HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2011: Although one is tempted to write baldly that John Arrucci is a percussionist just as, for example, Albert Einstein was a scientist, Arrucci’s modest nature would probably not tolerate the comparison. So… suffice it to say, Arrucci is very talented. His biography includes twenty-plus years on the faculty at Princeton University; study on three continents; mastery of Classical, Jazz, North Indian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and other traditions; and a fine and very extensive list of composition and performance credits on high-profile albums, movies, and commercials. Arrucci’s latest passion is demonstrated in Metaphors, the first of three albums of his original compositions. Months of painstaking research led him to the Metric Halo ULN-8 preamp/converter/interface, on which the entire album was both recorded and mixed.
“I was updating my studio in preparation for Metaphors,” Arrucci said. “I needed preamps, AD converters, and a monitor controller. I was grateful for the help of three friends, each of whom is an expert engineer with a unique and strong opinion about audio.” Arrucci resolved to purchase only equipment upon which all three engineers could agree. “Two were Mac guys and the other was a PC guy,” he continued. “But that was just the start. They each had very different feelings and criteria.” To arrive at an unbiased decision, the group gathered together the contenders and then conducted a blind shootout. “The Metric Halo ULN-8 was the clear winner and earned each of their approvals,” he proclaimed.
One of the consulting engineers was Mike Cirile, who would also later record the initial session tracks for Metaphors. But before he did, Cirile gave Professor Arrucci some homework. “I am certainly not an engineer,” Arrucci asserted. “But I’m making a good-faith effort to become more knowledgeable about engineering. The Metric Halo ULN-8 is a deep piece of gear and it ships with some powerful routing and mixing software. Mike knew I wanted to really learn how to use it, so he gave me assignments to build [virtual] mixers in Metric Halo’s MIO Console. The assignments were complicated. I had to create big mixers that had all kinds of groups with ‘pre-fader-this’ and ‘post-fader-that.’ Although it was initially challenging, I learned a lot, and now I feel empowered.”
The first, Cirile-engineered sessions featured piano, bass, and, of course, drums. After that, Arrucci took over the engineering duties for his own overdubs, which included marimba, conga, vibraphone, alto flute, and a handful of other exotic instruments. “The ULN-8 was utterly solid,” he said. “I had had problems in the past with interfaces that didn’t want to play nicely with my Mac, but the ULN-8 was not only well-integrated in terms of the user-interface and stability, but there was also zero perceivable latency. It was nice to just use the box, without having to jury rig a work-around solution for latency on overdubs.”
He continued, “Everyone involved in the initial sessions commented about the strikingly beautiful sound on playback, before anything had been effected, processed or mixed. I felt gratified that my rigorous vetting process had paid off. The Metric Halo ULN-8 was really going to put the music, on which I’ve worked so hard in its best light.” Arrucci edited in Digital Performer and then used Digital Performer together with Metric Halo MIO Console to mix. Metaphors is now available at www.JohnArrucci.com, as well as from the usual suspects (iTunes, Amazon, etc.). A portion of the proceeds from album sales will go directly to the Rotary Foundation’s global fight to eradicate polio.
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