Recording and Production in the News
Cellist Matthew Barley invests in an Orpheus Firewire computer InterfaceCambridge, UK: When buying equipment to record his own music, sound quality is obviously the main criteria for internationally acclaimed cellist Matthew Barley. But as he freely admits, that isn't the only criteria.
"I'm a cellist, not a sound engineer, so it's equally important that any equipment I buy is easy to set up and gives me instant and effective access to help by phone, should I need it," he says.
All three criteria were easily met by Prism Sound, which recently supplied Barley with an Orpheus computer FireWire interface for his home studio in Holland Park, London.
"My studio is very simple and consists of an Apple MacBook Pro, 17", Solid State 3.06 GHz Intel Core Duo with 8 GB RAM running Logic 8, DPA 4012 and Schoeps MK2 microphones - and now a Prism Sound Orpheus," Barley explains. "I decided to invest in an Orpheus because I was getting poor results from the soundcards I was previously using. I called HHB to ask for advice and they suggested the Prism Sound unit.
"In the end the decision was all about sound quality. Basically, I realised that if I wanted to get a sound I was happy with when recording a cello that is worth the same as a good sized house, I was going to have to spend a bit of money, so I decided to go for the best I could find that suited my needs."
As a cellist, Matthew Barley's musical world has virtually no geographical, social or stylistic boundaries. After training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Moscow Conservatoire, Barley's activities in performance, improvisation, cross-disciplinary projects, composition, and pioneering community programmes have developed to form a uniquely eclectic international career. His solo and chamber music engagements have taken him to nearly 50 countries, performing repertoire ranging from Bach to his own compositions, music written for him and improvisation. His concerto engagements have seen him working with many major orchestras including the Royal Scottish National, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Chamber Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, BBC Philharmonic and BBC Scottish Symphony to name just a few.
Barley's pioneering approach to education, community music and training orchestral players is now internationally renowned. In 1997 Matthew founded Between the Notes, a performance and education group that works with music and other arts. BTN has been involved in many major projects including, most recently, leading Invisible Lines, a nationwide education and performance project that culminated in a performance in the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms, which was recorded live on BBC TV.
Although Barley has been involved in numerous recording projects, his first solo CD (on the Signum label) was The Dance of The Three Legged Elephants, which was released to much critical acclaim in 2009. His most recent release is Constant Filter, music for cello and electronics by John Metcalfe, and it was for this project that Barley decided to invest in a Prism Sound Orpheus. The album was recorded in his own studio, with Barley undertaking all the engineering, editing, and computer processing himself.
"The sound I was able to achieve using the Orpheus exceeded all my expectations - it's better than some CDs I've made in expensive studios with huge racks full of gear," he says. "The unit integrated really easily with the rest of my equipment. It was completely seamless to set up and use with my Mac, and all the interfaces are very user friendly. As a musician, sound is the number one thing that I chase, and not to be disappointed by what recording gear does to it is novel and delightful!"
Matthew Barley is currently in Basel preparing for five performances of One of a Kind, a ballet scored for solo onstage cello and electronics, with the Basel Ballett Theatre. He is also booked to give a concert in the UK with Jazz pianist Julian Joseph and to perform seven concerts in Sweden with his wife, the acclaimed violinist Viktoria Mullova. On their return to the UK they will be recording the programme at Abbey Road in London, then Barley will go back to his own studio to start work on a CD of his own music, which he plans to release on Signum in 2012.
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