USBPre 2 Proves Invaluable as Stand-Alone Preamp and Portable Interface
KATHMANDU, NEPAL — When Alejandro SA¡nchez-Samper, assistant professor and assistant director of commercial music at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida, traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, to record an album of traditional and contemporary Nepalese music earlier this year, he brought
Sound Devices 788
T digital audio recorder and its
(Sound Devices AES Booth 139) with him to do the job. SA¡nchez-Samper relied on the Sound Devices 788T to capture live performances for the upcoming album, titled Nepali Ho, while using the USBPre 2 as a stand-alone preamp.
Thanks in part to a research travel grant awarded to him from FAU’s Asian Studies certificate program and a successful Internet fundraising campaign through the Kickstarter funding platform, SA¡nchez-Samper was able to secure enough funds to produce the full-length album. The album features a variety of musical styles such as rock, pop, street rap, jazz, traditional Hindustani, Nepalese folk and fusion. Two of Nepal’s most revered and respected groups, Kutumba and 1974 AD, recorded new material for this album.
Recording mostly at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory’s Kat/Jazz studios, SA¡nchez-Samper utilized the 788T’s eight full-feature inputs to capture the overall sound of the groups on the album. In addition, SA¡nchez-Samper used the 788T’s preamps and digital converter to route what he was recording into the line inputs of the console at the studio. The flexibility and ease of use, along with the 788T’s reliability, impressed him.
“The 788T is very user-friendly, has more features than you could ever imagine and its small size and incredible battery life is perfect for recording in the field,” says SA¡nchez-Samper. “Just the ability to be able to have output mixing is great. Four of the eight groups I recorded were done with the 788T in the field. It lived up to its specs and far exceeded my expectations.”
Much of the gear used for high-end studio or location recordings, including microphones and digital mixing boards, can be plugged directly into the compact recorder, reducing the complexity and duration of setup. The 788T’s eight inputs accept either microphone or line-level signals as well as AES digital inputs; providing 48 volts of phantom power for condenser microphones, peak limiters for microphone inputs and fully adjustable high-pass filters. Adding to the simplicity of setup is a back-panel multi-pin connector for a one-cable connection to a digital mixing board (AES input/output, power and switch closure in/out).
With the influx of multi-tracking both in the field and on-set, Sound Devices 788T has become the next generation digital audio recorder for advanced sound mixers that require additional isolated tracks. Routing flexibility allows each input to be routed to left/right mixed tracks, isolated tracks or aux tracks. The 788T has several options for recording media, internal 160 GB SATA hard drive (256 GB SSD in the 788T-SSD), CompactFlash media with UDMA support, an external FireWire hard drive or DVD-RAM (with bus powering). Any or all of these can be used simultaneously.
In addition to the 788T, SA¡nchez-Samper also utilized Sound Devices’ USBPre 2. The USBPre 2 is a high-resolution, portable hardware interface for Mac- and Windows-based digital audio. The USBPre 2 is the industry’s highest performance and most flexible portable interface, connecting professional microphones, line-level sources, consumer audio electronics and S/PDIF digital sources with Mac OS and Windows computers via USB. With its unique stand-alone mode, the USBPre 2 functions as a two-channel microphone preamplifier with analog, digital and headphone outputs. Stand-alone mode is perfect for applications that require an easy-to-use, quality microphone preamplifier. A built-in high-resolution LED level meter helps further facilitate these types of applications.
“The USBPre 2 that I purchased prior to the trip proved invaluable,” adds SA¡nchez-Samper. “I used it on every session in the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory’s Kat/Jazz recording studio, both as a stand-alone preamp and as an interface. The guitarist for 1974 AD liked it so much that he convinced me to sell it to him. I guess I will be purchasing another one real soon.”
The Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory is a new center for musical studies that opened in the fall of 2007 in the suburb of Lalitpur, just outside Kathmandu. The mandate of the Conservatory is to create a music environment where musicians can become knowledgeable in various musical subjects, be exposed to different music genres and, most importantly, where all musicians, from beginners to advanced, can receive a proper music education.
“This album is an opportunity for Nepali artists to further their careers in Nepal and abroad,” continues SA¡nchez-Samper. “I decided to name the album, Nepali Ho, after a song written 10 years ago by 1974 AD, which is considered to be Nepal’s second unofficial anthem. A new version of the song appears on the album. A portion of the proceeds of the album will go towards a music scholarship fund to benefit students at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory.”
The album is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2011. For more information about the album and the artists who performed on the project, please visit
For more information, stop by the Sound Devices booth during AES (Booth 139) or visit
Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital recorders and related audio equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, and acoustical test and measurement applications. The eleven-year-old company designs and manufactures from its Reedsburg, Wisconsin, headquarters with additional offices in Madison, WI, and Highland Park, IL. For more information, visit the Sound Devices website
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