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Thinking about getting a mobile recording truck
Old 6th December 2010
  #1
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Talking Thinking about getting a mobile recording truck

I've got a chance to buy a retired mobile truck. It's not really what I do, most of what I do is done on small portable rigs with about 8 channels but I've always had an interest.
Anyway, the truck is loaded with a w4 snake and a NEVE capricorn (w/madi) currently. It also comes with a 2nd capricorn console as a spare.
It's a rather large truck requiring a CDL (one of our engineers has one, but it's limiting for me none the less) and shore power. This is well beyond the scope of most of our clients and well beyond my normal size of project.
I'm flipping back and forth on pulling out all of the digital stuff and putting in one of my Studer A800's and a Trident 80B that I have and loading it up with some vintage gear I have lying around that's extra from the studio or keeping it the way it is and just enhancing this gear that's already installed.

I think rather than the traditional remote type of gig I'd be looking at doing more of a mobile studio and recording bands in their rehearsel spaces and interesting locations
I'm not driven by money in most of my projects and I'm really just looking to have fun with this project. I think it might be wise though to keep the truck in a useable manor for actual remote gigs should they arise.
Just curious what the people in this forum have to say about gear selection to make the truck friendly for actual remote gigs or even the possibility of allowing other remote companies to "lease" the truck when I'm not using it as my use will be very limited.
Thanks
Old 6th December 2010
  #2
The Stevester is clearly the fount of wisdom on this and all related issues... I get the impression remote trucks are generally found in close proximity to the words "big budget," "broadcast" and "very serious business."

Alot of the theoretical things that could happen in the world end up not happening so much... shame as it is. The band rehearsal, say. No "better" way to do it than a nicely outfitted truck idling in the alleyway, but realistically, is the band ready to pony up for this expense? And psychologically, being in the rehearsal room with them, sharing in their vibe, having the ability to lean forward and jockey this or that mic around, sensing the visual cues that the band members offer-- might make for a more holistic experience for all, more feng for the shui.
Old 6th December 2010
  #3
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See and Hear's Avatar
 

These are just a few thoughts that always run through my when I am asked about a mobile.


A few Cons
Just remember there are the other expenses. Insurance, license, tires/ brakes, storage, parking, security.
Cost of the upkeep of the mobile.
You and your staff will want/need your CDL: after a 12+ hr work day then driving you will have to "play" with your log book. You can always hire a driver.
The first words that will often come out of clients mouths are we can't afford it. Even if you know that it fits their budget.
Dealing with the weather during setup/strike.
Constant upgrade of gear.


A few Pros
The mobile will come across like you are in a different/higher league.
Not having to deal with the elements during the gig. Ie in a homey, warm, cool, dry place.
Crew not dropping your road cases loaded with equipment.
Usually spend more time on the quality of the record than the “why is this not working”
Always having your gear. (unless you are steve and always changes the gear for every client)
Great advertisement/promo for your company.
Just being able to spec your own mobile
Constant upgrade of gear. (You are a gearslut)


Priceless
The adrenalin rush and being scared spit less at the same time when doing the first major gig with the truck.
Telling the Nay sayers that I actually got the truck then seeing their face when you show up.
Old 6th December 2010
  #4
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EThanks gentlemen, some excellent points. The truck for me would be used locally only. Well, within a couple of hours. Please keep the thoughts coming
Old 7th December 2010
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Been thinking about a truck/van more than once. Still an option for the future, but needs more clients of the high-budget kind.

Another three Cons:
You do need at least one assistant who knows the stuff. Distances are way larger than when you're set up two doors from stage, and you don't want to run this distance more than twice to tweak mics.
For smaller budget gigs, I often do it on my own, or get some unpaid intern for load-in (in exchange for them to watch and learn). Can't do that with a truck.
You have longer cable runs, and more chances that someone damages the multicore. You might want a digital snake (MADI, CAT.5, whatever).

Another three Pros:
You have at least one assistant. That way you can concentrate on the sound and listen to placement changes in real time.
Your digital snake might give you 24 clean preamps right on the stage, and you might want that snake anyway.
Actually, a third Pro: your listening environment is the same on all jobs, and your isolation from stage will be great.
Old 12th December 2010
  #6
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If you think your clients will dig it and pay for it then go for it. It's a huge commitment, and a VERY tough BUSINESS to be in--nothing casual about it--full time full court press to keep it working. BUT.....there are those cool jobs that you will NEVER get without a truck.... You are probably already a really good engineer/recordist/mixer. Are you a good enough BUSINESSMAN as well to make a real remote truck work out?

phil p
Old 12th December 2010
  #7
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Remoteness's Avatar
Lightbulb Remotesters rule, but not necessarily in big rigs!

More power to you considering the amount of mobile recording trucks that have gone bust, not to mention all the top tier studios that are no longer with us...

It sounds like the retired mobile unit is Belmont University's truck which they purchased from another fellow awhile back. I'm just guessing based on the console and the available backup console that comes with the vehicle.

