I couldn't find any feedback on the sound of these either, so I thought I'd post my experience. Good quality kit, good components - a LOT more going on than modern SSL 500 series EQs. Comparing to an SSL 611 EQ, the frequency points and ranges differ and the knobs are slightly bigger (which is an advantage).
Comparing the sonics between the two - they're in the same ballpark. The Link definitely has the SSL sound. The 611/E series is more aggressive and has more gain on tap. Diming the top end on the link is equivalent to about 70% on the SSL for example. The midrange is probably the most comparable, but the low end is where I hear the most difference. They have similar characteristics, but the bottom end of the SSL isn't as big. This might be a good thing or bad thing depending on your taste. On kick drum and bass for example I prefer the tightness of the SSL when boosting. The Link gets a little loose/bloomy/wooly for my tastes on these sources - but it's a winner on toms!
So in typical RGO fashion - both have their place!
Post by christopher on Jan 3, 2023 22:40:55 GMT -6
I got a pair of kits to get me back at the soldering station and one is finished. It appears one kit was missing a 10 pin header, but I can’t 100% rule out if it bounced somewhere while dumping contents and grabbing parts. I’ve been looking for a week now. These have hundreds of parts divided into manageable baggies and I was being lazy about inventorying as soon as opening.
Kit was time consuming but fun to do if you like soldering. Build guide was short and a perfect amount of hand holding and also enough sink or swim gaps to keep it interesting. I was very impressed with the quality of guide, support thread, packaging, PCB label, and style of flow for the kit. Seems super ideal for a final project in any electronics 101 type course.
I spent extra time getting good solder joints and verifying, it worked perfectly. Sound quality of the first one is great, as I expected. I plan to put this between an input and output transformer stage though to see how that does. I’m excited to get the 2nd one done. Getting an order for the missing header ready. Thinking about more of their kits.
I am completely out of 500 slots (what, twenty is too many?) but I'd be more than willing to give their take on the API 312 a shot. The inclusion of COLOUR pallete connections is a nice touch (especially for the 4k/9k pres that would do nicely to have some grime on speed-dial).
I can speak to that a bit, as I've worked on more than my fair share of 4000 desks with 02/232/242 rev. eq's. Everyone has their preferred version, I liked the original 02/brown type. I've got a pair of the Link versions in my rack. I wouldn't use the word 'saturate' to describe either the original or clone when leaning into the gain of any band - but the sound is.... I'll call it "remarkably similar". If I had the two side by side, it would be a bit easier to point out the differences. But the "sound" (I never really thought of 4k EQ's as having one) is there. Very workmanlike.
When SSL lowered the prices on the UV EQ last year, I grabbed one. Different circuits, but to hear the two side by side, they're both excellent for what they do. You're not going to get any gyrator/inductor 'vibe' - but they're versatile, clean, and precise.
Whenever I'd get into a mix on a 4000, I knew almost from muscle memory how I would set the EQ's for an electric guitar subgroup. That's precisely what I've got the Links set up for now. Really good for bringing out the bite and grunt. I doubt you'll be disappointed - they're great.
Kit was time consuming but fun to do if you like soldering.
How time consuming? Hours or days?
I would recommend hire someone. Link is hireable at $160 Euros, it’s listed in their product section. benefits: they’ll have plenty of spare parts, and you don’t have to halt the progress when a resistor flys off. No stress about whether it will work right or not. And they can compare it to theirs, know right away if something is wrong or not. It took me about 10 hours for my first one. Felt like a 1000 piece puzzle, hours go by searching the PCBs where to stuff a part. Then dumb things like turn it over to solder and the part falls on the desk then bounces to the ground, you can’t keep going until you find it. But if you like the hobby of puzzles and soldering, well you’d love this kit.
Soundwise: nothing like Neve. It feels like most 80-90s boards, where ICs and Salen Key were used. And so you twist away and find plenty of bad places, then you find something not so bad. Sort of give up and stand back, and it hits you that actually it does have a unique great sound that is familiar on like every CD I ever owned.
Calibration: so before calibration, like an idiot I loaded some music to test that everything worked. And wow, it was really badass! Right near clipping, and the low pass filter was resonant, in your face and saturated. (Btw Frequency is now calibrated with a trimpot, not sure the available range)
I went through calibration and found that everything was running too hot. While the design is for +/- 15dB I was getting closer + 18dB range. The calibration of the trimpots allowed me to dial it back into the 15dB range. The low pass filter level I had to bring way down, and frequency was way off. And overall each level was brought down.
After calibration it was much more of a clear and tame sound. +/-15dB now. The low pass filter is much less noticeable. I’m going to play around with calibrating it a little hotter and hopefully get more saturation out of it. it’s really sounding fine now though, no rush
But I see the Link design doesn't implement the variable HPF/LPF so they're not using the triple gang pots. Smart, but the SSL EQ's most valuable sections are those variable filters IMHO.
I'm curious about this. Is there anything special about the SSL filters that you can't get somewhere else? I'm asking to see if it's worth it to buy the preamp portion from Link which contains the filters, or whether to just use another piece such as the CAPI Missing Link and its filters.