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SSL / EW-FX - Now Available for Download!

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Item: EW-261 SSL/EW FX Global Suite

DOWNLOAD PLAY 4 IMMEDIATELY WITH THE SSL/EW FX GLOBAL SUITE UPGRADE!!

What's included?

  • Solid State Logic EQ & Dynamics Channel, consisting of:
    • Filter
    • EQ
    • Compressor and Noise Gate/Expander
  • Solid State Logic Transient Shaper
  • Solid State Logic Stereo Compressor
  • EastWest Expanded Convolution Reverb
  • 726 Additional Reverb Presets

Why do I need this?

There are more chart topping records made on SSL consoles than any other console. This suite provides the same tools in a software format from the original manufacturer, plus additional reverb controls, "true stereo" reverb engine and 726 additional reverb presets (including a classic reverb used on thousands of records) from EastWest, providing the best sound shaping tools available anywhere for a fraction of the price. This Global License will enable the use of these "state of the art" sound shaping tools with all PLAY products. Use the tools to create your own "custom instruments" and save them in the PLAY browser for easy recall.

Product Information

The SSL/EW FX Global Suite is a collection of professional audio processing tools for use inside the PLAY 4 software. The SSL audio processing tools provide the superior precision, advanced feature set and legendary tonal characteristics of SSL console products. They are quite simply the easiest way to get your hands on professional tools that will help you achieve professional compositions that sound like a record. The foundations of the SSL collection are adaptations of two SSL console classics; the EQ & Dynamics Channel plug-in provides an EQ & Dynamics processing solution with all the power, precision, flexibility and signature tone of an SSL console channel strip. The legendary Stereo Compressor gives you the classic SSL stereo compressor that brings power and punch to your music without compromising clarity. The Transient Shaper is a 'task specific' carefully selected and lovingly crafted processing tool to create outstanding Drum and Percussion sounds quickly and easily. These SSL audio processing tools are identical to those found in the SSL Duende Native Plug-in suite, for a fraction of the price, limited only to their use within the PLAY 4 software.

The EastWest Reverb in the FX Suite is an expansion of the Reverb in the Player view. It adds some features that are not part of the Player Reverb: (1) A high-pass and low pass filter set, with 2 handles on the graph for modifying the filters visually; (2) A mono button; (3) 726 additional reverb presets that are not available on the Player page Reverb; and (4) A selection of 'true stereo' reverbs that are added only when this FX Suite is installed.

Although the SSL/EW FX Suite is included free for use with selected products after the introduction of PLAY 4; to use the SSL/EW FX Suite with previously released PLAY collections requires an upgrade which can be purchased here. Only one upgrade is required for all PLAY releases, users do not need to purchase the upgrade for each individual PLAY product.

The SSL/EW FX Suite enables users to customize the EastWest/Quantum Leap Instruments and save custom instruments in the Browser menu for recall at any time, with the added convenience of being able to change any parameter in real time.

FX Mixer

The image above shows the full set of plug-ins for the instrument loaded into the second instrument strip (Acapulco 115 BPM). At the bottom of the FX drawer are 2 controls: a Preset list (which is empty in the image) and a Channel list, where you can use the left and right arrow buttons to move to a different strip. Using this Channel list, you can move through the various instrument strips without having to close one drawer and open another.

Included in the FX drawer are:

  • Solid State Logic EQ & Dynamics Channel, consisting of:
    • Filter
    • EQ
    • Compressor and Noise Gate/Expander
  • Solid State Logic Transient Shaper
  • Solid State Logic Stereo Compressor
  • EastWest Expanded Convolution Reverb
  • 726 Additional Reverb Presets

The specific controls are described in detail after this overview.

To hide the UI for all the plug-ins, click on the X button in the lower right corner. The settings are preserved while the controls are hidden, with the saved values reappearing when they are reopened with the FX button.

SSL's EQ & Dynamics Channel Strip

This passes the signal through 5 separate sections, as described separately in the text below.

