Recording and Production in the News
First Orpheus units ship to UK producer Tim DeluxeCambridge, UK, February 2008: Producer, DJ, record label owner, solo artist: is there no limit to Tim Liken's activities? And now there's one more accolade to his name: he's become the first producer in the UK to receive Prism Sound's new Orpheus Firewire audio interface, which began shipping in the early days of January. Not a man to do things by halves, he's actually received two Orpheus units, as he reckoned one of the eight-channel units wouldn't suffice for his production needs.
Tim Deluxe and a pair of Orpheus units (just below the monitor)
Known in the music world as Tim Deluxe, Liken has been a name to reckon with in the dance community for over a decade, moving from early underground successes in the late '90s with the Double 99 project to solo hits such as 'Sirens' and 'Less Talk, More Action' on Underwater, the label run by Darren Emerson from Underworld. In 2002, he struck it big with 'It Just Won't Do', which became a massively successful Ibiza dance anthem and led to a string of high-profile DJ dates and remix work, which kept him busy over the next few years. Amazingly, he still found time to launch his own label, AT Records, and produce and release his debut full-length album, The Little Ginger Club Kid. He's currently putting the finishing touches to his second solo album, the first fruits of which appeared last year as the single 'Let The Beats Roll'.
Liken records audio and programs beats and instruments on his Apple Macintosh G5, but varies how he mixes this material depending on the project he's working on. Sometimes he will work 'in the box', mixing in software within the Mac, and sometimes he likes to send all of the audio sources in the Mac back out into the analogue domain to be mixed from his MIDAS Venice 320 analogue console, favouring its more immediate, hands-on interface over mouse-driven mixing. However, for both approaches, he has always needed a top-quality analogue to digital and digital-to-analogue converter, and when the time came to upgrade his old interface, he began asking the advice of North London 'equipment emporium' Funky Junk. He was familiar with Prism's converters from his work in top studios, and also knows other users with MIDAS analogue consoles that favour Prism converters, so he wasn't too surprised when Funky Junk suggested he try a Prism ADA-8XR, the company's top-of-the-range interface.
"I liked the ADA-8XR," he explains, "but I knew I'd want more than eight channels of interfacing, and with the ADA-8XR, that commits you to a lot of money! So I asked Funky Junk if Prism Sound offered a more affordable alternative that sounded as good and still offered Firewire interfacing. And that's when they told me about Orpheus, which was at the design stage then.
"From what I hear, the Prism team wanted Orpheus to be exactly that - a more affordable ADA-8XR, but without sacrificing the decent sound quality. And now I've got two of them, I can say they've managed it; because I had the ADA-8XR on loan first, I can say that the Orpheus sounds every bit as good. I've been using it on vocals - Kele Le Roc was in here the other day, and she sounded great through it - and I use it when I want to send audio out of the computer to use some of my nice analogue kit, like my Manley compressor or Massenburg EQs, without losing any audio quality. But it's more than just an interface - I've been using the built-in Overkillers in the Orpheus to really fatten synth sounds lately, compressing them hard almost as an effect.
"What I needed was a less expensive ADA-8XR with all the features and the same quality, so that I could have two to make up 16 channels of simultaneous A-D and D-A - and Orpheus is exactly what I wanted."
Liken will be releasing his second album, Ego Death, later this year - and his two Orpheus interfaces will be the important link between his high-quality analogue gear and his computer from now on.
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