History Of Our SSL 4000 B-Series Console
Initially, the desk with serial #2 has been installed in London's Townhouse Studio 2, the famous 'Stone Room'.
1984 it was purchased by Matrix Studios, Soho.
After about 10 years it got replaced by an E-series.
Years of Rock 'n' Roll had taken its toll and the idea was to take it apart and sell the modules.
Luckily, this didn't happen.
In 1981 Producer Nick Launey, who witnessed the events above, got what he describes as his lucky break
Another great Townhouse story ...
The PIL sessions With John (AKA Rotten Sex Pistols) Lydon.
Mr. Lydon had a reputation for pissing all over the console, throwing chairs, instruments, tapes, and indulging in extreme verbal abuse. Being a Pistols/PIL fan Nick jumped at the chance. The first session went very slowly due to the engineer/co-producers inability to work the then new experimental "B" series SSL console. This resulted in Nick constant to-ing and frow-ing from His tape operator position at the back of the mix room, to actually getting the sounds at the console. This eventually got John so pissed off he said: "Nick! For f**k sake stop acting like a fu**ing yo-yo, you're making me dizzy. Move your chair to the console and show this pathetic wanker which knob to turn". Later that day the engineer left to go and have a pee. Lydon promptly got up and locked the door. The engineer thumped on the door then called on the intercom. John told him: "Your position has been taken.. Kindly fuck off" The recording was successfully finished at 7am the next morning. Nick's relationship with PIL blossomed to the point where he was asked to Co-produce their next Record : "The Flowers Of Romance".
Thanks for permission to use this, Nick
Chris Jenkins, SSL design guru and director of commercial applications was the technical manager at the Townhouse when the B-series was installed in the newly constructed Studio 2 (1979)
I spent more than two years implementing design revisions and modifications in conjunction with SSL to get the console as good as we could make it. It should have the original Listen Mic compressor mod that I added plus another mod to allow routing to the multitrack buses in Mix Mode. A little known fact is that the channel compressor is based on the same circuit as the master compressor plus has the very usable deesser option.
Records recorded and/or mixed on it during my time at the Townhouse include Peter Gabriel 2, The first Phil Collins album, XTC, The Skids, Yes (with the Buggles), the Members, Simple Minds, Public Image, Jane Eyre and many others.
The console was a favorite of Producers such as Steve Lillywhite, John Leckie, Mick Glossop, Hugh Padgham, Tony Platt and many more.
Glad to hear that it has found a good home where it will be looked after and appreciated.
thank you, Chris
Thus was born the drum sound of the 80s
Defining exactly what Gabriel's skills are can be difficult, but when he gets into a studio, things happen. Take that day in 1979 when Hugh Padgham and Gabriel were sitting in the control room of Genesis' Townhouse studio listening to Phil Collins play his kit to a drum machine pattern in his headphones. As Padgham tells the tale, the drum sounds reaching the control room were only coming in through the talkback mike, which had a crude noise gate and limiter on it. Padgham was twisting the knobs on this setup when suddenly Gabriel cried, "Wait! What's that?" The simple compression and the rapidly closing gate had given Collins' kit a whole other sound. Gabriel had Collins record about five minutes of the same pattern, then went back and turned it into "Intruder." Thus was born the drum sound of the '80s, with Gabriel as midwife.
[Musician Magazine June 1989]