Nashville, TN (June 11, 2020)—High-end Nashville cornerstone Blackbird Studio recently installed one of the first Solid State Logic Origin analog in-line mixing consoles into its Studio F mix room.
Studio F is a storied space, originally built for engineer, mixer and producer Justin Niebank, whose list of credits includes projects by Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gil, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney, among others. The 750-square-foot mix room was designed by studio designer Mike Cronin and opened in 2006; today, it features ATC SCM300ASL main monitors and custom ATC left and right triple-15-inch subwoofers soffit-mounted in the front wall.
Originally equipped with a large-format SSL console, the new Origin now takes pride of place in the mix room “The smaller footprint of the console makes it manageable to work on and has kept the room acoustics unchanged,” says John McBride, co-founder of the facility with his wife, country music superstar Martina McBride. “The reduced heat load, sleep mode and power requirements are also welcome.”
McBride first heard about the desk at last year’s AES Convention in New York City. “I am always excited to have the first console installed, especially when I believe in that particular piece of gear or equipment,” he noted. “It seems as if SSL has maintained the parts of the legacy that make sense in the modern day in terms of audio and functionality. The layout seems very logical and familiar.”
Origin’s in-line analog signal path is intended to support hybrid record production workflows, enabling recording to and summing from the workstation through the console, which features the E-Series EQ and SSL Bus Compressor. “[Its design] allows us to easily include other audio pieces through the 500 series racks, and omits automation and recall, which are more commonly done within a DAW these days,” says McBride.
Niebank, who has worked regularly in Studio F since it was opened, said, “First, in the age of in-the-box mixing, I wanted to get back to performance mixing. Origin is the perfect setup for this. I can go for an intuitive mix and then tweak within the computer. Second, depending on the situation, I can do a board mix and then transfer levels to the computer and continue. And third, because Origin allows one to put all faders at zero, we can split out a mix created in the computer and enjoy the best analog summing available. Because high-resolution streaming is now available, this is essential for the future.”
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