Solid State Logic Fusion
Fusion: Powerful SSL Colour Tools
A master processor designed for today's hybrid studio, Fusion delivers five powerful analog coloration tools — Vintage Drive, Violet EQ, HF Compressor, Stereo Image enhancer, and SSL Transformer — from the legendary console company Solid State Logic. Fusion provides the finishing touches for your productions with its compelling tonal and spacial enhancement, adding a touch of analog magic to your mix bus or stereo stems. Rounding out the feature set are a highpass filter with three selectable cutoff frequencies, stereo/mid-side insert sends and returns, peak hold metering, and more. Fusion's five analog processors can be used discretely or combined.
A unique harmonic enhancement tool that infuses your mix with analog cohesion and punch, the Vintage Drive nonlinear saturation circuit delivers the gradual analog overload characteristics emblematic of cherished vintage analog consoles and outboard gear. The Drive and Density controls interact to produce harmonics, soft-clipping, and natural compression reminiscent of pushing an analog console into its tonal sweet spot.
Turn the Drive pot clockwise to push the Vintage Drive section harder. A tri-color LED provides feedback as to how hard the circuit is being driven. If you're after a subtle effect that's appropriate for an entire mix, then keep the LED in the green zone (occasional flickers into orange are OK). For more aggressive coloration, drive the circuit until the LED starts glowing orange more consistently. When in the red zone, you'll hear obvious distortion that, although not desirable across a mix bus, can work quite well on individual stems.
The Violet EQ is a minimum-phase-shift 2-band shelving EQ designed for mix bus deployment. The first new Solid State Logic EQ circuit in more than 25 years draws on SSL's legacy of meticulous frequency selection and response curves to create a highly musical and intuitive equalizer that lets you quickly dial in low-end heft and high-end shimmer. The high- and low-frequency circuits offer four selectable frequency points and 9dB of boost or cut.
The Low band gives you a frequency selection of 30Hz, 50Hz, 70Hz, or 90Hz. The High band offers choices of 8kHz, 12kHz, 16kHz, and 20kHz. The continuous gain pots are indented at the 12 o’clock position (0dB) and allow for ±9dB of gain. Add weight to full mixes with a mild boost at 30Hz, 50Hz, or 70Hz; 8kHz and 12kHz are perfect for adding air and sheen. Mixing into an EQ that adds a modest amount of low and high end is a popular production technique; with the Violet EQ, you finally have an SSL equalizer purpose-built for that task.
Fusion's HF Compressor serves up the distinctive sound of analog high-frequency rounding. A compressor that affects only the high frequencies, the circuit is designed to deliver smooth and transparent harshness reduction and tape-like high-frequency roll-off to tame undesirable harshness or brittleness that can build up in a mix or individual stem. Typical compressor parameters such as ratio, attack, and release are all fixed, having been optimized for maximum transparency.
For a full mix, start by setting the Threshold control at +2dB and X-Over around 15kHz. Then gently adjust the controls until the tri-color LED just begins to flicker green. A constant green into orange will likely be too severe for most mixes. It's worth noting that you will not be misled by automatic makeup gain, as there is none employed in the circuit. And if your mix is already well balanced, then you may not even find the need to engage the HF Compressor. However, when subtly deployed, it can smooth harshness in a very pleasing way. You can usually be more aggressive with it on individual stems. An effective technique is to apply more high end than you normally would in the preceding Violet EQ section and then use the HF Compressor to trim it back. This often helps to achieve a brighter top end without harshness.
The Stereo Image enhancer provides a true-analog mid-side circuit that allows for spatial manipulation of the stereo field. Commonly used in mastering, mid-side (M-S) is a technique that separates a stereo signal into two channels: a sum signal (L+R) for the sounds in the center of a stereo image (M) and a difference signal (L-R) for the sounds on the left and right (S). The Width control lets you increase the level of the side signal to narrow or widen the stereo image. The Space control allows you to experiment with a broad bass-frequency boost or cut in the side signal.
The Space control is based on a concept that has roots in EMI engineer Alan Blumlein's invention of modern stereo in 1931: Stereo Shuffling. In essence, a frequency-dependent width control, Stereo Shuffling is the process of equalizing the sum and difference signals differently before folding them back into conventional stereo left and right. The Space control has the ability to inject some really interesting depth effects into your mix. On entire mixes, somewhere between +2dB to +4dB is a good starting point; you may find settings beyond +4dB to be too extreme.
Fusion's switchable SSL Transformer circuit introduces gentle low-frequency harmonic saturation and high-frequency phase shift, resulting in low-end thickening and added high-end sheen. Further, the 600-ohm, 1:1-wound transformer is under-damped, which adds a subtle heft to the sound. Experiment by switching in the transformer at any point during mixdown to see if it improves the sound of your mix.
Designed for the modern hybrid studio
Smartly designed for seamless integration into the modern studio, Fusion is outfitted with a palette of workflow-enhancing features such as ±12dB Input and Output Trim pots, an input overload status LED, large peak hold metering, a front-end highpass filter with three selectable cutoff frequencies, and tri-color status indicators for the Vintage Drive and HF Compressor sections. A set of XLR sends and returns can be used as a Stereo Insert for external stereo mix bus processing or switched to function as a mid-side (M-S) circuit, letting you apply separate EQ or compression to the middle (center) and sides of a stereo signal. M-S can be a highly effective method of achieving a range of creative stereo processing techniques. In Stereo Insert mode, the insert point can be switched to pre Violet EQ; when in M-S mode, the insert can be switched to pre Stereo Image. Stereo I/O is via XLR.
Solid State Logic Fusion Features:
- A master processor with 5 new SSL analog color circuits
- Vintage Drive — a unique nonlinear saturation circuit designed to bring that cherished gradual analog overload sound you get from pushing vintage equipment into the sweet spot
- Violet EQ — a 2-band, minimum-phase-shift shelving EQ offering instant low-end weight and gorgeous high-end air; 4 fixed frequency points for each band with ±9dB boost/cut
- HF Compressor — high-frequency compressor optimized for smooth taming of brittle high end
- Stereo Image — a built-in M-S circuit that allows sumptuous sculpting of the side signal for wider mixes with increased depth
- SSL Transformer — a custom SSL design that introduces subtle low-frequency harmonics for added weight, with a touch of added transformer sparkle in the highs
- Onboard Insert Point with Stereo and M-S operation
- 3rd-order HPF (highpass filter) to eliminate unwanted low end
- SuperAnalogue ±12dB center-indented Input and Output Trim controls for optimized gain staging
- Individual Bypass switches for each circuit to compare sounds with each circuit engaged/disengaged
- Master Bypass switch with two modes of operation: complete bypass (Red) and bypass that includes the Input Trim control (White)
- Master LED meter with 3-second peak hold segments switches from output to input metering upon pressing the Bypass switch
- Input clipping O/L LEDs that are triggered at +27dBu
- Balanced XLR I/O throughout for professional studio integration
- Enhanced dot-dash screening around controls for clarity and easy recall
- Adjustable front-panel meter and switch brightness to match the vibe of your studio environment
STL Pro Audio is an authorised re-seller for SSL.