Sunday, February 16, 2014

Going Green in Audio (From Dec 22nd 2008)

By nature, audio and video are not very "green." It is power consumption to quality ratio. Typically, the more electricity we add to the signal the better it looks and sounds. So how do we as audio engineers, producers and musicians do our part to conserve electricity and do our part to contribute to the green movement?

1)   Outside the recording studio 
Before we go deep into power consumption inside the studio, lets look outside the studio to concert venues. 

KT Tunstle, System of a Down and Dave Matthews Band were recently talked about at ( ) for their contributions to the green movement. These artists have partnered up with a organization called Reverb Rock which organizes and manages eco friendly concerts. For example, they provide bio-diesel for vehicles and generators, waste reduction and biodegradable catering. (

If you can't afford bio-diesel generators or hiring to plan your event, you can do small things like setting up recycling bins for the venue, print programs on recycled paper and make your merchandise out of recycled products. It not only helps the Earth but is a good marketing point for you're fans.

Onstage there isn't much you can do; you need power to run the amps, guitars, microphones etc. However, you could include an acoustic set in your concert.  Running the acoustic instruments thought the PA system would take significantly less power than turning the amps on and micing the amps. Explain to your audience that you are trying to contribute to greener concerts and by shutting the amps off for a bit it will conserve electricity. Shutting some lights off on stage as well and asking the audience to hold their cell phones up for light will not only contribute to an intimate vibe but also allow the audience to participate in the concert instead of just experiencing it.

2)    Inside the recording studio

So again, there isn't much we can do about signal quality vs. power consumption. So lets look outside the signal path again. Look at your workflow. Do you use session notes? (If so, god bless you.) Well you don't have to get rid of your paper work just yet. Having your notes on a computer in a word document is not only more “recallable” but customizable and allows you to really detail your recalls. You can download faceplates off of ( ) and pencil in through Photoshop or paint your settings. If you just can't get rid of the tactile feeling of paper and pencil then do this, when you are finished with your project, scan the notes into your computer and recycle the paper notes. You can always re-print them but in the end, it saves the clutter in the archiving process.

Switch to LED lighting for your studio. Not only will you save money in light bulbs per year, but also your electric bill will go down a good amount. Did I mention that LED lights are very low noise as well? ( (

Get away from paper plates, cups and plastic forks. Buy some real dishes and cutlery and take the time to wash the dishes. It will offer a nice break during the session to clear your ears. You will save money on restocking the mic closet with party supplies.

Give the band a re-writable CD or flash drive for their rough mixes that they can bring in everyday. You not only save on blank CD media but you can also customize your USB flash drive with your studio or production company's logo. (

For bands, carpool to gigs. It might be uncomfortable and cramped but make signs or customize magnets for the outside of your car promoting the fact that you are on your way to a gig and you are carpooling for the good of humanity. Don't forget to include where you are playing and your website address. (

Look into rechargeable batteries for your fx peddles. Not only will you save money in the long run by purchasing fewer batteries, but also you are only an electrical outlet away from recharging them and getting fresh batteries. ( )

Doing small things can quickly add up. Not only is it a good marketing for your band or production company but also it contributes to a healthy environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment