Recording and Production in the News
ADA-8XR converters give Mattlind Recording Studio a commercial edgeTucson, Arizona: Mattlind Recording Studio has enhanced its reputation for recording excellence by investing in four ADA-8XR multichannel converters from Prism Sound.
Established in 1991 by Gary Nieman, the Tuscon-based studio specialises in capturing the feel and intricate detail of acoustic performances, as well as mixing and mastering.
"We have a diverse client base that covers virtually all genres of music, from Country and R&B to Classical and Jazz," Gary Nieman says. "Our aim is to help musicians make the best music possible - music that makes you feel great. The studio has a Christian ethos and promotes family values. Although we have excellent equipment, first class technical staff and great sounding rooms, what makes Mattlind so special is its caring and friendly atmosphere. We feel that empowering musicians and helping them achieve what they want to achieve is much more important than simply making money."
Nieman's decision to invest in the Prism Sound ADA-8XR units was taken last October after he met the company at the AES Convention in San Francisco and had the opportunity to run some listening tests.
The award-winning ADA-8XR is a precision A/D D/A converter that operate at sampling rates up to 192kHz. The unit can be configured in numerous ways using plug-in modules to suite a wide variety of applications. It can also act as a high resolution Pro Tools interface for recording or post-production - and can similarly work with a wide range of other popular Digital Audio Workstations including Logic, Cubase, Nuendo and others.
At Mattlind, the engineers record to Pro Tools HD but don't sum in the box because Nieman firmly believes that summing outside the box is the best way to retain the integrity of the signal chain.
"You have to be sure that you can hear the difference the converters are making and that nothing is being masked elsewhere in the chain," he says. "We sum outside the box via a summing bus so that we don't truncate the wave file. This ensures excellent sound quality and allows us to hear exactly what our converters are doing."
Prior to testing the Prism Sound units, Nieman and his team were very happy with their existing - and extensive- selection of high-end converters.
"Working in the digital domain, we honestly thought our A/D and D/A conversion was as good as it could get," he says. "Everything we had sounded OK, but you couldn't get away from the fact that every converter we tried did something to the signal chain. It either scooped out the mid lows or changed the perception of the depth of field in terms of how much early reflection there was in the background. To me it didn't make any difference if we ran something at 44.1kHz or 88.2kHz or 96kHz because the converters were still changing what was being recorded and nothing we tried matched up to what a two inch tape used to do. I realise digital is a different medium but generally speaking it never felt to me that it had properly arrived."
All that changed when Nieman and his team tried the Prism Sound converters.
"They made such an enormous difference that we simply couldn't ignore what our ears were telling us, he says. "We tested them by tracking a pianist who was playing our concert grand, using two high quality microphones. When we patched in the Prism Sound units the guys in the control room were just blown away. Even people with untrained ears could hear the difference. If you really care about the audio industry and production values, then these are 'must have' converters because they are so transparent and they don't colour the sound in any way. Not only are they sonically great but you also don't have to align anything - once they are set up you have a converter that works for everything. They have solved all our converter problems and having them in our studio has given us a real competitive edge."
Nieman adds that the ADA-8XR units are also very economical because they remove the need for extra clocking equipment.
"By using our ADA-8XRs as I/Os for our Pro Tools systems, we eliminate jitter and cut down on reflections in the cable," he says. "Having everything in a single box also cuts down the possibility of failure. The units provide an incredibly stable clock source and have super low jitter, which has really impressed me." Mattlind, which takes it names from the names of Nieman's two children (Matthew and Lindsay), has attracted many top artists over the years, and is equally proud of the help it has given to young, up and coming musicians, many of whom have benefited from business and marketing advice provided by the Mattlind team. You can view Mattlind Studio at www.mattlind.com.
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