New Music Gear Monday: SSL The Bus+ Ultimate Buss Compressor

SSL The Bus+ compressor on Bobby Owsinski's Music Production Blog's New Music Gear Monday

If there’s one component that defines Sold State Logic consoles it’s the buss compressor. Although it’s changed slightly over the years depending upon the desk series, the buss compressor has become a standard across mix busses everywhere in both the analog and digital worlds. One of the most interesting things about the buss compressor is how much it affects the sound with so few controls. Between the Attack, Release and Ratio controls, it’s amazing what can be done to a mix. That said, that’s not enough control for many mixers, and SSL has responded with its new The Bus+ ultimate analog buss compressor.

This Could Be Overlooked

The Bus+ is really quite sophisticated so we won’t touch on everything here, but suffice it to say that SSL as indeed listened to the feedback from its users. The first thing of note is that all rotary controls on the front panel are stepped so they’re repeatable. SSL has taken that a bit further by making these processor controlled so no audio actually passes through the switches and pots so there are no channel discrepancies due to value changes in analog components.

The compressor can be used in four modes selected from the buttons on the top middle of the unit – normal stereo, sidechain trigger, dual mono, and mid-side. You’ll also find On/Off switches for each side of the compressor (as well as identical controls) for when it’s used in dual mono mode.

Something New

The compressor itself has a few new adjustments available. For instance, there are a few additional Attack and Release time settings, plus three negative ratios for the Ratio control. The Release control also has a new additional Auto 2 mode. There’s also a new Mix control as well as a combination sidechain and high-pass filter control.

Better than that, the compressor can be operator in either a clean 4K mode or the more gritty G-series mode. The company included additional controls for Low THD and feedback selection so the compression is a bit more “relaxed” sounding.

The D-EQ

As if that isn’t enough, SSL included a 2 band dynamic EQ they call the D-EQ. This can be used in compression or expansion modes, and is pretty variable, although that’s not readily apparent from the controls. For instance, there’s a selection of 16 different frequencies that are indicated on the left analog meter when selection mode is engaged, while the right one shows the range. There’s also a selection between shelving and bell curve, and speed for the high and low frequencies.

This can be an intimidating unit because it can do so much, yet I’ve only touched on a few of its capabilities. That said, I think the way this will be used is that a mixer will find his or her favorite settings and use that most of the time, with additional tweaks as needed. The difference between Bus+ and the current SSL buss compressor is that there’s so much more that it can do in those special situations.

The retail price on the SSL The Bus+ is $3,479.99, but I see there are deals to be had if you search around. You can find out more either by visiting its page, or watching the excellent video introduction below.

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