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The new sound of music

22 Mar 2013

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) has installed a Solid State Logic (SSL) mixing console into its Fairfield Campus sound production facility. The SSL AWS 948 is a recent addition to the SSL range, making NMIT's console one of only five in Australia, and the only unit available toVictorian students.

Darren Steffen, NMIT's Sound Production Program Coordinator, says the unit is considered the pinnacle of mixing consoles. “We were looking for a flagship device - and this is it. This is the console that's used in the best studios in the world, and if they don't have one they probably want one.”

SSL units are used by some of the biggest names in the music industry including Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel, Blur and Sting and are also highly regarded by top producers. There are over 3,000 SSL systems in use worldwide, including in London's Abbey Road and Air studios, as well as closer to home in studios like Melbourne's Sing Sing. SSLs are also favoured by major broadcasters such as the ABC, NBC, BBC and Fox.

Darren says the SSLAWS 948 console allows students to develop technical expertise with the best equipment on the market. “The SSL is the main mixing console in our main studio, so everything we record goes through it. Students use the console a lot which gives them confidence with the equipment. They know when they head out into the workforce they already know how to use the best.”

The console is used by Fairfield's certificate IV and advanced diploma sound production students. The desk is currently used for the Performing Arts Collaboration Project, which involves Fairfield's music students writing and rehearsing original material and sound production students recording their songs on the SSL. The master tapes then head across to NMIT's Collingwood Campus where screen and media students use their HD TV production studio to record a music video.The entire process is overseen by NMIT's Music Business students.

Jackson Stafford, an NMIT Advanced Diploma of Sound Production student, has been enjoying using the new console on the collaboration project. “We tracked the groups on the SSL then mixed them down. I found the SSL really comfortable to use - it's got good work flow - and best of all a great sound.”

Jackson says the console gives students practice on industry standard equipment. “It will prepare us to work in the field. We also get the chance to experiment with it, an opportunity you wouldn't necessarily get in a recording studio where everyone is paying by the hour.”

Darren's equally enthusiastic about the new console. “As well as that 'classic' SSL sound, it integrates with software like Pro Tools, which gives us the best of the analogue and digital worlds in a single box. It's an absolute joy to use - it feels like a million bucks.”

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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.