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Music Production

Keeping Steve Winwood Connected

James Towler oversees the Traffic man’s Dante networks on stage and in the studio.

Los Angeles, CA (May 23, 2019)—James Towler has increasingly been relying on Focusrite interface and converter products for his live and studio work as Steve Winwood’s in-house engineer and beyond.

Towler remarks, “In Steve Winwood’s private facility, we cover so many different aspects of music, from recording to production to touring. This facility is spread out over multiple buildings with multiple rooms, so the ability to bring all of that together with just a Cat 5 cable and networking fiber was really appealing. I was looking for something that globally brought everything together and was rock-solid with a decent signal-to-noise ratio, something that was pleasing to the ear and great to mix on.”

He realized the answer resided in a robust Dante infrastructure with RedNet interfaces. “I had a RedNet 2 16-Channel A-D/D-A interface, and I A-B’ed it against a favorite converter from another brand. I couldn’t notice a difference sonically, so RedNet had the advantage, because it allowed us to create consistency from the studio to the live world.”

Auralation Keeps Flexible with Focusrite

He expanded the RedNet arsenal to include RedNet D16R 16-channel AES3 I/Os in the studio, as well as RedNet MP8R eight-channel mic pre and A/D converter units on tour—a life-saver that Focusrite rushed to them in Vegas after a third-party mic-pre failed on Winwood’s lead vocal one night during “Higher Love.”

Towler recalls, “Plugged the MP8R in, absolutely rock solid. It just became, for the rest of the tour, the kind of rock-solid mic-pre that we relied on night after night. We got off the tour, and I ordered another five straight away. That became the backbone of my new live system.”

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Another favorite is the RedNet X2P 2×2 Dante audio interface. He notes, “It’s a control room monitor controller, it’s a musician’s headphone amp in a studio, it’s a utility box on the road. You can chuck it out on stage and then you’ve instantly got an extra two mic-pres that you pick up on the network and send out. It can run wedges. It’s one of those boxes that just covers so many different things.”

Focusrite •