Where's the Engineer?

By Bumper Morgan

The great thing about having a home studio is the ability to experiment with audio gear that some Chief Engineers don’t encourage. In ‘84, I had worked at a radio station that had an anemic production room. With my own money, I bought an effects box for the mic that I wanted to use on the promos. I had to smuggle it in to the station. When the CE caught wind of it, it caused a big riff. Just one of the many reasons I built a home studio in ’89. Not to mention you get to spend quality time with your wife and kids.

 Just weeks ago, I had a mono voice-over session over the Zephyr. I suggested using layer 2, mono 128. We had to settle on layer 3, stereo 64 because the engineer didn’t allow anybody to touch the settings, even the Program and Production Director. Unfortunately, Jaba The Hut still controls the knobs at many stations.

 In my home studio environment there is tremendous freedom. I’m the only one that uses the equipment, and it’s customized for my optimal use. However, when it breaks down, I’m yelling “where’s the engineer?”

 We’ve been sending radio/TV stations MP3 files as e-mail attachments for over two years now. It’s hard enough to convince some of them to get Internet/e-mail access in the production room. Many use contracted engineers who lack the passion for special projects. Some programmers are so impressed with the quality of the material, many of them burn their own CDs from home. This may make it a little easier to sell to your General Manager, especially when they realize they don’t have to pay for FedEx.

 The gap between Windows and Macs has narrowed significantly. Software is ridiculously cheap, and so is the hardware. I like Cool Edit Pro; and the DMAN 2044, 4 in/4 out, 1/4 inch, 20-bit sound card sounds wonderful.

 Life is a magical digital tour, yeah baby, yeahhhh!