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American Mobile Refines Festival Streaming Setup

American Mobile, which has been live-streaming audio from festivals for two decades, recently upgraded its production workflow.

Two gear racks deployed by American Mobile for 2022 Farm Aid, featuring Focusrite RedNet components.
Two gear racks deployed by American Mobile for 2022 Farm Aid, featuring Focusrite RedNet components.

Los Angeles, CA (August 1, 2023)—American Mobile has been live-streaming audio from major U.S. music festivals for two decades, providing real-time audio mixes for Coachella, Stagecoach, Farm Aid, Outside Lands and Lollapalooza for nearly 20 years. The firm was started by owner and chief engineer Chris Shepard as the audio-mix provider for Springboard Productions, which produces and transmits the live-stream webcasts for those and other music festivals.

“The streaming aspect of these festivals has become huge,” says Shepard. “In 2018, we had 650,000 people watching Beyoncé on the stream at Coachella; this year, we had 1.4 million listening to Black Pink there, by far the largest online audience ever.

“There are so many stages, and the performances—our team mixed about 40 bands and about 450 songs each day of the festival—have become much more complicated and complex in terms of I/O and other technical aspects. Adding Focusrite technology to our production workflow has made a huge and very positive difference.”

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American Mobile deployed two types of racks for Coachella and other festivals this year. On each stage (there were four at Coachella), there were eight Focusrite RedNet MP8R eight-channel mic pre and A/D converters and two RedNet D64R 64-channel MADI bridges. These connected via a Dante infrastructure to a control room for each stage fitted with a rack containing three RedNet HD32R 32-channel HD Dante network bridges and a RedNet A16R 16-channel analog I/O interface.

In the control rooms, two HD32R interfaces—the third is a redundant backup or used if more than 96 channels are needed—bring the stage signal to the mixer. The A16R, Shepard says, is an interface for ingesting any analog audio elements into the mix and for sending the feed to the video control room.

“From the stage, we were able to handle 128 channels of audio, which is essential, considering how many tracks and instruments and vocals you might have to deal with, depending upon the artist and the performance,” Shepard explains. “The D64R allows us to down-convert from 96 to 48 kHz, which really helps fit all of that information into the audio stream. Considering that the stream is going to be compressed, 48k is plenty—a higher resolution than a CD—but it’s one more process we don’t have to think about because the Focusrite device takes care of it.”