THD-Labs

Tangerine Automation Interface

The Tangerine Automation Interface is THD-LABS’ flagship automation interface. Designed for the world-renowned SSL® 4000/6000/8000 series analog audio consoles, it supports both VCA and Ultimation boards.

This classic console was sold with one of the best integrated mix automation systems.  Alas, as technology has evolved over decades, its massive proprietary automation computer has become obsolete and is unreliable for continued production use. Enter the Tangerine Automation Interface!

Instead of producing an updated automation computer, we designed something even better: a "easy to install" interface that communicates with your existing workstation over today’s most common digital protocols (USB, Ethernet and MIDI). Our AAX, AU, VST plug-ins allows to use the SSL faders to write or read the automation directly in/from your favourite DAW. Out of the box (OTB) mix automation data is now part of your DAW project, reducing the complexity of seprate automation softwares, shorthening the learning time and simplifying your workflow. 

The Tangerine Automation Interface is a modular system customizable to your unique console

The Tangerine Automation Interface replaces your existing SSL® computer and is configurable for up to 96 VCA or ULTIMATION Automation channels in a 2U 19-inch rack-mounted unit.  It's power efficient fanless design is totally silent, the chassis can be either installed in the machine room or in the control room near the console. External accessory ports allow for optional add-on features and futureproofing.​

Options

Recall-iT
An improvement over SSL® Total Recall®, the Tangerine Automation Interface’s Recall-iT feature allows you to create and recall snapshots for all channel knobs and switches on your console (compression, EQ and sends recall). Snapshots can be loaded at any time allowing a consistent match of every channel to previous mix settings and can be displayed from any device connected to your network (Ethernet / WiFi) or via the built-in HDMI port.

NOTE: Recall-iT requires your SSL® console to have recall multiplexers installed. Please verify that your console has the required hardware installed as certain boards are not equipped with Recall-iT compatible hardware. Not sure if your console has the required hardware? Contact us and we'll walk you through the verification process.

Keyboard Decoder
Bring your SSL® E/G center keyboard and transport keys back to life.  Our Keyboard decoder allows direct access to global automation functions and modes. Supports DAW transport remote control, including markers and locate points.

COMING SOON! Motorized FADER pack
You heard that right, we’re bringing modern, silent, high-quality motorised faders to the center VCA group of your VCA SSL® console. Our simple drop-in replacement allows for instant automatic recall, remote control and real-time visual feedback in the SSL sweet spot. The motorized fader pack replaces existing VCA faders and allows control of the SSL VCA groups. They could also be used as a virtual DAW controller without affecting the console VCAs.

Specifications And Features

  • Modular interface from 8 to 96 channels of SSL® VCA and ULTIMATION compatible voltage I/O's, configured to match channel count.
  • Use your DAW as the automation software.  Available workflows:
    1. INJEKTOR (AAX/AU/VST plugin)
    2. REAPER/SSL 
    3. HUI* 
    4. HUI hybrid* 
  • READ / WRITE resolution: 10 bits (1024 steps) +/- 0.1 dB precision
  • Control and automate FADER and CUTS with Support for TRIM and ABSOLUTE modes
  • Fader Null function 
  • Set global channel automation mode directly from console status switch
  • Master fader automation 
  • Any console fader can be used as a virtual DAW controller
  • High reliability construction built in the SSL philosophy of modular design. Even the best-built audio equipment can sometimes fail. In those rare instances, the Tangerine Automation Interface’s modular construction will ensure that your system stays online as much as possible and is quick and easy to repair.
  • Silent, fan less, low power (34 watts) design can be installed in the control room or under console using short ribbon cables
  • All lead-free, RoHS components
  • 2U rack-mount chassis

Options

  • Recall-iT: recall snapshots for all channel knobs and switches on your console (compression, EQ and sends recall) 
  • Keyboard Decoder: Decodes the SSL centre section keyboard for daw/automation/transport control
  • Motorized FADER pack (COMING SOON)

* HUI workflows support a maximum of 32 simultanious channels

Order

Pricing

The Tangerine Automation Interface (TAI) for SSL consoles is customizable and sold in 8-channel banks, with price varying by channel count. Two distinct models are available: one for VCA consoles and one for Ultimation consoles. They are not compatible with each other (a TAI for SSL Ultimation won’t work on a VCA-only console and vice-versa). Each model can be configured with our Recall-IT and SSL keyboard decoder options, if your console supports them. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.