Man, if it's not really what you do why even consider getting into this arena?
It's one thing if you're a seasoned 'live' or 'on location' professional that has been hiring other trucks and now is thinking of getting your own rig...

It's a completely different world my man, especially since most of the work you do is small portable rigs and such!
You may be able to purchase this rig, but keeping it going is a different story all together.
I mean, you're only as good as your last gig! I can tell you (way too many) stories about folks that thought they could make it so, but ended up loosing it all due to a system malfunction or inexperience issues.

What about the crew?
IMO, that's even more important on so many levels we would need another thread to touch on all those points.

And, that Crapacorn also known as Capricorn? You got to be kidding me, right?
The board when it wants to work actually sounds fabulous, but you will need a full time tech to keep it running, especially during the gigs you want to do. You may want to throw a sMackie desk under that board as a backup.
Why do you think they grabbed another desk? Parts my man, parts.

There are many stories on how the Crapacorn countlessly failed while on board one of the (at the time) world's largest remote facility. Wishing it would fail during a commercial break (or you're toast) was the normal mindset.
The seasoned professionals that ran that rig keep their business going even when all else failed because of their quality of work.
The console had nothing to do with it I'm afraid.

If you're still considering this purchase, consider getting another console that's a lot more reliable.

What about trucks requiring a CDL driver?
The new truck I'm building (not Elroy) does not need a CDL because it's under 26,000 lbs.
IMO, that's the way to go.
If I ever recommission Jethro, I will build it out as a 26K gross truck and there's no doubt about it.

That said, there are good reasons for a truck over 26K lbs, but I don't think we really need to get into that here.

Shore power should not be a real problem. Every building has a power tie-in; just some are harder than others to access...
IMO, it's the easy part as long as you have a crew member that can tie in.

If your looking at recording bands in their rehearsal spaces and interesting locations why bother with a huge rig that needs a CDL driver and shore power needs? There are other more flexible options available.

I'm not driven by money either, but making the right decisions are very important me and the success of my operation.
Economics does play a big role in making my playtime work for me and I do want to have fun with my projects, but I also need to get paid the right amount bread when we work those serious dates...

Big budget dates are the main reason why I do this stuff as of late.
It wasn't how I started. My hobby turned into my full time career.
Today, broadcasts and live CD/DVD work is what keeps us in the game.
How else could I afford to play around with my friends with their small projects and such?

A lot of good points have been made here by our tremendous members, so I'm not going to reiterate, but all those "other" expenses are to be seriously considered when you make your final decision on whether or not you should drop that bread on this rig. Just keep in mind and be ready to loose it all if it doesn't work out for you.

There are ways to work around the 12 plus hour work days our drivers have to address, but again I believe this is for another discussion.

I hope this helped.
Old 13th December 2010
  #8
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Yes Steve, Indeed it helps. All excellent points.
I've always been a bit of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy and a risk taker. It's worked out well so far, but the Capricorns were a real issue to me (oh yes, it is the Belmont truck, I bought their other small one last year and sold it for a nice little profit after cleaning it up and putting $5K into the truck itself. Guys who bought it are making money on the east coast with it right now.)
I do think the truck is overkill, but so is everything I do :-) I'm in the middle of Kansas with a studio filled with a 9098 console, EMT plate, 2 Studer A800's etc.
I'll probably install the 48 Tracks of Radar I have as well as a computer fitted with RME MADI cards. Depending on the relability of the capricorns they may go away if they dont hold up. Since this is a new venture, there will be a lot of cheap or free recordings going on for awhile as we iron out the bugs. By the end of our "testing period" we'll know whether the NEVE's make the cut.
While I appreciate the guys bringing in the racks and I think they have their place, I like controlling my listening space more than getting shoved in a closet or bathroom backstage, I've done that far too long already.
While I dont really have a "market" picked out, I would probably contract with the local PBS station as they fall seriously short on audio and then hit all the regular church "praise bands" that are looking to do something at their location. That's a big market around here. (hey, its the bible belt!!)
And if it doesnt work out, I'll store inventory inside the truck :-)
Old 13th December 2010
  #9
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Well, it looks like you already made up your mind about that rig.

Keep us posted on your developments.

Oh, who ended up with the smaller truck?
Old 13th December 2010
  #10
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Steve I cant remember their names, I wish I could as I left a favourite CD in the player that's kind of rare and I'd like to get it back :-)
They do video and audio. They sent a few videos to me and they were really good actually with multiple cameras and booms etc. I think they are mostly in the Carolinas. Really nice couple of guys.
That was a nice little truck, kind of wish I'd kept it as it would probably have worked better for my applications.
If I can jog my memory I'll get you their info
Old 13th December 2010
  #11
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Good luck Aaron!
Please keep us posted
Old 13th December 2010
  #12
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Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron H View Post
Steve I cant remember their names, I wish I could as I left a favourite CD in the player that's kind of rare and I'd like to get it back :-)
They do video and audio. They sent a few videos to me and they were really good actually with multiple cameras and booms etc. I think they are mostly in the Carolinas. Really nice couple of guys.
That was a nice little truck, kind of wish I'd kept it as it would probably have worked better for my applications.
If I can jog my memory I'll get you their info
Cool; perhaps you may recall their name by looking at the invoice you prepared for them;-)

In any event, all the best.
Old 14th December 2010
  #13
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Thread Starter
Yeah, let me look for that invoice....where was it again? Actually I do wish I could remember those guys names, they were really nice cats.

