Always On: Virtual State-of-the-Art Music
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Always On: Virtual State-of-the-Art Music

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It's being called the ultimate playpen for musicians. Molly Wood interviews Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead in his private studio about technology, live-streaming music concerts, and a whole new way for artists and fans to connect.

-One, two, three, four-- -Laid back in an old saloon with a peso in my hand, watchin' flies and children on the street. -What we set about to do in building this place was to build the ultimate playpen for musicians. -This is how Bob Weir envisions the future of music. The Grateful Dead frontman has created a state-of-the-art music and streaming studio to broadcast unbelievably high-quality sounding music over the internet to fans around the world. Welcome to TRI. Do you wanna just change the way that people consume music or experience it? Is it for the musicians or for the audience or both? -It's for everybody. Music is for everybody. So, for the musicians, we come here, we have a great time. For the audience, we try to make it really easy. -Grateful Dead set the standard back in the 60s of first guys paying attention to the PA and building it. They stream now at the highest the consumer can receive, but on the internet on a regular basis, both audio and video wise, and we're only limited now by what the consumer can receive. -So, if you're watching at home, this is something comparable to getting to see Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead or some other bands like in a coffee shop, you know, the permanent dream? -It's the closest you can ever get to actually being in the band. It is a studio, but it's a live performance studio. So, it's not sterile like a normal recording studio is. It is built for a live performance. The sound is amazing. It's a very relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, and [unk] from Grateful Dead. -One. -The studio is,-- -One. -in every sense, mind blowing. -This is the one we've been using right now. -At the center of it-- -One. -is the Constellation. -I could use a little more [unk] -A cutting edge sound system developed by audio engineer, John Meyer, to enhance the sound that musicians hear on stage. -One, two-- You can call me the breeze-- -All around the sides and back were-- are some 80 speakers, hanging-- [unk] and then hanging down from the ceiling. You also can't see unless you look real close through a bunch of microphones. -Uh huh. -There are a couple of dozen of those and they take it up and through software and then put it back out through those speakers. -How about this? -To begin with, I could show you that this is-- how this room sounds all by itself. -He's just turned everything up. -Clap. This is room number one, clap again. Now, we're in a-- Now, we're in a theater. Again. A smaller theater. -A smaller theater, yeah. -Now, in a cathedral. -Oh, wow! -Again, this is now the cathedral, but on and on, it goes. We've got anything from living rooms to ball parks and everything in between. We haven't got the Grand Canyon yet. -So, a band can come in here and you guys can play or they can play and they can stream it and make it sound as though they're anywhere in the world? -Yeah. And we're-- what we're trying to do-- this-- right now, this is all on an iPad here, but we're trying to get it on a foot switch. -The heart and soul of TRI is this audio control room known as the Inner Sanctum. Here, a mix comes in from the studio and then is pushed out to the world. And this is where the show all comes together. The live performance is then switched and streamed out to fans. -We have a switcher. You know, we have all sorts of different monitors to see, and behind this, we can watch all the different shots and it's basically like a TV studio, but it's for the web. -The one hiccup in the system is that, on the other end, a listener has to have a fat bandwidth pipe and the computer hardware capable of decoding such a high-quality signal. Otherwise, the music just sounds like regular old streaming audio. Can you geek out for a minute on how you're doing that and what the limitations are for listening at home? It's just bandwidth right at home. -Well, it's bandwidth at home to enjoy, but it started with Bob he had in Grateful Dead fussing. He had an unlimited budget. He far exceeded the unlimited budget by getting every possible new toy that can push the fattest data rate out of here. -After midnight, it's all gonna be peaches and cream. -We built this place with internet broadcast in mind. What we're trying to do is make it so people will be able to gather at a friend's house and everybody will be able to watch basically a concert there without having to drive a long way. -After midnight--
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