Prism Sound’s Orpheus FireWire Interface Breaks Into The Movie Business

Originally from Iowa in the USA, Casey had an early interest in music and electronics

With a credit list that reads like a Halliwell’s Guide to the latest movies, Casey Stone is undoubtedly in demand as a film score mixer. Among the projects he has recently completed are The Hangover, The Hangover Part II, Unknown, Dear John, The Losers, Death at a Funeral and Date Night.

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Although much of Casey’s work takes place in large film scoring studios, he also has a home studio in Brighton where he tackles smaller mixing projects. Kitted out with a Pro Tools HD system and Klein + Hummel 5.1 monitoring, the studio also features his latest equipment purchase, a Prism Sound Orpheus FireWire computer interface.

Explaining why he decided to buy an Orpheus, Casey says: “Avid/Digidesign made some changes to version 9 of Pro Tools HD, removing the requirement to have their dedicated hardware in order to have a fully-featured HD system. I still had my aging PCI HD3 Accel, which was frequently stressed with big mixing projects, but I didn’t want to add the complexity or noise of an expansion chassis and more PCI cards - in fact I wanted the opposite. I wanted a system that did not require a card at all. Since I don’t do any recording with my system, only mixing, I didn’t require some of the features you can get with a card-based system. I carried out some testing and found that a native system on a fast modern Mac had more power (and voice count) than an HD3 Accel. What I needed was the best quality core audio interface, with an emphasis on D/A converter quality. For me that was the Orpheus, so I bought one and am now using it as a replacement for the Digidesign 192 IO box that I was previously monitoring through.”

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Originally from Iowa in the USA, Casey had an early interest in music and electronics but fell in love with recording as a 10 year old when his mother took him to a studio where she was recording some of her original song demos. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Music Recording, Casey worked as a freelance engineer for various projects including jazz albums (notably a Billy Higgins record on Italian label Red Records), student and low budget film scores, artist/band demos and independent albums. He also worked as a runner and assistant engineer at Image, Sound Chamber and Mad Hatter Studios in Los Angeles.

While at university Casey was involved with the USC Film Scoring programme, engineering sessions for student composers. This interest helped focus his career on recording and mixing film scores and his first major project was mixing the non-orchestral cues in the score for 1996 movie Bio-Dome. A year later he was mixing box office hit Boogie Nights and in 1998 he mixed his first score for composer John Ottman on Halloween H20.

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Since those early days, Casey has worked with numerous top composers, including Christophe Beck, Deborah Lurie, Mark Kilian, Alan Lazar, Brahm Wenger, Lior Rosner and Andrew Gross. His most recent projects, all of which are utilising his new Orpheus, include mixing the score album for series five of the TV hit Dexter, mixing an album by Shaolin Fez for a Hong Kong based composer/producer and mixing a film called Bless Me, Ultima for composer Mark Kilian.

“I’ve been using Orpheus for a few weeks now on both albums and score mixing projects,” Casey says. “For me, the unit is about more than just features. The fact that it integrates well with Pro Tools and switches sample rates seamlessly when I open a Pro Tools session is a major advantage. I also like the flexibility of being able to control what audio source feeds the headphones. I use the built-in sample-rate conversion on the digital inputs, which comes in handy to monitor an asynchronous source.”

Casey adds that Orpheus has given him a noticeable step up in quality from the Digidesign 192 IO he was using.

“When I first tried out the unit I had that experience where I couldn’t stop going through my iTunes library to see how various music sounded on it. I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but I really did hear things I had not heard before on some songs, and noticed an improvement in clarity and smoothness of the sound,” he says.

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