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Fusion Vintage Drive User Guide

Introduction

About SSL Fusion Vintage Drive

The SSL FUSION Vintage Drive plug-in brings SSL FUSION’s non-linear saturation circuit to your DAW, for added analogue console feel.

SSL FUSION is a hardware mix bus processor, delivering five powerful analogue colouration tools — Vintage Drive, Violet EQ, HF Compressor, Stereo Image enhancer, and SSL Transformer — from SSL, the Masters of Analogue.

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Key Features

  • Modelled on the coveted SSL Fusion Vintage Drive processor
  • A unique, non-linear saturation circuit 
  • DENSITY and DRIVE interact to produce harmonics, soft-clipping, and natural compression
  • MIX for instant parallel processing
  • AUTO GAIN 
  • Exceptional DSP design with reference to the original analogue circuit
  • Modelled using a combination of real-life measurements, analogue circuit designs and close collaboration with the original analogue designers of FUSION hardware
  • NEW: ECO mode drops the plug-in into a zero latency& reduced CPU mode, for tracking and recording applications
  • Comes loaded with presets from world-class producers and engineers, including: Adrian Hall, Alan Moulder, Caesar Edmunds, Charlie Holmes, Michael Brauer, Romesh Dodangoda, Sean Divine and Wez Clarke

Installation

You can download installers for a plug-in from the website's Download page, or by visiting a plug-in product page via the Web Store.

All SSL plug-ins are supplied in VST, VST3, AU (macOS only) and AAX (Pro Tools) formats.

The installers provided (macOS Intel .dmg and Windows .exe) copy the plug-in binaries to the common VST, VST3, AU and AAX directories. After this, the host DAW should recognise the plug-in automatically in most cases.

Simply run the installer and you should be good to go. You can find more information about how to authorise your plug-ins below.

Licencing

Visit the online plug-ins FAQ for guidance in authorising your SSL plug-in.

Using SSL Fusion Vintage Drive

Interface Overview

The basic interface techniques for the Fusion Vintage Drive are largely identical to those for the Channel Strip.

Presets

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Switching between presets can be achieved by clicking the left/right arrows in the preset management section of the plug-in GUI, and by clicking on the preset name which will open the preset management display.

Preset Management Display

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There are a number of options in the Preset Management Display:

  • Load allows loading of presets not stored in the locations described above.
  • Save As... allows for storage of user presets.
  • Save as Default assigns the current plug-in settings to the Default Preset.
  • Copy A to B and Copy B to A assigns the plug-in settings of one comparison setting to the other.

A-B Comparisons

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The A B buttons at the base of the screen allows you to load two independent settings and compare them quickly. When the plug-in is opened, setting A is selected by default. Clicking the A or B button will switch between setting A and setting B.

UNDO and REDO functions allow undo and redo of changes made to the plug-in parameters.

Automation

Automation support for Fusion Vintage Drive is the same as for the Channel Strip.

ECO Mode

If a plug-in has an ‘ECO’ button, this means that there’s some clever DSP, such as oversampling, going on under the hood. This is why it sounds so good!

Putting the plug-in into ECO mode drops the plug-in into a reduced latency and CPU-use mode - ideal for recording and tracking!

Interface Controls

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IO Meters

Segmented I/O metering, with 3s peak hold 1 for a clear indication of peaks.

Input/Output Trim

Applies a gain to the input/output signals.

Bypass

The IN switch located in the Input section provides an internal plug-in bypass. This allows for smoother In/Out comparisons by avoiding the latency issues associated with the host application’s Bypass function. The button must be ‘lit’ for the plug-in to be in circuit.

Auto Gain

Automatically compensates for the gain introduced by the DENSITY, DRIVE and INPUT TRIM controls.

Tri-Colour LED and Saturation Meter

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The tri-colour LED shows how hard the circuit is being driven.

For a subtle effect that works on a mix, keep the LED in the green zone as much as possible. For a more aggressive colour on instrument tracks, drive the circuit until the LED goes orange or red.

The ‘SATURATION’ meter gives some feedback about how much distortion is being added to the signal.

Drive

Adds gain, introducing a unique, 6 non-linear saturation to the signal.

Density

Fine tunes the effect of the circuit. Lower values produce emphasis towards even-order harmonics.

Mix

Adjusts the relative blend between the processes and unprocessed signal.

Tips & Tricks

Use the DRIVEpot to work the circuit harder. 1 is least amount of drive, 11 is the most.

The tri-colour LED provides feedback as to how hard the circuit is being driven. It can be green, orange or red. Just like the hardware!

In the plug-in, you can additionally use the INPUT TRIM control to drive it even harder!

Mix + Master

For a subtle effect that works across a whole mix or bus, keep the LED in the green zone (flickers into orange are fine).

Individual Stems

For more aggressive saturation, drive the circuit until the LED starts showing orange. When in the red zone you will notice quite obvious distortion which isn't desirable across a mix bus but can work well on individual stems.

Density

Lower DENSITY settings produce more even-order harmonics, and settings between 2 and 3 can help add richness to a mix.

Medium to higher DENSITY settings (above 3), result in less overall harmonic content but with odd-order harmonics eventually becoming more prominent.

The third harmonic is related to the saturation/analogue clipping effect that this circuit imparts. This can be thought of as a kind of ‘soft-compression’ - peaks are rounded and the RMS (average) level is brought up. This helps you gain some additional ‘loudness’.

Settings between 3 and 7 work well for thickening whole mixes.