Orchestral recordings with RedNet AM2
While musicians globally wrestle with the logistics of collaborating and recording remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, producer/engineer Christian Amonson does the same with entire orchestras and choirs, such as the Kansas City Symphony and the 95-voice Los Angeles Master Chorale. Owner of the Los Angeles-based production company Seeing Sound and Baltimore-based Arts Laureate, a 50-engineer team focusing on audio/video for large ensembles, Amonson has a full plate in front of him for every gig, virtual or otherwise. That's why the Focusrite AM2 stereo audio monitoring unit has become such a critical component of his setup.
When COVID-19 cancelled all concerts and recordings sessions, ensembles went online to reach their audiences, and Amonson went with them. “We've mixed over 1,000 virtual projects so far with groups like the LA Opera, the Washington Master Chorale, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, 'The President's Own' U.S. Marine Band, and others," he says, adding that he's also done in-person, socially-distanced projects for broadcast with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Arts DC (with opera stars from the Met), and The Washington Chorus. “The AM2 ensures that I have pristine D/A conversion regardless of where I am or what I am recording or mixing. We have two AM2s at the moment, and we'll be buying more as soon as sessions come back in full swing."
“The AM2 ensures that I have pristine D/A conversion regardless of where I am or what I am recording or mixing." — Christian Amonson
Amonson cites two main reasons why the AM2 is such an important part of his kit. First and foremost, it's sound quality: “I used an all-analog monitoring chain at the Kansas City Symphony for three years, recording and mixing with zero A/D conversion. Fancy, right?" he explains. “But when I added networked audio to the system and listened to the AM2, the sound was dramatically improved. The headphone amps and line outputs in the mix consoles just couldn't compete with the fidelity of the AM2." Then, there are the AM2's digital features, which include Dante® compatibility, allowing it to be connected to any networked audio system anywhere there's an Ethernet port. And the AM2's power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capability means that its location is never dependent on external power. “If a conductor, composer, or director wants to listen, all I need is an AM2 and a single ethernet cable. No power supplies, no XLRs, no patchbays, or amp rack. The routing is easy too. With Dante Controller, a guest can listen uninterrupted to the master bus on one AM2 while I monitor the solo bus on another." Amonson added that he is considering expanding his RedNet use with a RedNet A16R 16-channel Dante interface. He shared this about the AM2: “The sound quality exceeds all expectations, it's beautifully built, and it's easy to use. If you have a Dante network, you owe it to yourself to pick up an AM2."
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