Finished System with new routing and redesigned patchbay
Pro Audio Boutique Rewires Crooked Stick Studios in Eastern, Tennessee
It's always nice to a get a call from a local recording facility in our area. This time Steven Davidson (Owner) of Crooked Stick Recording Studios contacted us about fixing a couple of issues they were experiencing with their system. And ultimately to see if they could make their system more user friendly and efficient. So I headed on down to see if I could help out.
First: A little about Crooked Stick Recording Studios
Crooked Stick Recording Studios was started by Owner, Steven Davidson, in the hopes of attracting potential local bands and artists alike in the Eastern, Tennessee area. Crooked Stick is not just a home studio. It is in fact located in Steven's home. But if you check out one of our previous blogs about our consultation with Blackwater Recording Studio. Just like Blackwater, Steven did a full build out in his basement. Everything from the isolation rooms, open sight lines for artists, acoustical drop ceilings and HVAC system is as commercial has it can get for a studio located in a home. You can tell he spent a considerable amount of dough to get it where it's at. It feels like a real studio when you walk in. The main recording system at Crooked Stick is a Pro Tools 10/11 Native system on a new Mac Pro (trash can style , not tower). They have a nice variety of Plug-In processing from Waves Audio. Focusrite Scarlett rounds out the A/D D/A conversion with preamps from Solid State Logic. Headphone and Cue Mixes consisted of Hear Back headphone system.
Gutting and Rewiring the Set up
Crooked Stick's patchbay when I arrived is what I would call a "one man" engineer patchbay. It was designed for the main engineer that works there from time to time. Now of course, when you walk into any commercial studio, most patchbays will take a couple of minutes to grasp signal flow. And in most cases there is an assistant engineer on staff and in session to do most patching for you. Crooked stick is a one engineer studio most of the time. Meaning there is no assistant engineer on staff to help with the patchbay. Any engineer or producer who wants to work at Crooked Stick should be able to walk in, check out the bay and be able to start patching within 10 minutes or so.
When I design and rewire bays for studios I like to make it is as user friendly as possible. I design the bays in a pretty industry standard (SSL type) style of Out on Top / In on Bottom. Meaning any device output comes into the top row of the bay and any input of a device is located on the bottom row. Crooked Stick's Patchbay was not of the configuration when I arrived. So we started to gut the entire bay and the contents of the desk and start from scratch.
Like most DB25 patchbays, the Switchcraft DB25 patchbay has switch options for Normalling. (Half, Full and Non Normal Modes). These modes were not being used to the fullest advantage when I arrive. The ability to send signal through a patchbay onto it's destination without using a patch cable in certain scenarios can make working more efficient and less confusing. I ended up changing some of the switches to Full, Half and even Non normalled on parts of the bay.
In this particular Rewire/Install, cables and a patchbay was already provided from the existing set up. But on most fresh installs I design and build custom cabling of all types to fit into the design. But in this case I ended up having to modify a couple of cables to work with the new layout.
All Back Together and Testing
Getting it all back together is always the fun part. Cables are ready to go. Everything is Zip Tied and Labeled. Once everything gets back into its place...It TESTING TIME! Which means going through every input and output on the bay. I go through every Wall Box, Preamp, In and Out in Pro Tools to make sure things are going where they are suppose to.
Going to studios and helping out clients is the funniest part of running Pro Audio Boutique. Seeing what I can do to help studios find solutions to problems or to make their lives easier working with their gear is the best feeling. It was a pleasure, once again to help out Crooked Stick like all our other clients, to make their studio a more comfortable and efficient place to make music.
Check Out Crooked Stick Studios if you are in the Eastern, TN area.
And If you are interested in Pro Audio Boutique's Installations or Consultations give us a ring toll free: