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-   -   SSL UC1 plugin controller (https://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=415940)

Ben Jenssen 06-27-2021 12:48 PM

SSL UC1 plugin controller
I've been waiting for this exciting new product to show up on the DUC, but I can see nothing so far, so I'm starting this thread.



I've ordered one, and expecting it to arrive next week. I think this is going to be a game changer, at least for me. I see it like this; I'll plug it in, after having inserted SSL Native Channelstrip on every channel and Bus Compressor on sub mixes and master, and I turn off the computer screens.

Looking down on the Command8 and the UC1, I'll be able to mix with my ears and not my eyes, like in the old days with consoles. I expect to have immediate, intuitive control like never before with in-the-box mixing, from day one. No mouse, no screen. Navigation, transport and other plugins controlled via the Command8 like before - EQ and dynamics across the board w/UC1. Of course, I'll have to sit in front of the screen every now and then to arrange, prepare, edit and so on, but when mixing this will be heaven for me.

Oh, and I've owned the SSL Native plugins since last year, and I sware, I never heard anything like them. They just sound lovely, so I have no problem using them for all channels and busses. I can of course use any other PIs, but will have to control them via Command8 or with mouse/screen.

Big GearSpace thread about UC1:

I'll report back when this baby is in my posession.
Anybody have it already? Please chime in.

albee1952 06-29-2021 09:36 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
I've watched a few video demos and it looks very promising. I hope the channel strip plugin isn't a resource hog so you CAN use it across every track. I bought the new KIT plugin for Blackbird's Neve and it sounds great, BUT if I load up more than 20 or so, my system usage meter goes red:mad:

Ben Jenssen 06-29-2021 10:00 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller

Originally Posted by albee1952 (Post 2606057)
I've watched a few video demos and it looks very promising. I hope the channel strip plugin isn't a resource hog so you CAN use it across every track. I bought the new KIT plugin for Blackbird's Neve and it sounds great, BUT if I load up more than 20 or so, my system usage meter goes red:mad:

I've had the Native bundle since they were on sale last year, and besides sounding fantastic they are really easy on the cpu. Basically the two main reasons I see myself incorporating UC1 and the plugins in my workflow in a very fundamental way.

I cant find the thread now, but I remember getting feedback from Christopher, Southsidemusic, after I had praised the sound. After saying like "yea, yea. I heard every SSL emulation that's out there, and they're nothing like the real thing", he got back and said they had compared the plugins to their real ssl desk and were very surprised how close it was.

DetroitT 07-16-2021 10:35 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
SSL 360 plugin, controller along with Eucon?
Hopefully not like HUI/C|24 meter loss when used with Eucontrol.

Ben Jenssen 07-19-2021 01:49 PM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
Well, I finally got mine. I've had it for 24hrs now, I thought I'd share my initial reactions and thoughts.

It went like I expected, I plugged it in and it worked right away, as I had PT running with a session with SSL plugins and SSL 360 running also. It's built like a tank, looks lovely, only thing was the pots. They might not feel as solid as I expected, and also a very slight difference in the resistance on them. And the square buttons a tiny bit flimsy as well. But this are tiny, tiny issues that I forget about when I use it.

In use: If you've seen and used a channelstrip, there is almost nothing to it, you can dive right in. Navigating is easy, displays are loud and clear, feedback on values are easy to see.

Together with my 8 fader Command 8, I can now look away from the screen when mixing, or turn it off. This is provided that the session has been set up correctly. This is the one thing that require some work for things work. F.ex you need to have the channelstrip plugin instantiated on all active tracks and they have to be active, not bypassed. If not the solo function on the UC1 will not function correctly as it works on the 360 app and not the solo in PT. 360 is like a 'shell' between PT and UC1 which administers activity between UC1 and every instance of the plugins you have in PT. Or any other DAW for that matter, as this thing can switch instantly between DAWs. And one must remember to solo-safe bus compressors on submixes. Also done in 360, not w/PT's solo-safe.

I mixed away all night. I really feel it gives me speed, and a flow that lets me mix better! I can hear the results. I think I'm pushing limits more also, because I'm not looking at curves and values so much, and the plugins can take it, extreme settings, no problem. I can go thru tracks eq'ing and compressing, solo'ing, latch solo'ing more tracks, all on the UC1. Clear all solo's with a click of a button. And of course control my bus compressors, it just works.

