Recording and Production in the News
Orpheus FireWire interface saves the day for producer Frank FilipettiCambridge, UK: Grammy award-winning producer Frank Filipetti - and a founder member of the METAlliance in the US - is not the kind of man to stake his recording reputation on a piece of equipment that he hasn't thoroughly evaluated. But when disaster struck a vital recording session for Carly Simon, he had to put his faith in a Prism Sound Orpheus FireWire computer interface that he hadn't even taken out of its box.
Cambridge, UK: Grammy award-winning producer Frank Filipetti - and a founder member of the METAlliance in the US - is not the kind of man to stake his recording reputation on a piece of equipment that he hasn't thoroughly evaluated. But when disaster struck a vital recording session for Carly Simon, he had to put his faith in a Prism Sound Orpheus FireWire computer interface that he hadn't even taken out of its box.
"It was one of those situations where there just wasn't any other choice," he says. "Normally, with any new piece of technology, I'll spend hours evaluating it in my studio before using it. But on this occasion I was desperate, so I took the plunge with the Orpheus - and I'm delighted to say it saved the day."
The drama began one Sunday afternoon on Martha's Vineyard where Frank and a host of internationally acclaimed musicians (including Teese Gohl, Peter Calo, Rick Marotta, Larry Ciancia, David Saw and Ben Taylor) were assembled at Carly's house to record tracks for her new album.
"It was Carly's idea to record at her home," Frank explains. "Some of the rooms in her house have great acoustics and we thought it would be a nice, relaxed way to get down a few tracks."
The plan was to record using Carly's own Pro Tools rig, in conjunction with a multiple input Digidesign 003 FireWire Audio Interface with Pro Tools LE software. But with everyone waiting to start, they encountered a problem. "For some reason the Pro Tools rig wouldn't recognise the 003 and I spent several hours trying to get it to work. It turned out to have a hardware fault but we didn't know that at the time. Given the remoteness of Martha's Vineyard - and the fact that it was a Sunday afternoon - there wasn't much hope of getting a quick replacement and I was very concerned about the cost we were incurring having all these musicians sitting around doing nothing."
Carly's son Ben Taylor came up with an idea: "He had Logic installed on his laptop and suggested using that. I've never used a laptop on a tracking date, so at first I was sceptical, but we had run out of alternatives so I figured "Why not?"..."
Unfortunately that, too, succumbed to Murphy's Law when his laptop crashed and Frank was back to square one. However, the experiment had given him an idea.
"I had my laptop with me, with Cubase loaded onto it, so I decided to try that as a last resort," he said.
Frank also had a brand new Prism Sound Orpheus unit with him - he had picked it up a couple of days earlier from Prism Sound's US representative Frank Oglethorpe with the intention of evaluating it and luckily it was still in his car.
"We loaded the software, connected the Orpheus, and within 20 minutes we had a working recording system," he explains. "I had to call Frank O a couple of times to sort out one or two minor install issues but he was able to deal with everything over the phone. I was really impressed - and even more impressed when we started using it."
Frank recorded two songs that afternoon using the Orpheus. With its switchable SPDIF/AES-EBU stereo digital input and an eight-channel ADAT optical input, Orpheus can handle up to 18 simultaneous inputs to any computer-based recording system along a single FireWire connection.
"We had 10 inputs working (including 4 phantom inputs), which were more than enough for our requirements, and we fed separate headphone mixes to Carly, Teese and the guitarists. The audio quality was fantastic, really remarkable, and I couldn't believe how easy it was to set up and operate."
"By the time the replacement Digidesign 003 arrived, we were so happy with the performance of the Orpheus that I decided to stick with it for the rest of the tracking."
"After that experience I bought an Orpheus for myself and it now travels with me everywhere. All I can say is thank heaven for Prism Sound because if I hadn't had the Orpheus in my car I would have been looking at a very hefty bill for an abandoned session. It really saved my a__!"
Frank is now back in Manhattan, mixing Carly Simon's new album at Legacy Studios where he has his own room. The album, as yet untitled, is expected to be released later this year.
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