Film and Television Composer Michael Levine Scores Big with his New Symphony System
Interview from Santa Monica, CA – June 25, 2007
As composer Michael Levine sits in front of his new Symphony-installed workstation, he takes a break from working on the music for “The Simpsons Movie” to play the theme song from “Young Frankenstein” with one of the many notable violins hanging from the wall. The tune was worthy of praise merely for being recalled, let alone being recited so well. While classically trained as a violinist, Levine is most well known for his work on crime scene television shows, like CBS’ Close To Home and Cold Case, which have afforded him the opportunity to put his skills, once used for playing on the streets, to use. He currently works out of his studio at Remote Control, Hans Zimmer’s facility in Santa Monica, California, and uses Apogee’s Symphony System with Apple’s Mac G5 to achieve the performance he needs to deliver outstanding results. Levine was convinced, after having committed to the new setup, that Apogee continues to “make a difference to both our sound and procedures” in the studio. In the following interview, Levine reveals the details of his workstation setup, what exactly it is about Symphony that he loves so much, and why.
“After initially hearing the Symphony System, we were pretty excited about the clarity and definition. Once we got it into our new space the sound was simply phenomenal.”
Q. What specifically about Symphony was appealing to you and made you want to make the crossover to fully commit to a Native DAW?
A. “Recently, we moved my studio to a new location at Remote Control. As we did this in the middle of the network TV season, we built the new studio from scratch while continuing to produce cues on the old one. We really wanted the new place to be a step up in every way we could. Apogee has always had the very best quality products in its field, so we were interested in Symphony as soon as we heard about it. After initially hearing the Symphony System, we were pretty excited about the clarity and definition. Once we got it into our new space the sound was simply phenomenal.”
Q. With near zero latency, in what ways can you now work in your Native environment that you could not before?
A. “Live overdubbing requires much less complicated patching. We used to have to monitor the signal on input so as to avoid a confusing delay. Now we route directly through Logic. It not only sounds better, it makes our entire recording process run more smoothly.”
Q. What is your exact Symphony System configuration and workstation setup?
- PowerMac G5 Quad w/ 8Gb Ram and Logic 7.2.
- Symphony PCIe Card
- X-Symphony Card
- Rosetta 800
- Apogee Interconnects
Q. What recent projects have you been working on? Have they been using your new Symphony System?
A. “I just finished scoring Cold Case (season 4), and Close To Home (season 2). I’ve also been doing some additional music and arranging work for Hans Zimmer on the “The Simpsons Movie”. All use Symphony.” For more information, please visit Michael’s web site http://www.michaellevinemusic.com/