The Gypsy System


The Gypsy System at home

I call it The Gypsy System because it moves around a bit, although for the last few years it's been fairly stationary (which I have to admit is extremely convenient for me).

The system core is a 2 x 3.56 GHz Six-Core Mac Pro with an Avid HD|Native card.  The Mac talks to an OMNI and a single HD I/O.  I'm currently running Pro Tools HD 12.6 under OSX 10.10.5.  I have 8 channels of analog preamps built up from old Quad Eight line cards (incredible!) and another 8 from a Focusrite Octopre that I typically run at 96KHz to give me 16 mic input channels (or counting the OMNI, 18 inputs).  I have two of the Avid Artist Mix panels for 16 motorized faders, and I’m also running Pro Tools|Control on the iPad, which is a huge timesaver once you’ve programmed the buttons.  Years ago Gary mounted a couple of giant Triplett VU meters in a 2-space panel for me, and I still use them constantly.  Monitors are a pair of Yamaha MSP-10 Studio with a subwoofer that translate well to just about any medium.

The sidecar is a little slice of analog heaven.  Two channels of Neve 3201 EQ, two LA-4s, two 1176s, plus a pair of dbx 903s. 

I got the cool Malone Design Works MC Desk from Sweetwater just as the Rove LA cycle started in fall 2012.  Here are my impressions: ergonomically it's actually very good--the biggest problem is the width of the pullout drawer, which when extended forces the user back from the screens a bit further than I like (it would help if the drawer could lock short of full extension).  The Avid panels really do look like they were built in to the console, and the trim pieces are cut with great precision.  There is adequate space to mount routers and power supplies in back, and there is always a way to route cables that will neaten things up.  The construction is all MDF, and the manufacturer goes to great pains to warn users not to "slide" the unit when moving it--you always need two people, as it must be lifted and placed into position.  Such is the tradeoff with MDF--if you accidentally rip out a screw hole when dragging the legs, it has a permanent and lamentable effect on the stability of the unit.  Another interesting twist is that two critical screws have square-drive tops, and you need quite a bit of torque to seat them; so you will need a square-drive set to assemble the desk.  It would have been nice if Malone had included a square-drive single use wrench (something like Ikea).

Overall The Gypsy is a very powerful platform for music or broadcast-level post even when squeezed into an office.  All I really need to do is dampen the room down a bit, hook up to whatever network the editor is on, and away we go.  And when I have it at home I get a lot more arranging done than I do with the laptop.