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Tech News (more headlines) 08-23-2011

David Crowder*Band Uses TRUE Systems PT2-500 As Core Component Of "Traveling Studio" As Band Completes Tracks For Two New Records

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NEW YORK - August 23, 2011 - During this year's Winter Jam, the largest annual music tour featuring Christian music in the United States, Texas' David Crowder*Band (DC*B) played before hundreds of thousands of Christian music fans touring across the country along with ten other artists. While on tour, they had two TRUE Systems PT2-500 preamplifiers on hand with which they captured material for two albums to be released in the coming months, including a Christmas album titled "Oh For Joy" to be released this October.

The 2011 Winter Jam began in January and took the DC*B on the road for about two months where they played in various basketball arena type settings and other environments each day. In addition to their live sound touring rig, Tour Operations Manager Rob Albert also specified a small remote recording rack for the band to capture recordings while backstage prior to the gigs. The rack consisted of two TRUE Systems PT2-500s, a Lynx Aurora converter, an API 500 series Lunchbox, a small Pro Tools rig and several microphones which the band had been using as part of their live rig including Sennheiser e 935s, e 906s, MD 441s and others.

"We needed to get started on a record, so we took a little traveling studio rig with us and used it every day in the green room," recalls DC*B drummer B-wack. "We finished the bulk of the "Oh For Joy" recordings during the tour and did a lot of recording in interesting spaces like locker rooms and showers backstage, where there was tons of reverb -- it was a lot of fun and really made for a different sounding record."

B-wack says TRUE preamplifiers not only sounded great, but also gave them flexibility. "We had to be really portable but uncompromising with the sound. The PT2-500s are each single channel and have two instrument jacks on the front and an XLR input on the back. The unit has an instrument "thru" jack, which was handy especially when we wanted to send the signal out through a pedal board, like, say for a violin, we'd have two channels: one would be the pedal board signal and one would be the direct. That ultimately gave us a lot of sonic options."

Even with a small and simple recording chain such as the one they used backstage, accuracy and precision are fundamental to the success of the recording. Using the PT2-500, they were able to ensure common recording levels among the two units using the stepped potentiometer dial: "There are so many steps on the units that it makes it really easy to find a spot you want," B-wack says. "It was reassuring knowing that we were able to get the exact same gain on both channels."

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all was the sonic transparency of the PT2-500, which helped achieve an honest representation of each microphone that was used: "The PT2 is a relatively flat and transparent preamp and it gave us more of the sound that was in front of us rather than coloring it. We were forced to monitor in interesting spaces and on headphones, so we wanted to spend less time carving EQ or thinking about everything too much; we just want the equipment to sound like the source and let the music happen," B-wack says.

For the recording, DC*B had robust collection of Sennheiser mics to draw from. "On any tour, you need good mics," he says. "These are known quantities for us. On guitar amps, we used the Sennheiser e 906, which you can drop it over the side of an amp and it just sounds great. For vocals, the e 935 has been David's live vocal mic of choice for the last couple of years so we used this as well. On the snare, I used a Sennheiser MD 441, which I love and have been using for years."

B-wack says that when they weren't working on "Oh For Joy", they were using their TRUE rig to record bluegrass songs for their upcoming album, tentatively called Requiem. "One day, we decided to set up a couple of mics, get in a circle and record about nine bluegrass songs. Some of these are going to end up on our new record that comes out in the spring, and others are going to end up as bonus material." All in all, the recordings are being well received by their colleagues, "Everyone so far is very pleased with what we captured -- the word is that "Oh For Joy" is among the better things we've made."

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