FOH engineer discusses band’s fondness for MADIface USB, Babyface Pro, Fireface UFX, and Fireface UCX
Kaulille (Bocholt) Belgium – December 2015… Roger Hodgson, the legendary co-founder of Supertramp and singer-songwriter of the classic hits Dreamer, Breakfast in America, and Give a Little Bit, remains a driving force in rock music. He is currently on tour throughout Germany, the U.K., Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Norway, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, the U.S. and Canada. Hodgson has strong production values and, to ensure the best audio quality, he, his band members, and his FOH engineer rely on several RME music production interfaces, including the MADIface USB, Babyface Pro, Fireface UFX, and Fireface UCX—all of which are distributed throughout North America by Synthax, Inc. of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Howard Heckers has been Hodgson’s FOH engineer for the past 12 years. A seasoned professional with over 30 years’ experience, Heckers resume includes stints with Liza Minnelli, James Taylor, Christopher Cross, and Randy Newman to name but a few. In his work with Roger Hodgson, Heckers regularly uses his RME MADIface USB interface. He discussed not only his fondness for RME’s production tools, but also that of his associates.
“I’ve been using the MADIface USB for a good four-plus years, ever since we switched over to a DiGiCo console at Front of House,” Heckers explained. “We’re on the road a lot and I have to tell you, I’ve never had the slightest issue with it. My MADIface USB has been rock solid. My MADI setup includes the DiGiCo 192 KHz SD-Rack using the AUX split out for recording with my computer. The MADIface stays with me at FOH. I use the system for recording our live shows using REAPER 5.1 software on a Mac Book Pro with 52 recording channels. It’s pretty amazing that the MADIface USB runs 56 channels over USB!”
“We used to take two Alesis ADAT recorders on the road with us,” Heckers continued, “but working with just the MADIface and a computer makes it so much easier. There’s less weight to be carrying around and the better sound quality that I get from the Mac and the MADIface USB setup makes this the perfect solution.”
Heckers was also quick to point out that he isn’t the only enthusiast of RME’s production tools. “Roger [Hodgson] uses the RME Fireface UFX 60-channel USB and Firewire interface for his keyboard rig and his grand piano sounds,” Heckers reports. “He had been using another interface previously, but when we switched over to the Fireface UFX, the sound quality was so much better we couldn’t believe our ears. Roger and I both agree this is the best unit available in the industry. And we’re not the only ones using RME gear. Keyboardist Aaron MacDonald uses the Babyface Pro 24-channel USB interface for his keyboard rig with a computer running Apple’s MainStage recording software and Kevin Adamson, our other keyboard player, is using the Fireface UCX 36-channel USB and Firewire interface for his keyboard rig—also running MainStage on his computer. As should be quite obvious, RME gears plays a vital role in our music.”
When you’re on tour and the show must go on, the ability to receive capable technical and customer support services in timely fashion is crucial. Here, too, Heckers was very complimentary of Synthax’ support services. “All four of us have been very happy,” he notes. “I believe these units are the most solidly build and best sounding products available. We fly around the world on this gig and the RME gear survives all the travels. It’s built really well and we’ve never had a unit break on us. On those rare occurrences when we’ve had questions, the Synthax team has taken great care of us.”
Before turning his attention to the business of the day, Heckers offered these parting comments regarding his experience with the various RME interfaces he and the band use. “Roger Hodgson produced all the Supertramp albums as well as his solo albums,” Heckers said. “Roger knows exactly what he wants. As I’m sending in-ear mixes from FOH, it shows that Roger trusts me and my judgement regarding the products we use both in the studio and on stage. The latest album, Roger Hodgson Classics Live was recorded using the MADIface USB from dates performed around the world. RME has always helped us create the perfect sound.”
To learn more about Howard Heckers, visit his website at www.howardheckers.nl. For additional information about Roger Hodgson, go to www.rogerhodgson.com.
About Synthax, Incorporated
Synthax Inc. is the exclusive USA distributor for RME digital audio solutions, Ferrofish advanced audio applications, and ALVA cableware. We supply a nationwide network of dealers with these products for professional audio, broadcast, music industry, commercial audio, theater, military and government applications. For additional information, visit the company online at www.synthax.com.