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Houston Rodeo Lassos System T for Archiving

Malcom Harper mixed all 21 concerts at this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo through an SSL System T console.

Malcolm Harper with the  Solid State Logic System T console used at the  Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Malcolm Harper with the Solid State Logic System T console used at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Houston, TX (August 1, 2022)—The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo returned for a 90th anniversary celebration this year, presenting 21 consecutive nights of concert performances, all captured through a Solid State Logic System T networked audio production console.

​Malcolm Harper, owner and operator of Reelsound Recording, a Texas-based mobile audio recording service, was at the event for his 28th time this year to mix shows for each performer. “Solid State Logic’s System T S500 gave me every option to interface audio from each band with analog mic inputs, MADI Bridge and the SRC Dante units. The on-board effects and processing covered all my needs with the excellent sound SSL is known for,” Harper says.

The SSL System T S500-48 console, powered by a TE2 Tempest Engine, is a new addition to the audio production setup for the rodeo, which takes place over three weeks across multiple indoor venues and outdoor locations at NRG Park in Houston. The Dante-based System T was installed in a music control room near the NRG Stadium, where the concerts are staged, shortly before this year’s events.

Each year, Harper captures the concert performances to a multitrack recording system for the rodeo’s archive. He additionally generates a stereo mix that is fed to the broadcast control room near NRG Stadium. From there, it is also distributed across the park to locations such as the NRG Center, NRG Arena, livestock area, shopping and dining areas and other public spaces.

Riding the Mix at RodeoHouston

​This year’s concert lineup offered music across a variety of music genres from artists including George Strait, Brad Paisley, Marshmello, Chris Stapleton, Khalid, Gwen Stefani, Dierks Bentley, Journey, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Ricky Martin, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and others. Houston-based country music artist Cody Johnson became only the third performer to sell out an opening night show at the event, pulling in a crowd of 70,544 and going into the record books alongside George Strait and Garth Brooks. Strait made his 31st RodeoHouston appearance, playing this year’s closing night to an audience of 79,456, only 652 fewer than his 2019 attendance record.

​“Part of the challenge is being ready for anything,” says George Horton, SSL’s vice president, Western region. “We don’t know what brand of console artists are going to come with, or what sample rate or flavor of split they’re going to provide.” To accommodate any eventuality, he says, SSL supplied several units from the company’s Network I/O line of products, which were housed in a rack at the side of the stage next to the monitor mix position and fed the System T over a single mode fiber link.

Houston-based live event production company LD Systems, a longtime technology partner with the Rodeo, supplied an SSL Live mixing console as part of its audio production for the sound elements specific to the rodeo competitions.