Here at Pro Audio Boutique I do my best to offer some of the best technical support and consultation in the business. We consult for small, large, private and commercial recording studios. From time to time you will see us blog about our consultation with our clients. On this occasion, I received a call from Carbon Leaf’s Guitarist/Vocalist Terry Clark about some concerns and issues he was experiencing with their Pro tools HD system. So I took a trip up to Richmond, VA to visit the band’s recording facility too see if I could be of some help.
About Carbon Leaf’s Studio:
Carbon Leaf’s personal studio is located in a 2-car garage next to Terry Clark's home (hence the name "Two-Car Studio"). The bottom floor is where their live room is located. It has a nice spacious layout with plenty of room to set up for tour rehearsal and recording. The first thing I noticed after walking into the live room was the abundance of tour cases and instruments. These guys love to tour and it shows. If you have ever seen a Carbon Leaf live show you know what I am talking about. They come prepared and ready to give their fans everything they got. The control room and sound lock/Vocal booth area is located on the top floor just up some stairs on the outer part of the house. Both the live and control room is acoustically treated with traps made by the band. Carbon Leaf’s studio is centered around a Pro Tools HD 3 Accel system running on a Mac Pro Quad Core Tower with a Digidesign 192 Converter. Along with a powerful recording system, the band has invested in a wonderful variety of boutique microphones and outboard preamps and compressors.
The Problem and Solution:
Their Pro Tools HD system was having issues crashing after starting up sessions. The weird thing about the system is that it had run perfect for years ( I actually sold, installed and configured this system for them over 5 years ago). They have never updated anything nor changed any settings. But for some reason only sessions with plug ins inserted would crash unexpectedly. Once again their studio is centered around a Pro Tools HD3 Accel system. For all you recording geeks out there you know 99% of time this is a super fast, reliable system with loads of headroom. The band runs a fairly high track count and with a multitude of plugs in from Waves, Sound Toys and Altiverb. We started by running some hardware test to check the DSP chips and flex cable functionality of the Accel Cards. After troubleshooting the hardware and software in the system for a couple of hours we finally diagnosed the problem with a Plug in incompatibility. After a couple of updates, the system was up and running like a dream.
Along with fixing the Pro Tools HD systems we took some time to talk about some Pro Tools tips, tricks and possible updates in the future. I also ended up clearing up some monitoring issues I had noticed when I first stepped in the control room. Carbon Leaf’s choice of studio monitors is Dynaudio BM15a. I am a big fan of Dynaudio myself and was happy to see them in their control room. When I arrived at their studio monitor’s were spaced a little too far apart compared to the listener’s position. The imaging was a little inaccurate and blurred. After a couple of adjustments we were able to achieve a more focused, clear and defined sweet spot for the listener.
I was happy to consult for Carbon Leaf and help ease some frustration they were experiencing with their studio. Along with the consultation we had a great time just hanging out talking about recording, gear, the band and future plans. I cannot thank Terry enough for his hospitality I received during our consultation at the studio and his home.
Be sure to check out Carbon Leaf’s new release: Live, Acoustic…and in Cinemascope
Visit Carbon Leaf’s website for more information: http://carbonleaf.com http://www.facebook.com/carbonleaf