“There's a couple of things that are similar with other summing mixers, but there's no other summing mixer that does what this thing does so easily. It is the only summing mixer where you can have inserts on two different mix buses. You can sum mix bus B into mix bus A, so you're only dealing with left and right cables and left and right outputs. Most importantly, you can automate the channels in Pro Tools or whatever your DAW is. There's no other summing mixer that lets you do that!” According to Wells, SSL’s offering is far superior to other summing mixers due to its ability to automate levels.
Recently, Wells has been working with a young rock band, deploying the Sigma Delta to mix tracks. Think AC/DC meets Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin, he says, with a smile:
“I find rock music the hardest to mix, but I used the Sigma on this project, and when I listened back to it, I was so happy with how it sounded; there's this huge, fat, punchy bottom end and a beautiful presence. It actually sounded exactly the way I hoped that it would sound, and that often doesn't work out! On a good day I’ll wind up in a place where I'm really happy with how a project sounds, but it's usually not exactly the way I heard it in my head.”
Wells likes to use four different drum busses, which he finds the Sigma Delta handles well. “It’s just so unbelievably sexy to be mixing through drum buss one and then say, ‘I wonder what drum bus three would sound like?’ Or, ‘I wonder what it would sound like if I put the first set of drums through drum bus one, two and three, with completely different signal paths?’ The Sigma lets me do that so easily – it has 32 inputs and 16 stereo inputs, so three drum busses only take up stereo channels one, two and three, and I still have all these other ones to play with.”
When it comes to plugins, Wells can effortlessly automate the output level of drum buss two and three and blend it to where he needs it to be, which he finds to be a lot quieter than using drum buss one.
“There's nothing that sounds like that,” he enthuses. “It's totally crazy. And I'm doing the same thing with vocals. I have a bunch of holy grail mono compressors that I use on vocals and I will send the lead vocal to three or four of these compressors at the same time in a mix and get on the SSL plugins in Pro Tools. I don't have to leave Pro Tools to go to another app; it's all in the mix session. I just dial it in, and I can automate the volume, just like anything in Pro Tools.”
“It’s extremely simple,” he insists. “It made immediate sense to me, and it's super intuitive. Everything is in front of you and it's easy. I love it so much that I'm not sure I'm going to go back to working on my console in the same way. I think I'm going to have to figure out some way to incorporate both! There's no way I'm going to be able to stop using the Sigma, because the control is amazing and the results are amazing.”