I recently found myself packing for a 2 day recording adventure in Buenos Aires Argentina for a new Dream Theater DVD, when I realized I'd need to carry a secondary recording system for the show.
While my choice of remote recording facilities proved to be a good one in hindsight (thanks to my new friend Pichon and his crew), I wanted extreme redundancy in case I needed options, and it had to be portable enough to carry all the pieces in my backpack as I was limited to 2 carry ons for the flights.
We own several RME MADIface interfaces but 64 channels just wouldn't do. This recording was going to need 98 channels minimum.
Having just bought a new Mac Book Pro with Thunderbolt and a 512G SSD I started to look into options for utilizing the new RME MADI FX card which I had on loan from our good friends at Synthax. To that point I had only used it in a Mac Pro and it proved quite robust. But taking the Mac Pro was out of the question.
I quickly purchased a Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Pro Expansion Chassis and multiple Elgato 240G SSD External drives. My idea was to utilize the expansion chassis along with (2) MADI feeds to record 98 channels to (1) Thunderbolt drive per night. I would source Timecode through the LOCKSTEP app and a USB interface since the new Mac Book Pro's don't have analog audio inputs (Boo Apple), and have a synchronized time stamped recording. My last hurdle, which software to use. I owned Logic but found that to be a bit clunky to use.
I reached out to a good friend (big nod to Hugh Healy) and asked him his opinion of Nuendo, at which point I learned of their new Nuendo Live package. I purchased a copy, built the system and started some thorough testing. After seeing this work multiple times at varying lengths of record I headed south. Arriving in BA I found a space for my new recording package in Pichon's mobile, interfaced it to his RME MADI BRIDGE and began to record sound checks. Our first 1 hour sound check went fine. Next, was to tackle the 3 hour plus show. From the opening note to the last echo of applause the system worked perfectly without a single hiccup. It was simple, elegant and couldn't be easier.
140G sessions of shows, 100G sessions of sound checks, and all of this in my back pack.
The RME card was fabulous and the amount of flexibility was awesome. It's integration with the Nuendo software couldn't have been easier. And having the HDSPe settings window and mixer window to verify inputs and clock was huge. Again RME came through with flying colors and has made my life easier all around. Kudos for this significant advance in hardware.