The studio holds a large table for up to four individuals. Beside the table, there is a couch for an additional two individuals. Each of the six seats is equipped with a microphone.
Outside of the studio, recordings can be conducted with up to four individuals/microphones.
Via the internet, recordings can be conducted with any number of individuals/microphones.
In the center of the 20m2 room, there is a large table that is adjustable for height and seats up to four individuals. Each seat is equipped with a high-quality dynamic Shure SM7B microphone, which is mounted onto a stable Yellowtec MiKA YT3701 microphone boom. In order for a speaker to be able to adjust their microphone’s position and orientation at will, the microphone is joined to its boom’s mounting suspension through a Shure A26X extension tube.
Each of these four microphones is plugged into a TritonAudio FetHead pre-amplifier, which in turn is plugged into the Zoom F8n audio recorder. If required, further audio sources can be added. Given my current collection of cables and adapters, these sources need to have XLR connectors (male/female), 3.5mm (1/8”) or 6.3mm (1/4”) stereo jacks (male/female), or Lightning connectors (female).
The audio recorder saves the up to eight tracks of a recording on SD cards. Simultaneously it can function as an interface with the recording computer via a USB connection, thereby allowing for an additional recording to be performed on that device. Furthermore, this allows for the inclusion of audio sources which are set up on the computer and which transmit their data from there to the recorder.
The software on the recording computer, which makes all of this possible (and even much more), is ULTRASCHALL, a free plug-in for the digital audio workstation REAPER. Its soundboard is a convenient tool for playing back local audio files during the recording, e.g., intro and outro. Studio-Link, which is also part of the package, makes it very easy to incorporate spatially distant speakers through VoIP/AoIP connections with high audio quality and low latency. The optional Ultraschall HUB for macOS provides the possibility to include various other audio sources. These comprise, for instance, Skype and Zoom. Not least, they comprise the recording computer’s outgoing audio signal, which can include the audio played back by, say, a browser.
The collective audio is broadcast by the recorder to the Behringer HA400 headphone amplifier. Hooked up to the amplifier are the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones that the four seats around the table are equipped with. Seats 2 through 4, from where the speakers do not have access to the amplifier, are equipped with their own volume controls.
Studio table | Seat 1
Studio table | Seat 2
Studio table | Seat 3
Studio table | Seat 4
Inserted into the table top, there are two hatches. In the boxes below them, there are Schuko plug sockets, USB power outlets, RJ45 network connectors and USB 3.0 sockets connecting to the recording computer, which are easily accessible from all four seats. Besides, there are the 3.5mm (1/8”) stereo jacks for the headphones as well as (currently inactive) HDMI sockets.
Connectors at seats 1 and 2
Connectors at seats 3 and 4
In the middle of the table, there are two LG UltraFine 4K monitors. These have Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) connectors and can be connected to the recording computer (Apple MacBook Pro) or some other computer as a daisy chain, i.e., by using only one cable. The four individuals around the table thus have the same image in front of them at all times. If the monitors are not needed, they can easily be removed.
Monitor at seat 1
Monitor at seat 2
Monitor at seat 3
Monitor at seat 4
Beside the table, there is a couch for an additional two individuals. Each of the two seats is equipped with a hand-held dynamic Sennheiser E835 S microphone. Headphones or monitors are not available.
Table and couch | Seats 1 through 6
Couch | Seats 5 and 6
Outside of the studio
When recording at any location other than the studio, I use the Zoom H6 audio recorder. The up to four hand-held dynamic microphones that I use are of the Sennheiser E835 S model. When needed, they are each complemented by a Sennheiser MZW4032ANT windshield and/or a K&M 23325 table microphone stand.
Via the internet
When being by myself at the location at which I am recording, for instance because I am recording with people who are spatially distant from me, I use the beyerdynamic DT-297-PV/80 MKII headset with the beyerdynamic K190.40 cable. I connect this device to my computer by means of the Shure X2U XLR-to-USB interface. This requires an adapter with a 6.3mm (1/4”) female stereo jack and a 3.5mm (1/8”) male stereo jack.
To establish VoIP/AoIP connections with high audio quality and low latency between me and the spatially distant speakers, I use Studio-Link as implemented in ULTRASCHALL. The other speakers can use the standalone variant of Studio-Link.
Source of the featured image: CreativQuartier Fürst Leopold