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So I'm going to buy a remote truck... Studio Monitors
Old 13th September 2018
  #1
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So I—bought—a remote truck...

I have an opportunity to buy a small remote recording/production truck. The owner is making me a deal that is too good to turn down.

It's built on an old airport shuttle type van: 1988 Ford Econoline 350 Diesel truck with 300,000 miles. The engine has been rebuilt, but I'm not sure how long ago.

It's already been built out and has worked as a remote recording/OB truck for quite some years. The current owner runs a live production company and has had this truck for 6 or 7 years, but hasn't been using it. It's been sitting in his where house for at least four years now. He's looking to get rid of it and free up the space in his shop for other things, and he wants to see it go to someone who will use it, like me.

He's including the equipment currently in the truck: 2 Tascam X48 hard disk recorders, a 48 channel Soundtracs Quartz console, a pair of Genelec 1031 monitors, an Alesis Masterlink, other outboard effects and processing gear, And RTS and PI coms system. He is also going to include a Yamaha DM2000 console that he bought to put in the truck, but never got around to it.

It's equipped with a 50amp single phase California connection for shore power, has auxiliary heat and AC for the control room. Has a couple hundred feet of Whirlwind W4 MASS cable for the analog tie-in connectivity. There's no generator. And the AC in the cab doesn't work.

We've come to an agreement on price and he's agreed to sell it to me. It'll take a couple weeks to get the paper work done and get an auto insurance policy set up so I can drive back to my place.

I'll probably sell of some of the gear that I won't be using, and hopefully I can reconfigure it for networked audio access. There's not enough room for the Soundtracs console and the DM2000, so I'll probably sell the Soundtracs and maybe try to buy a second DM2000 to cascade together. I'd like to configure it for Protools recording, and Dante data transport. And I'll be adding a pair of Presonus Sceptre S6 monitors to augment the Genelecs.

At the bare minimum, it will serve me as a mixing room for the symphony and opera recording that I do, since I'm no longer employed by the performing arts center that I used to work at and had access to the control room there to mix in.

So...what do you guys think?
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Old 13th September 2018
  #2
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tourtelot's Avatar
All I can say is that I need a remote truck like I need a hole in the head and I woulda probably done the same thing.

Good luck with your new rig!

D.
Old 13th September 2018
  #3
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Big commitment! Do you have an indoor place to park it? (And maybe be able to do your mix work within that space?) Do you have some remote recording clients? Does the truck have any clock and timecode generation and distro gear? Snakes? Do you have enough mics to be able to do a 48 track recording? Mic stands? Cable? I will say that I've found that with equipment (and vehicles) this old it is very hard to get your money back out of it if things don't work out.... If this thing really only ever works as your personal mix+production studio, will it still pencil out for you?
Old 13th September 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I will say that I've found that with equipment (and vehicles) this old it is very hard to get your money back out of it if things don't work out.... If this thing really only ever works as your personal mix+production studio, will it still pencil out for you?
I can probably pay for this buy selling off the gear that I won't use.

I don't have an indoor place to park it. I may have to build a carport to park it under. And no I don't have a place to build out as a mix room. So this would fill that need.
Old 13th September 2018
  #5
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ronmac's Avatar
The two happiest days of your life will be the day you buy it, and the day you sell it.

The days in between could be good, too.
Old 13th September 2018
  #6
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if an opportunity would come along, i'd probably get a remote truck too!

not that i think i could make any money out of it, on the contrary: around here, there is way too much competition from providers you cannot beat, but it'd be fun and i could use it as a mixing space.

if not using my more sophisticated (but more expensive) setup, i also have a dm2000 with 48 channels of remotely controlled ad8hr preamps: they can be found amazingly cheap these days and in your position, i'd probably buy these rather than a second dm2000. but of course, if you have some decent preamps, adding a few cards in the appropriate format to the dm2000 might be a smarter move.

i convert to ethersound or madi (all madi with my larger rig): much more easy regarding cables! - maybe add more 1031's for surround? other than these (and maybe the masterlink), i don't see any gear that i'd want to use...

keep us posted on your progress!
Old 13th September 2018
  #7
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Congrats... it looks good. Hope it all works out for you.
Old 13th September 2018
  #8
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I'm sure you probably have this under control, but just in case - do talk to your insurance company and make sure the gear inside is covered (at home and on-site) since you'll be parking it outside, and make sure you have whatever commercial policy you need for driving it since it's a business vehicle.
Old 13th September 2018
  #9
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tourtelot's Avatar
FWIW, that True P8 mic amp is an awesome neutral box. I loved mine when I owned them (two of them) but they didn't fit into my Dante plan easily and I sold them for preamps that did.

