sanders applied his experience to design and build his own, building two mixing consoles with computer control which featured one-button switching between recording, tracking and mixdown modes. The two prototype mixing consoles, given the model designation of SL 4000 A, became the start of a series of large-format mixers that would define and establish SSL as a mixing console manufacturer.

Large-format mixing consoles[edit]

In 1976, SSL combined the SL 4000's in-line mixing console design with a computer that provided fader automation and programmable tape transport auto-location functionality,[3] A total of six B Series consoles were built for and sold to studios, beginning with Abbey Road Studios in London, followed by Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Canada,[4] Virgin Records' Townhouse Studios in London, and Tocano Studio in Copenhagen.[5]


(This picture is flipped vertically and shows Townhouse Studios SSL serial #1000 console)

The SL 4000 E Series, introduced in 1979, offered various improvements on the B Series, including a new 4-band EQ section developed in collaboration with George Martin. Most notably, the E Series introduced the ability to save and recall mixer settings, and was the first mixer to feature a compressor/gate on every channel as well as the master bus compressor.[6] SSL introduced the SL 4000 G Series at the AES New York Convention in 1987, which again offered a redesigned EQ, among other improvements. The ability to save and recall mixer settings, along with the inclusion of a dedicated compressor and noise gate on every channel on SL 4000 E Series consoles and its successors and variants drove widespread adoption in professional recording studios,[7][8] including The Power Station, Sarm Studios, Larrabee Sound Studios, Battery Studios, Record One, Eden Studios, and RG Jones Recording Studios, and used by recording engineers such as Bob Clearmountain, Steve Lillywhite, Tom Lord-Alge, Alan Moulder, and Trevor Horn.[9]

The SL 4000 E Series and G Series consoles were later also made available in 5000 Series, 6000 Series, and 8000 Series formats, which offered various routing and bussing configurations to address the needs of sound for the recording, film, video, and broadcast markets. SSL introduced SuperAnalogue design in the SL 9000 J Series console, which utilized a capacitor-free signal path to achieve very high bandwidth with extremely low distortion.


In 1996 Billboard magazine's Studio Action Chart reported that 83% of number one singles that year had been produced using an SSL mixing console. The company claims that more platinum albums have been recorded on SSL mixing consoles than any other company's equipment combined.[10] By 2004, there were more than 3,000 SSL-equipped facilities worldwide.[11]

In the 1990s, SSL also developed products for the post production and motion picture industry, and introduced the A Series digital mixing consoles. In the 2000s, the company introduced the C Series consoles designed to meet the needs of the broadcast production market.

Outboard processors and consoles with DAW control[edit]

In 2003, SSL introduced outboard signal processors that offered processing previously only available in SSL's large-format mixing consoles. The XLogic family of products included the Logic Channel, the company's first standalone channel strip. 2005 saw the release of additional processors, including the E Series channel strip and G Series Compressor, which utilized SSL's classic G Series center compressor design elements within a SuperAnalogue design topology. The X-Rack offered a modular solution for outboard signal processing.

In late 2004, SSL launched AWS 900, an integrated analogue console and DAW controller,[12] and introduced its successor, the AWS 900+, two years later. SSL eventually listed over 300 studios using the AWS900. SSL later introduced the AWS 916, 924, and 948 with support for SSL's delta control plug-in.

SSL XLogic X-Rack and Alpha-Link
SSL AWS 900+ at Performance Studio

In late 2006, SSL launched Duality, a large-format console that combined mixing console functionality of the XL 9000K with the control surface features of the AWS 900. Duality featured updated signal routing controls, accessible from the console's center section rather than on each channel. The console's channel strips include both E Series & G Series equalization, which is selected via a single button per channel. The console also features 'Variable Harmonic Drive', or VHD microphone/line preamplifiers, which can either be utilised as standard low-distortion preamps, or in a mode which introduces 2nd (even) & 3rd (odd) order harmonic distortion.

