Waves SSL 4000 E Channel Strip Plugin

Hey, what’s up people? Today I’m going to show you the SSL 4000 series plug-ins, specifically, the channel strip.

It’s sort of a desert island plug-in. I mean, it does everything. It models — you know, a console. So you have an EQ section, and a dynamic section, and it’s one of those tools that I think is a must have and can pretty much — I mean, you can throw it on literally anything and it’s going to give you good results.

But let’s take a look at them. Alright.

Two versions they sort of released, and there’s some minor differences between each one. This one on the left is the G-Channel, and the one on the right is the E-Channel.

Personally, I use the E-Channel pretty much all of the time. Tonally, as far as sound quality and color goes — I mean, they both sound great. The G-Channel you can think, and you may be able to call bullshit on me, it’s a little brighter, it’s a little edgier.

Again, super subtle though. I mean, very subtle. And you have a couple of other minor differences with these HMF, times three, and this low MF divided by three buttons. You’ve got a couple of routing options that are different, but other than that, they function the same.

So let’s break down this E-Channel strip right here.

Okay. It looks kind of — pretty intimidating if you’ve never stared at anything like this before. There’s a lot of colors, there’s a lot of knobs, there’s a lot of numbers, and a lot of terminology on here you may not be super familiar with.

So let’s run it through. You can pretty much split this thing into two sides. Your left side is your filters, your EQ section, your right side you can consider dynamics, so you have your compressor and you have your gate. Then of course your gain staging, so your input and output.

On the left side, we’ll go from top to bottom, the top you have your high pass and low pass filters, so you have high pass on the left and low pass on the right, and you just turn these knobs to whatever frequency you want.

It’s got a split button that’ll split it off the channel strip all together. Below that, you have these two red knobs. You’ve got your high filter — it defaults as a shelf curve. I’m not really going to go into what a shelf curve is, but I do have a cool EQ tutorial video coming up where I’m going to explain all that stuff. Just know it defaults as a shelf curve. You hit this button in, you go to a bell curve.

Knob on the left. You’re either going to boost or cut, and this thing gives you 15dB of gain in either direction. So turn to the right, boost 5.5dB, pull left, minus 6dB, whatever you need to do.

This knob on the right over here is where you select your frequency. Turn it to the right, higher frequencies, left, lower frequencies. Pretty easy.

This green section below it is your high-mid filter. You’ve got, again, top left, boosting or cutting. Again, 15dB of gain in either direction. Knob on your right, select your frequency, and your knob down here, this third one is — you can call this your Q knob. So you can sort of define the curve you want, how steep of a curve or narrow of a curve, or how wide of a curve you’d like.

So turn to the right and you have a really wide kind of selection, and then all the way to the left and you can get very precise and sort of dial in — if you just want to cut one specific thing.

Below that — we’ll come back to these grey buttons, but the blue section is your low-mid filter. It works just like your high-mid filter. All three knobs are the same thing. So you have your gain, either direction, frequency select, Q knob, right?

Below that you have your low filter, and it works very similar to the high filter. It defaults as a shelf. Hit the button, you go to a bell curve. Knob on the right selects your frequency, knob on the left, boost or cutting.

Back up to this EQ2 section, you get sort of your routing kind of options. If you want to bypass the EQ altogether, just click that and it’ll turn that whole EQ section off.

The button to the next is DYN-SC is dynamic side-chain, which essentially dumps the EQ section into the side-chain of the compressor, or the dynamic section, so you can think of that like EQing after the compressor in a way. I won’t get too deep into that, but just know that’s what that does.

And that’s — that’s your filter side. That’s your EQ side. That’s all it does. It works like any other EQ. Select your frequency, boost or cut, you have your filtering at the top, pretty simple.

The right side, from top to bottom, again, you have your compressor on the top, so you’ve got ratio, like you’ve seen on almost any compressor there is, you’ve got threshold, and then you have your release.

So really quick release on the left, slow release on the right. Then you have this F-Attack, so fast attack button. It defaults at I think probably like a little mild, medium fast-ish attack, and then hit the switch and it’ll go to a really quick attack on that compressor.

Below that you have your gate. Hit the button, the gate is engaged. Take it off and the gate’s not working.

You have a threshold knob, obviously your range for the gate, and then your expander adjustments there. Release. Then you have your fast attack below that. Just like it works on the compressor.

Below that, you’ve got these same kind of routing options. You can totally bypass the dynamics section. So sometimes I’ll use this, but I’ll want to use like an 1176 to compress instead of the dynamics section here. So I’ll bypass this and toss the 1176 after it on my inserts and there you go.

Then you have your channel out button. Below that, you have Waves Analog sort of magic button. That emulates sort of the noise floor of these things. These things, they’re pretty quiet, you know, as far as that goes.

I mean, SSL — when I think of vibey gear, I don’t really think of SSL. When I think of SSL, I think really clear, really tight, really just clean, punchy kind of sounds, like I think transparency.

Below that you’ve got — you can flip the phase on the channel strip, just like you could on most any other channel strip or EQ that you’d see. You’ve got input gain so you can dump more into it or take some out, you’ve got that there. Then you have your output fader here. Just like you would on an actual console.

You can switch between input monitoring or output monitoring, like always.

Man, and that’s pretty much it. There’s not a lot to it. You’ll hear these things on all kinds of tracks. I mean, I’ll use this thing just like I would an actual desk. I’ll throw this across every single drum track I’ll get, and I’ll mix out my drums just like everybody on an SSL using just compressors in here.

It’s definitely one of those plug-ins that I would totally recommend buying if you’re just getting into it. It’s an all-in-one and it sounds good. Like, no matter — literally no matter what you put it on. You’ve got great EQ and great, great compression.

Those are really kind of your main tools when you mix.

So anyways, they also make this buss compressor in the series. Put that back. That’s I’ll go over maybe tomorrow and do a video on the buss compressor, but this thing is also a super must have.

But yeah. That’s it. I hope this helps you out, I hope it helps you sort of understand this channel strip. It can be a little intimidating. I know the first time I saw it, I hadn’t even seen an actual desk at the time. So it’s — it can definitely be pretty intimidating.

Anyways, hit me up on Twitter, ask me some more questions, subscribe, like the video, and I’ll see you next time. Thanks.

Mixnotes

Mixnotes

Mixnotes is a YouTube channel with tutorials on mixing, recording, business, plugins and more. We've partnered with them to feature some of their videos on The Pro Audio Files.
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