XL-DeskThe smart dumb analogue console.


500 Format Slots

A 500 format rack, built into your SSL console

For many of our users combining different tonal characteristics from a range of analogue equipment by a selection of manufacturers is an integral part of their sound. The popular modular '500 format' facilitates the use of a wide range of analogue processing modules from different manufacturers. So, built into the penthouse of XL-Desk is an 18-slot 500 format rack. This rack can be loaded with any combination of SSL or third-party 500 format modules, as desired by the user. The in-built 500 rack offers the user the opportunity to add their own favourite sonic flavours to their SSL console, whilst keeping it all within arm's reach. The XL-Desk rack has its own dedicated power supply, separate to the power supply for the rest of the console. Unlike many stand-alone 500 format racks the XL Desk rack has a very highly specified power supply which should deliver sufficient power to accommodate your selection of modules. SSL cannot guarantee compatibility but has tested this rack with over thirty different modules.

Each of the mono channels of the XL-Desk (1-16) has access to its own corresponding slot in the rack and the channel strips access them via a '500' Insert button. The four Stereo channels cannot access the 500 rack. Slots 17-18 are hard wired to Mix A to accommodate a stereo mix bus compressor and XL-Desk ships with these slots pre-loaded with 500 format module version of the legendary SSL G Series Bus Compressor. The console will ship with a new version of this module which features a sidechain HPF. The four Mix Busses can also access rack slots 9-16 (in stereo pairs) although the Mix Busses and mono channels 9-16 cannot use the rack slots simultaneously. The inputs and outputs of module slots 1-16 are accessible via standard DB25 connectors on the rear panel. This does mean that the modules are not hard wired into the mono channel strips 500 Insert send/return, but the console does ship with a set of external DB25 jumper cables to facilitate this approach if required. The advantage of our opting not to hard wire the rack into the channel signal flow is of course that if desired (and we do recommend this), the rack can be connected to a patchbay for ultimate flexibility and creating chains of patching between 500 modules. Furthermore, this means that the 500 rack can be used 'standalone'. The 500 rack can also accommodate stereo modules that comply with the pin 6 link specification - the switch to assign an odd/even pair of slots to stereo operation is internal so must be set before the module is fitted.

Key Features

  • Slots 17-18 pre-loaded with the SSL Bus Compressor (featuring sidechain HPF)
  • Stereo-link switch available for odd/even pairs (for modules that comply with the pin 6 link specification)
  • 18-Slot 500 format rack in a 16+2 configuration
  • High quality internal PSU, with over specified power supply
  • +/- 16.5V DC
  • +48V DC