The picture below is the finished controller layout mod after black matte spray paint, decals, and painting the knobs the corresponding color of the plugin. I mostly use the E-Channel but this would also work with the gray G-Channel too. I left a piece of painter’s tape over the power button during spray painting so the power light would still work.
DIY SSL Channel Controller
Then I was able to match every knob, button and slider to the Waves plugin by using Logic Pro’s controller assignments in expert view. As of 10.2.4 the release notes say that Logic will now remember the learned parameters more reliably but I haven’t been able to test this out yet. There were a couple parameters on the plugin that I didn’t get to map to the controller like the dynamic side-chain and the gate section. I could maybe re-work the layout to accommodate some of these and take out others but those are easy enough to use the mouse for right now. It was also close enough for the $35 I spent on the controller.
The main difference of using a mouse or a controller is when EQ’ing. I end up boosting a lot more with the controller, like a lot more, almost double what I would with a mouse and was constantly getting close to the end of the range that the knob goes. Another thing was that it was easier to audition the bell’s quickly. With a mouse this is multi-step process and a lot of moving around but when using both hands on the controller it’s not bad at all. Also most the EQ knobs have indents that tell you where “0” is, which is a nice to have and you can reset without having to look at the screen. It’s also fun driving the input when you have the compressor already on. You can usually get a few more db’s of compression and color from driving the input. The output clip indicator has always come on for me whether I’m using the mouse or the plugin but I don’t hear clipping so I usually just leave it. It’s also nice to have the Polarity/Phase button as a physical button, it makes checking phase a little more fun.
Overall this was a fun project and lets me interact with the sound more, especially with drums. It took no electronics knowledge or soldering to complete, just paint, stickers and programming.