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SSL BiG SiX review

Is the latest SSL mixer worth the step up from its little brother, the SiX? We take a look

  • £2199
SSL BiG SiX
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

Full of functionality and quality. Big SiX marries two key devices in a way that makes it hard to justify keeping them separate ever again. Worth the money.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent build.

  • +

    Easy integration with your DAW.

  • +

    The bus compressor is brilliant.

Cons

  • -

    Not cheap.

SSL BiG SiX: What is it?

For those of you familiar with SSL’s SiX, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is just a larger version of that device, and to an extent there is some truth in that. It clearly follows the same design language and I’m sure many of the components are the same and, well, the name suggests as much. It is the SiX but BiGgEr. 

However that isn’t the full story. This isn’t just an expanded SiX with more channels. The BiG SiX is far more than that.

Although the physical similarities are obvious, there are a few differences. The biggest is the size, which is slightly larger than a 19” rack but the end-cheeks are removable, ready for the fitting of rack ears, allowing for mounting in any standard rack. The main fascia has a handful of IO for quick access, including four XLRs for the first four channels, plus things like headphone outs. The rest of the IO is on the back panel, which is heavily recessed, a good move for those mounting this in a rack, and handy for those keeping it on a desk too. 

SSL BiG SiX

(Image credit: Future)

SSL BiG SiX: Performance and verdict

The next big change – and the one that really makes the BiG SiX stand apart from its smaller sibling – is the smattering of buttons with ‘USB’ in the label, along with the USB port on the rear. Because, yes, the BiG SiX is also a class-compliant USB audio interface. 

The SiX, that we’ve been using since its release, is a fantastic bit of kit but we’ve always felt that it’s a shame we have to run audio into another device when working in a DAW. The BiG SiX fixes that, and some, in this regard. Class compliance negates the need for any drivers to keep updated which can be a real headache. 

SSL BiG SiX

(Image credit: Future)

It also makes it a much simpler task for not just managing a room but for recording and mixing two ways. It’s a real joy to work with multiple synths (which we do a lot) and being able to mix stems, as well as record via the usual inputs, is a big advantage and takes just a simple click of a button to choose the USB behaviour of the BiG SiX.

As mentioned, there are four XLR inputs on the top panel, feeding the first four channels, all mono, with EQ, single-knob compressor and a fader with LED ladders for level. The controls all provide a good level of resistance and are colour coded. The interface is intuitive to navigate, with everything falling to hand. 

BiG buCKs well spent?

There’s an awful lot of functionality at hand with the BiG Six. So much so that we won’t go into it here. That’s what the manual is for after all. However, we will say that everything is rock solid, as you would expect from SSL. There are many options for signal flow and, of course, there is the legendary SSL compressor quality on board too. The preamps sound fantastic and the device runs at up to 96kHz.

The SSL BiG SiX isn’t the cheapest mixer out there but you get a heap of quality and functionality for your investment, along with some solid industrial design. We would highly recommend it to anybody looking for the combo, and even for those only looking for a mixer and for whom the interface might never be used.

MusicRadar verdict: Full of functionality and quality. Big SiX marries two key devices in a way that makes it hard to justify keeping them separate ever again. Worth the money.

SSL BiG SiX: The web says

"SSL’s idea of applying large-format console design principles to a miniature mixer has produced a device that is compact enough to sit on any desktop, offers uncompromising sound quality and versatility, and talks USB. What’s not to like?"
Sound On Sound

SSL BiG SiX: Hands-on demos

SSLvideos

Sweetwater

TouchTone DSG

Vintage King

SSL BiG SiX: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: Four SuperAnalogueTM stereo line level inputs with dual mono switching, up to 18 inputs at mixdown, 100 mm console grade faders, classic SSL channel dynamics processing, essential version of G-Comp Bus Compressor with ‘Auto’ release, rack mountable, USB class compliant
  • CONTACT: SSL