‘Nashville Star’ gears up for live capture with Record Plant Remote

The Record Plant Remote has become legendary throughout its more than 30 years of mobile recording service, capturing live performances by some of the biggest names in music for broadcast and release on disc, whether vinyl, CD or DVD. Based in New Jersey, the truck has long relied on API analog outboard equipment, currently featuring a 54-input discrete API analog mixing console.

Owner and chief of engineering, Robert "Kooster" McAllister, is a big fan of the sound and performance of designer Saul Walker's 2520 op amp, which is central to virtually every API product. In addition to the console, the Record Plant Remote truck is also outfitted with API 2500 and 525 compressors, 325 line amps and six ATI 8MX2 eight-channel mixer/mic preamps.

“Nashville Star” will start its fifth season in January for the USA Network. Essentially a country version of “American Idol,” the show boasts that no pre-produced music is used. There's a live band onstage at all times. McAllister enjoys the one-take challenge of capturing live events. He feels the reliability of his API gear is a big factor in his truck’s success. “Nashville Star” is recorded on 48 tracks of Radar hard disc for archiving. Additional inputs are routed through an 8MX2 then get fed to an eight-track digital format of some sort, usually a DA-98.

The Record Plant Remote's API console, the predecessor to the current Legacy Series, is a custom discrete design with reset and is configured with 54 inputs, 48 busses, three stereo busses, 10 aux sends and 12 returns, four cues and API 560 EQs. One piece of API gear that McAllister cannot live without is the API 2500 stereo buss compressor. "That goes on everything that I do,” he said. “It gives you the punch and really tightens up the bottom end.”

The truck is also equipped with 500 Series compressors. In addition, the vehicle's audio distribution system is based on API 325 line amp cards, which are transformer isolated with individual gain and selectable 600ohm termination.