Launched in 2004, the AWS (Analogue Workstation System) reinvented the professional production console by combining classic SSL SuperAnalogue™ console technology with comprehensive DAW control hardware in a single work surface. Over 550 consoles later the AWS is now used by leading international recording artists, producers and engineers and has shaped expectations for session workflow within today’s and indeed tomorrows’ production environments.
Designed for mid scale commercial recording and production facilities, the AWS is available in 24 input (AWS 924) or 48 input (AWS 948) variants within a compact 24 fader frame. Both models deliver pristine SuperAnalogue™ mixing, 24 ultra-clean SSL SuperAnalogue mic pre’s, classic SSL dual curve EQ on every channel, two assignable SSL Dynamics, legendary Stereo Buss Compressor, TotalRecall™ and full 5.1 monitoring. In addition to on board classic SSL Automation, both models also feature the revolutionary new A-FADA mode where motorised analogue faders follow DAW Automation data.
AWS 924 & 948 also feature Ethernet connectivity for streamlined hardware control over your entire Digital Audio Workstation environment. AWS delivers elegant, ergonomic physical control over your entire studio environment with dedicated heavy duty DAW transport, V-Pot multifunction encoders with position indicating LED’s, Digital Scribble Strips, DAW fader mode, global and channel routing control and built-in TFT display for advanced plug-in editing. Project Session Management is kept simple through SSL’s proprietary Logictivity interface.
The AWS is an SSL SuperAnalogue™ console, featuring the audio performance specifications that have established the benchmarks by which other manufacturers are measured. Exceptionally low THD, noise floor & crosstalk levels keep your audio absolutely pristine, while our legendary headroom carries every nuance of your audio and allows engineers to mix ‘hotter’ without distortion. The AWS 948 maintains the same 24 fader footprint as the AWS 924 (and classic AWS 900) and achieves its 48 input count via a unique Dual Path Channel Strip design where each channel has a single Mic Amp and two line level inputs, a new Stereo EQ and Stereo Insert. This new channel enables three different operating modes: STEREO MIX, IN LINE MIX and IN LINE TRACKING. These differing modes offer a wealth of workflow options that enhance today’s versatile production environments;
IN-LINE TRACKING is similar to the AWS 924 with either the MIC or the LINE signal providing the CHOP and Track Bus source. Normally this primary signal is level controlled by the V-Pot. However through “fader flip” it is possible to use the large fader instead. In this setup the secondary signal (DAW output/Monitor Return or the even the CH OP) goes to the Large fader. AUTO-M takes control of the RETURN switch to provide automatic monitor source switching between the channel paths, following the DAW transport status. The monitor path is heard in Play, and the input path is heard in Record or Stop. S-CUE employs automatic cue send source switching between the channel paths, following the DAW transport status, to provide full zero latency drop-in and record monitoring, a sum of both paths is heard in Play and only the input is heard when in Record or Stop.
IN-LINE MIX provides identical operation to the AWS 924 channel strip with the exception that a second signal path is available as a Mix input in classic ‘In Line’ console fashion. In this mode the Channel V-Pot acts as the second input gain control (along with the associated SOLO/CUT switches). Furthermore the V-Pots level and mute status can be automated. This allows all 48 channel signal paths level and cut automation in the analogue domain. Note that it is also possible to move the Insert into the secondary path (ideal for X-Rack processing etc).
Channel configuration and Setup is accomplished via the AWS 948 onboard TFT screen and soft keys, and it is even possible to move or divide the channels processing resources (EQ, Insert etc.) between each of the dual paths.
The AWS 948 Channel Input section features two balanced Line Inputs with +/-20dB of gain and a world class SuperAnalogue™ Mic Amp featuring continuous mic gain control (+15 to +75dB), phase reverse and switchable 48V phantom power. The -20dB PAD is intended for use with very high output microphones. The routing functionality of the Insert varies according to the three different operating modes.
The Stereo EQ design featured on the AWS 948 is sonically identical to the SSL SuperAnalogue™ mono Channel EQ taken from the legendary XL 9000 K Series console and its current successor Duality. It is a highly flexible 4 band parametric EQ design. HF/LF and Mid Frequency bands are independently switchable between E and G series response curves and tonal characteristics. PRE places the Insert before the EQ section. In conjunction with the dynamics CHIP and CHOP routing keys, the order of the EQ, INSERT and DYNAMICS blocks can be re-ordered.
HPF – 18dB/Octave high-pass filter with detente bypass position
G-EQ Curve switch – toggles between the default ‘E-Series’ and ‘G-Series’ tonal characteristics and control interaction with independent switches for the HF/LF and Mid Frequency bands
LMF – Low frequency parametric mid-band EQ
HF – High frequency shelving equalizer switchable to fixed Q parametric response via the Bell switch
HMF – High frequency parametric mid-band EQ section
LF – Low frequency shelving EQ Switchable to fixed Q parametric response via the Bell switch
Routing & Sends
Each channel has access to 2 main Stereo Busses (RECORD and MIX) in addition to 2 Stereo Cue busses and 4 mono FX sends. Every AWS Channel features a Direct Channel Output (CH OP) and can also feed 8 independent Track Busses. SSL’s unique “EFX” system is present on all channels significantly enhancing creativity by allowing free assignment of send controls.
In IN LINE MIX and IN LINE TRACKING modes the Pan control is a standard L/R pan control, in STEREO MIX mode it is a stereo Width control. For stereo signals the pan pot functions as a width controller with normal stereo image in the centre. When the pan pot is turned to the right an out of phase left component is introduced to the right signal, and vice-versa, resulting in a widening of the signal’s width beyond the speakers. When the pan pot is turned left in-phase components are introduced into the signal in a similar way, resulting in a narrowing of the width with fully left being mono. Furthermore, stereo signal balance is controlled using the channel V-Pot.
Digital Scribble Strips
When the AWS is in analogue mode the Digital Scribble Strips display name and parameter information for the selected analogue signal path. When the AWS is in DAW mode they display DAW channel and processing parameters.