Recording and Production in the News
A portable Prism for George MassenburgCambridge, UK, January 2008: "The ADA-8XR has produced recordings that I'm very, very comfortable with, even after the passage of many months. That's the most critical kind of listening, in a way - when you can revisit something after a long break, having forgotten the trials of recording it, and still go, 'hey, that's a stunning vocal sound...' For me, the Prism is a part of that."
George Massenburg taking time out from work at Blackbird Studio C to discuss the ADA-8XR.
Respected recording engineer and inventor George Massenburg has purchased another Prism Sound ADA-8XR interface, his second. This unit will travel with him for use on different studio-based projects, and on live recordings. Massenburg purchased the first ADA-8XR a year and a half ago for Blackbird Studio C, Nashville, where he works most frequently, but the first unit was in such demand there that he realised another was needed for his outside projects.
Renowned for his dedication to finely engineered, high-quality audio products, whether those of his own company GML or others, it's no surprise that Massenburg is fairly demanding in his choice of A-D and D-A converter. "I know what makes a difference in the design of an A-D converter - GML made a very good one right back at the dawn of digital recording. We have all kinds of converters at Blackbird, and we test them all pretty rigorously. And Prism's ADA-8XR converter is just about the best out there. Of course, there are plenty of other well-designed converters, and I like a lot of them, but the ADA-8XR brought together all of the features I wanted in the most user-friendly package. I really needed a reliable converter that would work with Pro Tools HD, and audio over Firewire on PC and Mac platforms equally - because I work on a lot of different platforms, and often live.
"Because I move around a lot, I know I'll have to use converters from time to time that I don't like - converters I can hear - but I always reserve my best one for the most important thing on the project, whether that's the lead vocal, or acoustic piano, or whatever it might be. Sometimes, on surround recording projects, it's on the surround mics in the room being recorded at 192kHz, because clock stability and timing is crucial for localisation in surround. The Prism has one of the best clocks we've seen, and while it isn't lightweight, it's portable and I can plug it in wherever I need to - the one at Blackbird is fitted with the Pro Tools HD, Firewire and AES interface cards - so I wanted to be able to take it with me when I go out to work."
Massenburg is often on the road these days; in addition to recording in many different studios, he teaches music technology at five schools in North America, including the Berklee School of Music in Boston, the University of Memphis and McGill in Montreal, Canada. The original plan was that the first ADA-8XR would travel with him when he needed it, but pretty soon, there was a problem...
"Once we'd installed it at Blackbird Studio C, everyone was using it. As I found myself working on projects in other rooms, I was using different converters, and having to, for instance, match new vocals with ones I'd already recorded on the Prism and being kind of... disappointed. I couldn't take it out of Studio C - they didn't want to do without it. I just had to have one to move around with - and I will probably need two more in the near future..."
Currently in the planning stages are two live orchestral recording projects, one in the USA, and one in Australia, which the ever-active Mr Massenburg plans to record via two ganged ADA-8XRs to his laptop over Firewire. And in his role as a member of the USA's National Recording Preservation Board, he recently recommended the ADA 8XR for use as the A-D converter of choice for the Library of Congress's new archival facility at Culpeper, Virginia. "George is a bit of a dream customer for us," comments Frank Oglethorpe of Prism Sound's US sales office. "It might take a while to convince him of the benefits of a particular product, but once he's established that what you're saying is true, he's on your side for life. I just wonder why I haven't been able to interest him in one of our EQs...!"
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