Input Section and Output Section

EW FX Input

The Power button in the upper-left corner enables the channel strip processing. Turn the Gain knob in the Input Section to control the level of the incoming audio signal. The post-gain signal level is shown in lights to its left. As a rough guide, the '-6' yellow indicator should occasionally come on but the red '0' indicator should remain off. Press the Ø button to invert the phase of the input signal.

EW FX Input

The Output Section is the last step in the processing. The Gain knob controls the audio level of the output signal. Adjust this level last to achieve the loudness of the signal that you want. The same rules for the yellow and red indicator lights apply here as in the Input Section. The S/C Listen button directs the Dynamics Side Chain to the channel output.

EW FX Filter

The Filter controls provide access to two separate kinds of filters. The black knob controls an 18dB/Octave high-pass filter (20Hz to 500Hz). Use it to remove lower frequencies from the audio. The purple knob controls a 12dB/Octave low-pass filter (3kHz to 22kHz). Use it to remove higher frequencies. Turn either knob fully left (marked OUT) to turn that filter off. Turn either one (or both) clockwise to move the filter frequency in from its extremity. You have a choice where to insert the Filters in the audio stream. To place the Filters immediately following the Input control, press the Input button. To switch the Filters into the Dynamics Side Chain, press the Dyn SC button. Note that when the Dyn S/C button is engaged the Input button has no effect.

Equalizer Section

To use the EQ, switch it into circuit by pressing the EQ In button, which is near the top in the center of the UI for this section.

EW-FX EQ

The EQ section has four bands, each with its own knob color. All bands have gain and frequency control. The low (LF) and high (HF) bands are shelved by default but can be switched to a bell shape (parametric) by pressing the Bell button; the Bell option gives you more control over the exact shape of the EQ curve. The low-mid (LMF) and high-mid (HMF) bands have Q controls (to adjust the sharpness of the modified curve) in addition to what the others have.

Listed in the table below are the ranges for the knobs in each section.

Band LF LMF HMF HF
Frequency range 40Hz - 600Hz 200Hz - 1kHz 600Hz - 7kHz 1.5kHz - 22kHz
Gain range + 16.5dB +20dB +20dB +20dB
Q range 0.5 - 2.5 0.5 - 2.5

The E button in the center toggles the EQ emulation between the G Series and E Series consoles. The difference between them is described in the following table.

G Series E Series
The bell curve has a more rounded shape at low gains, and the shelf curve overshoots zero slightly at the base of the curve. The bell curve is slightly more pointed, and there is no overshoot on the shelf curve.
G Series EQ is more subtle and is generally more suited to instruments and vocals. E Series EQ is more aggressive and is therefore better for removing problem frequencies. It is generally more suited to drums.

Note: At full boost or full cut, the E and G Series curves are identical.

To switch the EQ into the Dynamics Side Chain, press Dyn SC.

Dynamics Section

This section consists of both Compressor controls and Noise Gate/Expander controls. Both sections work independently but can be operational at the same time, providing sophisticated control of signal levels. The example image of the UI is shown below, after the description of the Compressor.

There are two buttons at the top. The Dyn In button turns on the whole section. The Pre EQ button moves this section before the Equalizer; otherwise, this processing is performed after the Equalizer.

Compressor

EW-FX Compressor

On the left are 3 blue knobs for controlling the Compressor: Threshold, Release, and Ratio. To activate the Compressor/Limiter, turn the Ratio knob so that its ratio is no longer set at 1:1.

To turn the compressor into a ∞:1 limiter, turn the knob fully to the right.

There is no gain makeup control because the T/HOLD (threshold) knob controls both the level at which gain reduction is introduced and the gain make-up, thus keeping the output level steady regardless of the compression.

The Release knob controls how quickly the level returns to normal after the input level has dropped below the threshold (measured in seconds). The attack time is adjusted automatically to match the audio. To choose a consistently fast attack time, press the Fast Att button.

Turn on the PK button to switch from RMS to Peak signal detection. In normal RMS mode, the compressor reacts to the average signal level and has a soft knee characteristic. When switched to Peak mode, it responds to peak signal level and introduces a hard knee characteristic, resulting in more dramatic compression.

