Nestled away in a land-tied island in rural Ireland, Wildwater Studios is a fully featured analog and digital recording facility that has been used by clients the world over. Owned and operated by Eoghan Johnston, TASCAM products are central to the studio’s operation. These days, much of Johnston’s creative efforts involve the use of the TASCAM Model 16 16-track live recorder and mixing console as well as the Portacapture X8 8-channel, 32-bit floating point portable audio field recorder.
Johnston has an impressive roster of clients that he has worked with over the years. He has performed and toured with members of acts like Toto, Guns N’ Roses, and AC/DC. He has also composed music for TV and film—most recently To The Crows by The Midnight Preachers. Similarly, he has also worked with well-known producers such as Chris Kimsey and Dave Odlum. Most recently, Johnston recorded a band from the Middle East called The Dodies who came all the way to Ireland with famed guitar player Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal. With such a wide range of projects, Johnston puts his TASCAM gear to good use. He discussed his experience with the Model 16 and Portacapture X8.
“The Model 16 is the most practical setup for recording a live band that I’ve come across,” Johnston explains. “I’m evolving from using the TASCAM Model 2424 in this type of application, so I’m sticking with the TASCAM brand—albeit moving up a few generations! I’ve been using the Model 16 to record live shows and tours since the Summer of 2023. Regarding the Portacapture X8, I’ve been using this to capture waves and various sounds of nature, plus a variety of musical ideas as well as audience and ambience sounds at live performances.”
“The Model 16 is a plug and play unit,” Johnston added. “It has fantastic on-board compression and preamps, which are great for use both in the studio and live. I am currently producing an artist by the name of Todd Oliver, who is the Music Capital Songwriter Of The Year in Northern Ireland. All of Todd’s live performances up to this point have been recorded on the Model 16 and we will be using these recordings to release a Live EP in the future.”
Johnston resides along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, a route where 1600 miles of spectacular coastline with white sands and glittering waves must be seen to be appreciated. It’s also the place that inspired the lyrics to the Christian hymn Amazing Grace, which dates to 1772. “The Portacapture X8 is the perfect device to capture the sounds of nature—from the waves to the sound of rain, and the various bird calls that inhabit this area,” Johnston reports. “The Portacapture X8 enables me to collect a wide range of stunning sounds for ambience and other applications as part of my work.”
When queried about the Model 16’s various attributes that make the console / recorder so valuable to his manner of working, Johnston offered the following thoughts, “The Model 16 is a self-contained
studio. Connect your mics and studio monitors and you’re ready to work. I love the fact that I can adjust the sound as I want it, hit the Record button, and off I go. And just like that, you have your individual stems to mix later. The Model 16 fosters creativity in every way.”
Johnston is equally upbeat about the Portacapture X8. “Having 6 inputs is very useful in a device with such a small form factor,” he said. “You can easily have a setup with two inputs for your stereo mic, and four other inputs for whatever inspires you. This gives you more than enough inputs to capture a wide range of sounds. I also find the onboard mics to be great for capturing acoustic guitar, piano, and especially nature. The Portacapture X8’s audio interface capabilities are equally noteworthy. Bring both the Portacapture X8 and a laptop with you, and you can record anywhere in the world at 192khz with a 32-bit float. That’s tough to beat! And let’s not forget about using the Portacapture X8 with Bluetooth app control. With this, you can position the recorder with a DSLR camera and begin capturing audio using the app on your phone. This is a very useful feature.”
When asked about any projects that his Model 16 and Portacapture X8 were involved with, Johnston pointed to a live EP and documentary that are coming soon about The Dodies’ Tour of Ireland in July 2023. Additionally, Todd Oliver’s soon-to-be-released Live EP was also captured using this equipment.
In addition to his Model 16 and Portacapture X8, Johnston has a long history with TASCAM, “My grandfather used a TASCAM Model 38 8-track open reel recorder and a Model 32 2-track system, which he left to me. I also had an MX2424 24-track recorder plus some other TASCAM gear. Regardless of the product, TASCAM’s support has always been terrific. Given the fact that I have almost 50 years of TASCAM products here at the studio that are in use every day, I think I can say with confidence that TASCM’s products and support are tough to beat.”
With several months’ worth of work using his Model 16 and Portacapture X8 under his belt, Johnston reports being an enthusiastic TASCAM user, “I have had nothing but positive experiences with the Model 16 and Portacapture X8. As a musician and composer, I not only want to capture my audio in the best way possible, I also want to factor in convenience as much as possible. Both devices allow me to do that in every use case. The build quality, reliability, and sound quality that one expects from TASCAM is present with these devices. My main setup for all my shows features the Model 16 front and center—and I expect that to continue for some time to come.”
For decades, TASCAM has been the choice of musicians, engineers, and broadcast professionals worldwide by combining industry leading fidelity with legendary reliability. With solutions designed for a stunning array of audio applications and catering to today’ s top professionals, TASCAM continues to define the sound of modern recording. www.tascam.com.