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Mobile Studio Rig

August 11th, 2011 by Fitz, Music Synths, Gear, & Tips, 1 Comment

Mobile Music Recording Rig

I’ve spent a lot of time getting my music rig ready for travel. The goal was to have something lightweight and portable that I could record, mix, and master full songs with. After trying lots of gear, below is what I settled on using.

(As always, buy any items thru these links and I get a small referral bonus which costs YOU nothing. Thanks for the support!)

Keyboard & Recording

  • Vintage Invisible Keyboard Stand – These are my favorite keyboard stands bar none. Lightweight, strong, and perfect for a laptronica setup. Sadly they haven’t been made since the late 80s and are difficult to find.
  • Plywood shelf for stand to hold laptop – Nothing fancy. Made it myself and it fits nicely in a suitcase.
  • Yamaha YPT-300 home keyboard – I strongly considered taking my Prophet 08 but eventually came down on this cheap home keyboard. I’m split as to whether that was wise. I really miss the high quality Prophet’s sounds but the Yamaha tends to keep me focused on songwriting and is lighter and self-amplified.
  • Apple 15″ Macbook Pro – (an older model with the ExpressCard slot)
  • Universal Audio UAD-2 SOLO card – This thing sounds fantastic. Really fantastic. The Studer and Echoplex plugins alone have totally changed the sound of my music.

Vocal Stuff

  • Sennheiser MD421II Dynamic Microphone – It’s important to take a durable mike with a cardioid or hypercardioid pickup pattern. I love my big condenser (a Manley Reference Gold) but I can’t see hauling such an expensive and delicate piece of gear around. The 421 has always sounded good on my voice and is pretty much bulletproof. I carved out spaces in its foam case for the UAD card and Apogee interface to save space.
  • Manfrotto collapsable light stand (used as a mic stand) & boom - I searched for a mic stand I could pack in a suitcase and found this very portable light stand which is just right. It’s too light for stand-alone stage use but buttressed against my keyboard stand with a velcro strip it’s perfect.
  • Stedman PS-101 Proscreen Pop Filter – The best pop screen I’ve ever used. Stops plosives without dulling the highs. It’s also more durable and easier to clean than the mesh types.
  • Cheap orange pop shield – I brought this in case I need to record outside in the wind.

Connectivity

  • Apogee One audio interface – An extremely portable and good-sounding audio interface with a nice build-in microphone to boot. Works flawlessly with easy-to-use software. And all that fuss about the quality of the Apogee converters? It’s true, they sound great.
  • E-MU Midi 1×1 interface – Small, simple, and plug and play.

Misc

  • 3-Outlet Surge Protector With USB Charger – Protects against power surges and gives me lots of power outlets including two USB ones for charging my phone or iPod.
  • Egg shaker – Gives me something other than canned percussion to work with.
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones – They sound great and are very comfortable to wear for extended periods.
  • Focusrite VRM Box – A small system for trying out my mixes on a bunch of different virtual systems. Seems to help some.
  • Ebtech Audio Hum X - Laptops are very prone to ground loop hum and using one of these can often (but not always) eliminate the problem.
  • Stagemaster 2245m Cable with adapters – Sweetwater sells these and they’re a solid alternative to the big heavy guitar cable. Stock up with a few adapters and you can connect your laptop to just about anything.
  • Basic mic cable – meh