Grammy-winning musician, songwriter and record producer Greg Wells has added an SSL Sigma Delta summing engine to his studio in Los Angeles, using the Bus A/B architecture and Delta control. The rack-mount SuperAnalogue mixer provides synchronized control via the Sigma remote control application and Delta-Control DAW plugins.
“It’s just a different vibe,” says Wells. “Mixing in the box has never sounded better – I’m an old man; I used to be a studio musician all through the ‘90s, so I remember making lots of recordings and demos on tape because there were no computers that could record audio reliably.”
Wells has worked with a roster of top artists that includes Elton John, Adele, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and many others. In addition, the “Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack,” produced and mixed by Wells, was the biggest selling album of 2018.
After moving from his studio of 18 years into a much smaller space, and with work stacking up, Wells no longer had room for his usual console, and needed to get to work.
“I thought, ‘I’ll just work in the box and I’ll keep it lean and mean’,” he explains. “I was fine for a while, and then of course I started getting the itch to pull a couple of pieces of gear out of storage, and then some more, and then some more… I just kept doing it. I had to get more and more racks and I needed to figure out a way to plug all of it in, plus I kept expanding my interfaces,” he recalls.
Using the Sigma Delta reminds Wells of the analog days: “There’s a sexiness to it and a musical immediacy that I really love. I also love the physicality of the gear – it reminds me of great, older recordings. There’s a romanticism to it for me.”
With the Sigma Delta, he’s found a way to mix in the box that suited him: “One day I thought, ‘I have to do this in the box, I’ve got to figure out a way’. Now, I’m happy mixing entirely on the computer. I love great analog gear, I love great consoles, and I love faders. I love just having it all in front of me. The Sigma just hits me differently; there’s something a little extra fun about the way it sounds.”
Recently, Wells has been working with a young rock band, deploying the Sigma Delta to mix tracks. Think “AC/DC meets Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin,” he says with a smile: “I find rock music the hardest to mix, but I used the Sigma on this project, and when I listened back to it, I was so happy with how it sounded; there’s this huge, fat, punchy bottom end and a beautiful presence. It actually sounded exactly the way I hoped that it would sound, and that often doesn’t work out. On a good day I’ll wind up in a place where I’m really happy with how a project sounds, but it’s usually not exactly the way I heard it in my head.”