Once upon a time, getting top console-grade channels in outboard form (and hence mobile and compact) often involved literally racking up one-time console modules with dedicated power supplies. But in recent times most top companies have wised up to the advantages of selling purpose-built rack units. A while ago I was lucky enough to size up both the E-Signature and Super Analogue Channels from SSL. With those units retailing for well over a couple of grand each, its no surprise that plenty of people would have been put off. At just under a grand their latest box, the Alpha Channel, is a considerably different proposition. Its still a lot of money, but unquestionably makes the SSL sound available to a much wider audience.