‘In the case that I’m recording with a live orchestra or a specialty soloist, I’ll do that in a proper studio and then blend it with what I’ve produced, but my default is to do it all myself’ says composer and multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Schachner – an in-demand video game score composer, writing and recording soundtracks for game franchises including Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty.

Sarah SchachnerNot only does she compose these soundtracks, but she performs many of the live instruments on her scores and does the majority of her recording at home. Aside from synthesisers, most of what Schachner records live in her studio is acoustic and very close-miked: cello, viola, violin, ethnic string instruments and light percussion.

Given the need for a well-equipped studio, Schachner turned to Manley Labs’ four-channel Force preamplifier for her miking needs. ‘I wanted to upgrade my preamp and get something that would complement the solo strings I record,’ she says. ‘I had recently done a session with a guitarist who had the Force in his studio – it sounded incredible, and I knew I needed to have it.’

‘Composers today are expected to produce and mix their own music at a professional level. I need to capture those performances sounding as good as possible going in, before I do any creative processing, and the Force gives me the elevated clarity and definition I’m looking for.’ Schachner also reports that the ‘hi boost’ option is especially useful for mics that demand extra gain. ‘The warmth from the tubes is fantastic, and the massive amount of headroom gives me the flexibility I need with so many dynamic instruments.’

To those aspiring to a career in film, TV or video game composition, Schachner says: ‘Find that thing that’s unique to you. Don’t rely on the endless sample libraries out there that everyone has access to. A little bit of human imperfection can go a long way. If you play instruments, use those skills and develop a personal sound with your production as well as your writing.’

‘To me, Manley means reliably high-end gear that enhances and brings out the best in whatever you’re recording,’ she adds. ‘It’s also rare and great to see a company born from a woman’s technical genius.’

More: www.manley.com

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