PORTLAND, OREGON – JANUARY 2015: “These days, I feel like the only way for a band to succeed is to be self-contained – the band has to be able to take care of everything for itself. The Metric Halo ULN-8 contains mic pre’s, converters, routing logic, and DSP, and it’s absolutely world-class. Anyone who is trying to set up a recording rig or a live rig from scratch knows that it can be an overwhelming task to sift through the tangle of possibilities. I say, ‘Bypass it all! You’ll find everything you need with zero-compromise quality in the Metric Halo ULN-8.’” So says producer/engineer/musician Brandon Rush, who, together with longtime friend Kyle Sears, fronts Priory, an up-and-coming band from Portland, Oregon that recently signed to Warner Bros.
“Electropop” aptly describes Priory. Rush and Sears fuse hard-hitting electronic elements that are larger than life with organic-sounding acoustic elements that bring an appropriate measure of warmth and personality to the band’s wickedly catchy tunes. The duo, that studied audio engineering in college, self-recorded their Warner Bros. debut in a converted studio space, relying on the Metric Halo ULN-8 at almost every turn. An EP, “Weekend” preceded the release of the full-length, Need to Know. The band tours with two Metric Halo ULN-8s, which together act as a self-contained, plug-and-play in-ear monitoring system.
“Even though we have a nice collection of outboard gear at this point, the Metric Halo ULN-8 played a big role in almost every track we laid down for ‘Weekend’ and Need to Know,” Rush said. “Kyle and I are both gear nerds, and we’ve each owned plenty of other converters at various points. The ULN-8 is unique in its ability to stack track after track after track without losing any of the clarity or distinction when all those tracks are mixed together. Plus, we’re able to use Metric Halo’s fantastic plug-ins.”
Unlike most projects, in which the recording and mixing phases are clearly separated, Rush and Sears carefully mix as they build up tracks. Thus, Priory used Metric Halo’s flagship plug-in, ChannelStrip, “all over the place” for routine equalization and compression. In addition, Metric Halo TransientControl found favor in a range of situations. “TransientControl is invaluable,” Rush said flatly. “It’s incredibly transparent and thus great when I don’t want to color a sound but still need it compressed. It sounds great on drum overheads. It allows me to squeeze the room into the sound in a very nice way. It’s also killer on DI bass; the result is really fat and smooth. Metric Halo TransientControl is a smart alternative to traditional compression.”
With plenty of touring experience to draw on from their previous bands, Rush and Sears wanted to avoid the nerve-racking uncertainty of traditional monitoring. Instead, they employed two Metric Halo ULN-8s, together with Metric Halo MIO Console, to build a self-contained, plug-and-play in-ear monitoring system. MIO Console allows infinitely flexible routing, volume control, and Metric Halo DSP. MIO Console gave Priory the power to fully-customize its in-ear setup. “The problem a lot of touring bands have – especially when they’re just starting out like us – is that they’re not given much time for a soundcheck,” Rush said. “The ULN-8s and MIO Console allow us to do all our own gain-staging using splits from all the on-stage mics and DI’s. Every night we get the same mix in our ears!”
The Metric Halo ULN-8s reside at the bottom of the tour rack and have performed without so much as a hiccup for 20,000 miles and counting. The band brings a laptop to make any adjustments to the mix as necessitated by the acoustics of a particular stage, but MIO Console maintains the proper routing and mix even without hooking up the laptop. Having Metric Halo’s DSP resources on board adds the finishing touches. For example, Rush puts HaloVerb on all the channels. “HaloVerb has a very natural, transparent, and accurate sound; it’s not artificial at all,” he said. “We dial in different settings depending on the space and our guys love it.”
Warner Bros. will release Need to Know on January 13, 2015.
ABOUT METRIC HALO Based on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with award-winning software and hardware recording, processing, metering and analysis solutions.
(PHOTO CREDIT: © 2015 Jiro Schneider)