Simon Hanhart builds a home for Focusrite interfaces at AIR Studios
Producer, mixer and engineer Simon Hanhart recently took a Focusrite Red 8Pre and two RedNet MP8R audio interfaces to famous Hampstead, London complex AIR Studios, connecting the interfaces for the benefits of audio-over-IP and a further 16 input channels. Hanhart recorded in Studio 1, home to Focusrite's original Rupert Neve-designed recording console modules.
Hanhart’s impressive credits include Asia, Marillion, McFly, David Bowie, SikTh, London Symphony Orchestra, Yngwie Malmsteen, Cerys Matthews and Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith. On this occasion, the track was Made Of Paper, featuring vocalist John Mitchell, who is also a musician, songwriter and record producer. Made Of Paper was written by Tim Harbour, and conductor Richard Cottle arranged the piece for string section The London String Group and pianist Dominic Ferris.
“In a situation like this, you’re working with natural instruments that need to sound like they would sound if you were standing eight feet away from them," Hanhart said. "You’ve got to capture that, so you don’t want anything in the way of that signal path.”
During the day, Hanhart spoke highly of the Red 8Pre’s sound quality. “It just works. It sounds great. You’re not even aware of it because it’s just translating what’s happening in the room straight into the machine,” he said.
The Red 8Pre was racked in the machine room, connected to a Mac®-based Pro Tools | HDX rig via DigiLink™. Out in the live room were the RedNet MP8R interfaces, which were controlled by software in the control room. All the microphones for the 12-piece string section, piano and vocal went into the Focusrite mic pres, and then Hanhart monitored back through the vintage Neve console in the control room.
Having Dante™ in the recording facility was particularly useful to Hanhart. “It makes complete sense that you can network a number of different units together, particularly in a multi-studio facility like AIR,” he said. “You want to make sure that you have one great setup that can be accessed from a number of different production rooms or studio areas. It’s the next generation really.”
Hanhart owns a Red 8Pre, so everything was compatible when mixing the track at home. “I’m always aware that it would be nice to have a little mobile setup, and of course I could take the Red 8Pre with me, and that would be a Thunderbolt™ situation,” he said. “Having the options on connectivity is absolutely fantastic. It’s a unit that covers so many bases. It’s absolutely brilliant.”