Sanden Studio Upgrades Control Room with SSL AWS 948
“We have been interested in attaining an AWS for many years, but when the 948 came out, we made the decision to go for it,” says Roald Raasberg, chief engineer for Sanden Studio and partner in Sanden Media. “When we moved to a dedicated controller from an analogue console, we were happy at first, but we felt like we were missing something by going all digital. In the end, we wanted to go back to an all analogue signal path, but we also needed to have fast switchover capabilities between sessions and a way to control our Pro Tools® rig. The AWS 948 was the perfect answer for our needs.”
The first project for the AWS was the Norwegian-Irish group Secret Garden, signed to Universal Records in Norway and distributed world-wide by Universal. This group combines traditional instruments with a symphony orchestra to create a unique sound that has sold over four million records to date. When re-visiting preexisting tracks through the AWS, the sound quality completely changed the approach for the workflow on this project.
“When we played back the in-the-box session mixes we had created and spread it out over 48 channels through the AWS, the sound was overwhelmingly good and very revealing,” states Raasberg. “The tracks were very clear and had more depth. The sound was so much wider that we felt we needed to re-visit the entire mix.”According to Raasberg, he turned off many plug-ins and EQ settings from the Pro Tools tracks and relied on the EQ and sound quality of the AWS to set a new benchmark for the sessions.
“All of the balancing and automation, except minor edit tweaks, is now done through the analogue faders on the AWS and it just sounds so good and natural,” continues Raasberg. “Our experience with the AWS is so eye-opening for us. SSL has thought of everything with this board from the monitoring and talkback system to the Total Recall™ and the A-FADA mode that has the console’s faders follow or write Pro Tools automation data. In short, the AWS has completely changed the way we work. Before, we relied on multiple plug-ins and outboard gear to shape a sound. Now, the console lets us craft the sound so we only use plug-ins and outboard gear to add different flavors. Even if you don’t use the EQ’s or anything, the sound of the AWS is so good, if you just run audio straight through the board, to me the tracks sound better.”