Black Lion Audio

Black Lion Audio Signature 002 Mod

There are certain things that contribute to a great recording. The first is the interface that you're using. You can go and spend some $$$ on a HD converter and get great results. However, there is an alternative for great sound at a more affordable price. Black Lion Audio (www.blacklionaudio.com) is a company based in Chicago and they have some modifications that rival some of the big expensive converters. For under $2,000 you can get the BLA Signature Mod on your 002 or 003 rack. We currently have one that is used as our mobile rig and it holds up quite well. Many of the live recording that Shine On has been hired to record have been tracked with our modified 002r.

The Signature Mod will improve your converters, clock, and mic pres. These are huge improvements over the Digidesign stock interface. They also beef up the headphone amp to provide a more accurate monitoring option. The A/B recordings we did with the interface are jaw-dropping. There really is no comparison between the recordings. The mod improved the attack of transients and the depth of the EQ range. Drums have more punch, guitars roar and scream with more intensity, bass is bigger and richer in the low end, and vocals just rip through the mix to sit right in the pocket. These improvements are well worth the investment. You'll save time in the studio and your mixes will have a brilliance that just cannot be matched at this price point. If you'd like to get more info or experience with the interface, sign up for one of our Pro Tools lessons and an engineer will show you the ins and outs of this impressive upgrade to your studio.

Black Lion Audio Signature Mod

Black Lion Audio Signature Mod 002r

Black Lion Audio Signature Mod 002r

Many clients have asked how we get such amazing audio quality and we're proud to say that it's a combination of mics, cables, and converters. At the heart of our drum and instrument recording is our modified Digi002rack. For many years, we were tracking with a Blue Face Digidesign 96 i/o on an ACCEL PCIe Core card. The recordings were good and we were very happy with the audio quality. 

One day, a client came by the studio with a road case with a Digi002rack that had the Black Lion Audio Signature Mod. To be honest, I was slightly offended that a client wanted to track with the LE interface instead of our HD interface. We had a brief discussion about how each of us was impressed with the audio quality of our respectable interfaces and converters. At the end of the discussion, we decided to have a shootout with the interfaces and compare them side-by-side to hear if there was any obvious difference. 

The band's drummer played a simple rock groove for about 60 seconds with a nice array of tom fills and cymbal compliments. We tracked the performance with both interfaces one after another using the same mics & cables, the only variable was the interface. We bounced the tracks down to a stereo wav file and then burned a CD with both tracks. We popped the CD into the CD player and put it on random. Then we listened to the two tracks. Instantly after listening to the first track, the second track kicked in and so did the detail. It was stunning how clear and accurate the tone and shape of the drum sounds were in track 2 over track 1. The kick had sharp punch and deep boom. The snare had crisp pop and resonating decay. The cymbals were vibrant, but not too brittle.

I was sure that track 2 was the 96 i/o. Oh the wave of shock that rippled through my mind when I saw that track 2 was the BLA mod. A system that cost 1/3 of the expensive HD system had just out shined what I thought was the holy grail of audio interfaces. Needless to say, I was able to purchase a new 002r from the local Pro Audio retailer for $300 on closeout cause they were starting to stock the new 003r units. So for less than $2,000, I was able to purchase a new 002r unit and ship it off to Black Lion Audio in Chicago for their premium Signature Mod. 

Now the studio has been tracking with the BLA 002r for the past 5 years and clients have been impressed with the audio quality. It is one of those things you have to hear to believe and we're happy to invite clients to come by the studio and hear some of the recent projects we've produced.

As amazing as the BLA 002r is for instruments, it does fall just short of the new AVID HD interfaces. We picked up a OMNI interface with the HD Native Core card and the vocal tracks from this interface are impressive. With the combination of our BLA 002r and the HD OMNI, it's a perfect combination of music and vocals for any project.