Community News It's Not Unusual to Find Metric Halo On Stage with Tom Jones
It's Not Unusual to Find Metric Halo On Stage with Tom Jones Print E-mail

Monroneyfrom left: Frank Strauss, Keyboards; Brian Monroney, Musical Director/Guitarist; David Nelson, Backline Technician

To say that guitarist Brian Monroney (Tom Jones, Gloria Estefan) is a huge fan of Metric Halo is an understatement. Currently on tour with Tom Jones and a production that uses three Metric Halo Mobile I/O 2882 devices, with two more Metric Halo units in his home production facility, Monroney reveals that he saw the potential of the portable digital audio recording/editing/mixing system from day one.

“I was an early adopter,” admits Monroney. “I plunked down a deposit when it was still vaporware at an AES show! I have the Mobile I/O 2882+DSP and the ULN-2 in my own studio. They’ve been fabulous, and rock-solid. The mic preamps in the ULN-2 are really high-quality, just excellent.”

On the road with “Jones the Voice,” Monroney reports that there are three Mobile I/O 2882 units in use. “We’ve got two G4s offstage. Each has the Mobile I/O 2882, and those are running tracks for maybe 40 percent of the show -- loops, background vocals, and a few other parts. It’s an A and a B system, a main and backup, running identical shows. We run the show on Digital Performer -- Metric Halo is software agnostic -- because it works really well for live stuff. You can chain songs together and change the order each night.”

He continues, “Then, we have a third Mobile I/O 2882 in the keyboard rig connected to a Powerbook Titanium.” All of the backline equipment is supplied by tour manager Sandy Battaglia’s Gig Productions in Henderson, NV, he notes. “[Keyboardist] Frank Strauss is running two softsynths, using Cubase as a host application. He’s running Native Instruments’ B4 [Hammond B3/Leslie emulation] and Pro-53.”

Of the inevitable problems that occasionally arise on the road, Monroney comments, not a single one has been traced to the Metric Halo gear. “The Mobile I/O stuff is just exceptional. It has really been stable. For Frank’s softsynths, the Mobile I/O delivers really sweet sound and very low latency, in a compact package that can be bus-powered from his PowerBook. It has been 100 percent rock-solid reliable since we started using it. The MIOs have proven to be equally bulletproof running the backing tracks for Tom’s show. Our sound engineers are very impressed by the sound quality.”

Monroney sometimes takes his own Metric Halo gear, which includes the company’s ChannelStrip and SpectraFoo plug-ins, on the road with him. “For one-off dates I have just taken my own MIO and PowerBook and it works great. I’ll also sometimes record shows by taking a stereo out from the board plus a pair of omni mics out in the house, just for archive.”

He continues, “For my personal recording projects, the MIO/ULN-2 combo has allowed me to take the studio to the musicians, recording vocals, brass, drums, percussion, and guitars in various places like hotel rooms, living rooms, and garages. A few mics, cables, PowerBook, MIO and a Firewire hard drive and I’m ready to roll.”

His personal ULN-2 saved him from a near-disaster, he says. “I recently did a TV show with Tom in Wales, just the two of us. My gear was stuck in airfreight so I had to improvise. I used the ULN-2 as a guitar interface and processed it in Digital Performer 3 on my PowerBook with Antares Tube, ChannelStrip, and Waves Ren Comp plugins. I just gave the mixer a direct out, for acoustic and electric both. It worked out great.”