Engineer Michael Romanowski
San Francisco–based audio engineer Michael Romanowski (pictured), who was recently appointed as the Chairman of the P&E Wing of the San Francisco Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, says that the Metric Halo Mobile I/O ULN-8 interface has become an essential component in his workflow, whether he is recording on location or in the studio, mixing at home, or working in his mastering facility, Michael Romanowski Mastering.
“I have two that I use at the studio, and then I have several that I use for location recording,” he explains. “It’s extremely portable. I can show up somewhere with two or three ULN-8s in a small rack with my laptop. I think it sounds as good as, if not better than, anything else I could put together.” He frequently uses Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo analysis and metering software on the room or the project at hand. “I check frequency responses, microphone time alignments, and room responses if I’m in a place I’m not too familiar with,” he says.
Romanowski singles out the Metric Halo mic preamps for particular praise: “They’re very fast, and very accurate with transient responses. I think that’s very important in a mic pre. I look for things that have a neutral, natural sound, rather than a colored sound, thinking I can color it later if I want to. But I don’t want to be locked into a certain tonal texture just because that’s all I can get.”
In addition, he says, “the converters sound great.” He reports that the DA converters in the MIO ULN-8 provide an AES digital flow-through at his mastering facility, where they formerly played a critical role in surround sound mastering projects until the room was recently reconfigured for stereo-only work.
Romanowski also has a mix room, where he uses several ULN-8s tied together for their conversion, summing and processing features in combination with an analog-mixing console. “I really love the internal summing on the MIOConsole. I think it sounds better than any workstation out there by far. So I do submixes in there. For processing, ChannelStrip, and the EQs and compressors, and Character in the MIOConsole, are just awesome. It can be everything from super clean to adding nice tonal color.”
In the mastering room, he continues, “The flexibility of the graph in the MIO is awesome, as well, [allowing me] to design my own plug-ins, and do mid/side processing or parallel processing when a project needs it.”
Romanowski reports that he doesn’t use the preset library, preferring to always start from scratch because no two projects are alike. He says the MIOConsoleConnect plug-in, which provides bi-directional communication between the host workstation and MIOConsole, has proven indispensable. “I use Sonic Studio’s soundBlade for mastering, so MIOConsoleConnect is great because if I make a change to somebody’s audio I can insert that in there and it keeps the Mixer that I set up locked with it. If I open the project later, all of the changes I made—EQ, routing and everything I did on the Console—pop right back up. That works great for mixing, too. When I work on mixes, I’ll get routing set up and some basic sounds going, and then I save a Mixer per song. Rather than having to open a Mixer every time, I use MIOConsoleConnect and every time I open that project, there’s my Mixer and all of my routing and inserts. It’s very powerful.”