To automate the full console and it’s VCA group, you’ll typically need the a system with 8 channels more than the number of inputs you have (to cover for the VCA groups); a 40-channel console would require a 48 input TAI (40 for the channels + 8 for the VCA group) for complete console automation.

If you want to expand your system at a later date, channel upgrades are also available.

Ordering

Contact us to place an order. We require a 50% deposit upfront. Depending on the system configuration and options, we’ll typically require 2-3 weeks to build and rigorously test the system. We’ll ship it out once final payment is received. 

THD-labs agrees, on request, to refund the deposit and cancel the order if we are more than 2 weeks late on typical delivery time.

To place an order for the Tangerine Automation Interface for SSL consoles, contact us specifying whether you have a VCA or Ultimation console, your required channel count, and if you want Recall-IT and/or the SSL keyboard decoder.

Payment

Preferred Payment Methods: wire transfer, money orders, certified cheques and Interac e-Transfer (Canada only).

Also available with a 3% surcharge: MasterCard, VISA and PayPal.

To place an order for the Flying Faders model, click here.

Testimonials

Bobby Holland - Pentavarit Studios (Nashville)

‘’This thing has changed my life. I know that sounds drastic, but I am not exaggerating. My SSL automation and recall is now RELIABLE! No more worrying that it is going to blow up in the middle of an attended mix revision. No more worrying about how I am going to find pre-formatted 8” floppies. The guys really thought of everything with this system, and they work their tails off to make it better and better all the time. The automation workflow is so smooth - similar to the original SSL computer in the ways that you want, but with just the right amount of added features. The Recall-IT option is beautiful, simple, and so easy. Now, you can save your automation and recall data with your session files! For people that mix every day like I do - that is HUGE. C’est magnifique!

Thanks!’’

Bobby Holland

http://bobbyholland.net
http://pentavaritstudios.com
http://facebook.com/bobbyholland
Twitter / Instagram: @bobby_holland

 

Mat Mitchell Studios (Los Angeles)

’’Tangerine Automation Interface was an amazing upgrade to my SSL’s VCA automation. Having a modern computer option that can be modified to fit my workflow is priceless. Thanks THD LABS! ’’

-mat mitchell

matmitchell.com

 

Exchange District Studios (Winnipeg)

''To THD-Labs,

I want to thank you personally for creating the Tangerine Automation Interface. The TAI has not only extended the life of our SSL 4000 series console, but it has brought our old console into the 21st century!

At beautiful Exchange District Studios in Winnipeg, Canada, we have a classic 6000 series SSL. The 6000 series is a 3 bus 4000 series that was originally commissioned in 1984 for National Geographic. The punch and clarity of these consoles is unmatched and is heard on thousands of classic recordings. It is still highly sought after today.

We did, however, encounter the same problem that everyone else has with these consoles. The ancient computer that controls the VCA's and snapshot automation died in 2016. The console was still functional but many key features were not available without the computer.

I looked for a solution online and discovered the Tangerine Automation Interface from THD-Labs. What a lifesaver! Our old computer was a 200 pound behemoth that consumed 600 watts at 210 volts. We replaced the aging behemoth with the TAI, which weighs about 5 pounds and only uses 6 watts at a standard 115 volts. The power savings alone are staggering.

The real magic is the TAI goes beyond simply replacing the old computer functions. It allows our 1984 console to be a fully functional control surface for Pro Tools! Imagine mixing with fader automation and mutes without having to pick up the mouse! You can do this while still using all the mojo of discrete analog EQ's and compressors on every channel. Combine this with the often imitated/never duplicated SSL master bus compressor and you have an unparalleled combination of classic sound with modern workflow. We can also use the transport controls on the SSL to control Pro Tools via the TAI. We can add markers and move between markers using the SSL keyboard. Additional functionality is being continually added to the already impressive feature set.

The web based interface for snap shot recall automation is a god send and very easy to use. Saving any static board settings such as EQ, compressor, send levels and other recallable features is as simple as hitting "save" on the web interface. All settings can be recalled via computer or iPhone/iPad later by loading the appropriate web page.

The way we mix with Pro Tools and the SSL has changed forever. The Tangerine Automation Interface has saved our SSL, saved us time and increased our productivity. It really is a treat to watch the faders, mutes and transport controls within Pro Tools 12 be controlled by an analog console made in 1984.

The THD-Labs team has been superb. We couldn't be more proud to be associated with this innovative Canadian company. Vive le THD-Labs!

I wish you continued success.''

