Founded by Berklee College of Music graduate Matt McArthur in 2010, Boston-based recording services provider The Record Co (TRC) is a non-profit enterprise offering a affordable and equitable music workspace and providing space and resources to the city’s music makers – from veteran professionals to aspiring home recordists.

Recently, TRC opened a new studio complex in Boston’s Newmarket Industrial District, offering four recording studios covering a range of capabilities, from tracking to small song-workshop and production-type spaces, and 15 fully backlined hourly rehearsals studios.

Studio AKey to the set-up are Focusrite preamplifiers and interfaces (along with Novation MIDI controllers), which offer the flexibility to simply plug in and play for any skill level or scale of production.

McArthur says the concept of TRC came to him a decade earlier as he was looking for a business model that would allow the greatest number of users to access a highly flexible facility that could accommodate music producers of any genre and virtually any skill level.

‘It needed to be a shared resource that no one really owns, a community resource,’ he says. ‘We would need space, gear, a good attitude, and an open mind about how the space is used and who uses it. A non-profit was the way to go.’

He also realised that the nature of how recording studios are used now had changed significantly in recent years, with the large consoles giving way to software applications and digital control surfaces.

‘Music makers today all have their own ways of working, their own preferred software and plug-ins,’ he says. ‘That makes RedNet and the other Focusrite technology we selected the best fit for a facility like TRC this because of its expansive interfacing options and compatibility with almost any DAW.’

Focusrite solutions in use at The Record Co include the Red 16Line audio interface; ISA 428 MkII and ISA 828 MkII preamps; the RedNet A16R 16-channel analogue I/O interface; and a number of interfaces from the Scarlett Range, in some of the 15 rehearsal studios in the new facility, allowing musicians (who also use the facility’s Novation Launchkey MIDI keyboard controllers) to record their sessions there.

‘One of the big attractions for us about the Focusrite Pro technology is its ability to function over multiple platforms,’ explains TRC Studio Manager, Jamie Rowe. ‘Being able to access HDX and Thunderbolt were key for us, as well as Dante compatibility. Our entire facility is fitted with Dante connections across every room. Even within a single room the RedNet AR16s are providing additional analogue inputs over a hyper-local Dante network.’

TRCThunderbolt compatibility was especially important for the new facility: ‘Before, we weren’t able to offer the multi-DAW compatibility that today’s music makers need,’ McArthur says. ‘Now, we can accommodate just about everything they want to use, from Pro Tools HD to Ableton Live to FL to PreSonus Studio One. If we want to make the space as comfortable and accessible to as many people as possible, it has to be as transparent as possible, to allow them to use any platforms they want as easily as they would in their living rooms. Focusrite technology totally unlocks those possibilities in the new space.’

Rowe says the ISA preamps are available in every studio as patchable outboard. ‘We had two in the old facility, but everyone was using them so often that we felt we had to have them and in every room, including the smaller studios. The 428s have the Hi-Z input on the front panel, and people have been bringing in guitars and keyboards, so they’re getting used because of their flexibility. Also, there’s a lot of turnover in the rooms every day, so people want to make the most efficient use of their time as possible. The ease of use of the Focusrite units – their plug-and-play capability – is important for shorter sessions and our wide range of users.’

TRC has become a valuable member of the Boston music community in other ways as well. To date, it has distributed more than 750 grants totalling more than $160,000.

‘We’ve spent ten years thinking about what musicians and artists need in order to create, in terms of technology,’ McArthur says. ‘What COVID did was make us realise that they also had very human needs, to buy food and pay rent, which is another way we can help the local community. The chief motivator behind TRC’s expansion is our desire to serve the rich mix of music makers who come to our door. Our new, larger facility will not only support an increased number of users, but will also enable us to reach a more diverse demographic of music makers with respect to age, racial identity, economic means, and creative goals. On the technical side of things Focusrite technology is a big part of reaching, serving, and inspiring those new makers.’


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