American Mobile Gears up with TRUE Systems Preamps

Chris Shepard at American Mobile has been using Sennheiser-distributed TRUE preamplifiers to record some of the biggest live concert experiences around America since 2002, when many of today’s popular music festivals were just getting started. To date, Shepard has amassed no less than 130 channels of TRUE preamplification in the American Mobile Recording Truck and multiple HD ‘fly pack’ rigs. American Mobile’s reputation and credits read like the ‘who’s who’ of artists and festivals, and include Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Music Festival and more.

“American Mobile is focused on the adventure of recording music on location — we try to capture all the excitement of everything that happens live,” Shepard says. “My recording systems rely on TRUE Systems’ preamplifiers. Over the years, I’ve worked in some very adverse environments and I have never had a channel go down and I’ve never missed a note!”

Consistent performance is very important to Shepard: “Everything I record goes from the TRUE preamps right into Pro Tools with no other processing — I record flat,” he says. “TRUE Precision sound is big and clean, with a subtle and smooth sonic signature.” Shepard also appreciates the quiet performance of the TRUE Precision 8: “When you have 64 faders up, the noise floor is increasingly important with each microphone channel that is open,” he observes. “One of the first things you notice about these units is how quiet they are and how good they sound”.

In live recording, having a redundant recording system in place is critical — just in case any of the devices should fail. The TRUE Precision 8 has dual DB25/TRS outputs, providing plenty of interconnectivity options. “The ability to split the output signal to two discrete systems is key,” Shepard says. “I will typically send the DB25 output directly to the main Pro Tools system, and the TRS output to a second recording system.”

Shepard says this is an exciting time to be doing remote recording, especially given the current state of the music industry and the increasing popularity of live music. “The web is doing for music what television did for baseball,” he predicts. “There are 30,000 people in the stands, but the larger viewership will be ‘the world’. In the near future, some music fans will enjoy these major festivals on their mobile devices and through other technologies. This will ultimately create a stronger connection between the artists and fans.”

Currently, American Mobile is planning its jam-packed spring, summer and fall festival recordings and will have its faithful arsenal of TRUE Precision 8s in tow to capture all the action. “We’ll be at Bonnaroo in June, then it’s Pitchfork Music Festival in July,” Shepard says. “Then we head out to Lollapalooza and Outside Lands in August, and Austin City Limits in September. It’s going to be another great year of live music,” Shepard concludes.

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