August 02, 2014
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 2010: Under the banner, “Outstanding Music for Outstanding Causes,” and the leadership of Michael Alexander Young, the Charities Philharmonia gets together twice a year to deliver creative and energetic concerts. All proceeds from the events go to benefit worthwhile causes and organizations. In recent years, Andrew Levine has had the opportunity to record the concerts, which almost always take place at St. John’s, Smith Square, in central London, a building erected in 1728 in the English Baroque-style. Its acoustics are stunning, and Levine has captured impressive stereo and surround recordings with minimal setup times using a Metric Halo ULN-8 mic-pre & interface with a Metric Halo MIO virtual mixer. The most recent recording took place at the end of May, with the ensemble performing Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
Levine specializes in high-quality remote recordings using a mobile, environmentally-friendly (bike or public transportation) studio with a home-base in Hamburg, Germany. He also runs Blumlein Records, which brings exquisitely performed and recorded works of classical music to the world. Levine maintains a small cache of cables and microphone stands in London so as to minimize the luggage that he has to travel with when he records events in that city. For the most recent Charities Philharmonia, he needed only to bring a laptop, microphones, the Metric Halo ULN-8 interface, and a few other odds and ends.
“I always travel the day before big recordings,” said Levine. “In this case I arrived in London on Friday afternoon, allowing me to inspect all the gear and configure the MIO-Console in the evening. The setup began on Saturday at 11:00am, three hours before the rehearsal.” The MIO-Console is the virtual mixer provided by the Metric Halo ULN-8 interface. Because the musicians’ chairs were not yet in place, Levine focused initially on the principle stereo and surround imaging, which required both stand-mounted mics behind the conductor and flown outriggers. He positioned the outriggers with cleverly-strung fishing line.
“The Metric Halo ULN-8 has been a godsend for my mobile recording operations,” enthused Levine. “The mic pres and converters sound amazing and deliver the highest-quality live recordings with any mics – including the Royer ribbons, which require a huge amount of quiet gain. Also, having reliable mic pres and converters in one box leaves less to go wrong in what are already very stressful situations.”
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