Community News Mobile I/O: No Brainer for Brain
Mobile I/O: No Brainer for Brain Print E-mail

brainGuns N' Roses drummer Brain uses two Mobile I/O portable setups. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Well-known for his past work with Primus, as well as the current line-up of Guns N’ Roses, drummer Brain (Bryan Mantia) has been pursuing a parallel career in computer music and beat programming for the past few years. Using two portable Metric Halo setups, Brain is able to bring his programming talents to bear on multiple projects simultaneously.

“I do a lot of programming for albums,” Brain acknowledges. “I just did a load of stuff for the new Vanessa Carlton album. I also just did an album with Buckethead, the guitarist from Guns N’ Roses. His new album has a lot of programming.”

A Bay Area resident, Brain was introduced to Apple computers by several relatives, and now uses a pair of G4 Titanium laptops. Looking for a high quality digital audio interface, he reports that friends in the industry, such as producers Michael Beinhorn and Roy Thomas Baker, recommended that he check out Metric Halo. “Everybody told me about the Metric Halo MIO, that it’s a great, portable eight-in, eight-out mixer with DSP.”

Brain tried the Metric Halo Mobile I/O against his then current interface and was blown away. “The Metric Halo destroyed it,” he reports, “as far as the low end, the high end, and the quality of sound. Right away, it was like someone had taken a blanket off the speakers. It’s not like you have to be an audiophile - it’s something where even my mom could tell the difference!”

“I ended up buying that,” he continues, “then I purchased the ULN-2, so I have two portable units and two separate systems. So if I’m working in two separate studios, I can have one at one and one at the other.”

As Brain observes, the system not only sounds much better but also is far more portable than other systems, which can involve carting racks of gear around. “The system is basically in a backpack, so I’m totally portable. I show up with my backpack with a MIDI interface, a little keyboard, and the MIO. My FireWire cable is four inches long. I put my laptop on top of the MIO - it fits perfectly. The sound quality is as good as it gets - especially from a unit that is so portable.

As he recounts, the system can easily handle multi-track sessions. “Vanessa Carlton wrote the theme song to the Spyhunter 2 video game and I programmed that beat and the music. We were bouncing tracks off my laptop and I was running 24 tracks with Logic plug-ins and multiple Waves plug-ins, from a little 5200 rpm Firelight drive.”

Even though he does not have problems with his MIOs, Brian reports that, unlike other manufacturers, whenever he needs to reach the tech support department at Metric Halo he is able to. “Every time I call either someone answers the phone or someone calls me back within half an hour - which is unheard of. Their tech support is super supportive. That’s what I dig about them.”

Brain, who has incorporated hand percussion and even turntables into his stage equipment over the years, has recently been using the two-channel ULN-2 in his live set-up. “I’ve been using it as the I/O for my sampler. We just did some shows with me and Buckethead and [System of a Down vocalist] Serj - we have this little avant-garde band, Giant Robot. I run [Native Instruments] Battery in my laptop, and I’ve been using the ULN-2 live with that. I sound-designed my own samples. I plop them into Battery and play them from there.”