Simon Franglen may not be a household name, but plenty of his music is. The London-born composer and record producer is known for his work on the landmark film Avatar (for whose theme song he received Golden Globe and GRAMMY® Award nominations), as well as a “Record of The Year" GRAMMY Award for being the co-producer of “My Heart Will Go On," the theme from the blockbuster Titanic, David Fincher's Se7en (for which he created the dystopian synthesiser programming) and arranging for the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre. Recent film work includes the score for The Magnificent Seven and music for Terrence Malick's staggering Voyage of Time. On the pop side, Franglen has worked with artists including Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston and Madonna. Franglen travels between his studios in Los Angeles and London. What's lately always with him in his travel kit, and waiting for him at either studio are a number of essential tools from Focusrite, including the Red 8Pre 64-In / 64-Out Thunderbolt™ 2 and Pro Tools | HD™ compatible audio interface and a number of RedNet components – all of which have become central to Franglen's workflow.
“There are some really, really good boxes out there, but I've never seen one unit do as much as the Red 8Pre can do and do all of it incredibly well," says Franglen, who encountered the Red 8Pre as he was searching for a way to move beyond MADI as his principal format for signal transport. “I was using MADI at the time and was looking at Dante™ interfaces. Then the Red 8Pre came out – the feature list was spectacular. I tried it, and I bought several immediately. I love the flexibility and the sound of the mic preamps in it – the 'Air' setting on the Red 8Pre has that classic Focusrite quality. It also gives me an HD interface for Pro Tools and a Thunderbolt interface when using Cubase, Dante for setting up or integrating into a network, and loads of analogue in and out, including a multichannel monitor control when I work up to 17.1. I just got rid of all my other interfaces and have been using the Red 8Pre at the heart of my workflow ever since."
Franglen keeps a pair of Red 8Pre units in both his Los Angeles and London studios, along with a Focusrite RedNet 5 Pro Tools® HD bridge and an additional Red 8Pre he travels with, “So I've always got three Red 8Pre units in each studio," he explains. He also keeps a RedNet AM2 stereo audio monitoring unit at each location, allowing him to plug into the network for seamless, latency-free monitoring. “It gives me foldback wherever there's an Ethernet port," he notes “I have a production suite at Air Studios in London as well, and we'll be integrating Red16's into those rooms as soon as they become available." Air Studios is of course the start of the Focusrite journey, with the original George Martin-specified mic pre's that became Focusrite's ISA110 still hard at work in Studio 1.
The Red 8Pre has already made its mark on a number of high-profile projects Franglen has completed recently, including Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains, a multimedia retrospective on the classic rock pioneers experienced by over 400,000 people at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and now on a world tour. The Red 8Pre was the audio interface for the 3D Ambeo mixes, which were done over several weeks at Abbey Road Studio 2, with another integrated into the installation for the world tour. Another epic project for Disney, with music mixes up to 500 tracks wide across several hours of delivered music, saw the Red 8Pre used for every bit of audio except the orchestra. “Writing for films and these immense 3D and VR installations really highlights how productive the Red 8Pre and the RedNet units can be for my team, especially given the huge track counts we now consider normal," he says. “We'll pass parts of songs and cues from room to room via Dante. The ease with which you can do that with the Red 8Pre is astonishing – it's all there in one box: the mic pre's, the audio and network interfaces, the 64 I/O. It's pretty incredible. That's why I'm using it every day – it does it all and does it so well."
Simon Franglen Focusrite gear application list:
Five Focusrite Red 8Pre 64-In / 64-Out Thunderbolt™ 2 and Pro Tools | HD™ compatible audio interfaces (two units apiece in his London and Los Angeles studios); use: multi-platform interface, pre-amp settings, etc.
Two Focusrite RedNet 5 Pro Tools® HD bridges (one unit apiece in his London and Los Angeles studio spaces); uses: bridges Pro Tools and Dante network
Two RedNet AM2 stereo audio monitoring units (one unit apiece in his London and Los Angeles studio spaces); uses: allows him to plug into the network for seamless, latency-free monitoring