Studio on Wheels’ CEO John Falzarano started in remote recordingwhile still in his teens, literally learning the trade from theground up. A young hi-fi enthusiast, he would modify mixing boardsand record his own drum kit onto a 2-track machine. When a localjazz group began rehearsing in his garage, Falzarano experimentedwith 4-track, eventually becoming the group’s live sound engineer.Later, Falzarano would pack his multitrack, mixer and microphonesinto a 1961 Ford Econoline van and head out to other musicians’homes to record. “One day, instead of taking the gear out ofthe van and into the house, I left the gear in the van and ran thecables inside,” he recalls. “From that moment on, I wasin the live remote recording business.”
Since then, Studio on Wheels has grown to a top-tier,three-truck company, with two vehicles based in Southern Californiaand the other in Nashville. All of the trucks have become known fortheir ample assortment of vintage analog equipment and significanthistory — each was acquired from major remote operators,including the Record Plant. Outfitted with classic analogAuditronics, API and Amek consoles, as well as a combination ofanalog and digital recording gear, each of the Studio on Wheelsvehicles has garnered a reputation as true musicians’ trucks.
“We have a vintage analog orientation with our trucks andequipment choices,” Falzarano explains. “A lot of thelive radio broadcasts prefer the digital tape formats, of which wehave plenty. But so many individual artists come to us specificallyfor our analog consoles, tape decks and vintage outboard gear. Forinstance, D’Angelo and Rage Against the Machine both used MobileUnit 3, originally designed by the Record Plant, which has the APIconsole and Ampex 1200 tape machines to capture their live showsfor album releases. Like any good recording studio, each truck hasits own distinctive sound. Studio on Wheels regularly uses thetrucks to mix a world-wide syndicated radio program called‘The Road,’ as well as other projects. We are equippedto handle any remote situation.”
That ability to make musicians feel at home is the reason thatStudio on Wheels has garnered favor with such a diverse range ofartists from virtually every major genre, from rock to pop, countryto gospel, blues to jazz.
In addition to technology, Studio on Wheels brings threedecades’ worth of experience to projects. Falzarano notes that apredilection for perfection and a large microphone selection— over 100 on hand — have enabled him to capture liveperformances in more detail. For instance, he says, “Whendoing large gospel choirs, a lot of engineers would choose to use afew microphones placed around the choir. We use a lot ofmicrophones and therefore attain a very high degree of isolationthroughout the choir, which makes a big difference in terms ofoptions when it comes time to mix.”
Studio on Wheels offers an experienced staff, includingFalzarano and engineer Kathleen Yore. “It’s about theequipment, the technique and the people,” Falzarano says.“But in the end, it has to be about the music.”
Company Name: Studio on Wheels. Contact: JohnFalzarano. Services Offered: Remote live recording,mixing. Main Technology Platforms: (Mobile 1) Auditronicsconsole, Otari MTR-90 MkII 24-track, 48 tracks of DA-88, 48 tracksof ADAT; (Mobile 2) Amek console, 3M M-79 24-track, 48 tracks ofADAT; (Mobile 3) API console w/550A EQ, Ampex 1200 (2), 48 tracksof DA-88; large selection of contemporary and vintage outboardgear. Vehicle Information: MU1: 2O-foot; MU2: 25-foot;MU3: 30-foot. Partial Client List: D’Angelo, DwightYoakam, Moby, Rage Against the Machine, Beck, Dixie Chicks, TrishaYearwood, Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes, Red Hot Chili Peppers,Soundgarden, Van Morrison, Mötley Crüe, Joni Mitchell,Andre Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Trenora Parker, Herbie Hancock, BillyTaylor, Westwood One and United Stations Radio Network.