Cheltenham, UK (July 13, 2016)—James Towler engineers Steve Winwood’s albums and the FOH mix for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s live shows. For a 2016 tour with Steely Dan, Towler recommended mixing monitors with the PreSonus StudioLive RM32AI rack-mount digital mixer and recording with Studio One 3 Professional.
When the RM32AI launched, Towler grabbed one, and he added the Dante option card when that came out. “For this tour, I have outboard mic preamps with Dante options, and I split the signal from there,” he explains. “One split goes to the FOH desk and the other goes to the RM32AI, which consolidates the feeds for five monitor mixes onstage. At FOH, I have a Mac mini and an interface with a Dante card, and I take the streams into Studio One for multitracking.”
Winwood mixes his own monitors but not while playing. “We tried mixing monitors with iPads onstage but Steve was trying to jab at the iPad while playing with both hands and feet and singing,” Towler points out. “Now he sets up his monitor mix at soundcheck, and I’ve got a guy onstage with an iPad to assist the musicians from there. With UC Surface, I control the RM32AI from front-of-house. The whole band is on in-ears, and I tweak the feeds with the RM32AI’s Fat Channel EQ and compression. Steve has them in both ears, so I put a touch of RM32AI reverb on his mix to bring it out of his head a bit.
Although Towler uses the RM32AI for monitors, it also provides emergency backup preamps. “I had an outboard preamp go out because of a storm at an outdoor gig, and all we had to do was change to the inputs from the RM32AI and reassign the Dante feeds,” he recalls.