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Royal Northern College Of Music Expands Prism Sound Inventory

Manchester-based school adds additional ADA-8XR multichannel converters to support Pro Tools systems across four recording studios.

The Royal Northern College of Music has invested in three more Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel audio converters, bringing its total stock to nine.

Based in Manchester, RNCM recently added to its audio facilities by transforming a former studio theatre into a rehearsal and recording area where students, especially those on its four-year BMus Degree in Popular Music, can comfortably create and capture amplified and electronic music.

Built at a cost of £850,000, the new studio has a control room equipped with a Pro Tools HDX system, Neve and API preamps and a large selection of outboard equipment. The new Prism Sound ADA-8XR converters have been supplied with the company’s 8C-PTHDX I/O modules, which each provide eight channels of audio input and output on bus connections compatible with AVID’s HDX/Digilink interface for Pro Tools systems. Prism Sound has agreed with RNCM to maintain and upgrade the converters to the latest specifications as the products evolve in future.

David Coyle, recording engineer at RNCM, says: “We have Prism Sound ADA-8XR converters in our two other recording studios and have always been happy with their sound quality and reliability. It therefore made sense to add three more units with Pro Tools® interfaces when we opened our new studio earlier this year. People are always very impressed when they see the Prism Sound brand in our studios because they know it represents audio quality. Also by standardising on ADA-8XR converters, we have the flexibility to move them around if a project in one studio requires more inputs.”

Although the RNCM doesn’t run sound engineering degree courses, it does offer some music production modules that give students access to the equipment in its recording studios.

“Primarily our studios are used to record music performed by students and we have engineering staff on hand to do that,” Coyle explains. “The college has its own record label – Northern Quarter – which was set up a year ago to release some of this music. To date we have recorded EPs for five student acts (bands and solo projects) and these have been released digitally on iTunes. The new studio is now an integral part of this process.”

Coyle adds that the character of the studio comes from the extensive range of outboard equipment on offer, which includes Maselec preamps, EQs and compressors.

“I don’t believe that converters should in any way change the sound being recorded and that’s what I like about the Prism Sound ADA-8XR units,” he says. “They are very accurate and clean and don’t alter the sound at all.”

Although its history dates to 1983 when Sir Charles Hallé founded the Royal Manchester College of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music was actually established in 1973 when Hallé’s college merged with the Northern School of Music.

Today the conservatoire has 800 students and a teaching staff of over 300. It is also a vibrant live music venue offering students the chance to perform regularly and work alongside professional musicians and visiting artists.

Famous alumni include composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxell Davies CBE, Sally Beamish and Tim Benjamin; Pianists Peter Donohoe CBE and Stephen Hough CBE; baritone Simon Keenlyside CBE; mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and conductor Duncan Ward who was recommended by Sir Simon Rattle as the first Conducting Scholar at the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie.

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