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SSL AWS 948 analogue console with DAW control

  • SSL AWS 948 analogue console with DAW control front view
  • SSL AWS 948 analogue console with DAW control front view no legs
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Product Description

Launched in 2004, the AWS (Analogue Workstation System) reinvented the professional production console by combining classic SSL SuperAnalogue™ console technology with comprehensive DAW control hardware in a single work surface. Over 550 consoles later the AWS is now used by leading international recording artists, producers and engineers and has shaped expectations for session workflow within today’s and indeed tomorrows’ production environments.

Designed for mid scale commercial recording and production facilities, the AWS is available in 24 input (AWS 924) or 48 input (AWS 948) variants within a compact 24 fader frame. Both models deliver pristine SuperAnalogue™ mixing, 24 ultra-clean SSL SuperAnalogue mic pre’s, classic SSL dual curve EQ on every channel, two assignable SSL Dynamics, legendary Stereo Buss Compressor, TotalRecall™ and full 5.1 monitoring. In addition to on board classic SSL Automation, both models also feature the revolutionary new A-FADA mode where motorised analogue faders follow DAW Automation data.

AWS 924 & 948 also feature Ethernet connectivity for streamlined hardware control over your entire Digital Audio Workstation environment. AWS delivers elegant, ergonomic physical control over your entire studio environment with dedicated heavy duty DAW transport, V-Pot multifunction encoders with position indicating LED’s, Digital Scribble Strips, DAW fader mode, global and channel routing control and built-in TFT display for advanced plug-in editing. Project Session Management is kept simple through SSL’s proprietary Logictivity interface.

The AWS is an SSL SuperAnalogue™ console, featuring the audio performance specifications that have established the benchmarks by which other manufacturers are measured. Exceptionally low THD, noise floor & crosstalk levels keep your audio absolutely pristine, while our legendary headroom carries every nuance of your audio and allows engineers to mix ‘hotter’ without distortion.

Key Features

  • Combination of SuperAnalogue™ console and advanced DAW controller
  • SSL SuperAnalogue™ mix bus provides pristine audio foundations
  • SSL SuperAnalogue mic pre’s provide transparent record path
  • Innovative Dual Path Channel with three versatile operating modes (948 only)
  • 48 inputs on AWS 948;
    • IN-LINE TRACKING = 1 mic + 1 line inputs per channel
    • IN-LINE MIX = 2 x mono line inputs per channel
    • STEREO MIX = 1 x stereo line input per channel
  • A-FADA Mode where motorised analogue faders follow DAW automation
  • AWSomation SSL motorised fader mix automation based on the heritage of G and K series Ultimation
  • Versatile 4 band channel EQ, assignable Dynamics and SSL Master Bus Compressor
  • 4-Band EQ design with independent E/G curve switching of HF/LF (Stereo on 948 only)
  • 5.1 Surround monitoring and Monitor calibration including Bass management
  • MIDI over Ethernet multi layer DAW workstation control
  • Digital Scribble Strips for console and DAW data
  • Elegant project setup via SSL Logictivity Remote Browser and SD card storage
  • SSL’s unique trademarked TOTAL RECALL™ system with ‘TR Autoscan’
  • Responsible ‘green’ manufacturing and reduced power consumption
  • Compact 24 fader frame ideal for small control rooms

AWS 948 Channel

The AWS 948 maintains the same 24 fader footprint as the AWS 924 (and classic AWS 900) and achieves its 48 input count via a unique Dual Path Channel Strip design where each channel has a single Mic Amp and two line level inputs, a new Stereo EQ and Stereo Insert. This new channel enables three different operating modes: STEREO MIX, IN LINE MIX and IN LINE TRACKING. These differing modes offer a wealth of workflow options that enhance today’s versatile production environments;

IN-LINE TRACKING is similar to the AWS 924 with either the MIC or the LINE signal providing the CHOP and Track Bus source. Normally this primary signal is level controlled by the V-Pot. However through “fader flip” it is possible to use the large fader instead. In this setup the secondary signal (DAW output/Monitor Return or the even the CH OP) goes to the Large fader. AUTO-M takes control of the RETURN switch to provide automatic monitor source switching between the channel paths, following the DAW transport status. The monitor path is heard in Play, and the input path is heard in Record or Stop. S-CUE employs automatic cue send source switching between the channel paths, following the DAW transport status, to provide full zero latency drop-in and record monitoring, a sum of both paths is heard in Play and only the input is heard when in Record or Stop.

