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Recording truck
Old 18th April 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Recording truck

Hi guyz, I would really appreciate your feedback on this, been juggling idea to buy a recording truck. Its with 40ch SSL 4000 G plus and 2x Alesis hd24. I have lots of album work this year an would be great to just park it in front of location and work on album plus a friend would use it half time for recording events on locations...SSl is 1995 and truck is Volvo 1987...it comes from a national radio company so it has been maintained to high standards...What is your thoughts?

Best
Zed Smon
Old 18th April 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 
nbrecording's Avatar
Do you or your friend have an HGV licence?
Old 18th April 2019
  #3
I've owned audio trucks for almost 40 years. We built them when the only option for professional live recording were bulky 2" analog recorders. Our motto is “Another Day, Another Dumpster” because we’re usually parked near smelly garbage cans. That's the glamour of live recording.

It may seem really cool to record live shows, but it's a very challenging world. There are plenty of issues you'll need to address: truck maintenance, expensive liability insurance, trucking/driver regulations, audio gear maintenance, splitter buzz, nasty weather, power hookups, union fees, etc.

There are many gigs where you can’t use an audio truck due to parking, cable length, power limitations, or local laws. You are better off investing in a upscale flight case record system. Modern gear will be more reliable and compact. You could buy a newer used Mercedes Sprinter van to haul the gear and use it as a temporary control room if needed.

Now matter how well that Volvo has been serviced, it's 30 years old. That's way too old. You're screwed if the vehicle can't get to the gig. It’s best to store the truck in a heated garage. Otherwise, the truck and audio gear will degrade with cold/heat/humidity.

The Alesis HD-24 recorders are fab. They are the most reliable multitrack recorders ever made. We have 20 in various rigs. They have been discontinued for a while, so parts, IDE drives and caddies are harder to buy. In some machines, the power supplies are starting to fail due to age.

We always record with redundant multitrack systems, either Pro Tools/HD-24 or dual HD-24s. If you don’t double record, you’re asking for big trouble. There is no “Take 2” on a live concert. All our computers/recorders are powered via UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), just in case the truck gets accidentally powered down. Yes, it happens.

The SSL console is great. But it’s been bouncing over bumpy roads for 30 years. And 40 channels are a big limitation. For most live gigs, you’ll need 48 - 64 channels. Many bar bands have over 40 channels. Plus, you’ll need to dedicate at least 4 inputs for ambient mics.

If the truck comes with cabling, it’s going to be old and well-worn. 30 year old snakes are usually inflexible and intermittent. Likewise with the console/recorder interconnects. And old mains power cable might not meet modern electrical code.

For years, a transformer isolated microphone splitter was the only way to record a show. Now with Dante, MADI, AES 50 and other standards, you might not be able to a get a mic split without a format converter and AD/DA to feed your desk and recorders.

I assume that the truck with that SSL console and HVAC will need significant mains power. I’m not sure about EU regulations, but you might need to hire a certified electrician for power hookups. I designed our trucks to operate on U.S. 30 amp single phase power, which is usually easy to connect.

I’m not sure where you live, but we’re based in Chicago. The weather is crazy. We’ve recorded in -15º and 110º F temperatures, in snow blizzards and thunderstorms.
We were at Woodstock ’99 when the kids burned down the joint. Once, we had to evacuate at Lollapalooza when a big wind storm blew through.

Black gospel music is a big part of our business. Since Chicago is a rough town, there’s been occasional gunplay near some of the churches where we been recording. It’s always chaos on location.

Live recording with an audio truck seems like a romantic idea, but it’s a very tough way to make a living. Since most live mixing consoles offer multitrack recording options, your investment might not pay off.

Get your girlfriend, wife, lover, or best friend to talk you out of this. Trust me.
Old 18th April 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

wow yeah, thnx for this..lots to think about...
Old 18th April 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Powell View Post
I've owned audio trucks for almost 40 years. We built them when the only option for professional live recording were bulky 2" analog recorders. Our motto is “Another Day, Another Dumpster” because we’re usually parked near smelly garbage cans. That's the glamour of live recording.

It may seem really cool to record live shows, but it's a very challenging world. There are plenty of issues you'll need to address: truck maintenance, expensive liability insurance, trucking/driver regulations, audio gear maintenance, splitter buzz, nasty weather, power hookups, union fees, etc.

There are many gigs where you can’t use an audio truck due to parking, cable length, power limitations, or local laws. You are better off investing in a upscale flight case record system. Modern gear will be more reliable and compact. You could buy a newer used Mercedes Sprinter van to haul the gear and use it as a temporary control room if needed.

Now matter how well that Volvo has been serviced, it's 30 years old. That's way too old. You're screwed if the vehicle can't get to the gig. It’s best to store the truck in a heated garage. Otherwise, the truck and audio gear will degrade with cold/heat/humidity.

