Styx Bassist Connects with Fans from Home Studio Using ClearOne Gear

Styx bassist Ricky Phillips uses ClearOne cameras and mics to create home teleconferencing system to connect with fans in ‘Styx Lounge.’

Styx Bassist Connects with Fans from Home Studio Using ClearOne Gear

Styx bassist and self-described gearhead Ricky Phillips upgraded his work from home studio with new ClearOne cameras and microphone so he can connect with fans during the pandemic.

With the live music industry ground to a halt due to coronavirus, Styx bassist Ricky Phillips and his fellow legendary rockers needed to keep busy to avoid having “too much time on their hands.” The solution has been connecting virtually with the more than 1 million fans who are members of the online Styx Lounge. But Phillips soon discovered that his home retail-bought video and audio gear was a nothing but a “grand illusion” when he tried to connect with fans. Fortunately, ClearOne was able to assist Phillips with its family of Aura videoconferencing 4K and 1080p PTZ cameras and microphones for his Work from Home setup.

As Styx pivoted away from its planned tour, the band increasingly made remote collaboration and fan outreach a daily practice. But bassist and self-described gearhead Ricky Phillips noticed that one component in his Austin, Texas home studio was limiting the experience: a barebones webcam.

“Music is my life, and video communication has brought artists and fans closer together than ever before,” Phillips says. “From websites where we can share or post videos, music ‘magazines’ that host performances, online video fan clubs, the ability to record Master Classes and more, video has become a crucial tool for musicians to connect with fans and create new opportunities.

“My $100 store-bought webcam seemed good enough when we first began working from home, but when I recognized that video would be my main mode of visibility for the foreseeable future, I knew a more professional solution would make the experience far better,” he adds.

No More ‘Fooling Yourself’ with Inadequate Gear

After speaking with fellow gearheads and industry partners, Phillips discovered the industry-leading ClearOne family of Aura videoconferencing cameras and microphones for a monumental upgrade in quality, functionality and ease of use. Now, using a UNITE 200 PTZ that features programmable movement presets for automated filming, a UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera that provides full room coverage, and a CHAT 150 speakerphone, Phillips has a truly professional-grade, multi-angle home office videoconferencing solution with endless possibilities.

Using two cameras, Phillips can instantly switch which camera view is presented and direct each camera to focus on whatever he wants.

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, its video collaboration app.

“Once I saw the quality and special features ClearOne’s Aura cameras and microphones offer, my decision was basically made,” the Styx bassist says. “Not only does the true HD image blow away my past cameras, but it’s a huge advantage to have pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) models that can be adjusted on-the-fly with a remote, or even be programmed to automatically move as video records. I’ve used this to film short clips where I’m talking or playing, but the camera can move or refocus to highlight records on my wall, the neck of my guitar, or anything else I want to focus on.”

2 ClearOne 4K PTZ Cameras in Home Studio

With two cameras, Styx’s Phillips can instantly switch which camera view is presented, and can direct each camera to focus on whatever he wants using the remote control. Zooming in on something specific is smooth and easy, and introduces new creative opportunities for recording, collaborating and creating content — and that’s something the band and their management can appreciate.

Staying active and visible during 2020 was vital for the band, as was taking effort to support crew members who were out also of work. To that end, the band held a live Q&A Masterclass in December, with proceeds benefiting the crew. Other support for crew included proceeds from additional merchandise such as a cookbook and T-shirts.

“When we do something like a Q&A Masterclass, it’s all about the fans,” Phillips says. “Especially now, when the funds are going to support our crew, our family, making sure that we put on the best show we can is priority number one. The video has to be crystal- clear, the audio has to be excellent, and any steps I can take to make the experience better for fans is worth it. With the Aura cameras and microphone that I’m using, I no longer wonder if the experience is the best it can be. I know it is.”

The 1080p UNITE 200 and UNITE 50 4K ePTZ cameras aren’t the only showstoppers here, however. The CHAT 150 speakerphone delivers superior audio capture for both conversation and recording, thanks to its built-in HDConference™ audio technology. What’s more, the plug-and-play simplicity of the entire system means that Phillips can and does take this superior video and audio solution on the road when necessary.

“Now whether I’m staying in a hotel on tour, working in a studio or otherwise away from home, I can bring the professional-level experience with me and provide partners and fans with reliably excellent quality for all types of remote collaboration and communication,” Phillips says.

In the future, Styx’s Phillips hopes to expand digital interactions even further and has considered the potential for new revenue streams possible through recordings, lessons, more involved fan offerings and more.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.