IN-LINE MIX provides identical operation to the AWS 924 channel strip with the exception that a second signal path is available as a Mix input in classic ‘In Line’ console fashion. In this mode the Channel V-Pot acts as the second input gain control (along with the associated SOLO/CUT switches). Furthermore the V-Pots level and mute status can be automated. This allows all 48 channel signal paths level and cut automation in the analogue domain. Note that it is also possible to move the Insert into the secondary path (ideal for X-Rack processing etc).

Channel configuration and Setup is accomplished via the AWS 948 onboard TFT screen and soft keys, and it is even possible to move or divide the channels processing resources (EQ, Insert etc.) between each of the dual paths.

Input Section
The AWS 948 Channel Input section features two balanced Line Inputs with +/-20dB of gain and a world class SuperAnalogue™ Mic Amp featuring continuous mic gain control (+15 to +75dB), phase reverse and switchable 48V phantom power. The -20dB PAD is intended for use with very high output microphones. The routing functionality of the Insert varies according to the three different operating modes.

EQ Section
The Stereo EQ design featured on the AWS 948 is sonically identical to the SSL SuperAnalogue™ mono Channel EQ taken from the legendary XL 9000 K Series console and its current successor Duality. It is a highly flexible 4 band parametric EQ design. HF/LF and Mid Frequency bands are independently switchable between E and G series response curves and tonal characteristics. PRE places the Insert before the EQ section. In conjunction with the dynamics CHIP and CHOP routing keys, the order of the EQ, INSERT and DYNAMICS blocks can be re-ordered.

  • HPF - 18dB/Octave high-pass filter with detente bypass position
  • G-EQ Curve switch - toggles between the default ‘E-Series’ and ‘G-Series’ tonal characteristics and control interaction with independent switches for the HF/LF and Mid Frequency bands
  • LMF - Low frequency parametric mid-band EQ
  • HF - High frequency shelving equalizer switchable to fixed Q parametric response via the Bell switch
  • HMF - High frequency parametric mid-band EQ section
  • LF - Low frequency shelving EQ Switchable to fixed Q parametric response via the Bell switch

Routing & Sends
Each channel has access to 2 main Stereo Busses (RECORD and MIX) in addition to 2 Stereo Cue busses and 4 mono FX sends. Every AWS Channel features a Direct Channel Output (CH OP) and can also feed 8 independent Track Busses. SSL’s unique “EFX” system is present on all channels significantly enhancing creativity by allowing free assignment of send controls.

Pan/Width
In IN LINE MIX and IN LINE TRACKING modes the Pan control is a standard L/R pan control, in STEREO MIX mode it is a stereo Width control. For stereo signals the pan pot functions as a width controller with normal stereo image in the centre. When the pan pot is turned to the right an out of phase left component is introduced to the right signal, and vice-versa, resulting in a widening of the signal's width beyond the speakers. When the pan pot is turned left in-phase components are introduced into the signal in a similar way, resulting in a narrowing of the width with fully left being mono. Furthermore, stereo signal balance is controlled using the channel V-Pot.

Digital Scribble Strips
When the AWS is in analogue mode the Digital Scribble Strips display name and parameter information for the selected analogue signal path. When the AWS is in DAW mode they display DAW channel and processing parameters.

Centre Section

Stereo Bus Compressor
The AWS centre section stereo compressor is based on the legendary G Series bus comp and can be assigned to either the REC or MIX stereo busses. Activated, the AWS Stereo Bus Compressor instantly adds cohesion and strength to your mix without compromising clarity, bringing the classic SSL ‘audio glue’ to your mix with spectacular SuperAnalogue™ audio performance. Combined with improved input and output circuitry, this improved unit provides superb audio performance, while retaining the dynamics characteristics that have provided numerous hit mixes for the world’s best audio engineers.

Dynamics Processing
Two classic SSL Channel Dynamics processing strips with separate Compressor and Gate/Expander sections can be assigned to any channel. The assignable Channel Dynamics section features SSL’s standard RMS compressor, switchable to Peak sensing, with hard knee characteristic via the ‘PK’ button. There are separate controls for the Expander/Gate section encompassing range, threshold, release and hold. Expansion is selected via the ‘EXP’ switch. Each processing strip includes dedicated metering, fast attack buttons & dedicated key input.

Communications
The AWS features comprehensive talkback routing with dedicated independent communication buttons for independent foldback sends. A full compliment of GPIO connection, SLATE, the famous LMC input, and RED light activation are all standard on the AWS.

