The famous “SSL console sound” available for well under $1k…is that possible?
The SSL 2 is a 2-in/2-out USB audio interface from Solid State Logic, a company known for its high-end mixing consoles and studio gear. The SSL 2 is a budget-friendly option that promises the storied SSL-level sound. That’s a big promise considering how iconic the “SSL console sound” is in the audio production world. Did they reach this goal? Well, that’s to be seen. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the SSL 2 and see how it stacks up in terms of performance, build quality, and overall value.
First off, let’s talk about the SSL 2’s design and build quality. The interface is compact and well-built, with a sleek black and silver finish. It has a solid feel to it, and the knobs and buttons have a satisfying tactile response. The front panel features two channel control sections with high-quality preamps, switchable phantom power, and individual gain controls. There are also monitoring output level controls (one big blue on in classic SSL style for monitor level, two small ones for Monitor Mix and Phones).
Moving on to the back panel, we have two balanced TRS outputs, a USB-C port for connecting to your computer, and two XLR/6.5mm audio jack inputs (one for each channel). One thing to note is that the SSL 2 does not have an external power supply, so it relies on the USB connection for power. This shouldn’t be an issue for most users, but if you’re using a low-power USB port, you may experience some dropouts or other issues. I have not experienced any issues over several months of working with the SSL 2, even when using a USB hub.
In terms of performance, the SSL 2 is top-notch. It truly has a great sound.
The noise floor is perhaps one of the lowest I have ever heard…and that’s saying a lot. You have to try to get noise.
The preamps sound clean and transparent, with plenty of headroom and a low noise floor. The interface supports sample rates up to 192kHz and has a maximum bit depth of 24 bits, so you can record at high resolution with no loss of quality. The headphone outputs are also of high quality, with plenty of volume and a clean, detailed sound. One thing that stood out to me was the “Legacy 4K” switch, which adds a bit of analog warmth and character to the sound. This is a feature borrowed from SSL’s high-end mixing consoles and is a nice touch for those who want a bit of vintage flavor in their recordings. From my knowledge, this is an analog circuit that provides “high frequency EQ boost and a subtle harmonic distortion”. It doesn’t sound universally good on all inputs/instruments, but it sounds fantastic on vocals and smooth analog synth inputs.
The SSL 2 also comes with some useful software, including SSL’s “SSL Native” plugins. The SSL Native plugins are high-quality emulations of SSL’s classic analog processors, including the G Series compressor and the EQP-1A equalizer. These plugins sound great and are easy to use, making them a valuable addition to any producer or engineer’s toolbox. I’ve downloaded these from their portal, and started using them from time to time in Logic Pro (my DAW of choice).
Overall, I was very impressed with the SSL 2. It offers high-quality sound and features at an affordable price point, and the build quality is top-notch. The inclusion of the “Legacy 4K” switch are nice touches that set it apart from other budget interfaces. The SSL Native plugins are also valuable additions that make the package even more compelling.
In conclusion, if you’re in the market for a high-quality, budget-friendly audio interface, the SSL 2 is definitely worth considering. It offers SSL-quality sound, solid build quality, and useful features like the “Legacy 4K” switch and — more important than anything else in my opinion — a darn low noise floor. The included software is also a nice bonus that adds value to the package. Overall, the SSL 2 is a great choice for home studios, producers, and musicians who want a reliable and versatile audio interface without breaking the bank.
Rating: 5/5 stars!