The level of compression being introduced is shown in the left-hand of the two meters in the centre of the Dynamics section.

Noise Gate/Expander:

EW-FX Compressor

To activate the Noise Gate/Expander, turn the Range knob so that its range is no longer zero. The green indicators in the right-hand of the two meters in the centre of the Dynamics section show the amount of gain reduction being introduced.

By default, the Noise Gate/Expander section functions as a Gate. To switch to the Ex-pander, press the Exp switch. The Threshold function uses different levels to open the gate to audio and to close it again: the level at which the expander opens is higher than the level at which it closes again. In other words, when the expander is opened, it stays open until the signal level crosses the quieter Close threshold. This is known as hysteresis and is very useful as it allows instruments to decay more naturally. The word "Threshold" normally refers to the Open threshold.

The Hold knob controls the delay before the signal level starts reducing again. The Release knob controls how quickly the level then reduces. Note that the Release knob interacts with the Range knob, which determines the depth of gain reduction. The Attack Time (the time taken for the Expander/Gate to 'recover' once the signal level is above the 'deactivate' threshold) is normally set to 1.5ms per 40dB. Press the Fast Att button to introduce a faster attack time of 100μs per 40dB. This is useful when gating signals with a steep rising edge, such as drums.

Processing Order

EW-FX Order

The graphic at the right shows the 8 possible orderings for the 3 processing stages, with and without a Side Chain. The original audio signal starts at the left and the processed signal exits at the right of each diagram. The lower (straight) line is the standard audio path. When the EQ and/or Filter is in the upper path, then that component is in the Side Chain (as described below). The one of these 8 diagrams currently in effect appears in the upper-right corner of the drawer.

The default order is Filter >> EQ >> Dynamics, with nothing in the Side Chain, as shown in the 5th diagram in the image.

To place the Filter section after the EQ section, deactivate the Input button in the Filter section so that its light is off.

To place the Dynamics before the EQ, press the Pre EQ button in the Dynamics section, so that its light is on.

When the Input and Pre EQ switch are active simultaneously, the processing order becomes Filter >> Dynamics >> EQ.

The Side Chain

The Side Chain is a path for the audio signal that is used to control the Dynamics section when it acts on the main audio signal. The Side Chain is not normally audible, but can highlight aspects of the audible signal that need processing.

The EQ and Filter sections can be assigned to the Dynamics Side Chain, allowing for advanced processes like de-essing, as described below. This is done using the Dyn S/C switches in the respective sections.

Both EQ and Filter sections can be assigned to the Side Chain together, in which case the EQ precedes the Filter.

Here's an example of using the Side Chain to remove the hissing sound of the letter S when it's too prominent. First, the audio is split into 2 signals. EQ is applied to the signal in the Side Chain to make the hisses louder, so that the compressor can use the louder S sounds as a clue that the main signal needs to be compressed (made softer) at those moments more than at other moments. In the main signal, the S sounds are made softer.

To listen to the signal feeding the Side Chain, press the S/C Listen button in the Output section to route the Side Chain signal to the channel output. It is important to remember to cancel the S/C Listen button once you have finished auditioning the Side Chain!

SSL's Transient Shaper Plug-in

EW-FX Transient EW-FX Wave

The Transient Shaper allows you to augment the attack at the start of a drum hit (or any note) by increasing the amplitude of the attack portion of the signal while leaving the decay and held note unchanged. In the image at the right, the right hand waveform is a processed version of the one on the left. It has been passed through the Transient Shaper where the amplitude of the attack portion has been increased.

Switch the Shaper on by clicking on the Power button in its top left-hand corner. The lights at the right give visual feedback on how much attack is being added using the Gain and Amount controls. If the top red light illuminates, reduce the effect.

The Gain knob controls the detection level of the controller signal, and should be set so that only the transients you want to shape are detected. If this is set too low then the Shaper will do nothing; if it is set too high then the Shaper will detect too many transients, resulting in an exaggerated process, and the attack appearing too long. The default setting of 0dB should be a good starting point.