Monitoring & Metering
The AWS offers a new level of sophistication when working with control room monitoring. The centre section affords total control over two independent 5.1 main loudspeaker outputs plus two stereo “mini” LS outputs, and a dedicated Headphone Out. Comprehensive Bass management is also included. A highly flexible external source selector section can sum, assign and route up to four 5.1 sources, and four stereo input sources to either the control room, studio loudspeaker and headphone foldback feeds. A six channel wide monitor insert point and a separate six channel external meter output allow full interfacing with additional third party monitoring systems and 5.1 surround encoder/decoder combos.

There is a dedicated Stereo VU meter for the MIX, REC, Monitor and Solo busses, a VU Phase meter, 5.1 monitor metering, 8 individual Track Bus meters and all Cue and FX send level indication. Each channel sports a dual 12-segment meter which allows DAW Stereo track monitoring. Other features in the AWS include AUTOCUE functionality, MONITOR VOLUME POT CALIBRATION, SOLO ISOLATE, the ability to control two DAW’s simultaneously, and the addition of SOFT BOOT power cycling. Above all, latency free punch in record monitoring is standard, this is analogue!

TotalRecall™
TotalRecall™ is SSL patented technology that aides the saving and recalling of analogue console control settings for a specific Project or Session. The system takes a snapshot of current console settings and saves it via the SSL Logictivity Browser. On the AWS a graphical representation of this information can then displayed on the Centre Section TFT display to enable the operator to manually reset the controls. The AWS includes the timesaving ‘TR Autoscan’ feature which draws the operators attention to only those Channels that need adjustment.

Summing Bus Injects for the CUE and FX busses
To accommodate modern production methods the AWS consoles now feature an independent Summing Input which allows additional Tracks from the DAW access to the Cue and FX send busses, therefore allowing those DAW tracks access to hardware outboard units and the creation of dedicated Cue mixes form the DAW.

Unrivalled DAW control

While the AWS offers a powerful large format analogue console feature set within a compact console design, it also goes further than any other analogue console by integrating seamlessly into a DAW-based facility by incorporating hands-on control of important recording, routing, mixing, and editing functions in all major DAW applications including Pro Tools™, Logic Audio™, Nuendo™, Sonar™ and many others.

Plug-in Control
In the console Centre Section the DAW Control Panel includes a high quality TFT to display DAW status and Plug-in parameters, plus additional console set-up information. Below this is the DAW HUI Plug-in/Process Controller - four rotary encoders auto mapped from the DAW with integral push-push switches, and four assign keys. Two additional keys are for page up/down control. The Plug-in Editor is assigned via the channel SEL switches in conjunction with the EDIT switch. Plug-ins can also be controlled via the faders by using the Mackie Control protocol.

DAW Mixer & Environment Control
The unique ‘A-FADA’ (Analogue Fader Accesses DAW Automation) mode bridges the gap between analogue domain and DAW mix automation. It enables the AWS motorised faders to follow Automation Data from your DAW whilst controlling the analogue signal path. This unique innovation delivers all the sonic advantages of automation of the analogue audio path with the workflow advantages of DAW based Automation Controller Data, within a non linear editing and large GUI manipulation working environment.

Users can assign DAW channel levels, send levels and routing functions to individual channel rotary encoders with rotary LED level display. Channel and Send levels can be ‘flipped’ on to the main channel fader. Five vertical buttons (the Window Select Keys) allow for quick access to the most commonly used DAW windows such as the edit/arrange window or the DAW mixer window. The four uppermost buttons duplicate commonly used keyboard functions on a standard computer keyboard, including ESCAPE, UNDO, SAVE and ENTER. The lower four buttons shadow the keyboard modifier keys. In combination these buttons can remove the need for a keyboard and mouse for almost all tasks. The DAW control panel includes a Master Rotary Encoder, together with six function keys and a 2-digit display.

DAW Transport Control
Dedicated transport buttons allow easy access to PLAY, RECORD, REWIND, FAST FORWARD and STOP buttons. A further 10 buttons are available for various commonly used shortcut keys. Controls are included for simple zooming, navigation and selection of DAW objects. The jog/shuttle wheel supports scrub and track navigation functionality.

Logictivity Browser Software - The AWS Remote
The AWS Remote, powered by Logictivity, simplifies session managment. Project data is saved onto the on board SD Card. Archived console data can be treated as standard computer data and sent via email, transferred to a USB stick, etc., greatly simplifying data exchange between sessions. First introduced on the SSL Duality console, the software allows the AWS to connect to a standard computer via a simple Ethernet connection. The browser software is a Java application that runs on both Mac and PC. Currently supported functionality includes the saving, naming and restoration of Total Recall™ and AWSomation data, the ability to add names to the channels’ scribble strips, and a number of other studio session project management tools. Furthermore the AWS can connect directly to SSL X-Rack outboard for integrated X-Rack Recall.

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