Focusrite Red 8Pre Lets Veteran R&B and Jazz Recordist Matthew Weiner Get Up Close and Personal for Remote Location Recordings
Matthew Weiner's career has traced the evolutionary path of professional audio. Beginning at New York City's famed Sigma Sound Studios, where he worked on records for legendary artists including The Village People, Diana Ross, The Spinners and Ashford & Simpson, and later Stanley Jordan, his career arc flowed from that all-analog environment to the network-based environment of his work at ShoreTel, a leading telecommunications developer. “You could say I've been in audio from the patch bay to the switch," he jokes. Throughout that journey, Weiner has continued to do remote recording sessions of regional jazz artists, like vocalist Lauren Hooker, bassist Bill Moring, drummer Tim Horner, guitarist John Hart and bassist Mike Richmond, among others. All that time, Weiner has stayed at the leading edge of pro audio technology, and that now includes using the Red 8Pre, Focusrite's new eight-preamp interface that features 16 analog inputs and 18 analog outputs from a total track count of 64-in/64-out, all in a 1U rackmount and with dual Thunderbolt 2, Pro Tools|HD DigiLink and Dante™ ports.
“The Red 8Pre is amazing," says Weiner, who uses it out on location and back at his Radiance Recording studio in Teaneck, New Jersey. “The efficiency it provides me is second to none: in a single rack unit, I can connect 24 channels of mics in addition to the eight it has built in, and utilize 32x32 Dante from anything to anywhere, routing any of the 16 analog I/O and 16 ADAT I/O as I need to without limitations. Also, I can provide a balanced analog output and two unique headphone mixes with separate volume knobs. I can also pass through another Dante device as the 8Pre has a second network jack, making this like its own mini router. As a result, it's easy for me to hang another audio device that supports applications utilizing the Dante audio-over-Ethernet media networking. I use as an additional way to drive a two-track output with volume control or to a router and my Yamaha DM1000v2 if that's the right tool for the job."
All this functionality in a single rack space and over a single Cat-5 cable lets Weiner expand his remote recording capability while keeping weight – and thus costs – way down. “The Red 8Pre is Dante compatible, so my cabling can consist of inexpensive Cat cabling and an RJ45 jack; an equivalent Lightning/USB connection doesn't go far, and for any distance you need to go optical, which costs way more to cover footage that is not even close," he explains. “Compare function, flexibility and cost, and the Red 8Pre wins out every time. It also has two Thunderbolt ports, so once again, depending on how you choose to work, you have options and you can send anything anywhere. This really could not be easier. Oh, did I mention that my new rig weighs half of what it did before? On my current project, I am overdubbing through the Red 8Pre and using it for routing as part of my Dante system. The delay is in the microsecond range, and it's not at all noticeable to me or anyone that has been in the studio with me since I got it. Some highly educated ears said basically 'Wow!' With my Macbook Pro, 2 rack units and a few mics, I'm pretty dangerous.. Congrats, Focusrite — I think you have a category killer here."