My studio is inside a building that has three doorways leading to two different streets. Instead of wiring doorbells to all three doors, I decided to save some money (and time) and use a wireless door chime with wireless buttons. The contractor who renovated my building had already installed a NuTone door chime in the front office. For the studio rooms, I wanted chimes with some kind of visual indicator that could be seen- and not heard. Having had great success with the NuTone button and chime in the front room, I looked at the NuTone website and found that the manufacturer offers a strobe-equipped chime. I bought two of them, thinking I'd install one in the control room and one in the main tracking room. My plan was to disable the bell sound on the chime in the tracking room. Turns out that the strobe is so bright in the control room, it can easily be seen in the tracking room through the studio window, even though the strobe is underneath the window, pointing away from the glass. Imagine a camera flash going off about ten times in quick succession and lighting up the walls-that's what the NuTone strobe receiver looks like from the other side of the glass.

Like other wireless doorbells, you can set the "channel" or "code" on which the button transmits and the chime receives. Each button also has a selection for bell pattern. I have distinct ring patterns for my three doors, so I know which door to answer. Also, I was initially sold on the NuTone brand because the button transmitter is extremely weather resistant; rubber gaskets keep the moisture out. The original NuTone button for the front office (which works great with the chime that I installed a year later in the control room) is still working great, despite the extreme New England winter just past and the massive rains we've had the past few weeks-even though the NuTone button is mounted on an uncovered doorway. In comparison, another manufacturer's wireless buttons that I had on my home's front and back doors both died within a month of installation due to water damage. I replaced these with NuTone bells and chimes.

I've found one flaw with the NuTone system. The NuTone chime receivers are much more finicky about placement than the receivers that I used to have in my house. The transmission range is much lower, so I had to be careful about positioning the receivers.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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