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Digico D5 and RME capture Maroon 5 live

24th February 2010 12:06 pm

Jim_Ebdon_RMEThe band’s tour was recorded with RME’s HDSPe MADIface

Maroon 5 FOH engineer, Jim Ebdon, transformed his DiGiCo D5 console into a mobile recording unit by using RME’s HDSPe MADIface 128-Channel 192 kHz MADI PCI ExpressCard.

Ebdon installed the HDSPe MADIface in a Mac Powerbook, which was connected to the D5. The small footprint of the D5 and HDSPe MADIface made the rig compact and easy to set up at each venue.

“With this setup, I’m able to have a fully functioning recording studio on the road,” Ebdon explained. “The MADIface card takes up virtually no space and I can get it in my computer bag. With that, along with the D5’s fantastic functionality and very small footprint—I’ve got one small rack at FOH and one on stage with one thin cable linking it all—I can get great results.”

“I’ve spent a lot of money on previous tours setting up a Pro Tools system just to archive a show,” he added, “which a lot of bands seem to want to do these days. Fifty thousand dollars in the grand scheme of things, to a major artist is sort of nothing. But it’s kind of a headache because it’s another whole big rack. It’s quite a lot of time to get it set up everyday and make sure it’s working properly.

The MADIface is basically two cables and I can record and play back up to 56 straight, pre-EQ, pre-compressors, pre-mute, straight-from-the-mic pre -amp right into the computer. I’m using Apple Logic, but there are half a dozen other programs you can use just as a recording platform. And it’s rock solid. Out of the box, with the plug-ins it comes with for $499, it’s a fantastic program. It was so easy to set up for the first time, and the recordings sound great. We also have 6-7 cameras shooting the show every night on this tour, so we can easily sync up to the video, too. So for next to no money, a band could easily release a DVD from this as well.”

By utilising most of the D5’s onboard effects, Ebdon’s has a minimal amount of outboard gear along for the tour. He used a Focusrite Producer Pack, a TC6000 for extra and different-sounding reverbs, and a De-Esser for Adam Levine’s lead vocals. His ‘not-so-secret-weapon’ is a Hedd192 Crane Song signal processor.

“I’m a ‘less is more’ kind of person,” Ebdon commented. “In rehearsals, we made sure that the sounds were good. I’m big on that you have to get the source sound right and choose the right microphone, and a good mixing console does the rest. And theoretically, I just push the fader up and it sounds fantastic. On this tour, we’re using 52 inputs at FOH with a 56-input stage rack. I could’ve let it get to 60-70 inputs, but three guitar mics on a guitar cabinet is a bit excessive. I use very little EQ purely because we’ve got the sound right on stage.”

Ebdon is a faithful DiGiCo user and looks forward to using the SD7 on future tours. “When digital consoles first started showing up, the D5 was the obvious choice. It was one of the easiest and most intuitive consoles available. In fact, I remember saying to [DiGiCo’s] Bob Doyle back then that I needed someone there for three days while I got up and running on the console in rehearsals. He came down and after an hour I sent him away. It was so intuitive. I couldn’t do that on any of the other competitive consoles.”

For more on the Digico consoles click here

For more on RME’s HDSPe MADIface click here

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