Mix engineer Rob Burrell talks-up Audinate’s AoIP ‘flexibility’
Posted on: Friday 23rd of April 2021
Rob Burrell is a double Grammy winner for his work as a mix engineer on gospel records, but he says he’s made sure to stay flexible in the projects he takes on in his Nashville studio. One look at his long list of projects and collaborators shows that he has been successful in that, and his adaptability has been critical to finding new ways to work during 2020’s pandemic-affected times.
Specifically, Burrell needed an equipment workflow that allowed for both remote collaboration and the ability to quickly mobilize his core studio gear for off-site recording. Having moved his own Emotionmix studio to a setup based around Focusrite’s Red 16Line – a 64-in/out Pro Tools HD and Thunderbolt 3 interface with dual-port Dante Audio over IP connectivity – he quickly realised the potential of his new rig.
“I don’t get excited about a lot of things in technology,” Burrell says. “But when I rebuilt my setup using Dante I got really excited. It offers some incredible flexibility and, at the same time, just melts away into the background to allow for creativity to take place. I switched over to Dante in the spring of 2019 and the timing has been perfect. Everything I use is Dante now, and over the past year that has been incredibly important.”
Dante is Audinate’s standard for digital audio networking (its wording for Audio over IP), and can distribute hundreds of uncompressed, multi-channel digital audio channels via standard Ethernet networks, with near-zero latency. Dante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network. For legacy gear with analogue I/O, Dante AVIO Adapters allow Burrell to connect them to the Dante network. Audinate offers eight different AVIO interfaces that can handle audio, AES3, USB and even Bluetooth.
“I also use everything from Focusrite’s headphone boxes to mic preamps with Dante cards installed,” Burrell says. “I have six channels of AVIO devices converting to AES3 for things like my surround meter and spectrum analyser. Everything in here is Dante thanks to those devices.”
Burrell also utilises Dante Via, software from Audinate that isolates and routes audio to and from any number of Mac and PC applications, providing up to 16 bidirectional channels each. Via eliminates unwanted system audio sounds by allowing you to choose only the applications you wish to connect to your Dante network, and send their audio anywhere you need it. This allows him to connect multiple PCs together over WAN and LAN networks and route audio from any one to another – either between multiple systems within a studio, or over great distances.
“We use Via if I’m working on a long-distance mix with someone,” Burrell said. “Using Via you can set up a way to both send the high-quality mix and provide talkback for real-time feedback between two people. It’s another great Dante tool that makes remote production much easier.”
To enable him to take his studio on the move, Burrell pared down his setup to two racks of gear and a MacPro. This comprised the Focusrite Red 16Line, RedNet AM2 stereo headphone and line output, 2x ISA One mic pre with a Focusrite ISA 428 mkII and Dante card (to place in the room with the band), and RedNet R1 desktop monitor controller, a Cisco networking switch and Dante AVIO adapters. On arrival, he says he simply set up the racks and ran a single network cable to the other room, adding “it really does feel like you just hit one switch and you’re up and running anywhere.”
The Dante system, he says, “gives me a ton of confidence”, and means that “no matter what we’re asked to do, we can find a way to provide it… The remote setup, for example, allows me to walk into an unfamiliar location and know I can deliver results. That’s incredibly important.
“I’m not just a gospel guy and I’m not just a country guy and I’m not just a hip-hop guy. I can work on all of it in any given week. And I make sure I’m doing different types of projects too. I’ve worked to expand into films, and this year I did everything from new songs for Josh Groban to the score for the Marvel’s Avengers video game. I try and keep my music vocabulary very wide.
“This far into my career I want to ensure I’m making music I love.”
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About Audinate Group Limited:
Audinate Group Ltd (ASX:AD8) has a vision to pioneer the future of AV. Audinate’s award winning Dante AV over IP networking solution is the worldwide leader and used extensively in the professional live sound, commercial installation, broadcast, public address, and recording industries. Dante replaces traditional analogue cables by transmitting perfectly synchronized audio and video signals across large distances, to multiple locations at once, using nothing more than an Ethernet cable. Audinate is headquartered in Australia and has regional offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Dante technology powers products available from hundreds of leading AV manufacturers around the world. The company’s ordinary shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker code AD8.
Dante and Audinate are registered trademarks of Audinate Group Ltd.