CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Marshall Jefferson is an epic figure in the house music movement, having helped found the genre in Chicago in the mid-1980s. In fact, his “Move Your Body” is just as well known by its adopted title, “The House Music Anthem.” Other enduring hits include “7 Ways To Jack” and “Open Our Eyes.” Apart from his own work, Jefferson’s presence runs deep in the House, Acid House, and Deep House movements through his collaborations, productions and remixes. Now splitting his base between Chicago and the UK, Jefferson travels the world on a near-weekly basis for DJ engagements. He always brings (just) his laptop and his Metric Halo ULN-8 preamp/interface/DSP, which he uses both for the show and to make good on a backlog of remix requests back at the hotel.
Jefferson is well acquainted with the “big studio sound,” having
cut his teeth back in the day at Chicago’s famed Universal Recording and Chicago Trax (both now sadly demolished). Their large-frame SSLs and Neves tuned Jefferson’s ears to an authentic analog sound that hasn’t left him. He still favors analog synths, and was looking for a way to get them into his computer without degrading their character. “In addition to needing a pure input, I needed something that would be portable,” explained Jefferson. “I play in a different country almost every weekend, and I don’t have the energy to haul around a bunch of outboard gear. In addition, I do a lot of ‘studio’ work with headphones in my hotel room. So I needed something that was very clean, portable and powerful.”
Jefferson read about Metric Halo’s FireWire interfaces on an internet discussion board and purchased a ULN-8 based on what he read. The Metric Halo ULN-8 possesses eight boutique-grade mic pres, eight 192 kHz A/D converters, eight 192 kHz D/A converters, a high-quality headphone output, and a DSP engine. “I immediately put the ULN-8 up against the other paths I had into my computer,” said Jefferson. “The ULN-8 sounded noticeably better. The mid-range was smooth and guitars just jumped out at me.”
Jefferson uses Logic together with the ULN-8’s DSP. “Once I go into the box, I stay in the box,” he said. “The ULN-8 gives me 80-bit summing, along with compressors and limiters that are every bit as good as hardware. And I don’t need preamps, because the ULN-8 smokes everything else that’s out there, including dedicated preamps. Now the sound I get in my hotel room is better than what most people get in their studios, and I can be just as productive on the road as I can be at home.”
Jefferson also noted that his Metric Halo ULN-8 has never needed servicing of any kind. He laughed, “Everyone gets sentimental about the old Neves. But as great as they sounded, we were pulling out a channel every four hours!”
ABOUT METRIC HALO Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware. www.mhlabs.com