CHICAGO, IL—WBEZ, the Public Radio station nationally known for producing the hit shows “This American Life” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” recently replaced an aging digital console in their music performance studio with a Solid State Logic AWS 900+ Analogue Workstation System. The AWS provides WBEZ with integrated control of the Pro Tools™ HD system and increased added value for the studio, while offering the sound quality and reliability expected from a product bearing the SSL name. This installation represents the first radio application for the AWS 900+.
“Eight years ago, we built a large live performance studio and put in a digital console believing at the time that everything analogue was dying,” says Mary Gaffney, audio supervisor for WBEZ. “In time, we experienced reliability problems and trouble with finding parts for the console, so when service became a big issue we decided to look for a new platform. Because of budget constraints, we needed a mid-priced console and were pleasantly surprised to discover SSL’s AWS 900+. I come from 20 years of using analogue, so the SSL name caught our attention and at the same time the AWS fit our need to work with our Pro Tools system. The AWS was the perfect match giving us excellent sound quality, reliable service and close integration with Pro Tools.”
WBEZ is a full service station with four production rooms, two news and/or production rooms, an on air studio, ten editing booths and the large performance studio. The AWS room is used for live and captured music production, political debates, theater presentations and any program that requires a larger or higher end production quality environment. The console was purchased from GC Pro Chicago’s Dan Scalpone.
“We produce a nationally distributed music critic show called Sound Options where well known groups like Alejandro Escavedo, Nick Cave, Calexico and Joan as Policewoman perform,” Gaffney explains. “We also bring in outside clients to rent the studio as part of our community mission. For instance, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis uses the studio for private production. The addition of the AWS has brought the entire facility up a notch as outside engineers and artists love the sound quality. Everyone is happy that we are offering an SSL and they want to use the studio.”
The AWS 900+ revolutionized the industry by combining the legendary SSL 9000 K Series mic pre, EQ, dynamics and automation with integrated control of Pro Tools or other DAW systems. The AWS allows a studio to offer clients an SSL product at an attractive price point for a mid-sized studio. For WBEZ, the experience was good right out of the box.
“We literally took delivery of the AWS and had it up and running in a very short time,” Gaffney states. “The integration with Pro Tools was seamless and with DAW control right on the console surface, we can stay focused on our work. There is a sonic integrity that’s intrinsic to the board, so every session automatically starts with high quality sound, making mixing on the fly to live on air performance much easier and less stressful. We have experienced a quicker turn around for our productions as a result of using the AWS. Just being able to plug in a microphone and not have to get lost in a sea of digital pages to find it saves time. The AWS completely proves that analogue is here to stay.”
Says Piers Plaskitt, Group Commercial Director for Solid State Logic, “We’ve had many of our analogue customers comment that certain DAW’s stifle the creative process, thereby making it difficult to use outboard equipment and that after a while everything sounds the same. They find that moving back to analogue allows them the best of both worlds and nurtures a more creative environment where they get to use those esoteric bits of gear that have unique sound qualities and cannot be found in a plug-in.”
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solid-state-logic.com.