Founded in 1978 in Manhattan, but now based out of the YWCA Memorial Hall in downtown Brooklyn, Roulette provides a home for artists to perform new works that push the boundaries of modern classical, jazz, and experimental music. Since the spring of 2012, Roulette has been using the Rupert Neve Designs 5088 to mix recordings of over 200 live performances a year, which are archived online at www.roulette.org and incorporated into the Roulette TV programs.
“We wanted a desk that could handle a hybrid workflow and maintain the pristine quality we need for the types of recordings that we do. These can range from orchestras, classical ensembles, jazz groups, noise bands and every thing in between…. We have an amazing collection of microphones, and when I run the microphones into the Neve it completely opens them up – it makes the microphones sound the way they should.” said Roulette production director Matt Mehlan.
For Mehlan, the difference has been significant. “My favorite thing about the console is the sound of the transformers when you push them, but with the mixes for Roulette, the massive headroom and low noise are probably the best parts. Sometimes I will end up just running the tracks from Pro Tools through it without doing anything on the board. It brings everything forward, the presence is greater and it’s an amazing workflow change. I’ve been staring at computers to make music for 15 years, and getting the chance to work with something that’s ergonomic and feels like a solid piece of equipment is a great change.”
The concert hall features a balcony and a proscenium stage that can accommodate upwards of 600 people. The performances are captured to multi-track recorders with studio microphones, using minimal live re-enforcement. The multitrack files are then sent to the post-production studio in the basement, where they are edited, mixed, and posted in the online archive. These archives help give a voice to many experimental artists who don’t often have opportunities to be heard, and provide an opportunity to document their live performances. To view their archive of live performances and episodes of Roulette TV, please visit www.roulette.org.