Guzauski Acquires UC1 SSL Plug-in Controller

While Mick Guzauski has worked on several multi-platinum albums and won his share of Grammy® Awards, his continuing legacy is most clearly identifiable through his massive body of work – which ranges from Daft Punk’s Random access memories to timeless projects with Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey and others. Now, with over 50 years of honing his craft, Guzauski is almost entirely “in the box” as digital technology improves and client workflows evolve. His most recent acquisition is a Solid State Logic UC1 plug-in controller, which has earned a place in his hybrid workflow setup.

While Guzauski still has heaps of vintage outboard gear in stock, most of his work these days is strictly in the DAW. “I’m pretty much all in the box now,” he says. “I use the UC1 SSL because I like the knob per function control. The plug-ins are really great and the recall capability is so important on a mix right now.” He says that’s partly because clients aren’t always present during mixing sessions anymore. “So once I’ve sent the first pass of a mix to the client, I could be working on a few other projects before I even get a response.”

More recently, Guzauski has worked on top ten projects american idol finalist and America’s Got Talent contestant Olivia Rox, DJ Cassidy’s Pass the mic television program, and several other projects. He says most of his mixing takes place in the comfort of his home, where he can work at his own pace. “I’m still working, but I’m not hustling for gigs as much these days,” he says.

UC1: Potentiometer per channel for EQ function and bus compression
His basic setup centers around Pro Tools running on a MacBook Pro M1 Max, which he uses in conjunction with his SSL UC1. “I saw the UC1 and thought it would be great as a ‘button per function’ for a channel strip,” says Guzauski. “So I tried it and it works great. He says he regularly has the SSL Channel Strip 2 software set up on multiple channels. “I go to the Channel Strip first to see if I can use it to shape my sound, and it usually works really well. If I ever need to be more surgical, I can always use the SSL X-EQ 2 or another EQ.”

To say that Guzauski has acclimatized to the sound of SSL is an understatement. Indeed, he has mixed a range of projects from Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, BoyzIIMen and Toni Braxton on SSL, among many others. “I worked a lot on SSL in the late 80s and early 90s – mostly 4000G and G+ series consoles, and also worked on the 9000K series at Hit Factory in New York and Conway in Los Angeles,” he said. “Working on the UC1 controller reminds me of working on those consoles. It’s so familiar and nice to have something that’s smartly laid out with one button per configured function.”

The magic of G-Series compressors, in the box
He’s also familiar with SSL’s legendary G-Series Bus Compressor. “The Bus Compressor has always been one of my favorite things, and I use it all the time,” he says. “It just gives a kind of glue without using too aggressive compression.” Currently it uses Native Bus Compressor 2, which is included with UC1. “My usual stereo bus thing is now the X-EQ 2, then the bus compressor.” He appreciates the large LED metering on the UC1 to help manage his gain reduction levels: “It’s really nice to be able to watch and see what’s going on, as I don’t usually have that on my screen.”

“I usually have the bus compressor set to 2:1, then adjust the threshold to taste. There’s also a sidechain high pass filter, and I’ve usually set it to around 60 or 70 Hz or 70 so it doesn’t modulate with the kick drum or bass as much.” Whatever setting he has, he’s generally happy with the result: “I’ve never actually measured what this bus compressor does, but it still sounds right! On the stereo bus, it doesn’t overpower the dynamic range – the attack feels slow enough that the transients can still get through. The release characteristics are really nice,” he says.

Guzauski says setting up and running the UC1 was effortless: “You just install the SSL 360 software, plug it into USB and it sees all the plug-ins.” While other controllers can be confusing because they lack smart ergonomics or there can be menu diving, he says that’s not the case with UC1. “On the UC1, everything is always in the same place, like on a real console. That’s why I wanted it.” If his mix requires finer adjustments to the Channel Strip or Bus Compressor parameters, Guzauski uses the “fine” button. “It’s great because if I need subtle adjustments I can adjust the knob a few degrees of revolution for a small change.”

Whether you’re a multi-Grammy engineer or just getting started in your craft, Guzauski says the UC1 has some serious value. “It’s really easy to get anything you want out of an SSL, and it always responds really well to what you do. The build quality is really nice, and there’s nothing cheap about it. topic.”

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