Vancouver, Canada (May 20, 2022)—Snarky Puppy turned to Radial DIs and line-level splitters when recording the band’s seventh live album, Empire Central, in a converted venue space with a small, intimate audience all listening on headphones.
“We first tried making a record in this format in 2009 for Tell Your Friends,” Snarky Puppy founder/leader Michael League said. “People had been telling us that they enjoyed our music much more live than they did listening to the records. We thought that a live record made sense, but we wanted the sound quality of the performance to be stellar — I’m not a big fan of most live recordings because of the poor audio quality.”
With 20 band members and over 100 channels of audio, one obvious hurdle was managing bleed from live mics. Additionally, external noise coming from the less-than-acoustically-ideal setting would be an issue. To address the challenges, League and Snarky Puppy producer Nic Hard turned to Radial.
“We knew that the biggest challenge recording-wise was going to be bleed,” Hard said. “We’d need mics on the drums, but felt that everything else could run direct, using amp sims on the guitars. We used about 20 DIs for the show, including a DI for bass guitar and Mike’s Moog Model D keyboard bass synth. We used Radial HDIs for bass because we needed a high-end studio-quality sound out of the basses. The rest of the instrument inputs were the Pro D2s, J48s and ProDIs.”
The use of the HDI for bass was something Hard and League had been looking forward to. “This was my first time getting to use the HDI outside of seeing it at NAMM, and I was really impressed,” Hard said. “We chose the HDI upon the recommendation from others, along with the fact it’s a studio-quality DI. From a tonal perspective, it does a lot of cool things, including colorization of the sound.”
The Radial LX2 and LX3 line-level splitters were used for audience headphone distribution. “There were 10 headphone boxes that all required a line input,” Hard said. “We had feeds coming out of outputs of the console into the LX2 and LX3 splitters. We distributed the signal to the headphone boxes. It was a clean way to split things, as opposed to using a Y cable, which usually introduces impedance issues. We didn’t have any impedance issues using the LX2 and LX3.”