Producer Ian Sherwin has invested in a Prism Sound Atlas Audio Interface, which he is currently using to record tracks for the long awaited third album from Grammy Award-winning English synth pop act La Roux.
Sherwin, who has a project studio in West London, has made Atlas the backbone of his current recording set up and says he is delighted with the audio quality he is achieving.
“My first impressions of Atlas were really quite stunning,” he says. “The difference when A/Bing between that and my old Avid Omni interface (which I’d always regarded as a reasonably decent converter) was almost incomprehensible; I literally felt as though I was switching between 24/96k and YouTube. By using the Atlas, we can now hear more and therefore achieve more in terms of the standard of music that we’re producing.”
Formed in 2006 by singer Elly Jackson and record producer Ben Langmaid, La Roux released its eponymous first album in 2009 to huge critical acclaim. After notching up a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album, the pair began recording a second album but ran into difficulties when their working relationship started to fall apart due to creative differences. This eventually led to Langmaid leaving the group and Jackson continuing alone.
With Sherwin having worked an engineer on the first La Roux album as well as already being involved at the start of the second, Jackson felt it was natural to continue recording with him as co-producer and, eventually, co-writer. Their efforts resulted in Trouble in Paradise, an album described by Jackson as ‘warmer’ and ‘sexier’ than La Roux’s debut, mainly thanks to the introduction of more organic instruments and a definite shift in musical style. It was released through Polydor in 2014 and debuted at No. 6 in the UK Album Charts, No. 20 in the Billboard 100 and went on to top the Dance/Electronic Album Chart. The album also received five star reviews and was featured in many of the leading ‘Best of 2014’ lists at the end of the year.
“We recorded a large part of the second album in a pop up studio in Devon,” Sherwin says. “It was very much a guerrilla recording project with both of us playing different instruments and really enjoying the creativity of the space and the ideas flowing between us. This approach now forms the basis of how we operate. We like working in unconventional spaces and taking our time so that we get the sound Elly really wants.”
Sherwin’s desire to use the very best audio converters led him to Prism Sound – a brand he was already familiar with because he’d used the company’s flagship ADA-8XR Multichannel converters in various commercial recording facilities.
“La Roux is not the kind of act where you spend two weeks in a studio and come out with an album – it’s much more of a free flowing, cumulative process than that,” Sherwin says. “Our approach to recording is very flexible, but that doesn’t mean we want to compromise on audio quality. We still want to produce studio quality recordings, even when we are not in a studio, and this is what Atlas allows us to achieve.”
Already a favourite among professional musicians, songwriters, engineers and producers, Atlas is a USB multi-track audio interface that is compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms. Once configured with a computer, Atlas can also operate stand-alone using its ADAT, S/PDIF or AES3 I/O. As well as the built-in inputs and outputs Atlas can accommodate other optional digital interfaces such as Pro Tools|HDX and AES3 multichannel options through its MDIO expansion slot. This flexibility makes Atlas perfectly suitable for the home, native or project studio as well as larger multitracking facilities by seamless, reliable integration with the industry standard platforms.
“What really impresses me about Atlas, beyond all the things I expected to hear such as an improvement in clarity and the depth and width of the soundstage, is how rhythmically succinct it is. It’s not that everything necessarily feels tighter; it’s more that what I’m hearing is so much more revealing in terms of what’s going on groove-wise. Tracks where I had felt we’d got the feel really right confidently bop along, whereas tracks that I knew still needed some work now sound almost worse than they were before…. but, crucially, in a way that identifies the problems. In others words it’s going to make it a whole lot easier to fix or redo those parts.”
Sherwin is currently using Atlas to capture demo material for the new album, with Elly performing in a variety of different settings where she feels comfortable and relaxed.
“Even though these are supposed to be demos, the quality is so good that everything we’re capturing is ultimately useable,” Sherwin adds. “Atlas is such a cool interface and having eight inputs at my fingertips means I can reliable record a performance wherever we are.”
About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio hardware and software for music and sound production for the music, film, television, radio and multi-media markets and a range of specialized measurement equipment used in audio equipment development, manufacturing, system building and maintenance. The company’s product range includes a range of audio interfaces covering applications from desktop or mobile recording & production to major studio facilities; Prism Sound also produces the SADIE audio production workstation software used by major national broadcasters such as the BBC, as well as many of the world’s leading mastering houses and classical or live music recording engineers. Prism Sound measurement equipment is used to measure the performance of either audio electronic devices or electroacoustic devices and is well established in major manufacturing sectors such as automotive electronics, headphones and headsets as well as professional audio.
For more information: www.prismsound.com