SSL12 Review: New Amazing Audio Interface from SSL! (2023)

Solid State Logic SSL12

SSL12 Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.
  • USB Audio Interface
  • Height: 4.04″
  • Width: 12.63″
  • Depth: 7.71″
  • Weight: 2.42 lbs.

SSL12 Review

It was widely believed for a long time that Solid State Logic, or SSL, was out of reach for most amateur musicians. It has long been the intent of the product line to satisfy the needs of large studios with ample budgets. This has changed with the introduction of affordable audio interfaces and plugins in recent years.

There is no doubt that the SSL 2 and SSL 2+ are very high-quality audio interfaces for a very reasonable price. As a result of the success of the SSL product line, the company is now following up with SSL 12. With more functionality than the other two but an outstanding price-to-feature ratio, it is the big brother to the other two.

SSL Logo

SSL12 Design

Among its features are SSL’s mic preamplifiers (with Mic/Line and HPF), two Hi-Z instrument inputs for guitars, basses, and vintage instruments, and two high-quality headphone outputs along with 32-bit/192-kHz AD/DA converters.

As a result of routing and monitoring options as well as ADAT input supporting eight additional digital audio channels, a total of 12 tracks can be recorded simultaneously and eight tracks can be played back at the same time.

This feature is included in the SSL 360° software mixer, which offers a customizable SSL control room. There are three front panel switches on the unit that can be assigned functions including alternative monitor switching, mono sum, invert phase left, dim, cut, and talkback microphone functionality.

A user can also configure where the interface’s Loopback feed is derived from. For example, users can record the output of a media player (e.g., via Playback 1-2) or create a custom submix of a podcast using one of the Aux Busses (e.g., Line 3-4).

There is also access to headphone mixes and line outputs 3-4 for additional flexibility in the production process. With the DC-coupled outputs and MIDI I/O, you will be able to create Control Voltage signals with comprehensive control.

SSL12 Rear Panel
SSL12 Rear Panel

SSL12 Sound and Features

In addition to sounding very good, it features low-noise preamps that stand out particularly. Due to its dynamic range figures of 111 dB for the inputs and 120 dB for the outputs, its conversion will never be the limiting factor for your recordings and mixes.

It is however SSL’s ability to incorporate so many ‘professional’ features and concepts from the world of large format consoles that has really impressed us. In addition to being incredibly well-designed and remarkably versatile, the mixer is presented in a way that is instantly familiar to anyone who has worked on a traditional analog desk.

Various features, including speaker switching with level trim, left channel polarity reversal, talkback, and pre/post fade switching for cues, are rare enough to be found on a desktop interface.

SSL 12 in studio

SSL12 Monitoring

The interface provides control over the volume of the main output through a large volume knob, which is joined by two additional level controls for controlling the volume of the headphone outputs. Users may mute by pressing the Cut button, switch between two monitor pairs by pressing the Alt button or activate the built-in talkback microphone by pressing the Talk button.

The interface’s control software includes several additional monitoring functions, including dimming and mono functions, as well as the ability to invert the left channel’s polarity. A hardware button can also be assigned additional functions within the software, if necessary. The buttons on the device are also configurable within the software.

SSL 360 Software
SSL 360° Software

Software Included

The SSL 12 software mixer contains a customizable SSL control room that is integrated into the SSL 360° software mixer. Using the SSL 12’s three front-panel switches, users can assign functions, such as Alternative Monitor Switching, Mono Sum, Invert Phase Left, Dim, Cut, and access to an on-board talkback microphone, to receive instant feedback.

With its SSL console-style routing, it is easy to create up to four independent near zero-latency foldback mixes, and recalling sessions is as easy as saving and loading. Furthermore, users may choose different modes (Standard, High Impedance, High Sensitivity) to match different headphone types or repurpose the headphone outputs to create additional line outputs.

In addition, the SSL Production Pack software bundle includes more than 1,000 virtual instruments, plugins, and DAWs. To begin with, you will be able to access all SSL plugins for three months with SSL Complete.

In addition to Native Instruments and Ableton (Live Lite), Celemony (Melodyne), Antares (Auto-Tune), IK Multimedia, Output, and AAS, the Production Pack offers a wide range of premium music-making tools. There is everything you need in this vast collection in order to get started making music or to expand your sonic toolbox with new possibilities. The Production Pack includes the following items:

  • A free 3-month subscription to SSL Complete is available
  • A free 3-month subscription to Auto-Tune Unlimited is available
  • A 3-month free trial of Output’s Arcade subscription
  • Licenses for SSL Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip are perpetual
  • Amplitube 5 SE by IK Multimedia
  • Melodyne Essentials by Celemony
  • Hybrid Keys & Komplete Start by Native Instruments
  • Live 11 Lite version of Ableton Live
  • Plug-ins for AAS Session Bundle
  • 1.5 GB of Loopcloud samples
SSL12 Software Included
SSL12 Software Included
SSL12 Brief Features

  • 4 x SSL-designed mic preamps with 62dB of gain deliver iconic SSL tone
  • 4 x XLR combo jacks to capture any source and setup
  • Per-channel Legacy 4K switches impart a touch of SSL’s legendary analog magic
  • 2 studio-quality headphone outputs
  • Ultra-high fidelity 32-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters
  • 4 x balanced outputs with precision Monitor Level
  • 3 x user-assignable front panel switches
  • 2 x high-Z inputs for easy direct guitar and bass recording
  • Easily control CV input instruments and FX with DC-coupled outputs
  • Flexible MIDI I/O


Why Do You Need The SSL12

For a price of around $500, you will be getting a total beast of an audio interface, produced by one of the world’s most renowned audio device developers. And you can expect high quality from this unit since the same technology is used on it as it is used on their bigger units and audio consoles.

On top of everything we covered in terms of features and functionality, the free software will add that extra spice to your music production and mixing that you need to pair the SSL hardware with the software. And the most important thing – we adore the SSL preamps and you will be getting the same quality here, which is crucial!

9.5Expert Score
Solid State Logic SSL12 Review

As a result of the success of the SSL product line, the company is now following up with SSL 12. With more functionality than the other two but a great price-to-feature ratio, it is the big brother to the other two.

Handling
9
Features
10
Sound
9.5
Quality
10
Positives
  • Great Desktop Design
  • The Preamps are AMAZING!
  • Very Professional Features
  • Great Value for the Money!
Negatives
  • The learning curve with the software

Conclusion

To be honest, you cannot expect a bad product from SSL and that is the case with this audio interface as well. We highly suggest it and we believe that later on it will be more appreciated once more and more people discover it. We also expect an infinite amount of pictures online soon and a bunch of professional records made through it!

If you are having any questions about this unit from SSL, please let us know in the comment section below or reach out to the SSL contact center for more in-depth answers!

2 Comments
  1. Since they removed the mix monitor blend button, how do you go about mixing the signal of the mix with let’s say a vocal track you are recording?

    • Hi Juan,

      Since you are recording everything in the DAW, you can activate the monitoring from it, the only thing lacking is the balance between signals. Otherwise, if you record at optimal levels, you will have an easy time mixing it afterward. You will be only concerned if you are tracking the vocal you are recording the whole time, but you have other solutions for it.

      Hope that clarifies things!

      Bests,
      Mixing Tips

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