On the Command 8 I have the transport, faders, mute, solo, pans and sends to navigate the big picture, and control other plugins.

The only times you need the PT screens are to insert plugins, change routings, things like that.

But the main thing, overshadowing everything else is that it lets me focus on what I'm hearing in a totally different way than when I'm using half my brain looking at tons of on-screen info. Makes a world of difference. And it's why I got it.

I'm loving it.

albee1952 07-20-2021 09:05 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
Thanks for sharing that. You're making me jealous:D

Ben Jenssen 07-31-2021 10:30 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
Following up after three weeks of using UC1 with PT:

Generally, it works very good. The feel of the pots and buttons is great. LED indicators give great visual feedback. Even with my failing eyesight, I can almost put my glasses away and mix. The only exception is the smallest items in the menus on the display; presets and routing, I need glasses to see properly. Almost everything goes on muscle memory. I agree that it's a bit strange that it doesn't have a on/off switch, but it has automatic sleep mode w/a screen saver w/SSL logo, so I just keep it turned on most of the time. (As I do with much of my mac/peripherals.)

(I'm getting the stupid "Access denied" error, so I'm splitting up this long post.)

Ben Jenssen 07-31-2021 10:31 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
With PT, I think it's essential that UC1 is combined with a DAW controller of some kind, otherwise you have to have a mouse in one hand and your eyes on the screen most of the time; for transport, pan, sends and so on. With the Session set up like it should, I can turn on a nice screen saver, and mix away. I say it again, it's amazing how much "better" I listen when I don't have a screen.

I use the C insert slot for SSL plugins. Channelstrip on tracks, and Bus Compressor on sub mixes. Everything has SSL on the C slot. With only A-E showing, I have two slots free above and two below.

This takes me to the solo function on the UC1. I think it's one it's best features. OK I have solo and mute on the Command8, but having it right next to EQ and dynamics makes the workflow even smoother and faster.

BUT, the solo function takes me to quirks and things that could be better. The UC1 communicates with any SSL plugins you have active, on any DAW (!) you have running. It does not control anything else. So when I press solo on a track on UC1, it tells all other SSL plugins to stop the flow of audio thru them. It's completely independant of the solo/mute in PT. Therefore it's important to have SSL Channelstrip on every track, otherwise it won't work. Of course I also use solo/mute on the Command8 which sets PT solo/mutes, so with two independant solo systems, I often found in the beginning that solo/mute didn't work because I'd forgotten a setting on the "other" solo/mute system. It's barely a problem anymore. This is also one of the things that makes the UC1 not for everone, I think. It sort of demands that you play by it's rules. If you are creating tracks and re-routing all the time you'd be loosing the solo function pretty much. But it suits me fine, as I don't do much tracking and creative work anymore. I mostly enjoy digging up old material from my studio days or helping a friend now and then with a mix.

Other things that could be better; The SSL 360˚ application seems a little "unfinished". It displays all instances of SSL plugins - in the order they were created. So if I decide to create a new channelstrip in PT, it will be last in the 360, and last on the UC1, no matter it's placement in PT. You have to re-order it manually in 360 or close and reopen the session and it will sort correctly.

Because of the separate solo functionality, you must also remeber to solo-safe channelstrips in the 360 app, if their tracks are solo-safed in PT.

I mostly use the channel selector on UC1 because it's fast and easy. But I can also easily select what track is focused on UC1 from the Command8. Click "Insert", then C (but mostly it's already on C) then "Select" on the track I want; s, 2-3 clicks. BUT, and this is another quirk; only if there is a plugin window open in PT.

I shurely hope it's possible for SSL/Avid to get a better integration with PT. One can always hope. But don't get me wrong; this is the best investment I've done, ever!!!

The flow in working with this controller gives me more and more love for the plugins. The speed and flow has me discovering more of their versatility and power. It invites me to push, like I wouldn't do on screen, somehow. I'm rediscovering the filter section, which sounds great, and the dynamics section which is SO powerful. Again, pushing the limits, and it can take it. And my mixes sound better, I think.

albee1952 07-31-2021 06:19 PM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
I would copy this entire post and send it to SSL. I bet they would welcome all the suggestions they can get at this early stage of the game:D

lydpik 08-02-2021 08:58 AM

Re: SSL UC1 plugin controller
That's great, good idea! :) Hopefully they are listening... No updates on the 360 software, so far... :o

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