Pete Lyman is a world-renowned mastering engineer who has worked on records for Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Weezer, and Fall Out Boy, just to name a few. More recently, Lyman mastered Brandi Carlile's 2018 album, By The Way, I Forgive You, which received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Album of the Year.
The importance of converters to the workflow of a mastering engineer like Lyman cannot be emphasized enough. So when his friends at Rupert Neve Designs sent over the RMP-D8, Lyman immediately began working the eight-channel Dante mic preamp and mastering-grade 24-bit 192 kHz converters into his chain.
We recently sat down to talk with Pete Lyman about how he is using the RMP-D8 in his mastering set-up at Infrasonic Sound. Read below to find out why he loves the RMP-D8 and learn more about some of the unique features the mic pre and converter have to offer.
When did you first hear about the Rupert Neve Designs RMP-D8?
I heard about it maybe a year ago. My friends over at Rupert Neve sent me one to check out and I just fell in love with it. I use a bunch of different converters here like Lavrys, Pacific Microsonics, Burl, Dangerous and Forsells. I’m a big fan of mixing and matching different converters, depending on the program material. But, I instantly fell in love with RMP-D8. It’s a really good sounding unit with tons of headroom and it’s been really versatile. I’ve used it on a ton of projects.
What kind of program material do you prefer the RMPD-8 for?
I've used it on everything. I do a lot of Americana and country music and it’s really well-suited for that. But it's a really well-rounded unit and it's worked well with all genres, I haven't really found anything that it sounds bad on.
How do you utilize the RMP-D8 in your mastering set-up?
The RMP-D8 is my last capture AD. I have a mastering setup where I can sort of audition different ADs. I always use the same DAC to feed my chain, but I can capture with a couple of different ADs and listen to see what works best. The RMP-D8 is always at the top of the chain capture.
How does it help you make better records?
It just sounds pleasing to my ears. It has that sound I've been looking for in an AD. There are a lot of other ADs that I love but this thing has been really easy to work with and it's definitely made me work faster.
Some other converters have characteristics that work really well for some types of music. Maybe they do things like kind of enhance the bottom-end. The RMP-D8 is just a really well-rounded converter. It has that kind of transformer vibe, but it doesn’t round off the top end. It keeps it nice and extended. It just sounds really big. So it's definitely helped me reach that finish line a little easier.
What makes the RMP-D8 stand out from other converters?
It’s a really well-balanced sound, and it has great metering, It’s really easy to adjust input gains, just right there on the front panel — a button and a jog-wheel. It’s nice to have really good metering on your capture end. It’s really easy to use.
I'm kind of new to Dante, so at first, I was a little confused by the lack of being able to control sample rates from the front panel. Once I got into Dante and started using the Dante software, it's actually just become part of my workflow and made it even easier.
Since it's primarily a Dante project line product I understand why Dante has to kind of be in control of the sample rate aspect. So, I just sort of developed a workflow where I just have the Dante controller up in an app and I can just change the sample rate right there with the push of a button. I clock my entire rig off the RMP-D8. So the RMP-D8 goes into a distro and then everything gets clocked off of that. It's been a really really solid work clock.
What are your favorite features of the RMP-D8?
The ease of use, the tactical controls on the front, and the meters. It’s really easy to set up, too. It's kind of a no-brainer. Once you wrap your head around Dante it's even easier to use.
Want more Pete Lyman? Watch our Make Your Mark mini-doc on him below.