Recording Lights for the studio — MMC?

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Recording Lights for the studio — MMC?

Post by alexdingley » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:15 am

Hi all,

Saw a post on facebook, and it sparked my curiosity.

We've all seen those "recording" or "On Air" lights for studios... but I'm guessing that most of them are manually triggered, and that they're NOT directly linked to "being in record" or "record arm" on a given tape deck or DAW.

But, there's probably solutions out there that could connect your DAW (via midi machine control?) to a trigger box that would pass a dc voltage to that light.

My Girlfriend just moved in, and it would be really handy to have a light like that so that she'd know when the music is being recorded vs when we're just jamming in the studio.

Any thoughts / or tried & true solutions?

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Re: Recording Lights for the studio — MMC?

Post by Professor » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:05 am

I'm fairly certain that some older tape machines actually did have some relay connections for recording lights, but the equivalent you'd be looking for is a GPIO connection and probably not MIDI machine control. GPIO terminals are usually software configurable and you just need a simple contact closure that can close the circuit on low voltage power (or close a relay for regular AC power) to turn the light on & off. If you decide to go down that path, check back in about the wiring.
Of course that's just the technical side.
I had a recording light on the outside of my studio at the university for nearly a decade, and I considered connecting to the ProTools rig vs. just having it on a manual switch and the manual switch won out. I had a few reasons, but the big one is that you're expecting everyone to instantly shut up as soon as the light comes on. In a commercial studio or on-air radio station you can train people for that... but do you want to expect your girlfriend or others at home to react that way? Phone calls or TV have to instantly stop when the light goes on or something like that? I'm guessing not.
I knew that I would need the space outside the studio to start being quiet before the recording actually starts, and probably between takes as well. Especially since the elevator was across the hall from the studio door. So the recording light would be a visible warning to just stay quiet without flashing on & off as I'm punching in and out of overdubs or whatever. If you go with that line of thinking then it also functions well as a 'do not disturb' sign... just don't overuse it if you want to keep your girlfriend. :wink:

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Re: Recording Lights for the studio — MMC?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:27 pm

You could probably buy this one: ... 1547756407

And create a simple program to "listen" to the key command of your DAW for initiating recording. They include their DLL and sample code.

For example, listen to "alt+space bar" for Pro Tools, or NUM3. Toggle on / off.

Get a cheap USB extension cord to take it outside your room, and you';re good to go.


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