At Pro Tools Expert we talk a lot about studio gear that we love and use regularly in our studios and workflows. Over the holiday, as a team we have been chatting about some of the studio gear we don't use very much anymore or perhaps have fallen out of love with, and as a bit of fun we thought we would share our selections with you. Some items we could consider to sell, others are important to keep 'just in case' and others really are a bit of fun.
Let us know the studio gear in your recording studios that you hardly use anymore.
CO2 Fire Extinguisher - Mike Thornton
To be honest I hope I never have to use it! But I have a carbon dioxide extinguisher by the door of my studio, just in case something ignites.
I chose a CO2 extinguisher so it could be used on electrical items without causing too much more damage. You can use dry powder extinguishers on electrical items but they do make a horrendous mess.
I also have a monitored alarm in the house because of the studio and I have a smoke detector in the studio attached to the alarm so if there was a fire when we weren't around, the emergency services would be alerted.
MTR HPA-6 Headphone Amp - Julian Rodgers
I’ve had this probably 10 years and I liked it so much I’ve specced several hpa-6s and hpa-2s for other studios. These are brilliant boxes: Really heavy duty construction with all-steel casework with proper steel sockets and pots nutted to the casework. It has a built in PSU with an IEC input and it’s dangerously loud!
Hand-made in small numbers and very repairable these are everything an all-analogue headphone amp should be. However times move on and the advantages of AoIP distribution in terms of control, routing and splitting of signals mean that however good a headphone amp this is, the workflow it supports is a little old fashioned in 2017. I’m reluctant to sell it but I can’t see it coming down from the loft any time soon. Total studio hours in 2016 - Zero.
TritonAudio Fethead - Dan Cooper
Let me start by saying that the only reason the TritonAudio Fethead is in this list is because I don't use it. The main reason is because I also own a Cloudlifter CL-1. I purchased the Fethead a couple of years ago as I needed to boost the gain on both a Shure SM 7B and SM58 at the same time for a lengthy recording project. The Fethead costs about half the price of a Cloudlifter and offers slightly more gain. The problem I had with the Fethead was that I found it to be very sensitive to mobile phone interference as you can hear in an old Pro Tools Expert podcast. This mobile interference problem happened a few too many times for my liking so I decided to stick with the Cloudlifter since. The Cloudlifter CL-1 and Shure SM7b is the combination I use for all the recordings of my voice for the Pro Tools Expert podcast, video tutorials and reviews.
My Banjo - James Ivey
Over many years I have tried to create a recording space where a client can come in be able to make pretty much any musical sound. Now that maybe by creating a tone on a hardware or software synth or sound module, or it could be by grabbing one of my guitars or acoustic instruments, however, the Banjo has been on the wall for well over 5 years and it has never seen any active service. Now say what you like about the Banjo, love it or hate it (and in the right hands it can sound amazing) but it just didn't find a place in any of the music my clients or I have produced. So to that end, it is going back in the loft to gather yet more dust. Sorry old chap. I know where you are if I need you.
Ligawo 6518730 Audio Embedder - Alan Sallabank
This is one of those classic "seemed a good idea at the time" situations. I wanted to be able to review through my TV's built-in speakers, but needed to somehow embed the audio in to the HDMI stream feeding my TV. I hadn't reckoned on two things.
Firstly my TV speakers are phenomenally poor and the TV isn't wall mounted, so the speakers fire backwards in to my acoustic treatment rather than reflect off the wall. Secondly I hadn't taken in to account latency compensation. When using my main 7.1 monitoring and projector, the audio chain does not touch the video chain and I have to use the Video Sync Offset function to compensate for the projector latency. However when you feed a TV with built in speakers with HDMI embedded audio, it automatically deploys its own built-in latency compensation. If you leave the Video Sync Offset in place, the audio coming out of the TV speakers is double compensated, and thus late.
This makes it all so fiddly that instead I've reverted to using a pair of really cheap Alesis monitors either side of my TV, as they more adequately reflect real world installations.
Lacie d2 DVD±RW drive - Peter Barter
Back in 2008 as a student my trusty white Macbook decided that it couldn’t be bothered with cumbersome bits of cylindrical plastic anymore and would mechanically vomit out anything I tried to insert – repairs at the time were costly and not always successful for long, so I decided to go for an external solution. A bit of ebaying and £40 later I had acquired a nearly new Lacie d2 DVD±RW drive. For sure it was a huge upgrade with disc reading and writing taking a fraction of the time it once did.
Fast forward to January 2011 and Apple in one of their trademark landscape tilting moments launched the mac app store. Digital distribution had been around for a while but with Apple taking the reins and beginning to abandon the physical medium for distribution meant that it could finally ditch the optical drive across its entire line of new macs – this also meant that other software manufacturers had to follow suit if they wanted to maintain their piece of the ‘Apple pie’.
Now in 2017 I think the last time the drive was used was over a year ago when I was digitising my own wedding DVD (who says romance is dead?). I’m glad that I still have the capability of working with what can now be classed as legacy formats such as CD and DVD but I’m also glad that the dawn of digital distribution has meant that I don’t have to buy and store so many plastic discs of data.