Alan Sealey
Exchange District Studios
2nd Floor, 436 Main St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3B 1A7

P:     204.415.0280
E:     alan@exchangedistrictstudios.com
W:    www.exchangedistrictstudios.com

FAQ

How do I install the Tangerine Automation Interface for SSL?

Installing the Tangerine Automation interface for SSL is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3

  1. Connect the 50-pin flat cables from your SSL console (channel, VCA group and keyboard) to the rear side of the TAI.
  2. Connect the USB port to your computer, ethernet to your network and power.
  3. Download and install the drivers and Injektor Software.

For more detailed installation and troubleshooting instructions you can refer to the Tangerine user's manual available here.

Which workflow is best for me?

The Tangerine Automation Interface supports 3 dedicated workflows.  On top of all original SSL computer functions, each workflow offers different modern approaches to automation that certain users may prefer.

 
1. The Injektor workflow is our most recent - and most popular - no-compromise method for working with the TAI. Using our AAX/VST/AU plugins, you can quickly and easily control up to 96 channels directly in your favourite DAW. All available automation modes are available - including TRIM. This workflow requires installing our Injektor software package. To see the Injecktor workflow in action, check out our tutorial video here: https://youtu.be/jAyzd3Iwe6g
 
2. The Reaper workflow was developed to match the feel of the original SSL computer. In this workflow, Reaper directly replaces the existing SSL computer and will be “Synched/Slaved” via time code to your audio source and can control up to 96 channels. This is the preferred workflow when controlling automation from a tape deck directly from the SSL centre section without having to manipulate a DAW. 
 
3. The HUI workflows turn your console into a control surface that interacts with HUI compatible DAWs without any additional software required. Though HUI workflows don't require any additional software, they do have some tradeoffs compared to other workflows. The HUI OTB workflow is limited to 32 channels and does not support TRIM automation modes. The HUI Hybrid workflow can support up to 96 channels by using bank switching and supports TRIM automation modes, but it does not have unity-gain coming out of the DAW.

How do I configure my interface and my DAW software?

Initial set-up of your Tangerine Automation Interface is quick and easy.

After installing your TAI and connecting it to your network, navigate to the Tangerine's Setup page available at http://tai.local/setup (this web page will only be accessible if you have a Tangerine system connected to your network). From there you can choose your desired workflow and other comfort settings.

Depending on your chosen workflow, you may need to install a software package.

  • The Injektor workflow requires our Injektor software package available here.
  • The Reaper/SSL workflow requires the Reaper DAW available here and our driver/skin package available here.
  • The HUI workflows do not require any additional software.

All that's left afterwards is configuring your DAW for use with the Tangerine (this only needs to be done once). Each DAW has its particularities and configuration steps vary by workflow. Complete information for each DAW and workflow is available in the Tangerine user's manual available here.

How do I use the Tangerine Automation interface ?

Fader moves and mute switch toggles are sent from your console to your DAW according to the selected automation mode. You can select the automation mode by pressing the channels status switches on the console.

Within the DAW, volume and mute information will be read from or written to track automation envelopes. How the DAW and console respond to this envelope is dependent on the choice of workflow:

  • Using the Injektor, Reaper/SSL and HUI-OTB workflows, volume information will be sent to the console VCAs and mutes. The DAW will therefore be normalized to 0 db on each channel and the console takes care of volume changes.
  • Using the HUI-Hybrid workflow, volume information will control the DAW's fader volumes and mutes. The console VCAs will therefore be set to a normalized 0 db.

What automation modes does the Tangerine support?

Available automation modes depends on the workflow you're using.

The Injektor, Reaper/SSL and HUI-Hybrid workflows support all available automation modes: OFF, READ, WRITE, LATCH, TRIM WRITE, TRIM LATCH, TRIM READ.

The HUI-OTB workflow does not support trim workflows. It only supports: OFF, READ, WRITE, LATCH.

What's the difference between Total Recall and Recall-iT?

Recall-iT is an improvement over SSL® Total Recall®. Available on SSL® consoles with the required hardware, Recall-iT can deliver all the same console layout information as Total Recall®, but does so as a web page, accessible on any computer, phone, or tablet connected to your network. It's also possible to use the built-in HDMI port to have a dedicated viewing monitor.

How do I know if my console supports Recall-iT?

If you have been using SSLⓇ Total RecallⓇ without issue, your console has the required hardware for Recall-iT, you won't need anything else.

