NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 2011: Jamey Lamar is the classical recording engineer and producer at the helm of boutique audio services company Art Music Recording. Lamar received his undergraduate training at the Cleveland Institute of Music and went on to earn a postgraduate degree from the University of Memphis before wending his way to the Intermountain West with wife and violist Dr. Linda Kline Lamar. Boise, Idaho serves as the unlikely hub for Lamar’s on-location recording service. Lamar travels the country to effect stunningly vivid live and session recordings for clients such as The IRIS Orchestra, Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, the Poulenc Trio, and American Public Media’s Performance Today, to name a few. Lamar was an early adopter of the best-in-class FireWire interfaces from Metric Halo, and the company’s top-of-the-line ULN-8 mic-pre/AD/DA currently forms the heart of his
eminently mobile studio.
Lamar summarized his recording philosophy. “My goal is always to capture warm, rich, clean, and open sound that reflects not only the musicians’ performance, but also the acoustic setting in which the performance occurs. I want the right color from the ensemble with the right contribution from the room, he said.” Although he has his preferred methods and favorite gear, Lamar always strives to keep an open mind. He operates without a formula and – without wasting time experimenting – zeros in on the right setup for the particulars of piece, performers, and place.
“The Metric Halo ULN-8 is the centerpiece of my kit,” he said. “If I need more than eight channels, I bring my Millennia Media HV-3C, my Metric Halo ULN-2, and my Lavry Blue converters, and feed the AES outputs into the ULN-8.” His mic kit includes a pair of DPA 4003s, Schoeps MK-2, MK-4, MK-8, and MK-21, Sanken CO 100Ks, and an AEA R88, among others. In addition to world-class mic pres and converters, the Metric Halo ULN-8 ships with a rock-solid software complement, MIO Console, which provides flexible mixing and routing options, both at the recording and mixing stages of a project. “I love the flexibility that Metric Halo built into MIO Console,” said Lamar. “They designed it in such a way that I never feel funneled into a particular workflow. I can approach it from any angle.”
Lamar recently used his Metric Halo ULN-8 to record the Naxos release, Alfred Schnittke: Complete Violin Sonatas with Carolyn Huebl on violin and Mark Wait on piano. Both musicians hold faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, and Lamar made the recordings in the university’s Ingram Hall. “Ingram Hall is a beautiful place to record,” commented Lamar. “It has a rich sound with a long, but not overbearing, tail.” He converted the green room into a makeshift control room, with closed-circuit video providing communication between Lamar and the artists. For the main pair, which ended up contributing about seventy-five percent of the sound at mixdown, Lamar used Sanken CO 100Ks, spaced just over four-feet apart. A pair of Schoeps MK-2s set far and wide from the main pair added room tone. The Schoeps MK-4 and MK-21 covered the piano, and the Schoeps MK-8 with a second MK-21 covered the violin. The violin spot mics, configured as an M/S pair, were unusually close to the instrument in order to effect separation from the piano and to highlight the very delicate nature of much of Schnittke’s violin writing.
All eight microphone signals went into the Metric Halo ULN-8, and Lamar used MIO Console’s M/S plug-in to decode the violin spot mics. “The sound of the Metric Halo mic pres is fantastic,” said Lamar. “I would be gratified to find preamps of that quality in a stand-alone unit at a much higher price. Similarly, the transparency of the ULN-8’s converters goes toe-to-toe with stand-alone units at a much higher price. But to have the pres and the converters together in a small Pelican case that can easily fly to sessions and festivals around the country is beyond amazing.”
Like all of his projects these days, Lamar mixed the Schnittke album using the Metric Halo MIO Console. “I will never forget the day I first took a mix created in my DAW and re-routed it through a roughly comparable mix in MIO Console,” he said. “It was immediately obvious that the MIO Console mix possessed a vastly cleaner, more open, and more transparent soundstage. Since that day, I mix everything in MIO Console, relying on my DAW only for editing and automation.”
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