Studio Anywhere

Anatomy of a Home Studio

I’ve been meaning to write for some time about how liberating great audio gear really is.

The goal is to have the studio go to where the talent is, and it’s been working really well for me, even on complicated set-ups. Of course the film industry has been doing this forever, but for some reason radio seems stuck in the studio model – probably because it’s convenient.

With this little rig I’m able to mix 4 mics, provide 4 individual headphone feeds for talent, plus 2 more for production. Everything runs off batteries so it’s totally mobile, which is great for in-car interviews. Its all going to a CF card at pro bit-rates or straight to MP3, and, the whole rig fits into a bag that’s about the size of a typical laptop bag.

I’ve given up on the pseudo pro Denon/Marantz stuff after too many problems – they just don’t hold up in the field. Instead, I’ve switched to the fabulous 702 recorder from Sound Devices – for one thing, the case is made of actual METAL and not plastic. It’s slim, light and completely geared for professional audio work, with loads of nice touches, including battery power that accepts standard VCR type batteries or larger pro external power packs if you’ve already got them.

I also love the way the knobs recess so they don’t catch on things while you’re working. You can actually read the screen in daylight.

In the past I’ve mostly only needed 2 channels for recording, but lately I’ve been needing more inputs for podcast interviews. Adding the 442 mixer to the rig is like a dream come true. Real PFL on a portable rig, awesome knobs that work in the field like nobody’s business, and metering you can see (and trust). I can even use the onboard mic to slate tracks, and the mic pre-amps are great.

Because I’m not a recording engineer, I like my gear to be easy to use, but sophisticated enough for me to dig into the details when I need to. This rig does it all.

Like all my audio gear, I picked this stuff up over the last few months from Oakwood Broadcast in Winnipeg.

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