When top Drum & Bass artist and producer Dan Gresham - aka Nu:Tone - was asked to judge The B Side Project remix competition, he didn’t think it would have a long-term impact on his own work. But it did - and still does - because one of the sponsors of the competition was Prism Sound, a company renowned for the quality of its AD/DA audio interfaces and converters.
“Prism Sound introduced me to its Lyra compact audio interface,” he explains. “Prior to that I hadn’t considered an interface to be high on my list of priorities. I realised how wrong I was the moment I started using Lyra. The audio quality was incredible and I could hear exactly what I had been missing. It delivers so much clarity and is so transparent that it gives me an enormous amount of confidence. When I’m making music, I want to be sure that what I am hearing in the studio is absolutely what is on the record, and Lyra helps me achieve that.”
Based on the audio path and clock circuitry of the award-winning Prism Sound Orpheus, Lyra is the ideal cost-effective solution for artists who want high-quality conversion but don’t require a large I/O count. The unit’s portability and compact chassis makes it suitable for use in studios and on the road.
It comes in two versions - Lyra 1 with two analogue input channels and two DA output channels, and Lyra 2 with two AD input channels and four DA output channels. Both versions incorporate new ARM Cortex processor design, offering class-compliant USB interfacing that allows for seamless integration with Macs and PCs. Both also offer digital volume control, a low latency ‘console-quality’ digital mixer for foldback monitoring, and optical SPDIF capability.
Recently, Prism Sound has given Lyra an aesthetic overhaul to bring it in line with its larger multitrack audio interface siblings, Titan and Atlas. The unit now boasts the same sleek black-fronted look and features Prism Sound’s new updated logo.
It can also be controlled using the company’s recently updated software app (available for both Mac and Windows platforms). This enables musicians, composers and producers to manipulate Lyra from their own computer, thus speeding up workflow.
Numerous artists and producers have embraced Lyra since its launch in 2012, including composer Iain Archer, producers Steve Mac and Tim Gennert, award-winning mastering engineer Mandy Parnell and Chicago House legend Marshall Jefferson.
Dan Gresham’s own positive experiences with the interface have had a knock-on effect at his record label Hospital Records, where a number of other artists and producers have switched to Lyra for transparent AD/DA conversion, mainly through his recommendation.
As one of the most well-respected names on the UK Drum & Bass scene, Dan signed to Hospital Records in 2003 and has since released four albums, a compilation album and countless singles. He has also been responsible for many successful remixes for the likes of Roni Size, Emilie Sandé, Beardy Man, Afrojack, Professor Green, Axwell, Sandy Revera and Adele. Alongside his own recordings, Dan is on the A&R team at Hospital Records and looks after most of the label’s mastering. He was also instrumental in choosing equipment for Hospital’s studio, which was built in 2018 when the company moved to its current premises in South London.
“It was my decision to have Lyra in the Hospital studio and I’m recommending it to our signings because it is so compact and offers so much bang for the buck,” he explains. “A good interface is really important, especially for dance music artists and producers where so much of your work is done ‘in the box’. Your computer, your interface and your speakers are your three main tools.”
Drum & Bass producer and DJ, Hugh Hardie, is another Hospital signing who has embraced Lyra. He installed a Lyra 2 in his Bristol studio in 2016 and everything he has produced since then has gone through the unit, including two albums and his most recent project - 7 Tunes In 7 Days - which was recorded during lockdown.
“I love my Lyra because it sounds fantastic, looks cool and has a solid feel to it,” he says. “It has very low latency, which is great for recording instruments and vocals. The low ends come out with more weight and warmth and the highs have a clarity to them that I never got with other interfaces. I also love Prism Sound’s new app – it’s a brilliant tool because it allows me to control everything visually on my computer screen.”
Hospital’s most recent convert to the Prism Sound Lyra is musician and producer Edward ‘Woody’ Allen - aka Etherwood. He acquired his interface during lockdown and is already putting it to good use recording vocals and guitar for his latest project.
“I have used a few different interfaces in the past, but until I got the Lyra I always dismissed interfaces as a necessary piece of kit but not something you needed to spend too much on,” he explains. “I changed my mind as soon as I started using it because I could immediately tell the difference in terms of audio quality. I plugged my guitar straight in and there was no buzz, no electrical hum - nothing. The signal was just so clear and warm. I am really impressed.”
For more information please visit www.prismsound.com