Horus aids world’s first jazz multitrack DXD recording
AUSTRALIA: Sound engineer Ross A’hern recently added DXD and DSD multitrack capabilities to his portable Merging technologies Pyramix recording system, using a Horus fitted with 24 channels of premium analogue in and out. The rig was recently used to record a jazz album at Sydney’s Studio 301 for Ben Gurton and his producer Greg Simmons, which was later mixed at The Chapel of Sound.
Mr A’hern’s most recent investment reportedly makes The Chapel Of Sound ‘one of the few recording services in Australia’ offering high resolution multitrack recording capable of DXD and DSD.
The concept was to aquire a mobile system that could adapt to any recording situation, and an accurate monitoring environment for mixing and mastering. With this second aim in mind, careful attention was paid to acoustic treatment of the control room, leading to the purchase of a Smart AV Tango control surface.
The jazz album recording took an usual approach, with mics unconventionally bypassing the studio’s Neve 88R console, instead feeding the recording system directly with a monitor mix fed directly via a pair of analogue outputs. To preserve the captured resolution, the mix was completed on the original system, with analogue feeds sent to a second Pyramix set at single sample rate for access to small amounts of reverb from a TC6000. The choice of 44.1kHz for the low resolution system was based on the fact that one of the delivery mediums was to be CD and had the added benefit of enabling direct comparison between the two resolutions while mixing. Mix monitoring was via a Grace 906 controller and ATC SCM speakers.
‘The differences aren’t immediately dramatically apparent, but there is a beautiful and effortless openness to the top end in DXD and this effect has a ripple-down effect through the whole frequency range,’ commented Mr A’hern.
‘For example, the acoustic bass placed unbaffled in an open room with drums, piano, sax and trombone, (usually a move which is asking for trouble) plus with the DPA mic pickup about 30cm away just above the bridge, still sounded real and present in the mix – without any need for EQ or compression,’ he explained. ‘In fact, not only was there very little need for any processing on anything at all to get the desired mix, we found that small level adjustments of 1dB to instruments were often and instantly perceptible.
‘Musicians in the studio were left smiling broadly because their instruments sounded real and at the end of a day of mixing, the engineering team were smiling too because what they were listening to was effortless, nourishing music.’