Longtime RedNet user makes sure Steve Winwood finds consistency in his sound from studio to stage night after night
Los Angeles, CA – Working as Steve Winwood’s longtime in-house engineer, award-winning mixer, producer and FOH engineer James Towler is responsible for Winwood’s sound from studio (Wincraft Music Studios, Gloucester, UK) through to his live performances, including his current tour as a special guest on Steely Dan’s The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour 2016. And a common thread for Steve Winwood’s studio-to-stage setup is a comprehensive system of FocusriteRedNet Dante™-networked audio converters and interfaces.
“I’ve been hooked on RedNet for going on two years now, if not longer,” stated Towler. “First time I saw RedNet was at a demo when the Slate RAVEN console was first announced in London. I was waiting in the queue and there was an area with a RedNet rack directly opposite the console. I thought this is quite interesting. I got a demo set up for me up at Wincraft studios, and then we immediately started buying RedNet units.”
Towler’s setup includes two RedNet 2 16-channel remote-controlled analog interfaces; three RedNet D16 AES – 16 Channel AES3 I/O for Dante audio networks; two RedNet 5: 32-channel Pro Tools|HD/Dante Network Bridge; three RedNet MP8R 8-channel Mic Pre and A/D converters; and four RedNet PCIe Cards and a Rednet 3 as well.
Towler uses basically the identical RedNet system configuration at Winwood’s studio and on the road. However, for this tour, he made some slight modifications based on in his signal flow. “I basically just changed the system a little for this tour because we don’t have a monitor engineer per se. I control it all from front-of-house, which is great. So I actually built two racks with the mic pre’s, which actually go on stage and are located behind the musicians, so there are literally no stage boxes. What is great was being able to use the RedNet units to control the pre’s from front-of-house. For Steve’s vocals, I’m not even really pushing or driving the pre’s, and I am still able to get his vocal to sit above the mix without any effort. Before we went out on tour, we were in the studio testing the racks before flying them out; I plugged into the MP8R, and I swear, I’ve never heard a 57 sound so good!”
But it is not just Towler that is raving about the sound quality. “The musicians on this tour are having a better time now since I have moved to RedNet compared to our last system just because the clarity of the music and the mix which is coming through — there’s much less muddiness,” noted Towler. “I also produced the last PiL album, What the World Needs Now…, which was 100% RedNet, and I get comments all the time about how great that record sounds. Needless to say, I am a big fan, and Focusrite has been extremely supportive working with me. I must say, I’m really enjoying the MP8R’s on this Winwood Tour this Summer — they sound great, are very detailed and perform well in the heat!”