Small Footprint is a Big Hit with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
Chief engineer for the SNJO, Mark McKellen, wanted to find a flexible system with a small footprint to replace the heavy desks and cables that they had to constantly move. Glasgow based hire company Sono Vie supplied the M-480, R-1000 and S-1608s on approval during October last year – and they were put to the test at the Music Hall in Aberdeen, the Queens Hall in Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow. Mark needed a simple to set up, portable solution which could cope with the big band performances and most importantly, would be used for recording the performances at these three prestigious venues. The products all together proved to be extremely compact and lightweight - in fact, the total weight was around 70kg and that included the M-480 and R-1000 in a case – as well as the stage units and all the cables.
‘Before, I couldn’t even fit our mixer in the car, but with the Roland products I can get the whole setup in which makes life much easier!’
The R-1000 allowed the performances to be recorded with the minimum of fuss – all that was needed was to connect the R-1000 to the M-480 with a Cat5 cable – no conventional multi-core was required.
‘Being able to run Cat 5 from A to B is just amazing because lugging around metres of multi-core is a nightmare. It’s pretty revolutionary to be able to connect to the mixer so easily.’
Based on REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) the R-1000 can be used with any digital console with a MADI output via the Roland S-MADI REAC MADI Bridge. Recording up to 48 tracks of 24-bit audio in BWF format, its removable hard drive ensures smooth integration with DAWs and allows approximately 20 hours of recording (44.1/48 kHz) using a 500GB HDD. Multitrack playback (48 tracks of 24-bit audio via REAC) is also provided, while a marker function enables playback at any designated point. The R-1000 eliminates the bulk and noise typically associated with analog snakes by replacing them with Cat5e/6 (Ethernet/LAN) cable.
The compact and portable S-1608 Digital Snakes offer Mark the flexibility he needs in configuring setups for different venues and performances with varying numbers of musicians. In fact, when Mark needed more channels for more band members last month when they toured with Peter Erskine playing the music of Weather Report, he hired the Roland S-3208 from Sono Vie (extra 16 inputs to the S-1608) and was very impressed at what a simple matter it was to swap in a larger stage-box, but change nothing else.
‘For Peter Erskine I needed 41 channels for the big band arrangements and the S-3208 coped beautifully. The setup I have now with the M-480, R-1000 and the Digital Snakes is just what I want – small footprint, easy to set up with loads of power and the features to do the job properly’.