Sunday, September 26, 2010

Solid State Logic's Duende: EQ Compression Gate Expander Tutorials

If you're not familiar with Solid State Logic... get familiar right now. They are hands down one of the most sought after brands in the audio industry and continue to evolve as the market advances into the digital realm and beyond. Solid State Logic's consoles and gear can be found in studio's at Capitol Records, Dr. Dre's house, Sasha's project studio and Timbaland's tour bus. Not to mention the rest of SSL's history scattered about the planet in some of the most legendary studios known to man's ear. The sonic character, quality, unique features, and intuitive use of Solid State Logic's gear make it the obvious choice for professionals looking for that special touch on their production & mixes.

Solid State Logic has done some interesting things over the past few years to bring the legendary sound and quality of their products to a new market. A market fraught with creativity and independence, this would be where you would input your own name ______ ________. Because, chances are, if you're reading this blog you're precisely the person SSL has marketed their latest line of gear to. Gear like their X-Rack which allows users to custom build a small analog 500 series rack outfitted with any combination of SSL's dynamic processing and input modules. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what SSL manufactures that one could consider affordable. Cheap... No. The legendary sound you've heard on countless hit records since you've exited the womb... Yes! Obviously it's not "cheap" you're paying for quality, that quality is just now more affordable and more available to the public than ever before.

The Duende is mainly why we're here though. Solid State Logic released the first version of Duende in 2006, it's built on the same technology available in SSL's "C" Series Digital Console. Basically, it's a box with an SSL DSP engine that hosts SSL Plug-Ins for your DAW.  It's a baby SSL that lives in a box and connects to your computer, turning your laptop into a mult-core resource eating beast! The Duende comes available in a small FireWire desktop box and also a rack sized PCIe version for you HD users. Most of you will most likely benefit from the Duende Mini. Especially laptop users considering Duende lightens the CPU load when you're using the SSL Plug-ins specific to it.

I almost forgot to mention latency... Sloppy.  Let's say you have some outboard gear, for this example since we're in SSL land we will assume you have two SSL Super Analogue EQ's in a Mynx rack.  Now, assume you'd like to process the Moog synth line you just recorded into Pro Tools.  Before you do that though you slap a plug-in compressor on the synth track inside of Pro Tools.  So you've got the synth recorded into pro tools (at as high of quality possible cause you're a geek) Being processed by the plug-in compressor and you're ready to route it out to your interface so that you can run it through the SSL outboard EQ to sculpt the low end and bring out that high end analog noise post compression.  After some tweaking you decide that it's now sounding nice and you're ready to record it back into Pro Tools.  You record it back into PT, play it back with the rest of your mix and you will notice your synth track is now delayed and playing behind everything else.  You're now thinking... WTF???

This is because of the delay introduced by the plug-in compressor on the original recorded synth track.  It can only work so quickly to process the audio and spit it back out.  By the time it does this and the track is sent out to be processed and recorded back to PT it is behind the other tracks in PT.  This isn't really a problem in Logic and other DAW's because most have automatic delay compensation.  Pro Tools LE does not though and you have to either adjust the timing by hand and move the recorded waveform back in time or find out the delay time and then add digi's delay compensation plug-in (I will do a tutorial on this process very soon)  Now hopefully you see why this is a problem and can be quite a pain in the ass.  Not all plug-ins create delay but most native ones do and you can check in Pro Tools by "apple" clicking on the digital scribble strip in Pro Tool's Mix Window (see picture).   The Duende however introduces no latency whatsoever!  Case & Point: Solid State Logic's Duende DSP powered plug-ins mean no delay compensation hassles!  Now you're most certainly wondering why you're here since I've yet to show you any tutorials. Stop wondering, just one more paragraph and you'll be on your way to audio knowledge heaven.

Solid State Logic has created a series of tutorials for Duende that cover everything from basic EQ knowledge to more advanced techniques like parallel compression. While these tutorials are specific to the plug-ins available with Duende, they also have a ton of information packed into them that is useful to anyone searching for audio processing knowledge. A compressor is a compressor weather it's the stock Logic Studio Compressor or an SSL Compressor. Same goes for EQ's and other plug-ins as well.  The following little bit of info comes from some of the greatest minds in the audio industry and is certainly more than worth your time.  If you've got a Duende then it's just like a double whammy as you'll be trained in the recording arts (EQ, Compression, ETC.) and get a product specific tutorial for use with your software!  Sorry to spit so much promotional SSL jargon at you but it's all honestly how I personally feel.  The main goal of this blog is to spread awareness regarding quality gear, SSL is quality gear and I felt I needed to respectfully give the brand the attention that it deserves.  Now, without further a do; I give you Solid State Logic's Duende Tutorials!

Duende Tutorial 1: Compression & Limiting

Duende Tutorial 2: Using the Gate/Expander Section

Duende Tutorial 3: Basic EQ

Duende Tutorial 4: Using the Duende Channel Side Chain

Duende Tutorial 5: Duende Bus Compressor

Duende Tutorial 6: Advanced EQ

Duende Tutorial 7: Parallel Compression

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