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Duende whips up a storm for Ill Niño

Lead guitarist and producer Ahrue Luster chooses SSL for his own Illustrious Productions.

Sep 8, 2009

Duende user Ahrue Luster

Ahrue Luster knows when something sounds “solid”. Having sold millions of records as part of several of the rock world’s most exciting metal bands, Machine Head and Ill Niño… and when he’s not out on the road, he is now working as a producer with up-and-coming young bands. SSL caught up with him to see how he’d got the SSL sound he was used to from the big studios into his DAW rig.

Why did you choose the Duende?
Over the past decade, every album that I’ve ever played on has been mixed on an SSL console. I’ve watched some great mixing engineers do their magic on SSL equipment, including Terry Date, Colin Richardson, and Jay Baumgardner. I wanted to be able to have that SSL sound with the bands that I produce and on my own personal projects as well. The Duende is an affordable way for me to get that sound.

What do you like most about it?
When I mix I run an instance of the SSL Channel on every track to simulate mixing through an SSL console. Even if I use different eq’s or compressors on some of the tracks, I’ll still go through the SSL strip to capture the sound. ...and of course I always run the Bus Compressor on the master. It’s when you stack those channel strips that you really start to hear the SSL sound in your mix!

Are there any aspects of the Duende which have made life better for you?
I’ve always been a great admirer of Solid State Logic. Most of the greatest records of the past 20 years or more have been mixed on SSL consoles. I think the console is more influential to the sound of today's music than any one particular band or artist. To have access to that sound on my own digital audio workstation, is amazing.

What impact has the sound of the Duende had on your work?
Duende has made my mixes sound more “pro” and cohesive. The SSL Channel adds a certain subtle sheen to every track, while the Bus Compressor glues it all together. My Duende plug-ins are in a separate class than most of my other plug-ins, which makes me very excited to up my track count and try ALL of the other plug-in that SSL has to offer. I’m willing to bet that they’ll end up being my go-to plug-ins for most applications.

Are you happy with your purchase?
Couldn’t be happier :)

Find out more about what Ahrue is up to at

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