SSL have launched the Pure Drive Quad and Pure Drive Octo, a pair of four- and eight-channel preamps that employ the circuitry originally designed for their Origin mixing console. As well as including both the renowned Pure and Drive modes found on the Origin, these new units also offer a new Asymmetric Drive function, plus comprehensive digital connectivity and a built-in 32-bit/192kHz USB-C audio interface.
Preamps & New Drive Mode
Both the Quad and Octo versions feature a similar set of controls for each channel, offering a stepped gain control which provides up to 65dB of gain along with a ±15dB Trim pot. The Quad has a variable high-pass filter that extends up to 300Hz and has its own dedicated control, whilst the Octo’s is fixed at 75Hz and can be engaged by clicking the Trim pot. The Quad has switches to engage phantom power and switch between mic or line-level sources; the Octo provides the same functions by pressing and holding the Gain and Trim pots, respectively. Both units are equipped with dedicated switches for cycling between four input impedance options and choosing between three modes for the Drive function.
A Clean mode (indicated by a white LED behind the button) delivers the linear, low-noise performance that SSL are known for, whilst a Classic Drive mode (amber) engages the same circuitry used in the Origin console, enhancing the source with primarily odd harmonics. Pressing the button until its backlight changes to green will activate a new Asymmetric Drive mode, which increases even harmonics and results in a more obvious colouration and softening of transients.
Due to the difference in channel count, the rear panel of each unit offers a varied collection of sockets to handle the I/O.
- Quad - there are four XLR/TRS combo connectors that accept mic and line-level inputs, along with four XLR sockets that act both as line-level outputs or insert sends. A DB25 connector then provides insert return points for each channel, as well as duplicating the line-level inputs.
- Octo - has eight XLR/TRS combo sockets handling mic and line-level inputs, along with a trio of DB25 connectors that provide line-level inputs along with outputs/insert sends and insert returns for every channel.
It’s not just analogue I/O that’s available; the Quad and Octo each provide their outputs in both AES/EBU and ADAT formats, and feature a built-in USB audio interface capable of routing all channels to a DAW at up to 32-bit/192kHz. Helpfully, the USB connection can also be used to feed signals from a computer to the device's AES and ADAT outputs. There are also Word Clock input and output sockets on BNC connectors.
Pricing & Availability
Shipping information on the new preamps is yet to be confirmed. Pricing is as follows:
- Pure Drive Quad: $1399£833 excluding VAT / €1399
- Pure Drive Octo: $2499£1499 excluding VAT / €1829