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GRAMMY-winning engineer Gabriel Castañón installs SSL X-Desk console

Ahren Lester
GRAMMY-winning engineer Gabriel Castañón installs SSL X-Desk console

GRAMMY Award-winning engineer Gabriel Castañón has installed a Solid State Logic X-Desk compact mixing console in his Mexico-based home studio.

Castañón has won three Latin GRAMMY’s in total. His first two were won at the 11th Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2010, one of which was the “Record of the Year” award for his work on the massively successful single “Mientes” by the Latin rock legends, Camila. His third was picked up at the 12th Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2011 where he scooped the award for his work with Puerta Rican hip hop duo, Calle 13, who took the Las Vegas event by storm last November.

Much of this honoured work undertaken by Castañón was achieved using SSL’s AWS 900+ console. He was thus keen to pick up an X-Desk to bring some of the familiar SSL sound to his personal home studio as it includes the same SUperAnalogue tech used on the much larger AWS 900+. 

“After working on SSL consoles for most of my career X-Desk seemed like the logical choice for me,” explained Castañón. “The sound quality is second to none – there simply are no better sounding consoles out there on the market. Add to that the design and the immensely powerful functionality of the desk and you have the perfect heart that beats at the centre of my studio.”

From Castañón’s point of view, the 16-channel X-Desk has all the attributes he needs to continue his successful work—no matter where he is.

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“SSL is now and always has been a part of the way I work,” stated Castañón. “After working in the studios of Sony Music, as well as many other studios that have large consoles, I’ve realized that my X-Desk can successfully substitute for a large console in terms of sound quality and the way you can work. This allows me to give a lot of sensibility and authenticity to the project I’m working on, no matter what it may be. For me these qualities are fundamental if you want to gain presence in today’s music industry.”

Castañón’s description of the X-Desk as the “perfect heart” of his studio is certainly unquestionable.

“Everything I do goes through X-Desk,” he continued. “Fundamentally it allows me to connect all of my equipment together when I’m working on mixes, but I choose X-Desk for many reasons. The most important reasons are two-fold – the sound it gives me, and also the vast flexibility it offers when it comes to the signal path.” 

“Specifically, I love that X-Desk allows me to easily compress a signal with my XLogic Multichannel Compressor – which is strapped across my master mix bus – and run it in parallel to my original uncompressed signal. This is a very important aspect of my sound, and with the clarity of the X-Desk’s signal path it creates a sound like no other.” 

What is more, the ability to group and apply signal processing so easily—something rare on compact consoles of this type—has improved Castañón’s workflow immensely.

“The fact that I can set up different sub-groups and process them differently is an incredibly powerful feature for a mixer of this size,” added Castañón. “Before acquiring my X-Desk it wasn’t as fast and easy to group and apply signal processing to two sections of mixes that would ultimately be heading to the same master outs, so in that way X-Desk has made my workflow much, much quicker.” 

So, could Castañón imagine working on a project without SSL tech? The answer is maybe simple to imagine: “No, absolutely not! The SSL sound has no equal,” he stated emphatically. “I wouldn’t change the sound of this equipment for the world – it really is as simple as that.”

The Latin GRAMMY’s were founded in 2000 and celebrate the achievements within the music industry of works produced in either Spanish or Portuguese.

Tags: solid state logic, ssl, grammy awards, latin america, latin grammy awards, Gabriel Castañón, SSL X-desk, ssl aws 900+, camila, calle 13

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