Portugal’s Plateia D’Ilusões Studio Finds The Sweet Spot With Solid State Logic ORIGIN

Vasco Teodoro, a producer, engineer and mixer at Portugal’s Plateia D’Ilusões Studio, has upgraded his control room with a 32-channel SSL ORIGIN analogue mixing console, UF8 advanced DAW controller and Fusion analog master processor.

Since installing the ORIGIN, he has found himself using plug-ins and outboard gear far less, he says. “The ORIGIN EQ is amazing, and the low end is incredible, rounded but defined. I’ll do a high-pass on the ORIGIN, sometimes some EQ, sometimes not, and it sounds great, so I’ve been using less and less other stuff. I’m finishing a mix now and when I look at my Pro Tools window, lots of channels don’t have any plug-ins on them. So the ORIGIN really puts me in the sweet spot of working. That’s something I’m really enjoying — the workflow,” he says.

“Some of my clients were here asking if I could hear the difference between the desk and the plug-ins,” he continues. “I said, ‘Let me open up some channels and crank 15dB at 16 kHz.’ In the plug-in, it will sound harsh. I’m not saying that you can’t have great results with plug-ins. But you can overdrive a console and that’s priceless, for me. I showed them an example, with the drums. They could hear the difference. To get the same result with Pro Tools I would have to use four or five plug-ins.”

With his old setup, Teodoro would often use the microphone preamps in a sidecar desk when tracking. “Since I got the ORIGIN, I haven’t used it. I wasn’t expecting that. These PureDrive mic preamps have surprised me a lot, especially the Drive button that adds harmonics,” he says. There are various other mic preamp options in the racks at Plateia D'Ilusões, he says, including some vintage units. “But I’ve recorded some stuff where I didn’t use them. The ORIGIN sounds good, so why mess it up?”

While Teodoro finds himself increasingly relying on the ORIGIN’s features and functionality for recording and mixing, there is still something of a hybrid workflow at the studio. His SSL UF8 controller, mounted on a stand to his left, provides tactile control of his DAW automation. “Some things I automate in Pro Tools, the main things I automate on the UF8; at most I automate two channels at a time,” he says. “And on the ORIGIN, I can put everything on the faders and ride them. I love having all these faders.”

Teodoro hasn’t had the opportunity to dig deep into his new SSL gear yet, having only mixed a TV show and about 10 songs since installing it. “So I haven’t explored the Fusion processor that much,” he says. “But I like the color and the character that it gives. I find the Drive interesting for saturation. I really like the Width. And I boost a little 20 kHz. That’s it.”

The Fusion processor, which he typically inserts on the master bus, certainly offers possibilities for projects where a client has a very limited budget, he says. For those projects, “I know I can’t always be mixing on the ORIGIN desk. So sometimes, if it’s for a little character on something and it’s a really tight budget and tight timing, I can just use the desk for summing with the Fusion,” he says.

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