Solid State Logic (SSL) has been making professional audio production tools for recording studios for half a century. The company has used its technologies to create its first USB microphone featuring a groundbreaking DSP function for capturing professional-quality audio in various situations.
The SSL Connex USB microphone can be used for video conferencing, live streaming or professional music recording by almost anyone, even if they have no experience in audio recording. Resembling a small steel pyramid with the top chopped off, SSL’s Connex is a handy device that’s completely portable and simple to use. It features an advanced DSP that draws on SSL’s deep understanding of capturing sound for music, broadcast and film production.
Connex is compatible with both Macs and PCs and with all major videoconferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet. It’s an ideal tool for capturing high-quality sound, whether around a meeting table or while working at home. It’s a perfect tool for podcasting, live streaming or music recording.
Measuring just 9cm square and 4cm tall, Connex can be used on almost any flat surface and can be mounted on a microphone boom or a tripod. Inside the unit are four separate microphone capsules facing out from each side of the pyramid. The capsules are controlled with SSL’s proprietary DSP algorithms, the same technology used in the company’s professional music and broadcast production tools.
The quad microphone array and four DSP modes built into Connex produce the ideal sound balance for conferencing, live streaming or recording. Each mode also has noise-floor optimization and sophisticated DSP correction to ensure the best possible sound without the user needing any specialist audio recording skills.
Solo Mode is the first setting of Connex and is indicated when the SSL logo on the top of the unit glows white. This mode is designed for picking up a single sound source directly in front of the unit. This could be a conference call or live streaming with a single presenter. The unit’s DSP optimizes the sound for speech coming from in front while rejecting any sounds from the back and sides.
Group Mode is the second state and is selected by tapping the top of Connex unit once so the SSL logo turns green. This mode is for picking up multiple sound sources. This could be used to broadcast a roundtable discussion over a video conferencing system or to record a podcast with multiple guests. The DSP optimizes the sound for speech that’s coming from multiple directions.
The third mode is Vocal, signified by the SSL logo turning a magenta color with another tap of the top of the Connex mic. In Vocal Mode, Connex is optimized for sound sources from the front of the unit, such as a person singing. The sound is recorded in stereo and the soundstage is focused on the front of the unit. The DSP handles the audio with enough latitude for dynamic changes in the sound, like a vocalist.
The final mode is for recording music. This is indicated when the SSL logo turns blue. This mode can handle louder sounds coming from in front of the mic, such as a musical instrument. The microphone array mixes the sound into a stereo signal while the internal audio processing is optimized for louder sound sources than the other three pickup modes.
All four modes feature an advanced and immersive setting that enables the user to access the separate feed from each of the four capsules to create immersive and spatial recordings or live broadcasts by recording the sources separately in a digital audio workstation.
At the front of the Connex is a 3.5mm headphone jack that provides zero-latency monitoring into a pair of headphones or an earpiece. The user can hear the incoming audio from a video call or the playback from a previous recording session. Alternatively, the user can use Connex to listen to music thanks to the advanced DACs (digital audio converters) built into the unit. The unit can even work in Push to Talk and Cough Button modes.
The headphone output on Connex also features a loopback output, which helps monitor the ambient sound in a room. The touch-sensitive interface on the top of the Connex can adjust the headphone level and muting. The same touchpad can be put into setup mode to cycle through the four DSP modes. The back-lit SSL logo on the unit changes color to show the mode selected, plus it also glows red whenever the microphone is on mute.
Verdict: This intelligent little microphone is a sophisticated audio tool that can switch between the four different DSP modes with one press. It’s an ideal microphone for picking up sound clearly in a video conferencing room with exceptional clarity thanks to SSL’s extensive experience in capturing sound. What I like most about Connex is that it offers access to professional recording settings without you needing to know how sound is captured and processed. All you need to do is choose the most suitable mode for the sound you want to capture and Connex takes care of the rest. It couldn’t be easier. It’s much more cost-effective than buying four separate microphones and a mixing desk to record the occasional podcast or improve the sound during a video conference.
Pricing & Availability: The SSL Connex USB microphone array is available now priced at $199.99 / £178.80 / €179.99. There are special introductory offer prices available until the end of the year.
More info: solidstatelogic.com
- Portable USB microphone with high-quality quad condenser microphone array.
- Optimized studio-quality processing using SSL EQ and dynamics algorithms.
- 24-bit / 96kHz professional quality DAC / ADC converters.
- Acoustically designed decoupled microphone capsules.
- Four pre-set user modes: Solo, Group, Vocal and Music.
- Immersive mode for spatial recordings and broadcasts.
- Optimized mixer settings.
- 3.5 mm headphone output.
- Microphone loopback option for ambient monitoring.
- Touch-sensitive controls.
- Cough Switch and Push To Talk.
- Backlit RGB illuminated status light.
- Tripod thread and mic stand adapter.
- 2m USB Type C to C cable and USB Type C (female) to Type A (male) adapter.
- USB powered.
- Compatible with Windows and Mac OS.