So the Otari Radars came today, so now I have to buy a truck to put them in!!! Nothing like letting the tail wag the dog :-)

I wasnt that excited about this whole thing, but the more I think about it the more I like it. I may just sit in it and listen to music :-) Hey it's not that expensive of a listening room?
Old 14th December 2010
  #14
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Sounds like you have money to burn; More power to you.

Do you have any picture of the interior of that truck?
I've seen the outside ofthat rig before and after Belmont University added their logo and such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron H View Post
Yeah, let me look for that invoice....where was it again? Actually I do wish I could remember those guys names, they were really nice cats.

So the Otari Radars came today, so now I have to buy a truck to put them in!!! Nothing like letting the tail wag the dog :-)

I wasnt that excited about this whole thing, but the more I think about it the more I like it. I may just sit in it and listen to music :-) Hey it's not that expensive of a listening room?
Old 14th December 2010
  #15
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Thread Starter
Yeah Steve, If I wasnt so computer stupid I could figure out how to post the pics on these pages.
Old 14th December 2010
  #16
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Remoteness's Avatar
lol...

Come on, if a knucklehead like me can do it, anyone can.
It's not that difficult, just follow the directions the next time you post.
Click on 'Manage Attachments" and browse the folder you have the pictures in. click on the picture you want, then pick another one until you're done. Once you're completed that task click on the upload button and then post the message like usual. You can post quite a few pictures per post.

Hey, if all else fails just throw some money at it and get those picture uploaded. heh




Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron H View Post
Yeah Steve, If I wasnt so computer stupid I could figure out how to post the pics on these pages.
Old 14th December 2010
  #17
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Hey Steve thanks. I threw an extra pic of the outside for the people who hadnt seen it yet.
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Old 15th December 2010
  #18
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This is music to my eyes! Aaron, when you get a second, will you check your PM's? I only ask because I rarely check mine. Your truck looks awesome!
Old 15th December 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron H View Post
Hey Steve thanks. I threw an extra pic of the outside for the people who hadnt seen it yet.
Somebody spent a wad o' cash on that thing. It seems like it would be a better deal (or a smaller loan) to buy something like that used (although it looks pretty new....). I'll be interested to hear if you stick w/ the Neve Cap or go with something simpler to feed your RADARs. Did you get all the requisite snakes, splitters, AC distro, etc with it?

phil p
Old 15th December 2010
  #20
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Yep has all of the above.
Old 16th December 2010
  #21
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The only times I have stuck my head in a truck like that I left wondering how the guys could hear anything subtle (like buzz or hash) with the HVAC making so much noise.

How do you do it, Steve?

Rich
Old 16th December 2010
  #22
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Rich,

It can be a drag.; I mean I've mixed in plenty of noisy truck environments.
In those cases, you have to learn how to tune it out.
That said, I still can hear subtle noises and such.
It's like second nature for me...

The idea is to find and start off with the quietest unit and then design and build the proper baffling to silence the airflow noise.

Elroy has two split air units. The front air handler (when completed) shall have a movable sound panel the will help isolate the noise level of the unit. Depending on how the truck is being use will determine which physical setting the panel will be set at.

The rear air handler is the backup unit and only on when applicable.

Cosmo shall have a similar system.
Old 17th January 2011
  #23
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Did you get the truck? Hows the retrofit comming?
Old 18th January 2011
  #24
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Thread Starter
Still negotiating, guys a little slow to get back with me. I think we'll get it together in the next couple of days. Just not sure if I want the capricorn as we may install a full Sonoma system inside. Pretty pointless to have a PCM based board in front of that. Could use a bunch of pres and use the cap to montor I guess and mix "at home".
Old 24th March 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

Did you ever get the truck and if yes hows the project coming along?
Old 24th March 2011
  #26
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I was just thinking the same thing a few days ago.
Old 11th April 2011
  #27
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Keep the Capricorn! Any Cap still running today will have had most of the flakey hardware (and software) issues shaken down. There are plenty of spares available too - a friend of mine has a whole shelf unit full of cards/parts.

Good luck either way, keep the updates coming!
Old 23rd August 2011
  #28
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Looks like this truck still hasn't found an owner.

It can be found in the Nashville Craigslist Musical Instruments listing. I tried to add a link but gearslutz.com did not want to cooperate.

On a personal note, I wouldn't dare rely on that console. Throw a couple of DM2000s in there. Not as sexy but super stable.

Dylan Seals

Last edited by audioisgood; 23rd August 2011 at 11:05 PM.. Reason: why is the url not working?
Old 24th August 2011
  #29
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Ha!
Old 28th September 2011
  #30
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FYI, I saw this truck on eBay just a few days ago.
I guess the OP never grabbed this rig.
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