Also in 2006 SSL introduced the Duende DSP platform designed to emulate SSL channel strip features for home recording enthusiasts, including filters, SSL E and G Series EQ and dynamics processing. Additionally, the system offers the SSL Stereo Bus Compressor. Based on the digital technology behind SSL's C-Series consoles, Duende was designed to integrate into DAW environments using either a FireWire cable connection or PCI-e card, with the digital processing channels appearing as VST or Audio Units plug-ins. On 25 April 2007, SSL announced the release of another plug-in for the Duende, called Drumstrip, which contained a noise gate, a transient shaper, high frequency and low frequency enhancers, and the Listening Mic Compressor.

The same year, the company announced its expansion into broadcast video content management and delivery with their MediaWAN system.

Ownership changes[edit]

Solid State Logic sold its organ division in 2002; it is now known as Solid State Organ Systems.[13] The proprietary aptX-codec was sold in a management buyout,[14][15] with APT Licensing Ltd. incorporated on 1 March 2005 in Belfast.[16]

In 2005, musician Peter Gabriel and broadcast entrepreneur David Engelke became majority shareholders of the company.

In 2017, Solid State Logic was acquired by the Audiotonix Group,[17] while Gabriel became a major investor in the group following this transaction.[18]


The company received The Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade (Export) in 1981, and The Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation (Technology) in 1993 and 2020.[19][20]

The company received a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2004 for "contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field."[21][22]

Two of SSL's products were inducted into the TEC Awards TECnology Hall of Fame, which "honors and recognizes audio products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology": the SL 4000 series of mixing consoles was inducted in 2004,[23] and the AWS studio console was inducted in 2018.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Companies house webcheck". Retrieved 11 July 2006.
  2. ^ a b "About SSL". Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 11 July 2006.
  3. ^ "Douglas Sax and Solid State Logic, Ltd. to Receive 2004 Technical Grammy Awards". The Recording Academy. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  4. ^ Verna, Paul (25 February 1995). "Studio Morin Heights Reaches Far: Quebec Facility Embraces Int'l, Local Acts". Billboard. p. 91. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Production Credits". Billboard. 20 April 1996. p. 61.
  6. ^ "SSL E-Channel or G-Channel?". 20 April 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  7. ^ Willox, Mike (28 May 2014). "Reviews - Vintage: SSL 4000 Series". NME Networks. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  8. ^ "The History of SSL". Sweetwater Sound, Inc. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  9. ^ Milner, Greg (2009). Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music. New York, New York, US: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  10. ^ "The Enduring Legacy of SSL | Universal Audio". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  11. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 January 2004). "Grammys Recognize SSL's Technical Contributions". Billboard. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  12. ^ Robjohns, Hugh (November 2005). "SSL AWS900 Mixer & Control Surface". SOS Publications Group. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Solid State Organ Systems". Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Adventure ends for local management team who took on big boys". 3 August 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Solid State Logic Sells APT (Audio Processing Technology)". 12 May 2005.
  16. ^ APT Licensing Limited on Companies House
  17. ^ Weiss, David (5 March 2018). "Who Bought SSL? Inside the Acquisition That Surprised the Console World". SonicScoop. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Solid State Logic Joins Audiotonix Group - Solid State Logic". Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  19. ^ "SSL Wins Third Queen's Award" (PDF). November 1993. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  20. ^ David, Antony (20 May 2020). "Oxford-based audio console maker wins Queen's Award for broadcast system". TechTribe Oxford. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Douglas Sax and Solid State Logic, Ltd to Receive 2004 Technical Grammy Awards". Audio Engineering Society. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  22. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 January 2004). "Grammys Recognize SSL's Technical Contributions". Billboard. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  23. ^ "TECnology Hall of Fame 2004". NAMM Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  24. ^ "TECnology Hall of Fame 2018". NAMM Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2022.

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