David Loy, Front of House Engineer for US Country singer Kane Brown relies on RME MADIface XT and M-32 DA Converter during a busy summer of festivals and concerts.
During a summer that featured festivals, outdoor concerts, and state fairs, FOH engineer David Loy was searching for equipment that would be able to withstand the rigorous schedule of country singer Kane Brown’s summer tour.
Having previously relied on the Ferrofish A32, a device that David spent two years “beating the life out of with no issues,” for Kane Brown’s busy summer festival season David opted for RME’s MADIface XT and M-32 DA Converter.
“When you headline country shows and country festivals, you deal with a lot of unknowns, such as gear rattling around in trucks and unexpected weather conditions,” he explains. “I needed something that could ride on a truck and not break, but also deal with the rain and dust. The RME MADIface XT and M-32 have handled it all. Every time I turned them on, they were good to go.”
“I needed something durable. And RME has been that for me.”
Recording 76 channels at 96kHz every show, David required an interface that could handle high channel counts and perfom impeccably. Even at 96kHz, David is able to record up to 96 channels via the MADIface XT’s three MADI ports.
The MADIface XT fits into RME’s longstanding tradition of creating I/O filled interfaces in half-rack form factors. Capable of a staggering 394 channels thanks to its three MADI connections, the MADIFace XT is the perfect device for high-channel count applications.
Another important element for David was MIDI I/O, giving him the ability to route MIDI data in and out of his console. This allowed David to record and convert linear timecode to MIDI timecode, offering more accurate programming during a performance.
“This way, I can fire my snapshots using timecode values for more accurate programming. Other engineers might have to get another laptop or interface for this, but all I need is one app connected to my computer and it runs in the background. It allows me to program the show even more creatively.”
Alongside the impressive MADI I/O, the MADIface XT features two XLR/TRS combo inputs on the front panel, and XLR outputs on the back panel. The headphone output on the front panel is also available for simple monitoring of any incoming or outgoing signal.
Throughout Kane Brown’s summer tour, David found himself becoming more and more impressed with the MADIface XT.
“I needed an interface that did a ton of stuff in a small form factor, and I was genuinely shocked when I started using the MADIface XT. It allows me to continue archiving high channel counts and now that I’m using the MIDI integration, it allows me to keep my snapshots on the grid, all at 96kHz. And best of all, it fits in my work box.”
The MADIface XT is invaluable to David during soundchecks too. By using the MADIface XT to record shows, previous sound checks and rehearsals into his DAW, David can perform virtual playback of a show from Front of House.
“By doing this, Kane and the band can listen at FOH with me, and I can show them certain clips of the recorded rehearsal or soundcheck,” Loy says. “This allows me to accurately portray how it sounds at FOH for them.”
“Every time I hit record on the MADIface XT, it never misses a beat,” he continues. “The conversion is super clean, and honestly, it’s such a relief knowing that it will work every time.”
“Using the MADIface XT for redundant playback has been amazing”
With an entire playback rig consisting of RME – including an ADI-4 DD for vocal processing – David has long been impressed with the conversion quality offered by RME products. Relying on RME’s conversion has also allowed for better sound quality and consistency across the playback rig, as David points out.
“In our tracks playback world, there are four different RME devices that are clocking and talking together,” he explains. “Using the MADIface XT for redundant playback has been amazing, because our tracks used to be analogue, so we were converting twice by the time audio got to the consoles. By using a MADIface XT, I’ve noticed a shift in the ends and beginnings of the audio spectrum. Sometimes poor conversions can cause the higher ends (15kHz-20kHz) and lower ends (20Hz-40Hz) of the audio spectrum to sound weak, but there’s none of that with the MADIface XT. I’m literally hearing the full spectrum. When there’s a sub-hit, I feel it go all the way down. It really allows us to get even more creative sonically.”
Learn more about the RME MADIface XT
Also featured amongst David’s RME gear is the M-32 DA Converter, RME’s 2U 32-channel digital to analogue converter. Featuring coaxial and optical MADI as well as 32 balanced line level outputs, the M-32 converters were designed for a wide range of applications, from live sound to broadcast.
Building on the already impressive conversion of the M-32 series, RME released the M-32 Pro AD and DA converters. The M-32 Pro series takes the high-quality conversion of its predecessor and adds further functionality, whilst slimming each unit into a 1U housing.
Alongside the latest state-of-the-art conversion technology, the M-32 Pro series also features redundant power supplies. This offers reassurance for those using the M-32 Pro series in mission-critical scenarios.
Like the original M-32 series, the M-32 Pro features both MADI optical and coaxial I/O which includes separate signal routing. The M-32 Pro also includes the networking capabilities of AVB, enabling the full 32 channels of the M-32 series to be transmitted at 192kHz via a single ethernet cable.
Learn more about the RME M-32 Pro converter range.
With 394 channels of audio passing through the MADIface XT, keeping track of every input and output is made simple with RME’s TotalMix. Offered as part of the driver with every RME interface With the ability to create as many independent submixes as output channels available, TotalMix an incredibly powerful mixing software.
Many RME interfaces, the MADIface XT included, include a selection of effects. EQ and dynamic controls are available and can be added to the recording chain, as well as reverb and delay.
With access to every single channel on the MADIface XT, easily hearing individual channels from anywhere on the MADI stream is quick and easy. The ability to name channels and hide tracks that aren’t in use is an invaluable addition, especially when paired with high-channel count devices like the MADIface XT.
A mainstay in David’s rig during previous tours, the Ferrofish A32 is the flagship AD/DA converter from German manufacturer Ferrofish. Featuring 32 analogue inputs and 32 analogue outputs as well as a wide range of digital I/O, the Ferrofish A32 is a well-equipped 1U converter that is perfect for live sound and broadcast applications.
Four ADAT inputs and four outputs allow all 32 channels to be sent at 48 kHz sample rate, with SMUX functionality giving the A32 the capability to work at up to 192 KHz. The coaxial and optical MADI I/O can transmit up to 64 channels in both directions, with a simple pair of fibre cables able to cover a distance of up to two kilometres.
The A32’s front panel features four TFT displays, covering level meters for all 32 inputs and 32 outputs, giving users visual feedback on all levels. Ferrofish’s user interface is easy to navigate, making it quick and simple to make changes to levels, routings, and settings directly from the front panel.
For users who require audio-networking capabilities, Ferrofish have also developed the A32 Dante. Featuring all of the I/O from the A32, the A32 Dante an additional 64 x 64 Dante channels.
About David Loy
David’s professional sound career started in his teens, mixing live sound at his church in North Carolina. After graduating from high school, an opportunity to shadow engineer John McBride of Blackbird Studio led David to enrol on a Live Sound program at Blackbird Academy.
Since graduating, David has worked with various names across country music, including Aubrie Sellers, Grammy-winning Sturgill Simpson and Kane Brown, who David has worked with since 2017.