Alan Parsons investigates Internet Recording

Dateline: June 5th 2009 Santa Barbara, Calif. To record the lead vocals on a brand new Alan Parsons track, All Our Yesterdays, Alan called on Chicago-based internet recording specialists Source Elements. From his studio in Santa Barbara, Alan successfully recorded Alan Parsons Live Project singer PJ Olsson while PJ was safely installed at his house, cross-country in Michigan.

The session started at a breezy 9AM in California (a rather more civilized 11 AM for PJ in the Midwest) and after minor set-up time using the Source Connect software the recording quickly took on a relatively ‘normal’ appearance – complete with customary singer complaints about the choice of key.

"It's quite an eerie experience hearing a vocalist in high quality audio from thousands of miles away as if he's behind the glass," said Alan, post-session.

The vocal was recorded flat at source, with just some limiting from a Universal Audio 1176 emulation for playback. Source Connect’s Pro system, currently centered around a Mac/ProTools rig, currently minimizes latency by initially delivering a low bandwidth signal as the recording takes place. The files can then be ‘invisibly’ updated in the background so that by playback full resolution high quality audio has been recorded onto the host system.

“There's no real substitute for being there, and interacting, having the performer step out of the studio and into the control room for playbacks,” says Alan. “But hey – we save a day of traveling, a round-trip airfare, and we can hook up at a moment's notice."

Source Connect has no directly integrated video component to aid interaction at the present time. Other systems such as eSession and Virtual Glass offer more visual features but Source Connect chief Rob Marshall says that until recently the company has focused on the post-production market, where on-going interaction between engineer and talent has been less crucial.

Internet Recording is one of a series of specialist, technique-based Recording Technique scenes on the Art & Science Of Sound Recording DVD.

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