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60 Second Interview: Phil Wagner of Solid State Logic

Get to know Phil Wagner, senior vice president of Solid State Logic Inc. (U.S.).

Phil Wagner

What is your new position, and what does it entail?
The new position is senior vice president, Solid State Logic Inc. (U.S.). SSL Inc. is now part of the Group One team, with Jack Kelly and Bryan Bradley at the helm. We have a very strong bench! My role is to manage SSL’s North American sales and support teams and lead the company to greater heights.

How has your background prepared you for your new role?
My previous experience has prepared me very nicely for this opportunity. After my live background as a teenager, I went to NYU and got a job working at Soundworks Recording Studio, in the basement of Studio 54, where we installed one of the first SSL SL6000 E Series consoles. A number of studios were focused on music videos with the advent of MTV, so the 6K was our choice. I literally installed Total Recall on that console myself when it was initially released. We ended up doing mostly records, and I worked with great artists such as Steely Dan, Chaka Khan, Joe Cocker and others. Engineer Roger “The Immortal” Nichols was a partner and we had all the open reel digital tape machines available. It was a great experience.

After working for a few other English console companies, I joined SSL in 1992 and had a successful and memorable 17-year run. This was during a very exciting period of the company’s journey when very large consoles were popular. Many of these consoles are still in operation in the finest facilities. Larrabee Sound comes to mind—they have the three XL9080 K Series consoles from the early 2000s, along with their four other, newer SSLs: a Matrix, two Duality consoles and an L300 Live console in a new venue.

Related: SSL Partners with Group One, Appoints Phil Wagner, Oct. 22, 2019

I ran SSL U.S. from 2005 to 2010 under then-owners Peter Gabriel and David Engelke. After that I was responsible for Focusrite’s U.S. business for eight years, when we achieved meteoric growth with audio interface types from USB to Dante.

Today, SSL’s live and broadcast consoles simultaneously support Dante and audio transport standards—AES67 or ST 2110-30. This provides the widest possible interoperability, making SSL an ideal fit for modern installations.

SSL’s Audio Creator products are expanding and we will continue to grow here. Our introduction of ORIGIN, a brand-new, purely analog inline recording console, shows how dynamic SSL is under parent company Audiotonix’s ownership.

What are your short- and long-term goals?
Short-term goals are to get reacquainted with the U.S. and UK teams, and work closely with Group One and new members of the UK management team. Medium-term, the goal is to grow the SSL business with support for existing and new products, and the long-term goal overall is to ensure SSL’s future success.

Related: Phil Wagner Named President of Apogee, by Clive Young, July 24, 2018

What is the greatest challenge you face?
The greatest challenge is how to introduce SSL’s excellence to a new generation of audio engineers and music creators. Good news: great equipment works for engineers of any age or genre! Our new products will allow an entirely new generation to experience the great tools that Solid State Logic is famous for.

Solid State Logic •