If you have never used SSLⓇ Total RecallⓇ with your console, you need to make sure your console has recall multiplexers installed and that the center section bus driver is complete and functional. Each recallable channel must have its own recall multiplexer daughter card. In the event that your console is missing recall multiplexers on some channels, you can still use Recall-It, but those specific channels won't function.

Don't know where to find recall multiplexers or center section bus driver for your console? We have a visual guide to locating the recall multiplexers and bus driver within your console, available here.

How do I use Recall-It?

When using Recall-iT, the current position of the console's switches and knobs are displayed simultaneously over the local network (by accessing www.tai.local/recallit) and from the built-in HDMI output to any HDMI compliant display. When a snapshot is created, Recall-iT scans each console channel's switches and knobs. The resulting high resolution data snapshot is saved to file. When recalling a snapshot file, a distinctive red mark appears around all unmatched knobs and switches. To match, turn the knobs and press the switches until the all red marks are cleared.

The Tangerine Automation Interface (TAI) can manage (save,recall rename, delete) over 5000 Recall-iT snapshots on its integrated storage. Backups to a connected computer are also possible for posterity.

To save the current console state:

  1. Enter the Recall-it mode
  2. Activate the snapshot mode
  3. Save the snapshot file to the TAI's internal storage

To recall a saved console state:

  1. Enter the Recall-it mode.
  2. Load the saved snapshot file from the TAI's internal storage.
  3. Select a channel to display/match by pressing its fader status switch
  4. For the selected channel, move each "red marked" switch and knob on the console until the red mark is cleared. For knobs, a green mark will show the target position to match.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all required knobs and switches are matched

Voila!

What's the difference between the TaiMothership and the TaiSingleChannel plug-in?

The Injektor workflow is built uppon a pair of plug-ins: the TaiMotherShip and the TaiSingleChannel.

The TaiMotherShip brings all the console faders into a single plugin, no console track assignment is required. Install this plugin on only one track in your DAW session (usually the master fader), turn mix on and you're ready to mix with automation. It's quick and easy for sessions with a 1 to 1 output mapping; sessions with more routing may require using the TaiSingleChannel on certain channels.

The TaiSingleChannel controls one fader at a time, it must be assigned to the fader you want to control. Use as many SingleChannel plugins as you have faders to control. The plugin is usually installed on the same DAW track that sends audio to the console channel strip and is usefull for sending busses from the DAW to the console.

Downloads

Warranty

If you are experiencing issues with your Tangerine SSL E/G interface and are not able to solve the issues from the user guide troubleshooting section or THD-Labs web site support section, contact our technical support team at 1-866-344-0880(ext:2) or by email. In order to help us diagnose and solve any issues as quickly as possible:

  1. Have the product model and serial number available.
  2. Be ready to operate the unit.
  3. Call us while the unit is powered up and exhibiting the symptoms

WARANTY

THD-Labs Automation interface are warranted to be free from manufacturing defects for five (5) years from the original date of manufacture. The warranty includes parts and labour. Warranty is limited to the first time buyer and is non-transferable.

THD-Labs will remedy the problem by repair or replacement, as we deem necessary, to restore the product to full performance. THD-Labs will pay return shipping costs for the full length of the specific product’s warranty.

In the event of a defect or malfunction, contact THD-Labs for return authorization. Products must be returned using original packaging material. Packing material may be purchased from Bryston if necessary. This warranty is considered void if the defect, malfunction or failure of the product or any component part was caused by damage (not resulting from a defect or malfunction) or abuse while in the possession of the customer. Tampering by persons other than factory authorized service personnel or failure to fully comply with THD-Labs operating instructions voids the warranty. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights which may vary from country to country.

Shipment Instructions

With the returned unit, include a letter providing your name, the RMA number, the return shipping address, and a brief description of the problem.
Pack the returned unit very carefully to prevent damage during transit. We recommend using the original THD-Labs box and packing material. If the original packing is not available, we recommend using at least 2 inches of padding around the product.
We recommand using DHL as the carrier. Please be aware that any local customs charges will not be paid by THD-Labs. (RMA makes things go smoothly true customs...)
The package should have a tracking number and insured for an appropriate value. Regular mail services is not recommended, although some postal services offer courier deliveries with insurance and tracking features which could be acceptable.
THD-Labs cannot be held responsible for packages that are lost or misdirected en route to our service facilities. Please ask your shipper to record your RMA number on all paperwork.

If you have any questions regarding your RMA, please contact THD-LABS customer support team