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When you’re an award-winning music agency with a worldwide hit television show on your hands, you need the very best equipment to ensure composers can work quickly and without the technology getting in the way of their creativity. This is the reason why SMP Amsterdam recently invested in four new Yamaha Nuage systems.
SMP Amsterdam was founded 20 years ago by composer Martijn Schimmer. The company produces music for broadcast, channel branding, commercials and movies. Currently Martijn’s music for televised singing competition The Voice is heard in around 160 countries, as well as being a familiar part of many Dutch TV idents, series and adverts. Located close to the city centre, the company employs 11 people and its premises include seven studios, six for individual engineers and a master studio with a large live room. Four of them, including the master studio, have been refurbished with brand new Nuage systems.
“When I started as a composer, I was using Steinberg Cubase – firstly with MIDI only, then increasingly using it to record audio as well,” says Martijn. “Cubase got so good with audio that I crossgraded to Nuendo and now I couldn’t live without it.”
In recent years, the commercial composition industry has seen an ever-increasing ‘need for speed’, something which Nuage and Nuendo’s deep integration is ideally suited to meet. “One of the biggest challenges we face is time,” says Martijn. “Clients can call in the morning and want ideas or changes within a few hours. The longest deadline we usually get is a few days. When you are recording live performers, you also need to keep the process moving. ”
Installed by respected studio and broadcast integrator Maartens Sound & Vision, the Nuage system in the main studio features a master unit and three fader units, with systems comprising a master unit and single fader unit in two of the smaller studios. The fourth Nuage system is installed in a basement studio at Martijn’s home, with a master and two fader units. It is directly connected to the studio, allowing him to work on any project at any time, from either location.
Although, as Martijn says, “speed is everything now”, it’s also vital that a composer’s tools don’t get in the way of the creative process. Nuage and Nuendo feel like a single entity, making for a completely intuitive working environment.
“One of the many great things about Nuage is how much you can do with the jog wheel. It is so intuitive, I do hardly anything on mouse and keyboard any more,” says Martijn. “I really like way the physical channel strip runs up into the screen. You don’t have to stray from where you are sitting or keep looking at the main screen – you can stay in the sweet spot, which is really important. The information the console gives you is really great and I love so many features of Nuendo, like the way you can edit clips, the clip-based gain and doing fades on the fly.”
SMP usually has 20-30 projects running at the same time, all at different stages. The Nuage systems really help to keep them moving along quickly and are flexible enough to still speak to other DAWs, ensuring there are no hitches or delays, whatever the project.
“The ideas never stop,” smiles Martijn. “I can write at home in the evening, or if I want to be undisturbed, then come into the studios and seamlessly continue, or vice versa. Nuage is making a real difference to how efficiently we can work, at no cost to the quality of our creativity. You feel like you are on a console, not a controller. To be honest I didn’t expect it to be this good!”
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