View from the basement:
Part 2 : The rack (archived 1998)
Space is always a concern when setting up a home hobby studio, especially when real drums are involved. At first I had it in my mind to spread everything out for easier patching, but after I realized the 4-tracker could be set up to run start to finish with little or no patching I went with a rack cabinet instead. Luckily, I inherited a nice 48” cabinet from my buddy Mike Harris who used it in the band Redline. He put some wheels on it and a couple of handles and we used it for a road rack for about a year. Needless to say, it was never full. The 2 CS-800’s and single rack boxes were all 2 men and a boy could handle especially up and down stairs. Now it serves as a self contained lean mean recording machine. The Fostex XR-7 sits perfectly on a tilt stand bolted to the top, and everything else fits in front with spaces to spare. All the lines run out the back except the channel inputs, which come in from the back then to the front of the XR-7 by means of holes drilled directly beneath each input that work like the old time telephone switchboards (why not? After all, they are phone plugs). From there the lines and mic cords run under the carpet or along the walls until they reach their respective amp/instrument. The rear input lines to the Fostex come up the back and are held by a “clip-bar” that keeps them from falling behind the cabinet when I take the unit out and about (see diagram #2a ). All the phone plugs are labeled so I don’t get confused. 3M clear package sealing tape works great for making wrap-around laminated labels. It’ll stick to anything
(see diagram #2b ).
For monitors I’ve got a 6” on the drums and an assorted array of 12’s, 15’s, 18’s, mids and horns in all 4 corners. Although it sounds great this is probably a bad idea when trying to create the “perfect” mixdown. Usually I’ll check the results on my car stereo before I get too far. If it sounds OK on that it’ll sound OK on anything. One trick I heard of is to put a switch on the outputs of your amp and hook up a couple of generic boom-box speakers and switch back and forth to check the integrity of the mix without being fooled by your regular kick-butt system. Good idea but sounds like a fuse-blower to me. Probably best to turn the amp off before switching. It's also important to check your mix on a "big" stereo to check for any unwanted low frequency rumbles that are only audible on subwoofer systems. Also, check the mix at low volume and note what elements seem to drop off first as the volume is decreased.
Another recommendation, especially for self-contained systems like this, is running a separate AC power line on it’s own 10 to 20 amp breaker, depending on current requirements. Amps pull the most. I use this breaker to turn the whole thing on and off, but I don’t think I would dead-kill the rack without at least one surge suppressor to take the hit. Every piece of equipment will have wattage listed on the back. Add these all together and divide by 110 (volts) and that should be the approx. amp number of your breaker (330 watts divided by 110 volts = 3 amps).