Clean Bandit has achieved much in the last couple of years including nominations for the BBC Music Awards, the Brits and the Billboard Music Awards. They were also the recipients of a Grammy for "Rather Be" featuring Jess Glynne which was 2014' s second best selling song after "Happy" (Pharell Williams). Recent collaborations include Louisa Johnson on "Tears" and "Rockabye" featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie.
This week, Clean Bandit embarked on a small tour around the UK and US starting at the Roundhouse, London. Toby Burrow, who has been their playback tech for the last 3 years kindly invited us down to rehearsals to talk about their new rig which included 4 of the new RME Fireface UFX+'s, a MADI Router, an Octamic XTC and a Ferrofish A32.
"We switched to the RME Fireface UFX and Fireface UCX's to run playback and keys around 2 years ago. We were originally using gear from other manufacturers, but we found RME sounded a hell of a lot better." Toby explained.
"Our new system includes 4 of the new RME Fireface UFX+'s and the RME MADI Router. It allows us to send a lot of channels throughout the system using MADI. There's going to be a lot of real and software instruments with real-time effects processing such as pitch and harmony, much of it using RME's MIDI over MADI feature. This will all be running through Thunderbolt, so the latency is going to be much lower than anything that we've had before.
We're also really happy that with RME, we can fit a really complex system into three peli cases, put it on any airplane and take it anywhere in the world.
For Clean Bandit who are predominantly an electronic outfit, it's very important to the guys to sound as clinical as possible. And compared to the interfaces that we have used from other manufacturers, the RME Fireface UFX's and UFX+'s just stand out. The highs are crisper and it's just a better sound overall. It's like moving from a hi-fi to reference monitors, you can just hear it's better.
We also have MIDI coming in and out of the system that's going to be controlling program changes as well as live FX from different stations on stage. This is all routed in Totalmix FX (RME's routing and mixing software). So by using Thunderbolt we've cut down the latency time which has made a real difference for the drummer who was noticing the latency with other interfaces.
We, of course, have backups and a redundancy system because you never know what might happen. We have 2 laptops running FX, drums, playback and keys through 2 Fireface UFX+'s. This system is duplicated with another identical system which gets automatically switched by the Exbox (Direct Out) if there's a problem. We can also switch it manually if we think something is going wrong.
The cello and violin come into the Octamic (XTC) and are routed via MADI into the Fireface UFX+ and then to the Macs via Thunderbolt where we can change various parameters. Then the actual audio will go via MADI (optical) to the Ferrofish A32 where it's converted to analogue and is then sent to the front of house and monitor guys.
Our relationship with Synthax Audio UK (for RME and Ferrofish) has been really good, we've always been able to get a hold of them when we needed to. This is important, especially with a high-end show where everything has got to be right."
Our thanks to Toby Burrow and Clean Bandit.