Producer/engineer Christian Amonson, owner of Los Angeles-based production company Seeing Sound and Baltimore-based Arts Laureate, is utlizing Focusrite Pro AM2 stereo audio monitoring units as a key component in collaborating and recording remotely during the pandemic with orchestras and choirs such as the Kansas City Symphony and the 95-voice Los Angeles Master Chorale.
When COVID-19 cancelled all concerts and recordings sessions, ensembles went online to reach their audiences, and Amonson went with them. “We’ve mixed over 1,000 virtual projects so far with groups like the LA Opera, the Washington Master Chorale, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band, and others,” he says, adding that he’s also done in-person, socially-distanced projects for broadcast with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Arts DC (with opera stars from the Met), and The Washington Chorus. “The AM2 ensures that I have pristine D/A conversion regardless of where I am or what I am recording or mixing. We have two AM2s at the moment, and we’ll be buying more as soon as sessions come back in full swing.”
Amonson cites two main reasons why the AM2 is a key part of his kit. “I used an all-analog monitoring chain at the Kansas City Symphony for three years, recording and mixing with zero A/D conversion. Fancy, right?” he explains. “But when I added networked audio to the system and listened to the AM2, the sound was dramatically improved. The headphone amps and line outputs in the mix consoles just couldn’t compete with the fidelity of the AM2.”
In addition, he cites the AM2’s digital features, which include Dante compatibility, that allow it to be connected to any networked audio system anywhere there’s an Ethernet port. “If a conductor, composer, or director wants to listen, all I need is an AM2 and a single Ethernet cable. No power supplies, no XLRs, no patchbays, or amp rack. The routing is easy too. With Dante Controller, a guest can listen uninterrupted to the master bus on one AM2 while I monitor the solo bus on another,” Amonson concludes, adding that he is considering expanding with a RedNet A16R 16-channel Dante interface.