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Recording engineer Nick Mac pictured in Electric Feel Entertainment’s production studios with a Focusrite Red 16Line multichannel A/D D/A interface. (Photo Credit: Spencer McCray Williams)

Recording Engineer Nick Mack Expands Focusrite Toolkit To Enhance His Workflow

Chief engineer at Electric Feel Entertainment’s production studios in LA has added a Red 16Line multichannel A/D D/A interface, ISA ADN2 two-channel A/D card and RedNet AM2 stereo monitoring unit to the facility's equipment workflow.

Nick Mac, chief engineer at Electric Feel Entertainment’s production studios in Los Angeles, which serves a lineup of A-list artists, producers, songwriters, brands and partners, recently added a Focusrite Red 16Line multichannel A/D D/A interface, ISA ADN2 two-channel A/D card and RedNet AM2 stereo audio monitoring unit to the facility’s equipment workflow.

Mac, whose engineering credits include Post Malone, The Kid Laroi, 24kGoldn, Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker, YG, Future, and more, has already consistently relied on a Focusrite ISA 428 multichannel microphone preamplifier, ISA 430 channel strip and ISA One mic pre/DI. When Electric Feel recommissioned a studio with new wiring, a Solid State Logic AWS 924 Delta analog mixing console, Genelec monitors and an aesthetic facelift, acoustic improvements and more, he specified the additional Focusrite components.

“I have been using the Red 16Line quite a lot lately,” Mac states. “My friends probably make fun of me behind my back, but I have my 16Line in a rack – it’s a four-space rack – with my Mac mini in a chassis. And on the front of the rack, I’ve created a panel that allows me eight in and eight out to my line in and output. Basically, everywhere I go, whether it’s at Electric Feel or at another studio or wherever, I’m dragging this rack around with my 16Line. I can track with it and I can mix with it.

“I most commonly track with that and use my ISA One as my mic pre to feed into my little patch panel I have on the front. And in some situations, because I just added the ADN2, I’ve used RedNet to break out to a couple other pieces of gear. I’ve used the ISA One with RedNet, which I really love. It lets you get incredible distances away from your setup, but still have control. All with pristine audio.”

The new ISA ADN2 two-channel A/D card for his ISA One adds two channels of Dante, AES3 (AES/EBU), ADAT TOSLINK, and SPDIF connectivity to the ISA One microphone preamp, with operation at sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. Word Clock I/O on BNC connectors allows for synchronization to multiple digital sources for syncing the Dante network to house clock, or for syncing external equipment to the Dante network. The Dante outputs provide the ability to connect to any RedNet device, further expanding the unit’s functionality.

“RedNet has been providing the flexibility to work in a wide range of location situations,” says Mac. “Sometimes we’ll get calls: ‘Oh, we’re going to set up a camp at this house and work there for a month, or a week,’ or whatever it is. And now that I have RedNet capability, you can plug in and create whatever kind of setup you want. I’m a big fan of doing different stations for different things and having the flexibility without compromising the core of what we’re doing, which is always getting the best high-quality audio. So the Focusrite gear allows me to have the kind of setup I need to have when capturing the tracks of my artists.

“I also have a Focusrite Control 2802 Mixer & DAW Controller from quite a few years back that I will drag out on the road with me on occasion. I use it if I set up at a place for an extended period of time, just for IO and for routing and things like that, and I really enjoy it. It makes me really happy. And it allows me to do things that I would typically do in our A room at Electric Feel anywhere else. I don’t want to compromise, because you start compromising on things, and then you kind of start to go down a few pegs, and then it just becomes messy and weird.

“And I’d rather have pieces of gear that allow me to do not only what the client needs to do, bare minimum, but above and beyond when they ask, ‘Hey, can we do this? Can we have a setup over here? Hey, can we play speakers downstairs?’ It’s like, ‘Sure, no problem. I’ve got the Focusrite AM2, it’s got outputs on it, so you could run a pair of speakers if you wanted to.”

He adds the he’s been a fan of the ISA One for quite some time, describing it as one of the most feature-rich devices he has encountered. He particularly appreciates the quality of the classic Focusrite mic pre paired with an independent DI channel, both offering selectable transformer impedance settings.

“By adding the optional Dante card, the conversion is phenomenal on the ISA One. And being able to go into the unit with my microphone is key. A lot of times these days I’m starting with the Soyuz 017 Tube V2 large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone, and I’ll have a Sony C-800 and a Lewitt LCT 1040 Tube microphone on standby as well. Those are my three favorites. But with those three options on hand, going into my ISA One with either an 1176 or a Distressor, that’s pretty much it. So into the 16Line, I might add an EQ in the future. I’m not sure what yet. But as far as the signal chain, that’s what I’m doing – going straight into my Pro Tools rig and working there. And I will say the benefits of switching to a 16Line from another unit has been night and day. The clocking is phenomenal. No pops and clicks. The low latency is incredible. I’ve had no complaints from any of my artists or myself. And the sonic quality of it, I think is incredible.”

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