D.
Old 13th September 2018
  #10
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
do talk to your insurance company and make sure the gear inside is covered
And maybe an alarm system?

D.
Old 13th September 2018
  #11
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jwh1192's Avatar
paint this on the side of your new vehicle .. "Human Organ Transplant Vehicle - Stay Back !!!" ... or "Acme Diaper Company" seems to work for the CIA just fine !!!
Old 14th September 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
paint this on the side of your new vehicle .. "Human Organ Transplant Vehicle - Stay Back !!!" ... or "Acme Diaper Company" seems to work for the CIA just fine !!!
Or Guard Dog Delivery Service. Run some loops of barking off the gear inside.
Old 15th September 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
I can probably pay for this buy selling off the gear that I won't use.

I don't have an indoor place to park it. I may have to build a carport to park it under. And no I don't have a place to build out as a mix room. So this would fill that need.
That's what I meant--this thing is your CR, but protecting it from the elements (at least) would help preserve it and also make it possible to mix in during a rainstorm! Years ago I read an article by a guy who wanted to have a studio in a small market and decided to make his control room "portable" (like your truck) and his "music room" (where musicians would play) a permanent building. I think it worked well for him at least for awhile--this was a long time ago. You could possibly do something similar if rentals or real estate is reasonable in your area, and be able to have both a studio and a location recording business with the same rig?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 

So I finally made the deal, handed over the check and drove the truck home. The seller put a pair of new batteries in it and it started right up. Probably needs a bit of a tune up but that's to be expected. 1988 Ford Econoline E350 Diesel with a rebuilt motor and only 30,055 miles on the new motor.

I need to get the power company to come out and install some new service and have talked to an electrician friend of mine about getting a 50A California plug put in so that I can power it. Going to be a few weeks yet before I can work much in it (and we just had a wicked cold snap come in today!).

Currently wired up for analog i/o into the 48 channel Soundtracs console and a pair of Tascam X48s. But the guy I bought it from also included a Yamaha DM2000. I'm going to take the Soundtracs out and replace it with the DM2000 so I can use it as a control surface for Protools.

My plans are to install a Dante based networked system. I have a Focusrite Red 8Pre coming in. And will pick up two or three of the Dante MY-16AUD cards for the DM2000. Along with some extra Focusrite mic pres and the preamps on the DM2000 which will be networked to the Dante system, I will be able to get 64 channels at 48k into Protools, and I believe either 48 or 56 channels at 96k, if my math is right.

The truck came with a 300' Whirlwind W4 MASS snake, and at least 100 or 150 feet of single phase 50amp power cable with California plugs. Also one set of the power cable has four Camlock ends on it.

When I take the Soundtracs console out, and build a new desk for the DM2000, I think I'm going to take out the 5 side racks and a cabinet, and replace them with two racks under the desk, to free up some space, and put in a producer's desk and a couple of chairs for hanger's on to sit in.

Monitoring plans are a pair of Genelec 1031As that came with the truck, and a pair of Presonus Sceptre S6s.
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Old 1 week ago
  #15
Lives for gear
The 1988 HP figures for the 7.3L diesel engine were something like 190 hp, which is sort of modest for a vehicle of that size by today's standards.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Good for you, man! Whoever did the mod on the truck did a classy job--it looks way more legit than a simple van, and how remote trucks look is important. I think you are on the right track with your interior mods--digital console and the ability to use those Dante cards and pres, maximize space avail for clients, minimize racks since you might need a lot less outboard gear with the new board anyhow. Since the DM2000 is a pretty old board I'd suggest having a Yamaha tech check it out if possible before you do a live gig with it, although they were pretty reliable. Happy recording!
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
The 1988 HP figures for the 7.3L diesel engine were something like 190 hp, which is sort of modest for a vehicle of that size by today's standards.
It's definitely not the most powerful truck on the road. It barely got up to 65 on the highway on the way home. And it was huffing going up the big hill down the road from my house.

