Three 500 Series EQs

Jun 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Kevin Becka

Beautiful, Portable Sonic Shapers


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SSL E-Series EQ

SSL E-Series EQ

Back when SSL released its XRack vertical EQ and compressor units, it was a head-slapping moment for me. “Doh! Why don’t they just make 500 Series units?” Having to buy into the SSL-only XRack housing unit and power supply was something I felt kept the company’s signature units out of reach of the average Joe who couldn’t justify XRack and 500 Series. Now with the release of the 611 Series, which comprises the E-Series Dynamics and E-Series EQ, anyone can have SSL processing right alongside other popular 500 Series units, even a single unit. But you’ll probably want more.

The 4-band unit is broken into HF and LF sweepable bands and two fully parametric LMF and HMF bands. The top and bottom sections each offer a Bell/Shelf option, and there is a beefy In button at the center alongside the fabled Black button. This switches the EQ to the Black mode design developed in the 1980s, which SSL states was “the last version of the standard E Series EQ. The EQ card was called the ‘242.’” The Brown option (default) is: “The original SSL EQ fitted to all consoles prior to the summer of 1985. The EQ card was called the ‘02.’”

Although the E-Series EQ is the focus of this review (I had a pair), I also had two E-Series Dynamics units, and the pairing is lovely and worth mentioning. Both units are solid as a rock and put you in an SSL state of mind immediately. The familiar controls react as the console does and are super-clean and responsive. The pairing of the two together brings you the exact same capabilities as SSL’s high-end consoles—great EQ and dynamics in your signal path.

I used the E-Series EQ on drum overheads, toms, snare and a kick drum. My favorite application was on snare. In the LMF band, I could grab 200 to 400 Hz for the fundamental, dial in the Q, then move up to 1.5 to 2.5 kHz in the HMF and dig out the snap of the drum. Perfect! They also excelled on electric and acoustic guitars, B3 and percussion.

These EQs are addictive, as are the compressors. It was great to have the two pairs to play with across a range of tracks. The high price of entry is justified if you love that E Series sound that made so many hit records, and still does.

Kevin Becka is Mix’s Technical Editor


Company: Solid State Logic

Product: E-Series EQ


Price: $889

Pros: Super-clean and responsive EQ.

Cons: Brown vs. Black button results can be a challenge to hear.


If you have an SSL E-Series Dynamics unit, try maxing out the threshold of the compressor (+10) and set the ratio at 1:1. Then kick the unit in/out to hear the difference. Even with zero compression, you’ll immediately get some SSL signal path love. This worked especially well on some chunky rhythm guitars, adding a nice presence in the mids that I ended up leaving in for the entire mix.

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