Noted drummer Gavin Harrison, who has worked with a wide range of artists including Iggy Pop, Sam Brown and King Crimson, recently held a drum workshop at Ananda Studios in Cambridge (UK) where he shared secrets of creating a great drum take, with recording achieved via dual Prism Sound Atlas audio interface units.
After starting the session with some basic coordination exercises, Harrison explained the drum part in a specific song and described the techniques to deliver and capture the sound. Afterward, those taking part were given the opportunity to play the drum part on his kit and have it recorded in Logic by Ananda Studio engineer Neil Cowlan so that they could review their performance.
“The opportunity to play along with Gavin and then have him critique my performance was great,” says Russ Tarly, one of the 24 drummers to attend the workshop. “This is the first time I’ve come across such a hands-on event and it worked really well. I knew I wanted to do it because it was so specialized. I’d love to see more events like this because I’m sure there are plenty of other drummers who would enjoy going through this experience.”
Cowlan deployed two recently acquired Prism Sound Atlas audio interfaces, which were used to track nine microphones from the drum kit into Logic. Atlas incorporates the company’s latest CleverClox dual-hybrid clocking technology as well as eight of the microphone preamplifiers as standard. The mic preamps are based on the successful Orpheus preamps, but are upgraded with 20 dB pads for all inputs.
Atlas provides analog and digital I/O for Mac or Windows PC at sample rates up to 192 kHz. In addition to the USB host interface, it also includes the new MDIO interface expansion slot, which was first incorporated into Titan. Using this miniature expansion slot, users can, for example, directly connect to Pro Tools|HDX systems and can also run with Apple and Windows native applications over USB. Other expansion cards are slated for future expansion of computer interface options. Prism Sound also loaned Ananda Studios a Lyra audio interface for additional monitoring.
The microphones used for the project included a Shure SM91 and AKG D12VR for the kick drum, a Shure SM57 (top) and a Beta 57 (bottom) on the snare, an AKG C451 on rack toms, and a Shure SM57 on floor toms.
Cowlan says: “The Prism Sound Atlas interfaces performed flawlessly, both during the Gavin Harrison workshop and at a private seven hour session that took place the day before. They are truly amazing AD converters and mic-pres that sound fantastic. It’s no surprise that Prism Sound units are found in some of the finest recording studios in the world and the fact that we can now offer them, too, gives people another great reason for coming to record here.”
Located in the Cambridgeshire village of Littlington, Ananda Studios is a purpose built facility housed in the old Neve factory. Originally designed by Andy Munro, the studio was once used for R&D purposes and to demonstrate Neve consoles. Today, it is popular with a variety of artists who appreciate tranquil surroundings, great room acoustics and an extensive equipment list.
“The live room is a fully acoustically designed space that sounds wonderful for anything you can imagine recording. Drums, string quartets, guitars, vocals, percussion – it all sounds great,” Cowlan says. “We also have a large range of microphones, pre-amps, EQ’s and other equipment to cater for almost any project, along with a huge collection of guitar and bass amplifiers including Marshall, Fender, PRS, Orange and Matamp.”
Following on from the success of the drum workshop, Cowlan plans to host similar events at the studio and will be announcing these very soon. Prism Sound sales director Graham Boswell, who attended the workshop with Bernhard Nocker from the company’s sales and marketing team, adds: “We were delighted to be able to support this event by loaning the studio equipment and look forward to working with Neil again in the future.”