Headliner Issue 30

Page 46


Recording a Brass Section

RECORDING A BRASS SECTION WITH ANUBIS We invite two accomplished jazz musicians into The Hub Studio to record brass parts over some songs we’ve been working on recently, using Merging Technologies’ impressive new Anubis desktop audio interface. Much noise was made. Much fun was had. Choosing an audio interface can be quite a personal thing – but in basic terms, in a small, in the box space, which is what we’re working in today, there are a few simple boxes that need to be ticked: low (if possible, no) latency, a nice simple user interface, the unit should be plug and play, have quality preamps, and decent A-D conversion. Plenty of respected audio manufacturers have been making quality offerings in the portable/USB market for some time – and we’ve had experience working with several, mainly around the £500-600 price range, all of which have done the job well, some surprisingly well, in fact. One company which hasn’t – until now – delved into this market is high-res audio specialist, Merging Technologies – so when we heard that Anubis had arrived, we were keen to get out hands on one. In the last issue of Headliner, we went into detail about what Anubis was, how powerful it was, and the string of applications it could cater for, all in a very small footprint. Today, we’ll find out for ourselves.

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We’d heard a lot about the headphone amplifier in this box – Merging claims it’s the best they’ve ever designed. And my word, they weren’t kidding. After listening to favourite tracks through various favourite pairs of cans (A-T M70 and M50, and AKG Q701), we are blown away by the clarity, stereo imagery, and depth of sound. And when it comes to monitoring with an artist in the room – which is our only option in this space – having two separate headphone mixes is very handy, indeed. There is also a built in mic and talkback button, which is equally convenient, especially in this environment. What’s also excellent about Anubis is its touch screen, which allows you to scroll through your essentials nice and easily: from tweaking preamp gains, to summing various signals together. Sonic Boom We decide to track trumpet and trombone individually, for more control – also, we’ll likely be double tracking in places. So we set

up our Vanguard V13 tube mic, get our cans on, set our headphone mixes of the track via talkback, and start to get a signal. There is something extraordinary about the A-D conversion on the Anubis, and the sound of the pre. It doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, but when you hear a quality musician through a great mic, through this interface, it’s quite bewildering. Ordinarily, we’ll have an external pre setup optically through an interface, and although admittedly there isn’t an optical option on Anubis, there is equally now no need for the external pre – this thing has blown any previously recorded material out of the water – and we can’t highlight this enough. It may be two to three times the price of what we were using previously, but it’s already pretty obvious why. As we move from trumpet to trombone, making slight adjustments along the way, we realise that we’re also working more efficiently. After getting quickly to grips with the user interface, we find ourselves flying through pages, tweaking as we go. We’re on Reaper, so to achieve absolutely zero latency, all we’re

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