Hopefully getting the big heavy Soundtracs console and the extra racks out of the back will help improve that some.

I'm still on the fence about whether I will need the W4 snake in the long run or not. I'd like to go to a full Cat5e snake and lose that weight also. But I still would need to get analog i/o to the console and mic pres in the truck.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
It's definitely not the most powerful truck on the road. It barely got up to 65 on the highway on the way home. And it was huffing going up the big hill down the road from my house.

Hopefully getting the big heavy Soundtracs console and the extra racks out of the back will help improve that some.

I'm still on the fence about whether I will need the W4 snake in the long run or not. I'd like to go to a full Cat5e snake and lose that weight also. But I still would need to get analog i/o to the console and mic pres in the truck.
The DM2000 isn't light either, but maybe you were driving with BOTH of them in the truck? Getting the racks out will help a lot re weight. Going Cat5 is a good idea anyhow if you can spring for the Rios or etc as the stage end, but having that analog snake in the warehouse for special rigs is prob a good idea. Besides, it is practically impossible to sell snakes! In any case, as long as the motor gets the truck to and from many gigs then you're good, no prizes for driving speed in a sound truck!
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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The DM2000 is about 94lbs. But I imagine it’s about half the weight of the analog Soundtracs, and yes I did have both in the back. I’m going to have to call in the help of three friends to help me get that Soundtracs console out of the truck, lol. It’s going to be a bitch, for sure.

Then I do need also to get a split or set of tails for the W4 snake, as I only have the multi pins right now.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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I’m hoping to get the truck up and running to at least use to mix the performance of Britten’s War Requiem that I am recording this weekend. The final mastered mix is due by mid December at the latest. So it’ll be a hard push to get there. And I want to take it down to Texas in December to record a project that I have been working on for a friend’s blues band this year.

My biggest hurdle is going to be the new power service at my house.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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did you have an eye on the yamaha ad8hr mic preamps/converters? they can be remotely controlled from the dm2000 and imo are by far the best preamps yamaha ever did!

i'm still running 4 of them over ethersound and control them from a dm1000 on smaller projects (or if i'm too lazy to schlepp my large desk).



p.s. although rather old desks, the dm series are capable of doing lots of things which you'd be very hard pressed to find in any other desk in the sub-100k-range (if at all) - just stay away from the type1 eq...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 09:24 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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That's a pretty cool conversion, if the price was right I would be tempted as well. I would probably dump most of the stuff in there for my tastes and I think there are more efficient ways to utilize the space with modern toys (gear and cable wise), but should be fun.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
did you have an eye on the yamaha ad8hr mic preamps/converters? they can be remotely controlled from the dm2000 and imo are by far the best preamps yamaha ever did!

i'm still running 4 of them over ethersound and control them from a dm1000 on smaller projects (or if i'm too lazy to schlepp my large desk).

p.s. although rather old desks, the dm series are capable of doing lots of things which you'd be very hard pressed to find in any other desk in the sub-100k-range (if at all) - just stay away from the type1 eq...
I am considering adding some AD8HR preamps.

The thing that will get me into trouble is the number of expansion slots on the DM2000. There's ONLY six, lol...And my understanding is that each of the 8 channel AD8HR will require a slot. And if I want to put those inputs on the Dante network, then I can only add 2 or three at most and still have enough network ports through the MY16-AUD cards to get them on the network.

I'm also trying to maximize my track count at 96k. The DM2000 will do 96 channels at 96k, but that's with all 6 slots filled with remote controlled mic pres. Trying to get that many channels onto a Dante network won't work if I have too many more preamps in the DM2000. As I said earlier, I think I'm looking at 48 channels at 96k, or 64 at 48k.

