A veteran of on-location and on-set sound recording for reality-based and scripted TV recording in and around New York City, Graham Gardner is judged by his ability to reliably capture intelligible spoken word.

But while reality-based work excludes the possibility of a second take, Gardner is still intent on quality sound – and his clients are noticing the difference. Apart from technique, Gardner uses Metric Halo’s FireWire ULN-8 audio interface for its mic preamps and AD/DA conversion. ‘There are only a few sound recorders that are manufactured specifically for the television and film industry, and I’ve found the ULN-8 to be more sonically transparent with a greater flexibility allowing me to both customise my workflow and deliver an excellent product,’ he says.

The ULN-8 features eight mic preamps, eight 192kHz A/D converters, eight 192 kHz D/A converters, headphone output, and a powerful DSP engine. The DSP provides instantiable processing on any input or output, along with a fully-matrixable mixer accessed via the virtual ‘MIO console.’ The ULN-8 is also powered via DC allowing Gardner to run it off the 12V battery on his cart. ‘Typically, a sound mixer uses a high-quality mixer which then feeds the recorder. With the ULN-8, it’s all in one. I simply use a control surface to ride the faders.’

Gardner recently finished work for the Wildheart Group, which is producing On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a documentary exploring the cultural impacts of recorded music. ‘I recorded an interview with an artist, who alternated between responding to questions and playing the piano,’ he says. ‘With just a standard recorder, I would have missed the depth and vibrancy of the piano. Of course, the same is true of spoken word; though we’re less able to consciously differentiate a stellar recording of spoken word from one that is just pretty good. Nevertheless, that difference is still there, and we do pick up on it.’ In addition, Gardner was on hand to record several other artists. He documented recording sessions at Electric Lady Studios with engineer Craig White.

‘A month later, the response from the head of the postproduction team was that after 1,100 hours of interviews, 300 people and performances, I had delivered the best sound in the lot,’ Gardner says. ‘In the film and TV worlds, it is rare to receive a mild complement, let alone such unabashed praise. I attribute a great share of that success to Metric Halo.’ Gardner is the first call when the project returns to New York City for further interviews.

‘The Metric Halo rig is very compact,’ he explains. ‘With all the DSP capabilities, I am able to do away with an analogue mixer. All I need is an input, the ULN-8, a FireWire cable, a computer and headphones. The MIO console handles all of the routing and provides the jumping-off point for processing individual channels. I can also save and load particular arrangements of the mixer, which saves a lot of time and prevents mistakes that commonly occur with manual mixers.’

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