Recording and Production in the News
Prism Sound Dream ADA-8 Stars in Feature Films
Over the years, Prism Sound converters have enjoyed a prestigious reputation in the music industry. Scores of hit albums have been recorded with them in major studios worldwide. With the release of the Prism Dream ADA-8, the same phenomenon is now happening in the film industry.
A trilogy that has swept everyone's imagination is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The first epic of this immense phenomenon, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, garnered an Academy Award for composer Howard Shore. A mixture of lush Wagnerian orchestration with rich choral passages makes this musical score an unforgettable experience.
The ADA-8 was recalled for service in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Its clarity and performance made it indispensable for such a project as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Responsible for the movie's orchestral recordings, John Kurlander states "The Prism ADA-8s were a critical part of the film’s soundtrack." While recording the 100-piece London Philharmonic Orchestra at Watford Town Hall, Kurlander used a Neve Capricorn, Neumann microphones, Avalon preamps and Prism ADA-8s. Recordings were made to 48 tracks of Pro Tools at 24 bits/48 kHz.
For 29 years of his career, Kurlander was a veteran of the famed Abbey Road Studios. Not surprisingly, Prisms have been the converter of choice for many years there. Kurlander continues, "The orchestra was recorded live with 24 microphones while the choir and solo vocalists were overdubbed. The recording team included six audio engineers, three Pro Tools editors, and several mixing engineers. Owing to our busy schedule, engineers were editing and mixing at Abbey Road as we were recording."
Other blockbuster films in John Kurlander's repertoire include Panic Room, Blade II, Ice Age, High Crimes, Spy Kids, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider. Not one to impart audio superlatives, Kurlander notes, "Many converters on the market have a coloured or hyped sound. This is not the case with the Prism ADA-8. It is a very transparent converter and complements the rest of the audio chain."
From the land of Middle Earth to northern California comes the award winning film, Amadeus. Based in Berkeley, the Saul Zaentz Film Company was responsible for remixing the Director's Cut of this new DVD edition. Based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this movie won an Oscar for Best Motion Picture in 1985. In addition, it won seven other Oscars including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume, and Best Actor.
The new 2-disk set includes 22 minutes of additional footage along with an in depth look at the making of Amadeus. Director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer provide interesting commentaries on the creation of the film. Also of special note is the improved sound quality thanks to the remixing by the Saul Zaentz Film Company.
Chief Engineer Jim Austin states: "We choose Prism ADA-8s for their audio quality and feature set. For this release, we used the converters at 24 bit/96kHz. Most of our projects, however, are still 44.1 and 48kHz. Typically, we average about 200 to 300 gigabytes per project. Moving to 96kHz as a standard is probably inevitable but not immediate. That adds up to twice the storage space."
Austin continues, "One other thing that was important to us was a good limiter. We like the way the Over-killer sounds." The Prism Over-killer provides soft-knee limiting. This protects the input of the A/D converter from momentary transients and allows the user to raise the level of the master mix.
Other film credits from the Saul Zaentz Film Company include The English Patient, The Right Stuff, K-19: The Widowmaker, The Pledge, Boogie Nights, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Autumn in New York and others. Austin sums it up, "In addition to making an excellent converter, Prism is a great company to work with."
Moving to the deep South comes another Academy Award winner, the dramatic Monster's Ball. Set in Georgia, the film examines the racial interplay between love and hate. Halle Berry's stunning performance landed her an Oscar for the film. And contributing to the movie's sombre mood is a beautiful soundtrack by the music house of Asche & Spencer.
Located in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Asche & Spencer also scores TV commercials. With 200 spots per year, their client list includes household names like Nike, Oldsmobile, Nintendo, PBS, Peugeot, Miller Brewery, MTV and Blue Shield. Between Asche & Spencer's two facilities, there are eight composers and two technicians. The company has a total of eight digital studios with three large live recording rooms and two surround mixing suites.
According to mix engineer, Bob Demaa, the studio's Prism ADA-8s play an important role in their film and commercial work. "The Prisms are the best-sounding digital-to-analog converters I’ve heard." After auditioning the Prism ADA-8, Demaa convinced Asche & Spencer to purchase two of them for recording and mixing the score for Monster's Ball.
Damaa goes on to say, "The ADA-8s are easy to use and have a lot of great features. I like being able to see the input and output signal paths with the flip of a switch. We also use the Over-killer limiters when recording rock material, especially drums. The sound is very clean and 3-dimensional. It's a great box!"
The Prism Dream ADA-8 is a modular A-D/D-A converter and processor that can be configured for eight channels of simultaneous A-D and D-A, or for 16 channels in either direction. It also serves as a D-D format converter. By using the 2-wire mode, the ADA-8 can record 96kHz or 88.2kHz sampled audio to a 48/44.1 recorder.
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