Overdubs and Mixdowns

Last week was a wonderful experience. As documented extensively on this blog, we spent the time building out the bed tracks for Trevor’s new project.

Over the next two months, we will track overdubs, mix and master. The overdubs and mixing work will be done on my Pro Tools HD rig. At home.

One little challenge though. My studio is not yet constructed.

I had a temporary space set up in a small room in our home. And the acoustic environment was completely unsuitable for any serious work. So in between work, cutting dubs and prepping session files for the rest of the project, I also had to disassemble and move the rig to a new location.

We have a large media room in the house. Roughly 1,200 square feet. And I had a perfect spot to install a makeshift control room area and tracking area. But I am a sucker for making myself work.

I had been putting off the upgrade from Pro Tools 7.2 to 7.4. I won’t run 8.0 until I change the box. I am still running a dual processor PPC Mac. And I am still running Tiger. Other studios have told me that running 8.0 on a PPC Mac with Leopard is a bit like nailing jello to the wall. However, I really wanted to have some of the new features of the 7.4 release handy for this project. So, yes. On top of everything else that is on the go, let’s upgrade the Pro Tools rig.

That little process took several hours. Purchased the software online. Downloaded half a gig of software. Authorized and registered the iLoks. Backed up the machine. Upgraded the OS to 10.4.9. Upgraded Pro Tools to 7.4. Then upgraded Pro Tools to 7.4 cs10. Then tested the system. Everything seems to work fine except a periodic “Pro Tools quit unexpectedly” dialog when I quit Pro Tools. Haven’t had time to chase that one down as yet.

Moving the rig is a major event. I use a collection of Apogee convertors, an Apogee word clock, and the Digi boxes. Patchbay, preamps, outboard. Hundreds of interconnects. Funny, it was faster to disconnect.

I use a pretty big mouse — Digi’s Control 24 controller — and it is housed in a very large Argosy console. All of the equipment loaded in the console had to be removed. And the console had to be partially disassembled to get it out of the room.

Then everything had to be reassembled, reconnected and retested in the new space. The whole process took about 10 hours. Necessary because although I could mix in the temporary setup, I could not overdub. And for some reason I thought the overdubs would be done remotely and that I would be focused on mixing.

Anyway, everything is almost ready. I will need time this week-end to get the musician’s cue system up and running and to finish prepping the session files for overdubs.

One nice thing is that there is so much air in the room that I have little in the way of room modes. Dare I say an amazing acoustic space for listening without any acoustic treatments? Nearest side wall is about 20 feet and the back wall is about 30 feet. Perfect when running on nearfields.

I’ll post a few photos of the temporary rig over the week-end. It is actually a very pleasant work area. And with all that is on the go, I won’t have time for any studio construction until the new year.

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  1. […] mode” this week getting ready to track my final acoustic and electric violin parts at Richard Cleaver’s Studio/Mixing Room in Kingston. People have asked me what this prep involves. Let me give you a peak into what I have […]

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