Note that the Gain setting here does not directly affect the output signal's gain.

Amount controls the amount of the processed signal added to the unprocessed signal. This process can increase the peak level of a signal significantly, so watch the output meter carefully.

Speed controls the length of time the added attack takes to fall back down to the normal signal level once it has reached the top of the attack phase. Turn the knob clockwise for a slower speed, and longer transients.

The Inv button inverts the processed signal so that it is subtracted from the unprocessed signal. This has the effect of softening the attack, resulting in more body in the drum sound.

Press the Audition button to listen to the processed signal to assist in the setup process.

Note that when the Inv and Audition buttons are both pressed, the signal is not inverted.

EastWest Convolution Reverb

EW-FX Convolution Reverb

This Convolution Reverb is an extension of the one in the Player view. It adds some features that are not part of the Player page Reverb:

  • * A high-pass and low pass filter set, with 2 handles on the graph for modifying the filters visually
  • * A mono button
  • * Additional reverb environments that are not available on the Player page Reverb

In addition, the True Stereo reverbs that are added only when this FX plug-in is installed appear in the Player view list as well as here.

To include a reverb effect on an instrument, turn it on by clicking on the button in the upper left corner. Or you can also turn it on from the Reverb controls on the Player page. When the button is illuminated, the plug-in is turned on.

Turn on the Filter for the Convolution Reverb by clicking on the Filter button so that it is illuminated. Then use the two circular handles on the graph to control the frequencies affected by the filter. Drag the handles with the mouse (or with a stylus or finger when a touch-screen provides that capability).

EW-FX Reverb Dropdown

The Pre-Delay knob controls the amount of time (if any) that the Reverb effect is delayed after the attack of each note. Postponing the start of the effect allows the attack to sound without processing and to have the reverb affect only the sound of the note as it is held and/or decays. Use your ear to determine how long of a pre-delay works for each instrument. (The Pre-Delay can also be changed with the knob on the Player page.)

Use the Reverb drop-down list to select the name of the environment, as shown in the image at the right.

This EastWest Convolution Reverb can use true stereo reverbs. The Mono button, when illuminated, indicates that the processing should be performed without separate left and right channels for the IR.

The Amount knob controls how much of the effect to include in the output. Drag downward with the mouse to create a more subtle reverb, or drag up to increase the effect. (The Amount can also be changed with the knob on the Player page.)

SSL's Stereo Compressor

EW-FX SSL

This SSL compressor has become legendary in the music industry for its unique sound, so you may want to see how it can improve the sound of your compositions.

This is a stereo version of the center section stereo compressor found on the XL 9000 K Series console. It provides high quality stereo compression, giving you critical control over the dynamic range of audio signals.

The compressor UI consists of 1 meter, 5 knobs, and 1 button, as in the image below.

Compression

This meter shows the real-time gain reduction in decibels (dB).

Threshold

With this knob you can controls the level at which gain reduction is introduced. The value is continuously variable: –20 dB to +20 dB.

Attack

This knob controls response time when the Threshold is crossed. Choose among the following times: 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10 and 30 ms.

Make-Up

This knob selects the level of compensation to offset the compressor's action. It is continuously variable over the range: –5 dB to +15 dB.

Release

This control sets how quickly the level returns to normal. Choose between 0.1, 0.3, 0.6, or 1.2 seconds, or you can select Auto. In the case of Auto, the release time is dependent upon the duration of the signal peak.

Ratio

This knob controls the degree of compression. Choose a ratios from: 2:1, 4:1, and 20:1.

Comp In

This button switches the compressor in and out of the signal path. Use this button to do a quick comparison between the compressed and uncompressed signal to judge the effect of the current settings.

The Preset Control

EW-FX Treble

In the bottom-left corner of the plug-in drawer is a dropdown list labeled Preset. Once you have set the values of the controls in a configuration you might want to use again, you can click on the drop-down list and select Save Preset. Then provide a name for that preset. Later on, when you want to set all controls to the saved configuration, select the named preset from the drop-down list.