Focusrite RedNet Interfaces Employed by Veteran Music Producer Kevin Shirley
Kevin Shirley, aka “The Caveman," has a resume featuring some of the biggest names in rock from the last several decades: Journey, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Rush, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes and Europe are just a few of the acts that have worked with Shirley over the years. And his work methods are tried-and-true: “I am essentially very old school, and for as long as I could I resisted certain aspects of digital technology," he notes. “I've used Pro Tools for some time, but you might say that I've been using it more like a tape machine. I still believe that if you have good signals and quality analog components, you don't have to rely as much on the digital side of things."
But as he set up a second recording/mixing facility in Australia to match his Malibu home base, he gave it an extra edge with the networking capabilities of Focusrite's RedNet range of Dante™-networked audio converters and interfaces. “I guess you could say at The Cave Australia, I have the best of both worlds – old-school analog and digital. And that's thanks to these wonderful Focusrite I/O's. I like things that just work, and the Focusrite RedNet boxes are fool-proof. You don't even notice they're working, which is a hallmark of a great converter."
Shirley has already been putting The Cave Australia – and its RedNet units – to work recently for mixing multiple projects featuring Joe Bonamassa – a collaborative record with Beth Hart, and a new album for the supergroup Black Country Communion.
Although the Malibu and Australia studios are not exact replicas, they have many key pieces in common: both have SSL Duality consoles, as well as KRK monitors and tons of the same outboard gear, including Focusrite Red 3 compressors. The Australian setup includes two RedNet A16R 16-Channel Analog I/O interfaces, one RedNet A8R 8-Channel Analog I/O; and two RedNet HD32R 32-channel HD Dante network bridges. “Now the Australia room is preferable to me for some things – if I have a choice, I'll mix there rather than in Malibu. It sounds more open and more natural, and I'll always print the mixes through the RedNet I/O's. The RedNet boxes just sound open and pleasing, and the bottom end sounds so solid on them. I've been doing a lot of surround sound work recently, mostly for DVD and Blu-Ray releases. I often have to print back six channels of 5.1, or stereo channel as well, so the A8R provides me the right channel count for that type of thing."
“These RedNet converters have been enormously helpful," he notes. “They do their job without fail. It's like they're invisible, and that's a huge compliment. The fact that I'm doing a heavy rock project one day and I'm doing like sensitive ballads with the same setup the next day just shows how versatile this Focusrite gear is. It's almost like the perfect I/O. It sounds like I've got my old tape machine back!"