The Alesis HD-24 recorders are fab. They are the most reliable multitrack recorders ever made. We have 20 in various rigs. They have been discontinued for a while, so parts, IDE drives and caddies are harder to buy. In some machines, the power supplies are starting to fail due to age.

We always record with redundant multitrack systems, either Pro Tools/HD-24 or dual HD-24s. If you don’t double record, you’re asking for big trouble. There is no “Take 2” on a live concert. All our computers/recorders are powered via UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), just in case the truck gets accidentally powered down. Yes, it happens.

The SSL console is great. But it’s been bouncing over bumpy roads for 30 years. And 40 channels are a big limitation. For most live gigs, you’ll need 48 - 64 channels. Many bar bands have over 40 channels. Plus, you’ll need to dedicate at least 4 inputs for ambient mics.

If the truck comes with cabling, it’s going to be old and well-worn. 30 year old snakes are usually inflexible and intermittent. Likewise with the console/recorder interconnects. And old mains power cable might not meet modern electrical code.

For years, a transformer isolated microphone splitter was the only way to record a show. Now with Dante, MADI, AES 50 and other standards, you might not be able to a get a mic split without a format converter and AD/DA to feed your desk and recorders.

I assume that the truck with that SSL console and HVAC will need significant mains power. I’m not sure about EU regulations, but you might need to hire a certified electrician for power hookups. I designed our trucks to operate on U.S. 30 amp single phase power, which is usually easy to connect.

I’m not sure where you live, but we’re based in Chicago. The weather is crazy. We’ve recorded in -15º and 110º F temperatures, in snow blizzards and thunderstorms.
We were at Woodstock ’99 when the kids burned down the joint. Once, we had to evacuate at Lollapalooza when a big wind storm blew through.

Black gospel music is a big part of our business. Since Chicago is a rough town, there’s been occasional gunplay near some of the churches where we been recording. It’s always chaos on location.

Live recording with an audio truck seems like a romantic idea, but it’s a very tough way to make a living. Since most live mixing consoles offer multitrack recording options, your investment might not pay off.

Get your girlfriend, wife, lover, or best friend to talk you out of this. Trust me.
As a kid and young adult I listened to the XRT Sunday night concerts, and heard your name a million times. I thought "damn, that would be cool." As a professional (who even mixed something Metro Mobile did) I think about what you do and think "Tim is a masochist."

Thanks for the great broadcasts, and this honest post.
Old 18th April 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
great post Tim.

well done.

Buddha
Old 18th April 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I thought "damn, that would be cool." As a professional (who even mixed something Metro Mobile did) I think about what you do and think "Tim is a masochist."
Thanks! I'd call myself a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse. (Thanks to Woody Allen in What's Up, Tiger Lily"
Old 18th April 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
and to add to Tim's perfect descriptiion .. and then you have to Deal with People like me .. that bring in 10 video cameras, a Truck twice the size of your Audio truck .. we need room for more higherup A-holes !! and we want to Play Too !!! and we are recording at some obscure Timecode Rate that does not play well with Audio .. !!! and yes, lets add some Film Cameras .. Can you Provide TC Slates for us .. you are the Audio Guy(s) right !!

and ;et me say this just one time .. there are a handful of Great Audio Trucks in this Country .. i have been and worked with pretty much all of them .. and when it is the Gold Standard you are working with your life is easy .. when the Audio Truck (or video for that matter) do NOT have their ****e together .. my job as Tech Producer gets harder, as now i have to jump in and troubleshoot your GEar too !!

LEts Play Tim !! i will starting scouting for some new Dumpsters !!!
Old 18th April 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Me: "I can't make heads or tails of this map. Plus, my phone ain't getting the weefee. Who knows where this venue is? I think we're in East St. Louis, sir. I can see the arch in your rear view."

Him: "Don't worry, we're getting close. I can smell the gig..."

- FG
Old 19th April 2019
  #10
Speaking of the UK, you simply won't be allowed to drive an older vehicle into the cities pretty soon (to reduce air pollution). London has had a new ultra-low emissions zone just this month, for example. Your business is dead overnight. Obviously this doesn't apply to US etc (yet).
Old 19th April 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Changing my mind slowly...

thnx for all replies, needed that...

