As one of the world’s premier metal guitarists, Doug Aldrich of The Dead Daisies isn’t shy about what it takes to keep up in the modern music business. Having recently completed a short UK tour and looking forward to a 26-show European tour in February and March of 2022, Aldrich is keeping busy with virtual practices, meetings and promotional interviews that reinforce the vital role video collaboration plays for modern professional musicians. Even so, he hadn’t thought much about the quality of his audio and video during virtual sessions because it seemed to be ‘good enough’, and equivalent to the quality of everyone else’s appearances.
“I had heard about some better technology, but I didn’t feel it was necessary until I was on a call with someone else who already had it,” he said. “When I saw how sharp they looked, and how clear they sounded, a siren went off in my head that my built-in webcam and microphone could be hurting my appearances and essentially that the newest tools really could make a significant difference in my daily professional life.”
After speaking with a ClearOne rep to determine what products would best suit his needs, Aldrich outfitted his home studio with a Versa™ 50 package with a UNITE® 50 PTZ camera and CHAT® 150 USB speakerphone package and an additional UNITE 200 PTZ camera to guarantee stellar quality and provide pro-level features including as remote-controlled zoom and 60 fps capability at 1080p resolution. The UNITE 200 PTZ is perfect for capturing Aldrich’s prolific guitar skills during virtual fan events or possible instructional videos.
Connected Design spoke with Aldrich to find out more about how technology has impacted his work.
As a musician, why was it important to you to have technology to enhance your appearances online?
Aldrich: “Incorporating top-notch technology was important for me because I think it makes any online conversation or meeting become more real life and personal. When you are having a meeting or whatever it may be, it’s nice to feel more like you are in the room together. Also, the ClearOne systems I have, which include a Versa™ 50 package with two cameras, a UNITE® 50 PTZ camera and the UNITE 200 PTZ camera, and the CHAT® 150 USB speakerphone are the most stable on the market. That is huge! It sounds and looks incredible.”
How does this technology help you collaborate better?
Aldrich: Having two cameras, the UNITE® 50 PTZ camera and the UNITE 200 PTZ gives me the freedom to move around as I work and the CHAT® 150 USB speaker makes each conversation or music session sound as if it were happening in person. These devices help create a much more intimate connection with all parties virtually. That’s a key aspect to composing or collaborating on music.
How do you think this technology will impact your work in the future?
Aldrich: The technology I have has allowed me to be more productive from my home studio. As a working songwriter and musician it’s great to have technology that puts you in touch with the entire planet. I can collaborate in London and Tokyo on the same day! The possibilities are really endless. It seems like working from home is here to stay, to an extent, and with ClearOne technology in my home workspace I feel equally as productive and creative as I would in-person.
Aldrich has some of the fastest hands in the business, and being able to record and broadcast at 60 frames per second means he can more clearly show his rapid movements and allow viewers to more effectively slow the video to follow along. Paired with the ClearOne UNITE 50 camera and CHAT 150 speakerphone, his new, powerful AV setup allows more creativity and far better appearance and sound than the basic webcam setup most people are still using.
All in all, staying up-to-date on the latest collaboration gear can help musicians create new opportunities and present themselves in the best possible light to promoters, media and fans, with the added benefit of enabling sharp, fluid virtual jam sessions with band members.
“Whether I’m promoting a tour, working on new songs, meeting with my manager or doing a live Q&A with fans, I’ve got to have confidence that the gear is going to work every time and give everyone on the other side the sense that they are sitting in the room with me,” Aldrich said. “And then if I want to pan the camera down to show my fingers, I can give viewers an experience they aren’t likely to get from other performers. It’s about putting on the best performance I can, regardless of venue.”
ClearOne Aura™ offers a comprehensive range of Good, Better, Best packages of enterprise quality audio, video, audio-video home office solutions options and a free COLLABORATE® Space lifetime subscription, the award-winning video collaboration app. The ClearOne Aura Versa 50 videoconferencing system is a small, portable package that combines a UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera with remote-controlled pan, tilt and 4x zoom, and a CHAT 150 USB speakerphone that provides crystal-clear HDConference® audio quality.
The UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera and CHAT 150 speakerphone are small enough to toss in a briefcase, providing a professional-grade long-term solution with excellent value and performance regardless of changing work environments.
Looking forward, Aldrich expects virtual collaborations and performances to become even more crucial to musicians. In light of his own experience, he’s become a sort of part-time evangelist, lightly encouraging friends and colleagues to recognize the benefits they can gain from better audio and video capture solutions.