It began as nightly recordings for archival purposes; for the past couple of years Blues Traveler has been offering concert fans a high-quality recording they can take home after the gig. But for FOH engineer Adam Fortin, who has been with the band since 2006, finding the right combination of gear to get the best multitrack recordings with some digital consoles has been a challenge. However, he struck gold with a DiGiCo SD8 hot-rodded with an RME MADIFace 56-track interface to multitrack 34 channels straight to a MacBook Pro with an Express port.
Blues Traveler may be one of the hardest working bands on the scene today. For more than 23 years, the quintet has been making soul-filled rock music together, as witnessed by eight studio albums and four live discs, six of them certified Gold or Platinum, with combined worldwide sales of more than 10 million units. Along the way, the band has played more than 2,000 live shows in front of more than 3 million people.
“The recording aspect of it is really what sold me on the console,” Fortin says. “When Big House Sound purchased the two SD8s, I was excited to get my hands on the desk to try with Blues Traveler. I’m running about 40 inputs off the deck, most of which is for the multitrack recording. The RME MADIFace lets me multitrack the band for the first time at a very low cost with no extra outboard interfaces that were proprietary to their software, and it’s all because of the MADI standard language.”
Fortin takes a matrix left/right out, which gets mixed along with a couple of mics at FOH. “I’m able to add delay to my left/right mix back to the microphones and bus that out to a couple of outputs into my Tascam CD-RW900, and everything is aligned from there. I typically add a few seconds of delay on the main P.A., which varies day to day, depending on the distance of the main P.A. hang to the main vocal mics. When I use room mics for the live feel of the audience, I will also delay these to align all sources, which creates a tighter live recording. As soon as I’m done with the recorders, I can go straight to a Microboards tower duplicator, which is a great machine. As soon as a show goes down, 20 minutes later—using my 7-burn/1-read unit—I’ve got all the copies I need available for purchase at our merch booth.”