Playback engineer Taylor Wright chooses the RME Digiface Dante for the rapper’s upcoming IGOR Tour.
American rapper, producer and songwriter Tyler The Creator is currently gearing up for a new world tour in promotion of his latest album ‘Igor’, using a playback rig that centres around the RME Digiface Dante.
The rapper’s latest album debuted at number 1 on the American Billboard 200 chart earlier this year, following on from a series of chart-topping solo albums including the Grammy-nominated LP ‘Flower Boy’ in 2017.
Playback engineer Taylor Wright – whose previous clients include Panic! At The Disco and Adam Lambert – was tasked with designing a reliable playback rig with full redundancy, and the ability to send up to 64 channels of digital audio from a computer via Dante.
“Whenever you’re doing shows of this calibre and size, you always want to make sure that you have as many points of redundancy as possible,” Wright says. “You have to have all your bases covered.”
“I have heard great things about RME for a really long time.
The drivers are extremely stable, and all the gear is really well made.”
Automatic redundant switching
The rig uses 2 x RME Digiface Dante audio interfaces, plugged into two Cisco Ethernet switches, with one switch operating as the primary network and the other for the secondary. Both the primary line from the Digiface Dante A, and the primary line from the Digiface Dante B, are hooked up to the primary switcher.
The secondary line of the A-unit is in turn plugged into the secondary Cisco switch, along with the B-unit’s secondary line as well. An additional Dante switch, with two primary and secondary ports, is also tied into both networks via both Digiface Dantes, adding a further level of fail-safe should an error occur.
“The A-unit Digiface Dante sends a tone to that additional switcher, and if the tone is dropped, it will automatically switch over to the B-unit,” Wright explains. “Essentially, in doing this setup, it’s like there are four levels of redundancy, because the additional switch serves as a switcher between the two Digifaces. So, if for whatever reason you have a cable failure or some sort of problem with your primary network, it will automatically switch over to the secondary network.”
Tasked with making sure the cutting-edge sound of Tyler the Creator’s latest album will be replicated in each performance, Wright put his usual preference for analogue equipment to one side, to meet the FOH engineer’s request for a Dante-ready rig.
“Before I built the new rig, they were using Dante Virtual Sound Card software and going out of the computer via an Ethernet bungle,” says Wright. “The FOH engineer is very knowledgeable with Dante and that’s what he preferred to use. So, when I was brought in, he specifically wanted me to build a rig that was Dante, because the FOH rig and the monitors were already configured for it.
“A lot of FOH engineers are interested in going in the Dante direction, moving forward. I know a lot of audio engineers who think the technology has come a long way, and has gotten more stable, so a lot of people are starting to embrace it.”
“While there are a few other interfaces that are Dante compatible,
I was drawn to RME based on what I’d heard
from other playback engineers…”
In designing his first digital playback rig, Wright was drawn to the Digiface Dante in part due to RME’s reputation for rock-solid reliability, a quality that has made RME devices a popular choice in the design of live playback rigs.
“I really wanted to use the RME Digiface Dante because I’m a big fan of the RME brand’s reputation, and I know the components are really high quality,” Wright continues. “I have several colleagues that I work with doing playback, and I have heard great things about RME for a really long time. The drivers are extremely stable, and all the gear is really well made.”
“While there are a few other interfaces that are Dante compatible, I was drawn to RME based on what I’d heard from other playback engineers, and because they’re also quite small. You can fit two side-by-side in one rack space – so they’re both very compact and very powerful.”
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