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Over the last decade Simon Grey has become one of the most prolific writers and producers in dance music. With a leaning towards the Jazz end of the genre, Grey has lent his skills to a huge number of projects: from writing and playing for Incognito, to remixing Jamiroquai, Bootsie Collins and Elton John.
With massive House hits like , Grey has also become a successful solo artist, and has had tracks featured on dozens of compilations. With all of these different activities on the go Grey set up Nasty Research Centre Studios, which he has filled with classic instruments that are now mixed with his Solid State Logic X-Desk.
"I realised that if I wanted to have the sound I loved I would have to invest in the real thing," he says. "So I have a lot of classic keyboards, mics, tape and preamps. Those old keyboards sound killer and sit differently to software."
With such an insistence on getting the right sound it's no surprise that Simon thought very carefully about his mixer options, but the SSL sound had always been at the forefront of what he wanted.
"Of course I've known the SSL name for years," he notes. "I mixed a few tracks on a G+ and a J Series and was always knocked out by their weight and punch. I tried out the X-Desk and after I put various pieces of gear into the channel and buss inserts I realised its magic and that it was the perfect hub for the small mixing/tracking setup I was building. I wanted a small mixing setup focused on the computer, not a huge vintage desk that only gets used for mixing duties."
"It has now become an integral part of my studio," he continues. "There are the obvious control room benefits and it soon became the best way of pulling all of my outboard gear together and delivering more punch and clarity to my work."
"It sounds incredibly cheesy but I started getting better mixes and quicker results as soon as I plugged it in. I know that sounds very "Shopping Channel' but it's the truth! X-Desk allows me to work with the best of both worlds: internal plugs and external choice pieces of analogue."
"I think I often underestimated the importance of the back end of a mixer," Simon concludes, "But the way X-Desk manages the bass end means my speakers are clipping less when I am working down there at volume. The mix buss really is top line and the headroom is what I was looking for. It can be pushed but keeps frequency and transient responses nicely intact."