Issue 93


Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.


Damien Gerard Studios Invests in SSL Origin

New 88-input SSL Origin goes into the relocated Damien Gerard Studios.


19 October 2020

When the landlord called ‘time’ on the Damien Gerrard studio lease last year, owner Marshall Cullen might have had good reason to fall into a funk… throw in the towel, even.

The Balmain location was perfect for the Sydney music scene, perhaps even more ideal than the Pyrmont-based location before it, and finding a similarly convenient and vibey inner-west site would be impossible thanks to soaring rents and redevelopment activity.

But rather than give up, Marshall took on the challenge of relocating Damien Gerrard to the Central Coast, and to find a cashed-up partner to assist in levelling-up the studio’s capabilities.

To cut a long story short, he did. The studio is now located in Gosford West in an old TV production studio and has some extra cash behind it to give the studio a real shot in the arm.

The most conspicuous addition to the studio is a brand new SSL Origin mixing console.

The analogue console debuted at NAMM earlier in the year and Damien Gerrard is one of the first studios internationally to take the plunge.

“The old Soundcraft console was probably our weak link, compared to the quality we had elsewhere in our outboard and mic inventory,” notes Marshall Cullen. “We began looking at vintage consoles that might be available, including Sylvia Massy’s old Neve in the US. But it the economics of it didn’t stack up.

“We heard good things about the new Origin, and the advantages of buying a new console were hard to ignore: a warranty, for starters; and the modern design means you don’t need to run air conditioning 24/7 to keep it cool.”

The 88-input SSL Origin provides plenty of flexibility to take on larger sessions, as well as offering the trademark SSL sound thanks to the SSL preamps, E Series EQ, talkback compressor and bus compressor.

“We had the Little Quirks in here recently,” recalls Marshall Cullen. “We had 12 musicians in the live room and nine monitor sends, which was all really easily achievable using only the SSL Origin.”

The SSL Origin relies on D Sub connectors to plumb into the patchbay. “We allowed ourselves two weeks to install and test the console,” continues Marshall Cullen. “But we largely took care of it all in a week. We were able to pre-solder the D Sub looms and it came together easily.”

Marshall Cullen has been in the studio game long enough to remember when an SSL mixing console guaranteed a studio room $1000 a day hire and plenty of kudos. But this is 2020. “There’s no doubt the new console and the SSL name has generated interest. We have clients like the Hoodoo Gurus and Steve Kilbey (from The Church) who have been in the studio regularly during the lockdown, and they know just how good SSL mixing consoles are. There’s still plenty of cachet in the SSL name.”


Damien Gerard Sound Studios:
Amber Technology (SSL):


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Issue 93


Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.