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SSL Live Consoles Support WOMAD UK 2015

"Expect to hear a solidity and transient response you didn't know you were missing"

Sep 15, 2015

Gavin Tempany with SSL Live L500 at WOMADGavin Tempany with SSL Live L500 at WOMAD

MALMESBURY, ENGLAND, UK – As one of the world's longest-running cultural events, the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) presents and celebrates the wide array of art forms found around the globe. Though WOMAD hosts six festivals in a variety of countries each year, its principal WOMAD UK has been running for 35 years. Supported by sound services company Britannia Row Productions Ltd. (Brit Row), WOMAD UK once again featured two SSL Live consoles, supporting FOH at the main Open Air Stage and at the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Sound System Stage.

A freelance engineer who has worked on many Brit Row shows, Richard Sharatt served as FOH for the Open Air Stage, where he had the opportunity to observe the SSL Live in use alongside a competitor console. rarely knew in advance which of our consoles the artists' engineers would choose, we "We need to always have both consoles prepped for each act," he explains. "The SSL team were very helpful in setting up a standard template, including default inputs, playback, patching, stem routing, VCA grouping and layout. If a group didn't have its own engineer, the mix was left to me. I really enjoyed getting to work from scratch and doing it in the limited time allotted by a festival setup. The layer manager allowed fast, easy flexibility of layout, while EQ and dynamic presets also proved useful."

Having previously used the SSL Live console during Peter Gabriel's "Back to Front" tour last year, Sharatt was already familiar with its capabilities. "The console is very accurate and responsive, especially the faders and EQ," he says. "The variable slope on the filters is an added bonus and the compressors are smooth and not squashy. It sounds very open and warm, a sentiment echoed by several other engineers."

Gavin Tempany, a veteran engineer who served FOH duties for the B&W stage, feels much the same. "With the console hooked up to the high-resolution Bowers & Wilkins PA system, Live sounded way better than any other 48kHz or 96kHz board," he says.

The variety of acts on the Bowers and Wilkins stage meant flexibility was paramount for Tempany. "Compared to the competition, the SSL is far superior when configuring the console layout. The layers can be moved around so quickly and easily, it's fantastic! In a large FOH environment it would be super quick, as querying the VCAs can act as fast access hotkeys."

While the functionality proved valuable for Tempany, it was the console's sound that he references as his favourite feature. "The SSL Live sounds excellent," he adds. "It has classiness about it; it's solid and tight. The on-board reverbs are really, really good. I haven't had to go outside the box for anything."

I would tell anyone who's been using another brand that they should really give the SSL a go. They can expect to hear a solidity and transient response they didn't know they were missing."

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