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The Console That Changed Mixing Forever

Published December 2022

Sound On Sound met up with former Solid State Logic System and Support Team Leader Karen Down for a deep dive into the automation and recall technology that brought about a revolution in mixing.

Integrating a computer and VCA automation into an inline mixing console, Solid State Logic's 4000 E-series was the first to combine total parameter recall, level automation, tape transport control and compehensive channel EQ and dynamics. The 4000 E launched in 1979 and allowed engineers to record, edit and overdub their fader moves to floppy disk, defining many of the automation modes we now take for granted. This console and its descendants dominated the music recording industry for the next 20 years, creating new working practices and changing the sound of popular music.

In this exclusive Sound On Sound feature video, we head to Echotown Studio in Dorset where Karen demonstrates some of the key features that set the SSL console apart from its contemporaries and gives a tutorial on how to use the integrated computer.


00:00 - Introduction
00:40 - What Makes The SSL SL 4000 E Mixing Console Special?
02:39 - Loading A 24-Track Tape Onto A Reel-to-Reel
03:49 - How Does The Automation System Work?
05:56 - Setting Up A New Session With The SSL Console Computer
07:10 - Finding The Start Of The Song
07:52 - Adding Names For Tracks And Cue List
09:39 - Total Recall Setups And Floppy Disk Storage
12:16 - Recording Mix Automation
15:29 - How To Edit And Update A Mix
17:27 - 'Auto Takeover' Automation Mode
18:47 - Setting Up Different Automation Modes
20:04 - 'Play Cuts Only' Mode
21:00 - 'Immediate Pickup' Mode
21:23 - 'Preview' and 'Trim' Modes
25:07 - 'Revise' Mix Mode
27:41 - Ability To Combine And Edit Mixes Offline
29:05 - Software Groups Used To Group Controls
30:44 - Outro

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This SOS video is kindly sponsored by Universal Audio.

Karen Down at the SSL E series console in Echotown StudioKaren Down at the SSL E series console in Echotown Studio.

SSL E series console

SSL E series console recall screen

Echotown Studio control room, Dorset UK, features an SSL E series console.Echotown Studio control room, Dorset UK, features an SSL E series console.