Matrix streamlines Synchronia Studio with analogue quality and digital control

“The Matrix offers the best of both worlds and was exactly what I was looking for.”

January 11, 2013

SSL Matrix at Synchronia.

ROME, ITALY — Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of creative tools for audio professionals, is pleased to announce that Synchronia has invested in an SSL Matrix SuperAnalogue™ mixing console with inbuilt signal router and multi-layer DAW control to enhance workflow and flexibility across its studio recording and mixing activities, as well as those of its music training school, which specialises in specific instrument and singing courses for adults and children. “The Matrix is designed to perfectly fit the workflow of a modern studio,” says Synchronia owner/engineer Alessandro Giordani. “It’s ideal for people like me, who don’t want to give up analogue mixing, yet crave complete digital control with the convenience of outboard integration.”

But first, a little history… Synchronia opened in 2003 as a dedicated recording studio. The central control room is connected to two tastefully-finished adjoining live rooms (Recording Studio A and Recording Studio B) via folding double sliding doors. Synchronia has played host to a number of notable national and international artists, including Italy’s own Luca Barbarossa.

Other than the recent addition of a dedicated mastering room based around audiophile monitoring and analogue processing, the core Synchronia setup has remained relatively unchanged since 2003. Mixing has, however, undergone a remarkable evolution, a long and winding road that ultimately led to SSL: “Eventually, I realised that in a modern studio it’s really essential to have a tool that combines the quality of an analogue console with complete DAW control.”

At the time of opening, Synchronia’s owner was very much the analogue renaissance man, choosing an American vintage analogue console for its “…warm sound, typical of the ’70s. It served me well for the studio’s first few years, during which my recording and mixing philosophy was very different to today.

While that much-loved analogue mixing console initially remained in situ, its wasted expanse and associated expense proved increasingly difficult to justify; technologically, times have changed in the decade or so since Synchronia first opened its beautifully-designed doors to the paying public, as has Giordani’s take on recording and mixing — for a number of reasons: “An analogue desk of that size has outlived its usefulness; thanks to improvements in digital technology and a widespread tendency to simultaneously record only a few musical elements — mainly rhythm section parts, then overdub the rest, I decided to abandon the analogue desk and its workflow, while remaining in the digital domain.”

Initially Giordani experimented with recording using external preamps and mixing digitally to better understand the benefits and drawbacks of a virtual production environment. Here his ageing analogue console was relegated to being under used as an oversized monitor of sorts for the studio DAW’s main stereo bus. However, software summing in the digital domain soon showed its limitations, however.

“This evolution in workflow, together with spiralling maintenance costs, made me look for a more modern, ergonomic solution,” says Giordani. “I tried SSL’s Matrix and quickly realised it was exactly what I was looking for. It offers the best of both worlds — one press of a button turns it into an analogue mixer or digital control system with total recall. It integrates all of the studio’s outboard via the control panel software, simply and efficiently, and the routing flexibility allows you to create unconventional setups that take advantage of that outboard. It has a smaller footprint than a traditional analogue desk and consumes much less power.”

So now that the Matrix is at the centre of Synchronia’s streamlined recording and mixing activities, how does its analogue summed sound actually sound? Giordani grins: “The sound quality of SSL needs no introduction!”