Shepard's Mobile Recording Setup Pits Analog With Digital

Nov 20, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Engineer/producer Chris Shepard's Tour My Studio (Chicago) mobile recording setup can be packed into six road cases and features 40 channels of True Systems Precision 8 transformerless microphone preamps and a collection of high-quality microphones, including models from Neumann and Sennheiser, and a Digidesign Pro Tools|HD Version 6.0 workstation.

"It's a great-sounding preamp, and the noise floor is incredible," said Shepard, studio manager at the Chicago Recording Company and owner of Tour My Studio. Shepard established Tour My Studio three years ago to complement CRC by providing location recording services. "The two are linked together and work hand-in-hand real well. The combination of reaching out from a major studio and being able to supply a live rig is key to both ventures staying current."

According to Shepard, Tour My Studio was born out of necessity. "I was doing more and more engineering and producing for people who were asking me to set up studios in weird environments with bastard gear. I wanted better tools. So I went and I put together what I figured was going to be the ultimate studio, with the best mics and preamps I could afford, the ultimate headphone mixing ability, the best mic stands, and put that together as a package that people can actually afford. My goal is to provide musicians a way of doing remote recording economically with quality gear. All projects vary in cost due to complexity and time. But the key here is having a musician walk away from a show with a CD of the recording, a good decent mix and a hard drive with the individual tracks. This is what musicians want. It's empowering the artist. They walk away with the hard drive or their performance."

Commenting on the preamp, Shepard said, "It's just great stuff and dependable. Plus, the built-in splitting ability comes in handy for me. I put DB25 panels on the back of both my racks," explained Shepard. "So basically, all I'm using is a DB25 patch cord to connect the preamp rack to the Pro Tools rack. It's so simple, clean and fast. Our rig is set up in about half-an-hour. It loads off the truck, the fronts of the cases come off, just a few wires connect it together and we're rocking.

"The road case that holds the mic pre's took a hit at the House of Blues recently, doing KMFDM," he continued. "It came off of the loading dock with their loaders and went face down. And it went real hard. But we tested them and they were fine."

Regarding his mic collection, Shepard enthused that "the Neumann KM 184s are probably my most desired room mics. I carry a Neumann TLM 103 and use that a lot for low end or for strings. We do a lot of gospel work, where we go to a church and record the full strings, piano, choir, and obviously the room mics are so important in that scenario."

For more information, visit Chicago Recording Company at For more on Tour My Studio, visit

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