Solid Stage Logic is a British brand that was rather absent from home studios until recently.
Indeed, founded in 1969, the brand is, above all, known for its excellent high-end mixing consoles sold to professional studios around the world: SSL 4000, SSL 9000J, etc.
However, since the NAMM 2020 show, SSL has expanded its scope of intervention by offering two home studio-oriented audio interfaces: the SSL2 and the SSL2+.
Since their release, many of you have asked me for a review, but getting your hands on a model turned out to be more complicated than expected.
Fortunately, the SolidStateLogic team was able to lend me an SSL 2+ so that I could do this for you — so I thank them warmly for their availability and professionalism, otherwise, the article would probably have arrived much later!
In short, here is my detailed opinion on the Solid State Logic SSL2+ USB Audio Interface.
Table of Contents
Unpacking and Manufacturing
Upon opening, we realize that the box’s contents are quite minimalist: we find the interface, a quick start guide, and two USB cables (USB-A/USB-C and USB-C/USB -VS).
(Note that the SSL 2+ is a USB 2.0 interface — which is more than enough given the number of inputs/outputs).
When taking the beast out, my first impression was that it was pretty light: I was expecting something a little heavier given the size.
The outline of the interface is made of plastic (of good quality), and the facade elegant, in brushed aluminum.
I find the interface pretty. Everything is well proportioned and clearly positioned — in short, it looks really good on the desk.
Overall, the build quality is good: the finishes are clean, the potentiometers are fluid, and they give confidence (normal, these are Alps potentiometers).
However, the various switches hang up a bit and seem less solid. That said, they’re functioning normally, so there’s no reason to be overly concerned either.
- 2-In/4-Out USB-C Audio Interface
- 2 x SSL-designed microphone preamps
- Legacy 4K - analogue colour enhancement, inspired by classic SSL consoles
- 2 x Professional, high-current grade headphone outputs: create a second independent headphone mix
- 24-bit / 192 kHz AD/DA AKM Converters
The features of Solid State Logic SSL2+
In terms of functionality, the Solid State Logic SSL2+ is quite well thought out and can be used without any problem in a home studio and/or DJ context.
On top of the audio interface, there are two preamps with LED level indicators.
Via the switches placed above, you can, of course, activate the phantom power and alternate between the microphone, line, or high impedance inputs (for guitars/basses).
In the central position (or almost), a large blue button that is easy to handle will allow you to control the volume of your speakers.
Finally, on the right of the interface, we find:
- individualized volume settings for the two headphone outputs (the interface being indeed designed in a rather collaborative way to facilitate work with another person if necessary);
- a “Monitor Mix” button which will allow you, if you wish, to listen to the signal entering your interface (this is direct monitoring ).
At the back of the Solid State Logic SSL2+, you will find different connectors (Neutrik, at least for the jacks):
- two jack/XLR combo inputs, which of course, correspond to the two preamps we talked about just before;
- an output for your monitoring speakers ( balanced jack or unbalanced RCA );
- a second RCA output — beware, this one is more designed for DJ turntables because it outputs sound at a maximum volume that cannot be adjusted;
- the two headphone outputs — let’s be clear, the rear position is not very practical if you regularly unplug your headphones;
- and, significant point, MIDI inputs/outputs.
Note however the lack of an ADAT input to allow the home studio to expand over time.
Using Solid State Logic SSL2+
I have to admit: before testing this audio interface, I was a little worried that SSL had fallen into the marketing trap, relying solely on its name to promote the interface rather than on real audio qualities.
Obviously, this is fortunately not the case at all since the use of SSL 2+ turns out to be pleasant and to make sense in a home studio context.
Overall, the sound quality is very good, with a really interesting quality/price ratio.
We see that the brand has been careful not to release something of poor quality.
In terms of listening, I quickly realized that the rendering was good on my usual reference tracks. Especially on the headphone output: good reserve of power and a quite satisfactory level of detail in the bass and treble.
In terms of preamps, the SSL 2+ also does well with a low background noise (unless you turn the knob all the way, but this is the case on 99% of interfaces) and a neutral sound, balanced but sufficiently dense (especially on dynamic microphones, although I would still recommend a fethead or cloudlifter for an SM7B).
The 4K button present on each preamp is appreciable, especially on the voices where it adds air and gives a modern effect (watch out for the sibilance). Certainly, it would be illusory to believe that this simple switch will perfectly reproduce the behavior of a large analog console. However, it still allows access to a specific type of sound that gives the preamps a “2 in 1” aspect. Interesting.
The software aspect
There is no advanced control software with SSL 2+, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem because once the driver is installed, everything works very well and in a stable way.
Latency statics, on the other hand, turn out to be good on my machine (i7-9700k), and the interface behaves well, even on reduced buffer settings:
Finally, the software package offered with the interface is sufficient to start or take advantage of some additional tools if your home studio has already been launched for a few years:
- SSL Native Vocalstrip 2 and SSL Native Drumstrip, two dedicated plugins, as their names indicate, for mixing vocals and drums;
- Native Instruments Hybrid Keys and Komplete Start;
- AVID Pro Tools First with 23 additional plugins;
- Ableton Live Lite;
- and 1.5 GB of samples selected from Loopcloud.
In the end, the SSL2+ from Solid State Logic seems to me to be a very good audio interface for the home studio.
As I said earlier in the article, I was a little afraid of marketing before testing it, but in the end, not at all: the interface is both aesthetic, pleasant to use, and provides good sound quality.
I, therefore, imagine that it will suit both beginners wishing to buy a first interface that is not too entry-level for their home studio under construction or well-established home studios wishing to upgrade their own interface without spending a thousand and cents.