Metric Halo Aficionado Hiroaki Honshuku Records Jazz/Improv Rhythms Artist Racha Fora Print


SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA: “I was raised as a Christian, and I was taught to model my life after Jesus Christ, but I’ve since converted to a different religion… the religion of Miles.” So says the multi-talented Hiroaki Honshuku, who now models his life after the legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. “Miles taught us that music has to be fun, and that we should not play meaningless notes,” he said. “And he also taught us not to play the old s**t! Don’t play what’s been done before!” True to that advice, Honshuku, a graduate with distinctions of both Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, has carved out a unique niche in the world of music. In addition to moving traditional jazz and classical music forward with various groups and alliances inside the New York/Boston corridor, he is melding improvisational jazz with Brazilian grooves in a band called Racha Fora. The band’s latest release, Racha S’Miles, is a brilliant re-imagining of Miles Davis classics, with a heavy emphasis on “re-imagining.” It’s definitely not the old s**t!

In addition to being a gifted and practiced wind instrumentalist, Honshuku is a technophile and intuitive recording and mixing engineer. The band rented Dreamworld Studios in Lynn, Massachusetts to record Racha S’Miles, and Honshuku brought in his impressive collection of Metric Halo interfaces to handle all of the pre-amplification and conversion. “No other equipment records as cleanly as Metric Halo,” he said. “Everything I do with my Metric Halo gear sounds so realistic and detailed.”

Honshuku was originally introduced to Metric Halo and the company’s founders BJ and Joe Buchalter when he was recording student recitals at the New England Conservatory. “I was using Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software, and I was so impressed by the brilliance of Joe and BJ,” he said. “They told me about their first FireWire interface in 2000, and I just jumped on it. The serial number on my first 2882 is 099, the last beta unit before they went into production!”

Today, Honshuku has two 2882 interfaces, including his original, that he uses for large recording projects like Racha S’Miles. Both have been updated several times by the company as living proof of Metric Halo’s commitment to future-proofing all of its products. In addition, he has Metric Halo’s flagship unit, the ULN-8, that he uses for his daily recording and audio tasks, and a Metric Halo ULN-2 that serves as the nexus in his elaborate live performance rig. Like his 2882, his ULN-2 also has a 099 serial number, proof again both that Honshuku is an early adopter and that Metric Halo stands behind its products!

“My ULN-2 with the Jensen transformer modification makes my flute and Akai EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) sound sweet,” he said. One channel amplifies the flute and the second channel amplifies the EWI. He continued, “The signal goes into MainStage 3 where I do crazy real-time effect on flute. You can hear this on the Racha S’Miles track ‘Wood Row.’ For the EWI, MainStage 3 hosts various sound modules, as can be heard on the tracks ‘ESP,’ ‘Wood Row,’ and ‘Footprints.’” One of the keys to the otherworldly sounds that Honshuku coaxes from his otherwise traditional instruments is Metric Halo’s MIO Console, the free Metric Halo software that allows users to creatively route and mix signals or to add DSP using the interface’s resources. He controls his rig’s output volume using MIO Console’s MIDI infrastructure paired with a MIDI controller. In addition, he uses the ULN-2’s onboard DSP to equalize his powered monitor signal using SpectraFoo.