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Microphone Month

Using Your Digital Multitrack Outside of the Studio

Today’s Tech Tip is perhaps more business related than ususal. Have you ever thought of the worth of digital multitrack recorders – HD24, MX-2424, HDR24/96, etc. – outside of the studio? As with nearly any business, studio owners have found that continuing to stay innovative is essential in today’s market. The following is one way, albeit apparent, that deserves recognition. As a side note, this Tech Tip was brought to my attention by one of Sweetwater’s customers. He’s found that by doing this he’s able to bring in “extra” business, and he’s had a great time doing it.

Most of today’s digital multitrack recorders are elegant solutions for any studio on any level. While they come with different features/benefits and can be purchased at varying prices, they do all have at least three things in common: they can record multiple tracks at the same time, they’re modular (rack mountable) and have at plenty of I/O options (analog and digital in most cases). These three commonalities, and the fact that they’re digital, mean they are prime candidates for live, or remote, recordings! What does this mean? Well, in one studio owner’s case, he contacted all of his local bars and clubs and started offering his services for recording bands as they came through. The gig? He would come in with his HD24 (insert your choice of digital multitrack) and Mackie 24/8 mixer and get to work. The Mackie board, due to its direct outs, 8-bus architecture, and great sounding preamps and EQ, is flexible enough to use as a house mixer, multitrack feed or both. Often, he finds that he’s setting up his rig next to the stage with the band plugging directly into his Mackie mixer, sending the direct outs to the house mixer via a snake then sending a feed to the digital multitrack via the 8 busses. He’s also been able to pick up a few extra bucks by pulling double duty using his Mackie mixer as the house board while sending all 24 tracks to the HD24 via the direct outs.

He’s found that a number of locally touring groups are in need of good “live” recordings for demos. You, as he does, can record a three hour set on Friday, bring it back into your studio for mixing on Saturday and have it back to the band the following week. He’s had so much success with this that he’s considering purchasing more HD24s and simply installing them into the clubs with Mackie mixers. In fact, he paid for his HD24 in four weeks. This has a side benefit that he did not expect. Because of his ability to turn these live demos over so quickly, the bands have starting booking studio time with him for their album projects. The lesson learned is that all of our studios are simply tools that when used creatively can reap many years of rewards – financial and otherwise.

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