Los Angeles, CA (September 26, 2017)—Creating a solar-powered studio in an RV that could record bands live inside, show the performance outside via a PA and video system, and throw it all on to YouTube sounds like the kind of daydream that friends would joke about while killing time at a festival. As it happens, that’s just how Jam in the Van happened.
“We were music fans who used to go to the Bonnaroo festival in an RV,” says Jam in the Van co-founder Dave Bell. “One day we thought, why not get our own RV, film some live bands playing in it, and take it around? So what started as a backyard fun project has turned into a full-time job and a company with a full-time staff. We can literally film a band anywhere—at our office in L.A., in an alley behind a venue where artists have a gig, in a park next to the Grand Canyon, or at music festivals, which is where we spend a lot of our time.”
The psychedelic-painted RV is a hit, too—150,000 people subscribe to its YouTube channel, where it posts three new songs every day, Monday through Friday—and meanwhile, crowds invariably gather outside the RV while performers are recording, digging the songs via video screens and a PA. The pro-audio heart of that process is a QSC TouchMix-30 Pro digital compact mixer with 32 channels of live digital mixing and signal processing with USB DAW interfacing inside, feeding an Avid Pro Tools rig, while outside, fans hear the bands via QSC K10 and K12 powered loudspeakers and a KSub subwoofer—which double as playback monitors after the fact..
“We’ve set up our audio system in some pretty rustic places—parks, beaches, the side of the road and the middle of the desert. Because of this our speakers need to be able to take a lot of outdoor exposure,” said creative director Jack Higgins. “While a typical day’s shoot for us is six to eight bands, we’ve had times where we have recorded as many as 16 acts in one day. After each session, we play back the audio on the K Series loudspeakers outside the van for the artists to hear. The TouchMix-30 Pro makes it easy to recall each song and session quickly so that the artists can give us notes before the final mix.”
“We filmed Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California,” said Higgins. “Usually we run the TouchMix into the computer, straight to Pro Tools, but that day, it was so hot out that the computer crashed! If it wasn’t for the ability of the TouchMix to record audio straight to the hard drive, we wouldn‘t have been able to film one of the greatest legends of all-time, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh!”
Jam in the Van