Recording and Production News
Orpheus arrives at AES New YorkCambridge, UK - September 2007 Prism Sound's talked-about new audio interface unit for personal recording and sound production makes its American debut at the 123rd AES Convention in New York next month. Orpheus aims to aims to bring the company's products and its world-wide reputation for high quality analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue converters to the wider community of musicians, songwriters, engineers and producers.
Orpheus, named after the Greek mythological musician whose songs were so beautiful that they could charm wild beasts, delivers the high-end audio quality for which Prism Sound is renowned in a dedicated and highly integrated FireWire interface at a price more accessible than its forebears.
The Orpheus unit draws on Prism Sound's converter and clock synchronization expertise and technology developed over many years in products such as the AD-2 and DA-2 and the popular ADA-8 modular converter family, but with new capabilities and features designed to reflect the needs of musicians and producers working from computer-based personal studios.
Orpheus is compatible with Mac and PC computers and offers eight analogue recording channels, eight monitoring outputs plus SPDIF and TOSLINK optical digital I/O ports. The optical ports can also be used for ADAT, giving Orpheus a maximum capability of 18 concurrent input and output channels plus stereo headphones.
The unit features four digitally-controlled microphone amplifiers and two instrument inputs. These are associated with the first four analogue input channels, which are auto-sensing and can automatically select the right input when the signal source is plugged in.
Orpheus provides a large rotary control for monitoring or output level control. Its function is assignable so that it can be applied to one channel, a pair of channels or a larger selection. In addition, dual headphone outputs are provided, each with its own volume control.
Orpheus has a powerful built-in digital mixer that can be configured from the host computer to provide foldback feeds to performers, each with their own mono or stereo mix of workstation playback and any of the inputs.
It is possible to configure outputs as 5.1 or 7.1 surround mix projects by routing workstation outputs direct to the Orpheus outputs, controlled by the front-panel rotary encoder. It is also possible to set up a stereo monitoring configuration in combination with foldback on other output channels.
The analogue outputs are of high quality and therefore are also ideally suited for use with analogue summing boxes.
Orpheus is easy to connect to any computer and other audio processors. For Windows XP or Vista users ASIO and WDM drivers are provided, while for Mac OSX 10.4 or later, Orpheus interfaces directly to Core Audio. For both Mac and PC platforms, there is a controller application to configure the unit and control its built-in mixer and other functions.
Aside from the monitor and headphone level controls, everything else is operated solely from the end user's computer. The Prism Sound controller software opens on-screen as a separate panel alongside your existing editing software.
Prism Sound director Graham Boswell says: "Prism Sound has a strong international reputation for delivering high quality audio conversion to the professional music recording industry. Our customers include many of the world's top recording facilities such as Abbey Road, Air Studios, Metropolis and Sterling Sound. However, in recent years we have been aware that the industry is changing, with more and more musicians and producers tackling their writing and pre-production from smaller, often home-based, facilities, and only moving into commercial facilities for final mixing."
Orpheus is Prism Sound's response to these changes. Consulting with its customers, the company identified the feature-set they wanted from a new audio interface.
"Orpheus delivers exactly what our private studio customers have asked for - all the performance of a Prism Sound product in a dedicated FireWire unit that handles line microphone and instrument inputs with good foldback and monitoring capabilities, all at more accessible price tag," Boswell adds.
With easy to use Plug and Play software and its attractive design, the new Orpheus converter looks as good as it sounds. Its launch will allow many more recording professionals to unleash their creativity and bring Prism Sound quality to their own music and sound production projects.
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