Best
Zmago
Old 19th April 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
These days with almost all live consoles have recording capability so the expensive splitters..cabling..truck and personnel would only be used for premium gigs.
Maybe a B&B tie in...holiday albums for church’s..school choir/orchestra programs but they may have their own gear.
Where you located ?
Replace the Alesis with JoeCo’s...put em in a portable case and you now have a mobile acquisition system.
Maybe skip the truck all together.
Old 19th April 2019
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
rwsand's Avatar
My whole rig is in 2 space rack cases except 1 pelican case for snake and 1 for splitter on wheels. Nothing I can’t carry. 24 / 48 channels. Joeco Blueboxes. Very flexible. 2 hours up and running. Fun!
Old 19th April 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsand View Post
My whole rig is in 2 space rack cases except 1 pelican case for snake and 1 for splitter on wheels. Nothing I can’t carry. 24 / 48 channels. Joeco Blueboxes. Very flexible. 2 hours up and running. Fun!
And you don’t need to park by the dumpster ! (Aka ‘skip’ to you)
Old 19th April 2019
  #15
At Chicago’s Vic Theatre, we used to park our truck under the EL (elevated train) track behind the venue. That alley was really nasty with overflowing garbage dumpsters and a carpet of big city rats. We caught the vermin gnawing on our audio snakes. Apparently the cable had a salty taste pleasing to the critters.
On the next gig, I brought a Wrist Rocket, a sexy slingshot with surgical tubing and a couple of boxes of round slingshot pellets. I gaff taped an AA Maglite (for night vision) to the weapon and went hunting.

I didn’t hit many, but one rodent that I did assassinate became a late night snack for his heartless brethren.

I guess rats have a lot in common with the music biz...

Last edited by Timothy Powell; 19th April 2019 at 09:29 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 19th April 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zmago Šmon View Post
Changing my mind slowly...

thnx for all replies, needed that...

Best
Zmago
you could buy the SSL (if its good) and ditch the truck.

Budddha
Old 19th April 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Powell View Post
I've owned audio trucks for almost 40 years. We built them when the only option for professional live recording were bulky 2" analog recorders. Our motto is “Another Day, Another Dumpster” because we’re usually parked near smelly garbage cans. That's the glamour of live recording.

It may seem really cool to record live shows, but it's a very challenging world. There are plenty of issues you'll need to address: truck maintenance, expensive liability insurance, trucking/driver regulations, audio gear maintenance, splitter buzz, nasty weather, power hookups, union fees, etc.

There are many gigs where you can’t use an audio truck due to parking, cable length, power limitations, or local laws. You are better off investing in a upscale flight case record system. Modern gear will be more reliable and compact. You could buy a newer used Mercedes Sprinter van to haul the gear and use it as a temporary control room if needed.

Now matter how well that Volvo has been serviced, it's 30 years old. That's way too old. You're screwed if the vehicle can't get to the gig. It’s best to store the truck in a heated garage. Otherwise, the truck and audio gear will degrade with cold/heat/humidity.

The Alesis HD-24 recorders are fab. They are the most reliable multitrack recorders ever made. We have 20 in various rigs. They have been discontinued for a while, so parts, IDE drives and caddies are harder to buy. In some machines, the power supplies are starting to fail due to age.

We always record with redundant multitrack systems, either Pro Tools/HD-24 or dual HD-24s. If you don’t double record, you’re asking for big trouble. There is no “Take 2” on a live concert. All our computers/recorders are powered via UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), just in case the truck gets accidentally powered down. Yes, it happens.

The SSL console is great. But it’s been bouncing over bumpy roads for 30 years. And 40 channels are a big limitation. For most live gigs, you’ll need 48 - 64 channels. Many bar bands have over 40 channels. Plus, you’ll need to dedicate at least 4 inputs for ambient mics.

If the truck comes with cabling, it’s going to be old and well-worn. 30 year old snakes are usually inflexible and intermittent. Likewise with the console/recorder interconnects. And old mains power cable might not meet modern electrical code.

For years, a transformer isolated microphone splitter was the only way to record a show. Now with Dante, MADI, AES 50 and other standards, you might not be able to a get a mic split without a format converter and AD/DA to feed your desk and recorders.

I assume that the truck with that SSL console and HVAC will need significant mains power. I’m not sure about EU regulations, but you might need to hire a certified electrician for power hookups. I designed our trucks to operate on U.S. 30 amp single phase power, which is usually easy to connect.

I’m not sure where you live, but we’re based in Chicago. The weather is crazy. We’ve recorded in -15º and 110º F temperatures, in snow blizzards and thunderstorms.
We were at Woodstock ’99 when the kids burned down the joint. Once, we had to evacuate at Lollapalooza when a big wind storm blew through.

Black gospel music is a big part of our business. Since Chicago is a rough town, there’s been occasional gunplay near some of the churches where we been recording. It’s always chaos on location.

Live recording with an audio truck seems like a romantic idea, but it’s a very tough way to make a living. Since most live mixing consoles offer multitrack recording options, your investment might not pay off.

Get your girlfriend, wife, lover, or best friend to talk you out of this. Trust me.
Are you glad you did it?
Old 20th April 2019
  #18
Hell Yes!

