‘American Idol’ Rides With SSL

Every week, the history-making tones on “American Idol” end up on iTunes.
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Every week, the history-making tones on “American Idol” end up on iTunes. Solid State Logic AWS 900+ consoles are ensuring proper treatment of the tracks on the way to making, as their producer put it, “a complete album each week.”

At Westlake Studios’ Production Rooms 1 and 2 in Hollywood, Producer/mixer Brad Gilderman relies on the consoles and on the signature SSL SuperAnalogue sound and integrated control of Westlakes’ Pro Tools systems.

“Essentially we are producing an album’s worth of material every week in three-and-a-half days so we really rely heavily on the AWS 900+ to deliver superior quality sound for the vocal performances,” said Gilderman, who has worked with such artists as Eric Clapton, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Blind Melon. “The sound of the AWS is crystal clear and punchy. Our focus has been mainly on vocals and everything we get out of the AWS has just been spot on.”

The production flow for the “American Idol” tunes consists of bringing the instrumental tracks to Westlake, where they are run through an AWS 900+ for vocal performance recording and then the entire production is shipped to Little Big Room Studios in Burbank where everything is mixed through an SSL 4000 G+.

“For the last 10 weeks, we have been running our various instrumental tracks and vocal production tracks through the AWS,” Gilderman said. “The AWS makes everything very easy as our settings are stored in memory, so each week we just walk in the studio, hit a button and boom, our settings are back. The sonic experience is very clean and the technical experience is very simple. We are able to jump back and forth between any projects and are able to get right where we left off. When you have a production schedule such as ours, there is no time for the technology to get in the way. The AWS offers rock solid reliability and really helps to get our job done.”

Offering a combination of a compact analog mixing console and a comprehensive DAW controller, SSL’s AWS 900+ provides everything needed to record, edit and mix ultra professional audio.

“With SSL, right out of the box, you automatically start every project with great sound,” Gilderman offers. “We also deal with a wide variety of styles and the AWS always delivers the nuance and expression that complements all these styles. When you add to this the integrated Pro Tools control, the entire job becomes technically much easier. When we need a quick plug-in, we are able to jump on it right away from the console. We don’t need to interrupt our creative flow by leaving the console, grabbing a mouse and manipulating a computer.”