Image used by kind permission of Symphonica tour management
JoeCo Limited in Cambridge, UK, reports that front-of-house engineer Gary Bradshaw used a total of eight JoeCo BlackBox BBR64-MADI recorders on the recent George Michael Symphonica Tour to capture 2x256 channels of audio. A rack containing four BBR-MADI recorders formed part of the regular FOH setup, connected to the main DiGiCo SD7 desk.
Wigwam Acoustics Ltd. and JoeCo supplied the BlackBox BBR64-MADI recorders.
FOH engineer Bradshaw was responsible for recording the shows onto sets of four 1TB Glyph hard drives, each set having the capacity to hold material from eight shows. In addition to their nightly recording function, and the additional capture of soundchecks, Bradshaw also used the BlackBoxes in Virtual Soundcheck mode for system setups, replaying material from previous shows to help balance and EQ the P.A. system at each venue.
Gary Bradshaw (left) and Andy "Baggy" Robinson with BBR64-MADI recorders
"The BlackBoxes had no problem in recording all 256 channels over the length of the show," says Bradshaw. "During the rehearsal period we would record an entire session of three or more hours, with all 256 channels in Record without any problems. I don't know of any other system that is capable of doing that.
"The Symphonica Tour has been unusual in that the majority of shows were in large indoor arenas, but in amongst these were one or two much smaller opera houses. The acoustics of these two types of venue are completely different, so for the show at the Royal Opera House in London, for example, I used recordings from the Prague Opera House to help EQ the P.A. system."
For this particular show at the Royal Opera House, four additional BBR64-MADI units were connected to an additional DiGiCo console generating broadcast mixes. The BlackBox Recorders ran an extra 256-channel record and acted as a playback engine for making adjustments to the broadcast mix.
"We chose the BlackBox recorder because it focuses on recording as its primary function, rather than other systems I have used that are software packages that try and do it all," says Royal Opera House Head of Audio, Andy "Baggy" Robinson. "The BBR64-MADI is a box that takes a MADI signal, you press Record and you have your content captured. You can be recording a show from scratch within 20 minutes and most of that time has been spent plugging in the cables."