My first truck was a used 1969 International Harvester step van nicknamed "The Vomit Comet" because the fumes made us sick after 30 minutes.

After that I built a new truck with a new console and new tape machines. At that time, I had the only dual 2" tape machine audio truck in the Midwest.

It's a different world now for reasons I explained above. I wouldn't start a remote recording business now, especially with with 30 year old gear.

However, if you could get the SSL/Volvo for a great deal and permanently park it outside a great-sounding barn in the country, you might have something special.

Last edited by Timothy Powell; 20th April 2019 at 12:28 AM.. Reason: more ideas
Old 20th April 2019
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Powell View Post
At Chicago’s Vic Theatre, we used to park our truck under the EL (elevated train) track behind the venue. That alley was really nasty with overflowing garbage dumpsters and a carpet of big city rats. We caught the vermin gnawing on our audio snakes. Apparently the cable had a salty taste pleasing to the critters.
On the next gig, I brought a Wrist Rocket, a sexy slingshot with surgical tubing and a couple of boxes of round slingshot pellets. I gaff taped an AA Maglite (for night vision) to the weapon and went hunting.

I didn’t hit many, but one rodent that I did assassinate became a late night snack for his heartless brethren.

I guess rats have a lot in common with the music biz...
The Vic is my favorite room in Chicago for bigger acts. It always sounded better than even the Metro. Did you experience the same thing, from a recording point of view?
Old 20th April 2019
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Powell View Post
... one rodent that I did assassinate became a late night snack for his heartless brethren.
Tastier than cable, even without salt.
Old 20th April 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
The Vic is my favorite room in Chicago for bigger acts. It always sounded better than even the Metro. Did you experience the same thing, from a recording point of view?
Yes, The Vic is a great sounding room for recording, along with Chicago's Park West. The best hall, of course, is the Auditorium Theatre, but I've only recorded there a few times. It's magical...
Old 20th April 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 
John Moran's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsand View Post
My whole rig is in 2 space rack cases except 1 pelican case for snake and 1 for splitter on wheels. Nothing I can’t carry. 24 / 48 channels. Joeco Blueboxes. Very flexible. 2 hours up and running. Fun!
THIS ⬆️

In 1983, my truck was a finalist for Mix Magazines Remote Truck award. We had two 3324s on wheels with an MCI console and Neve sidecar, 54 channels of splitter and snakes with video monitoring and mix distribution to Video/Uplink trucks.

I can now do more in 4 SKB cases and a couple of tubs of long mic cables for audience/house mics. The entirety fits in the back of a Honda Pilot.

It's a different world today from then.
Old 20th April 2019
  #23
I know that SVT have sold busses dirty cheap in Sweden. Worth buying then ditching the truck. A well maintained SSL from 95 is awesome and easier/cheaper to maintain then the older ones.
Old 20th April 2019
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

Yes I know, only thing is they are without computer...so recording only, thats a shame..

Best
Zmago
Old 20th April 2019
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Powell View Post
Yes, The Vic is a great sounding room for recording, along with Chicago's Park West. The best hall, of course, is the Auditorium Theatre, but I've only recorded there a few times. It's magical...
I wondered if the stage would be so much different the out in the house if recording sucked even if the room sounded good. I've played on stages that sound crappy, but FOH sounds good in some of those rooms.

The Auditorium Theater is magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zmago Šmon View Post
Yes I know, only thing is they are without computer...so recording only, thats a shame..

Best
Zmago
I'm pretty sure there are people would specialize in older computers for "legacy" type things like SSLs.
Old 21st April 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zmago Šmon View Post
Yes I know, only thing is they are without computer...so recording only, thats a shame..

Best
Zmago
It is possible to mix without automation.
Old 21st April 2019
  #27
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred View Post
It is possible to mix without automation.
yes, and some also use the DAW automatioin and the console for the sound .. not quite the same but best you can do sometimes ..
Old 21st April 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 
crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
yes, and some also use the DAW automatioin and the console for the sound .. not quite the same but best you can do sometimes ..
Or the fingers for automation and the tape and console for the sound

I do mean this in good humour and not aimed at anyone in particular, but it's funny how many people making records can't conceive of mixing without some sort of automation and/or recall..... yet proclaim the best sounding music was from the pre automation era.
Old 21st April 2019
  #29
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred View Post
Or the fingers for automation and the tape and console for the sound

I do mean this in good humour and not aimed at anyone in particular, but it's funny how many people making records can't conceive of mixing without some sort of automation and/or recall..... yet proclaim the best sounding music was from the pre automation era.
yes, i come from that world too ... more hands, we need more hands .. we always needed one more hand .. LOL ..
Old 21st April 2019
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Don't forget console tape next to the faders with 3-4 lines for different sections of the song. And remembering each of those moves. And NEVER let the guitar player ride their own fader(s).
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