Imagine having an array of world-class instruments at your digital fingertips, attainable at a moment’s notice. Imagine a sound library so vast, so diverse, that it not only allows you to be at your most creative, it inspires you to be. Confronted with tight deadlines and the limitations of a typical composer’s sample gallery, Berklee College of Music alums Neil Goldberg and Dave Fraser recognized a need for an expanded sound library. In order to fulfill that collective need, they developed Heavyocity Media, Inc., basing its parameters on the experiences and demands they faced at their music composition, sound design and ADR company in New York City, Heavy Melody Music. Using Apogee’s Symphony System to accurately capture the sounds they wanted, Goldberg and Fraser were able to create the award-winning modern virtual instruments Evolve and Evolve Mutations.
Due to their complimentary interaction, the two companies naturally cross-pollinate projects and clients. When Grandmaster Flash called Heavyocity specifically for virtual instruments, he ended up hiring Heavy Melody Music to compose musical interludes for his latest album, “The Bridge.” This uniquely symbiotic relationship has resulted in work for high-profile clients such as Campbell’s Soup, NBC, Scy Fy, VW, and for video games such as Bioshock 2 and Mafia 2.
Goldberg and Fraser were already Apogee Rosetta, PSX-100SE and Big Ben devotees by the time they were introduced to the Symphony System by their friend, composer Jason Graves. “As composers at Heavy Melody, we had been using digital mixers to bring in multiple Lightpipe connections to sum the sampled instruments running on our PC's along with the audio from our Mac systems,” Goldberg says. “When it was time to upgrade, we did a lot of research regarding the switch to ‘mixing in the box.’ Like many other composer/sound designers, our challenge was bringing in multiple live sources- whether it was mics capturing guitars or PC machines running our orchestral software instruments simultaneously. It needed to be done with low latency, flexibility and superior sound quality. The Symphony System has proven to be the perfect choice for our needs.”
The project relied heavily on having the right converters to capture the sounds comprising their impressive and now very popular collection of virtual instruments. “Whether it was in the studio or out in the field, Apogee's converters captured and translated the sounds in Evolve and Evolve Mutations with incredible depth and width,” Fraser explains. “We've worked with other converters and feel the Apogee converters have a definitive edge. The high I/O count and low latency is also a huge plus.”
The native-based composer/sound designer team wanted the best systems available. “We were using other PCI-based systems offering many input options, but they had inferior converters and control. We considered expanding upon them but since we were already using Apogee's Big Ben and Rosetta units, it just made sense to make the investment in the Symphony System,” Fraser admits. “We expanded on our existing Apogee gear with the Symphony 64 cards, DA-16X's and a Rosetta 800.”
Reviews and reports aside, if the system doesn’t deliver, nothing else matters. Goldberg and Fraser needed a system that would perform at the highest level in order to achieve the kind of sound library they aspired to offer. “If you want to capture a sound source with depth, dimension and maximum impact, you need to invest in the best technology available (as well as good mic pres and solid mic’ing techniques),” Goldberg says. “As soon as we implemented the Symphony Systems, we noticed an immediate difference in the overall sound quality. The depth, width and clarity of what we were capturing and monitoring were amazing.”
With their Symphony Systems, Heavyocity and Heavy Melody Music will continue to advance the way modern virtual instruments are accessed and used in today’s professional composer and sound designer’s environment.