Alan Jackson’s studio — designed for switching among a variety of sources, controllers, and ease of portability

Musician and Kyma consultant, Alan Jackson, known for his work with Phaze UK on the Witcher soundtrack, has wired his studio with an eye toward flexibility, making it easy for him to choose from among multiple sources, outputs, and controllers, and to detach a small mobile setup so he can visit clients in person and even continue working in Kyma during the train ride to and from this clients’ studios.

Jackson’s mobile studio sessions extend to the train to / from a gig

In his studio, his Pacamara Ristretto has a USB connection to the laptop and is also wired with quad analog in / out to the mixer. That way, Jackson can choose on a whim whether to route the Ristretto as an aggregate device through the DAW or do everything as analog audio through the mixer. Two additional speakers (not shown) are at the back of the studio and his studio is wired for quad by default.

The Faderfox UC4 is a cute and flexible MIDI controller plugged into the back of the Pacamara, ready at a moment’s notice to control the VCS, and a small Wacom tablet is plugged in and stashed to the left of the screen for controlling Kyma.

Jackson leaves his Pacamara on top so he can easily disconnect 5 cables from the back and run out the door with it… which leads to his “mobile” setup.

The Pacamara and its travel toiletry bag

Jackson’s travel setup is organized as a kit-within-a-kit.

The red, inner kit, is what he grabs if he just needs a minimal battery-powered Kyma setup, e.g., for developing stuff on the train, which includes:

  • a PD battery (good for about 3 hours when used with a MOTU Ultralite, longer with headphones)
  • a pair of tiny Sennheiser IE4 headphones
  • a couple of USB cables, and an Ethernet cable

The outer kit adds:

  • a 4 in / 4 out bus-powered Zoom interface
  • mains power for the Pacamara
  • more USB cables
  • a PD power adaptor cable, so he can run the MOTU Ultralite off the same battery as the Pacamara
  • a clip-on mic
  • the WiFi aerial

If you have any upcoming sound design projects you’d like to discuss, visit Alan’s Speakers on Strings website.

When not solving challenges for game and film sound designers, Alan performs his own music for live electronics.

Alan Jackson’s setup for a recent live improvisation for salad bowl and electronics

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