And yes, the DM2000 is still a helluva console. When you consider that it works at 96k, is a live console, will work as a Protools control surface, monitoring controller, and that the MY16-AUD Dante cards work with it and will allow it to be networked to a Dante system; there's really no other console out there that does all that. And I essentially got it for free.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
That's a pretty cool conversion, if the price was right I would be tempted as well.
My own code of humility precludes me from mentioning the price. It was the perfect price, at the right time. I really couldn't refuse it. I can probably pay for it just by selling off the unused gear, it was that cheap.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
I am considering adding some AD8HR preamps.

The thing that will get me into trouble is the number of expansion slots on the DM2000. There's ONLY six, lol...And my understanding is that each of the 8 channel AD8HR will require a slot. And if I want to put those inputs on the Dante network, then I can only add 2 or three at most and still have enough network ports through the MY16-AUD cards to get them on the network.

I'm also trying to maximize my track count at 96k. The DM2000 will do 96 channels at 96k, but that's with all 6 slots filled with remote controlled mic pres. Trying to get that many channels onto a Dante network won't work if I have too many more preamps in the DM2000. As I said earlier, I think I'm looking at 48 channels at 96k, or 64 at 48k.

And yes, the DM2000 is still a helluva console. When you consider that it works at 96k, is a live console, will work as a Protools control surface, monitoring controller, and that the MY16-AUD Dante cards work with it and will allow it to be networked to a Dante system; there's really no other console out there that does all that. And I essentially got it for free.
at 48khz, the yamaha double card slots (available for madi, ethersound, cobranet, aes, adat and dante) can process 16 i/o channels per slot (at 96khz, they do 8i/o per double slot).


[i convert the aes outputs of my four ad8hr's to eithersound (with a nai48es), maybe use some local inputs on the desk and route them via a my16ae into another nai48es which goes to the pc and into a ethersound/madi converter.
madi goes to 3 madi cards i got a lake card and a waves card in addition to the previously mentioned my16aes card so i maxed out all my dm2000's slots... (i paid €3500 for mine ca. 5 years ago).
for mixdown, the aes slot handles the external efx devices.
the dm1000 has two my16aes cards (i paid ca €3500 around 15 years ago).]


it's helpful to store different routings/patchings in the library but it's not worth going to 96khz with these desks (and most any other equipment either imo), you cannot hear or measure any difference...
oh, and the ad8hr gives you an adjustable low cut filter.

happy tweaking!




p.s. i switched to studer vista around 4 years ago: not much use for anything else since :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I took the truck down to the local Loves truck stop tonight and had it weighed. 12,280 lbs with me and my daughter in it and probably 7/8th of a tank of Diesel. I was surprised. I figured it would be closer to 14,000.

Also, I found a pair of Alesis Monitor One speakers tucked away inside one of the racks. They should go well with the Alesis M1 Active Mk IIs that I have that don't get used any more either.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Lives for gear
Besides the weight, the body has enough wind resistance to work the 7.3L or for that matter, any other engine that would fit in that chassis.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
Besides the weight, the body has enough wind resistance to work the 7.3L or for that matter, any other engine that would fit in that chassis.
I'm not familiar with the Econoline range, but I'm guessing it's a typical US recreational vehicle, into which you'd typically fit a kitchen sink, stove, small refrigerator, bed or two, meals table and bench seating, big flat screen TV, cupboards etc ? Once the big Soundtracs desk is removed, the total weight of the remaining audio gear plus location recording kit, mic stands, cables, snake etc might be no more than the RV fit out items listed here ?

All that aside, a Diesel engine is not about speed...it's about load pulling at highest revs for hours and hours without complaint...more like a team of oxen or elephants than a bunch of greyhounds or racehorses ! Just be sure to factor realistic fuel costs into all your future quote estimates....
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
My own code of humility precludes me from mentioning the price. It was the perfect price, at the right time. I really couldn't refuse it. I can probably pay for it just by selling off the unused gear, it was that cheap.
Those are the best kind of deals...I’ve bought several things as a “lot” before just to sell everything I don’t want and get what I do want for free...
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Honey, they shrunk the gear. I used to push a 24 track out of the Record Plant remote for Zappa live shows. It took several of us.

Now days the entire remote rig fits easily into the back of my Jeep Wrangler. The recorder went from 450 lbs to 10 lbs and it works better too.
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