Eight JoeCo BlackBox BBR64-MADI recorders were used on the recent George Michael Symphonica Tour.
Cambridge, U.K. (January 5, 2012)—A total of eight JoeCo BlackBox BBR64-MADI recorders were used on the recent George Michael Symphonica Tour to capture 2x256 channels of audio in what was potentially one of the largest live recording projects to date.
A rack containing four BBR-MADI recorders formed part of the regular front-of-house setup, connected to the main DiGiCo SD7 desk. FOH engineer Gary 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, the BlackBoxes were also used in Virtual Soundcheck mode for system set-ups, replaying material from previous shows to help balance and EQ the PA system at each venue.
"The BlackBoxes had no problem in recording all 256 channels over the length of the show," said 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 PA system."
At the Royal Opera House, four further BBR64-MADI units were connected to an additional DiGiCo console, generating broadcast mixes for this particular show. As well as running an extra 256-channel record, the BlackBox recorders also 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," said Andy "Baggy" Robinson, head of audio. "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."
The BlackBox BBR64-MADI recorders were supplied by Wigwam Acoustics and JoeCo.