Engineers at La Boutique Recording Studio in north London, owned and managed by producer, engineer and mixer Matteo Cifelli, are currently mixing a new live album by Sir Tom Jones, recorded at his recent show at the SSE Arena, using DiGiGrid interfaces.
Cifelli (pictured) is himself in charge of the mixing (in 5.1), aided by Sir Tom’s longtime musical director and drummer, Gary Wallis, who is tweaking and repairing tracks in the adjacent room, and studio engineer Raoul Terzi who, Cifelli says, “does all the donkey work”: syncing and looking after the audience mics from the show.
The whole La Boutique team are able to work on the same session simultaneously thanks to the studio’s network of DiGiGrid interfaces.
“I have always loved trying out new gear, and the minute I saw DiGiGrid I just kind of ‘got it’,” says Cifelli, who has also been Sir Tom’s front of house engineer for nearly a decade. “What we need here at La Boutique is integration, and we achieve this through DiGiGrid. There is at least one DiGiGrid interface in each of our production rooms, which allows for seamless connectivity throughout the studio.
“You don’t necessarily see it, but it’s everywhere; it’s basically our audio backbone.”
DiGiGrid was also used to record the SSE Arena gig. Cifelli recalls how it reduced the footprint at the front-of-house position considerably: “For live recording, two DiGiGrid IOXs have essentially replaced the Mac Pro, three HD cards and monitor. It gives me capacity for 128 tracks, and all I need is a laptop with a single hard drive.
“And I had no issues at all. It didn’t stop once. The preamps are excellent, so the quality of audio is extremely good, but what I really love about DiGiGrid is the flexibility it offers – and that gives me so much opportunity. For example, at the [SSE Arena] show, DiGiGrid was doing a double job: recording the show, and I used the DSP from a DLS unit to run the [Waves] Butch Vig plugin on Sir Tom’s vocal via MultiRack. I used one computer to run the MultiRack and one for the recording. It really is a fantastic piece of hardware.”
After the show, with “115 tracks of pristine audio” in tow, Cifelli headed back to base to begin setting up the mix sessions.
“We have IOS, DLS, DLI, IOX, MGO, IOC… pretty much every DiGiGrid product you can think of,” he continues. “This kit not only keeps all the audio and studios perfectly connected, but it allows me to mix here in 5.1 while the rest of the team do their jobs in their respective spaces. While I’ve been sat here, for example, Gary’s already trimmed the session down to 78 tracks out there [points next door] to help me prepare my mix – and that’s all down to DiGiGrid.
Also, having DiGiGrid everywhere means any of our studios can become live rooms in an instant – just plug in an Ethernet cable to any one of our interfaces, and away you go. This is a very happening studio, and it requires a very modern way of working. And that’s what we do. In my opinion, it’s the future.”