‘Rock solid’, that is how producer, musician and composer Benjamin Izmajlov describes the Prism Sound Atlas audio interface that he recently installed in his studio in Slovenia. But even more important is the fact that Atlas is portable, which means Izmajlov can easily take it to any other studio he works in.
“I wanted an audio interface that had the sound quality of a big studio but was also mobile,” he explains. “Whenever I came across Prism Sound products I loved the sound, especially for classical/instrumental music, because it truly resembled what I heard when played. For this reason, choosing a Prism Sound Atlas wasn’t a difficult decision - and it has turned out to be exactly what I had hoped for.”
Widely regarded as one of the most successful musicians of his generation, Benjamin Izmajlov is an accomplished concert violinist as well as a composer, arranger, sound engineer, producer and conductor of symphonic music. He is the founder of the International Academy Guiseppe Tartini, the Slovenian Summer Academy and the Slovenian Diplomatic Concert, and he regularly acts as artistic director and producer of various music projects. Since 2012, he has been a guest soloist at the Moscow Philharmonic and, together with his wife the mezzo soprano Manca Izmajlova, is the holder of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Medal of Cyril and Methodius.
Izmajlov is currently working on a new album entitled The Russian Collection: 12 Moments, which gives a fresh interpretation to a selection of the most beloved Russian songs. With Manca Izmajlova as the soloist, the album features the Russian State Symphony Cinema Orchestra conducted by Sergei Skripka. It was recorded at Mosfilm’s Studio One with sound engineer Maria Sobeleva and at Studio Jork in Slovenia.
“This project is very important to me because I’m re-arranging and re-orchestrating the most legendary Russian songs from the 20th Century,” Izmajlov says. “It is a challenge to do something new without losing the soul of the song, therefore I am the producer, the orchestrator and the violin soloist – and I’m doing all the editing, vocal recording and mixing. That makes me the guy to blame if something isn’t right.”
Having a Prism Sound Atlas audio interface has made this complex project much easier for Izmajlov because he has been able to rely on professional studio sound quality, no matter where he worked.
“Nowadays, lots of my projects are done in different places,” Izmajlov says. “Sometimes a studio has the vibe for the artist or the microphone I want to use, while another might have a mixing desk or gear that I prefer. Atlas makes the transition from one studio to another much easier because I can hook it up wherever I am recording, even on location, and achieve the best possible results with no compromise. The sound is always crystal clear and uncoloured.”
Prior to starting his current project, Izmajlov conducted a microphone shootout with different preamps through Atlas. He split the voice signal and recorded them directly through the Atlas input and through other preamps.
“One of them was a Millenia and later, in my studio, I sent the recorded direct track through the Millenia again and recorded it back,” he explains. “When played back together, both ‘Millenia’ tracks were identical. This shows that the Atlas preamps and converters are so transparent and true to the source signal that whatever I record can be subsequently processed with whatever gear I want to use without losing any of the qualities of the original signal. This is very handy when you are working in different studio settings.”
Izmajlov uses his Atlas with a Mac Book and a PC and says it is equally effective with both systems. His studio is equipped with different ITB DAWs with various plugins, a pair of PSI A17-M monitors, Millenia HV-37 preamp, a TC M3000 reverb, an Allen & Heath desk and a Steinberg MR816X interface that he uses for headphones foldback mix when tracking or as an extra 8 channel input. Acquiring Atlas has given him the impetus to expand these facilities and he is now planning to upgrade so that he can tackle more demanding mixing and recording projects.
“I mainly edit and comp in my studio and I can mix smaller projects and do ‘pre-mixes’ for bigger ones, just to have an idea of the sound I want to achieve later,” he explains. “However, I think everyone has a studio that feels like home and, for me, that is Mosfilm. All my major projects were recorded there, and I know the engineers and the equipment. Also, a lot of film music projects are recorded at the facility, so you get to meet actors and artists from all over the world.”
The Russian Collection: Twelve Moments will be released worldwide in the Autumn on the Melodiya label and will be promoting with a series of concerts. There is also a crowd funding campaign on Pledge Music enabling fans to buy it on pre-release in April.