Los Angeles, USA – March 2017… Live band performances are an integral part of many flagship late night entertainment TV shows in the United States, and Last Call with Carson Daly – the long-running weeknights show on NBC – is no exception. But rather than simply having bands appear in the studio, Last Call gives its viewers the opportunity to experience live music as it should be heard – music mixer Fred Archambault heads out to gigs to capture the raw excitement of bands’ regular performances.
An acclaimed producer/engineer who has logged studio times with acts including Alice Cooper and Panic at the Disco, Archambault has been Carson Daly’s go-to mixer since 2011. Until recently, he was making use of an “increasingly dilapidated legacy system that weighed about 400 pounds and caused a lot problems with load-in at some venues.” Finally, in 2016, Last Call’s director asked Archambault “if there was something smaller we could be using, so I began to look at the various options.”
His initial inclination was to build a new laptop-based solution around the software with which he was most familiar, but then he recalled having seen and been impressed by JoeCo’s BLACKBOX Recorders at various venues around Los Angeles. “I called up my rep at RSPE Audio Solutions and arranged for them to provide a demo BBR1-MP system that we could trial at one of the shows,” says Archambault. “The team was so impressed by the BBR1-MP that they told me to order two of them right away.”
Since last autumn Archambault has used two of the 24-channel standalone live audio acquisition solutions to capture performances by “well over 30 artists” – ranging from fast-rising English rock bands to former Hüsker Dü mainman Bob Mould and global sensation Ed Sheeran. Despite the demanding schedule and heavy workload, the BBR1-MP multi-track recorders – equipped with JoeCo’s renowned preamps on every channel – have performed superbly.
“For me it’s about the reliability and the very small footprint,” enthuses Archambault. “The BLACKBOX BBR1-MP is compact enough that it can be sneaked in anywhere, for example under a monitor console. It’s incredibly portable! The load-in problems we had with the previous system are a thing of the past, while the recorders close out the files so rapidly that I am back at home in bed much quicker than I used to be. The schedule for Last Call with Carson Daly is very busy and involves me mixing up to 180 songs per year, and the BLACKBOX Recorder makes my daily working life much easier.”