Studio on Wheels
May 1, 2001 12:00 PM, Dan Daley
Studio on Wheels' CEO John Falzarano started in remote recording while still in his teens, literally learning the trade from the ground up. A young hi-fi enthusiast, he would modify mixing boards and record his own drum kit onto a 2-track machine. When a local jazz group began rehearsing in his garage, Falzarano experimented with 4-track, eventually becoming the group's live sound engineer. Later, Falzarano would pack his multitrack, mixer and microphones into a 1961 Ford Econoline van and head out to other musicians' homes to record. “One day, instead of taking the gear out of the van and into the house, I left the gear in the van and ran the cables inside,” he recalls. “From that moment on, I was in the live remote recording business.”
Since then, Studio on Wheels has grown to a top-tier, three-truck company, with two vehicles based in Southern California and the other in Nashville. All of the trucks have become known for their ample assortment of vintage analog equipment and significant history — each was acquired from major remote operators, including the Record Plant. Outfitted with classic analog Auditronics, API and Amek consoles, as well as a combination of analog and digital recording gear, each of the Studio on Wheels vehicles has garnered a reputation as true musicians' trucks.
“We have a vintage analog orientation with our trucks and equipment choices,” Falzarano explains. “A lot of the live radio broadcasts prefer the digital tape formats, of which we have plenty. But so many individual artists come to us specifically for our analog consoles, tape decks and vintage outboard gear. For instance, D'Angelo and Rage Against the Machine both used Mobile Unit 3, originally designed by the Record Plant, which has the API console and Ampex 1200 tape machines to capture their live shows for album releases. Like any good recording studio, each truck has its own distinctive sound. Studio on Wheels regularly uses the trucks to mix a world-wide syndicated radio program called ‘The Road,’ as well as other projects. We are equipped to handle any remote situation.”
That ability to make musicians feel at home is the reason that Studio on Wheels has garnered favor with such a diverse range of artists from virtually every major genre, from rock to pop, country to gospel, blues to jazz.
In addition to technology, Studio on Wheels brings three decades' worth of experience to projects. Falzarano notes that a predilection for perfection and a large microphone selection — over 100 on hand — have enabled him to capture live performances in more detail. For instance, he says, “When doing large gospel choirs, a lot of engineers would choose to use a few microphones placed around the choir. We use a lot of microphones and therefore attain a very high degree of isolation throughout the choir, which makes a big difference in terms of options when it comes time to mix.”
Studio on Wheels offers an experienced staff, including Falzarano and engineer Kathleen Yore. “It's about the equipment, the technique and the people,” Falzarano says. “But in the end, it has to be about the music.”
Company Name: Studio on Wheels. Contact: John Falzarano. Services Offered: Remote live recording, mixing. Main Technology Platforms: (Mobile 1) Auditronics console, Otari MTR-90 MkII 24-track, 48 tracks of DA-88, 48 tracks of ADAT; (Mobile 2) Amek console, 3M M-79 24-track, 48 tracks of ADAT; (Mobile 3) API console w/550A EQ, Ampex 1200 (2), 48 tracks of DA-88; large selection of contemporary and vintage outboard gear. Vehicle Information: MU1: 2O-foot; MU2: 25-foot; MU3: 30-foot. Partial Client List: D'Angelo, Dwight Yoakam, Moby, Rage Against the Machine, Beck, Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Van Morrison, Mötley Crüe, Joni Mitchell, Andre Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Trenora Parker, Herbie Hancock, Billy Taylor, Westwood One and United Stations Radio Network.
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