NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Alto NYC is Alto Music’s New York-based professional audio retailer that truly nurtures a reciprocal relationship with the studio owners, musicians, composers, producers, and engineers who list among its clients. Its Manhattan showroom would be better described as a fully-functioning control room, complete with structural isolation, acoustic treatment, and almost every piece of gear imaginable – all just a patch away from a test drive or shootout in a real working environment. Alto NYC treats its clients to a one-on-one experience, with working professionals serving as audio gurus to help guide clients to their ideal, situation-specific solutions. The company sells a wide range of audio converters, and the Metric Halo ULN-8, LIO-8, 2882, and ULN-2 converters have found favor among clients looking for high-end sound and tremendous flexibility.
“The starting point is always obtaining a clear understanding of what exactly a client hopes to achieve,” said Shane Koss, Alto NYC’s audio guru. “Are they building a home studio? A public studio? What are the inputs? The outputs? And of course, what is the budget? I find that a lot of people come in because they have read about this or that magic solution in an online forum or review, and they think that getting it will solve some large issue problem they’re having. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not. Although it’s probably counterproductive to my bottom line, I often recommend against particular purchases because I honestly don’t believe the gear they’ve set their sights on will address the issue.”
Koss keeps one foot in the retail business and the other foot in the activities that led him to the retail business in the first place: writing music for TV and movies, working with bands, and producing/engineering projects. “Along with my schooling, that real-world working experience has been, and continues to be, invaluable for the work I do at Alto,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I didn’t actually use the stuff. Background is critical.” Koss recognizes that many aspects of professional audio are irreducibly subjective, but that there is also a large degree of objectivity in the way professional audio equipment is made and priced. “Unless you’re a total cynic and believe that a $4,000 piece of gear is designed and manufactured in the same way that a $500 piece of gear is designed and manufactured, then there is some objective difference between them,” he said. “So the question becomes, ‘what is that difference and is it worth the money?’”
He continued, “Metric Halo converters excel in situations where audio transparency and configuration flexibility are paramount. I have clients come in who need a converter that can do A, B, and C all of the time, D and E when they’re on the road, and F on Tuesdays! Once they learn Metric Halo’s MIO Console, that kind of extreme flexibility is not only possible, it’s easy to implement.” Alto Music sells all of Metric Halo’s interfaces, from the flagship ULN-8, with eight channels of latest-generation preamps and converters, to the original 2882 (updated to accommodate current operating systems and communications protocols, of course).
“The fun part of my job is working with clients to meet their needs,” Koss said. “The unpleasant part is working out the behind-the-scenes details – finding out, for example, why this or that didn’t ship, when such and such will be in stock – that kind of thing. Fortunately, I never get that with Metric Halo. Although they’ve moved to Florida, they still have that New York attitude that I appreciate. It’s no BS – get it done right and get it done fast. Metric Halo is one of those companies that makes a solid product that I believe in – and that’s easy to work with.”
ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.