LA College of Music upgrades with SSL Origin

The Los Angeles College of Music has upgraded its student recording studio with the installation of a new Solid State Logic ORIGIN console.

The studio was refurbished over the summer, with the 32-channel analogue in-line console now ready for the Fall 2020 semester. Once classes resume, the studio will be used by faculty member Andrew ‘Mudrock’ Murdock, known for his work with Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold and others, to teach students the basics of audio engineering and production.

“At first, I was thinking we should buy something used,” said Murdock, who has been teaching LACM classes since 2011. “But Andre Knecht, Music Producing and Recording Department Head, said ‘Let’s look for something new. Did you know SSL is coming out with a console?’ He showed me the ORIGIN brochure and I said, looks good to me! It looks familiar; it’s got the classic SSL look. I didn’t even get to drive it until it was in my room. As soon as I did, I said, this feels like an SSL. And it sounds great.

“The routing is really ingenious. It’s got 16 buses—which is plenty these days—that feed eight stereo subgroups, which you can treat as mono or stereo. Instead of having a routing switch for each subgroup, there’s a single Route button on each channel. You push the button, the light turns blue, then you push the button next to the subgroup master you want to assign it to. That works super well.”

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The newly renovated Student Recording Studio at LACM is equipped with a variety of outboard analogue processing and effects gear. The control room was already outfitted with a pair of Dynaudio BM15 nearfield monitors and other items, but the school acquired some new pieces during the studio refurbishment. 

“We already had a pair of Distressors and A-Designs Pacifica mic preamps,” Murdock said. “We bought some Warm Audio compressors and a Klark Teknik stereo graphic equaliser. And I sold the school one of my Lexicon PCM70s, which is an amazing reverb, and a stereo Yamaha delay.”

While the all-analogue SSL ORIGIN is the centerpiece of the revamped studio, Murdock also teaches elements of digital signal flow,” he continued. “We have Radial splitters in there, because I have a digital mixer in the tracking room. There are times when we have an ensemble in the tracking room and we need to provide PA support in there, so I’m teaching that kind of signal flow as well. And we’re about to buy a digital snake, because there’s a performance hall in the other building. We’re going to try and send that audio to my room and start recording people’s final recitals.”

Murdock has limited his class size to around eight students. “I want everybody to have a chance in the driver’s seat,” he explained. “I can’t wait to have kids driving the ORIGIN, because it’s a perfect teaching tool. If you can drive this, you can drive any mixer.”