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We live in a fast-paced world where everything is on the go. Whether it’s catching your favorite sport live, keeping up with TV shows or movies, ordering food, or even running an online business – you can do it all on the go.
If you thought it couldn’t get any better, well, you thought wrong. You can also record music on the go – which is pretty convenient if you think about it.
If a burst of inspiration hits you at the most inopportune moment, all you would need to do is reach into your back-pack, grab your portable recording studio kit, and drop a hot track just like you would in a real studio.
The best part about it is: You don’t need to be a technical genius to do it. It is that simple. If all this sounds strange to you, here’s everything you need to know about recording music on the go.
What Is a Portable Recording Studio?
Right off the bat, a portable recording studio is exactly what it sounds like – a fully-functional recording studio that you can take with you wherever you go. At this point, the image that probably comes to mind is a transit van that’s essentially a mobile studio. But that’s not what we mean here.
A portable recording studio is a compact device (or “devices” depending on the type) that has everything you need to record music without ever having to visit a brick and mortar studio.
You’re likely thinking – Well, that sounds amateurish… This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
These devices are designed using the latest state-of-the-art technology to deliver studio-caliber recordings with the same high quality as those made in conventional studios.
So, whether you’re an aspiring artist looking to share your music on social media, or a Grammy-nominated musician looking to record a song while on the tour bus, a portable and professional recording studio provides the means to do this; your audience won’t be able to tell the difference.
How to Record Music on the Go
Below are the pieces of equipment you’ll need for your portable studio.
It is a critical piece of the puzzle since you’ll need something more powerful than your smartphone mic to pick up the sound of your vocals. A good quality dynamic mic like the Shure SM7B would be a great place to start.
You could opt for something slightly better, like a condenser mic. These are the kinds you would find in a studio recording booth. They are more sensitive – which is a good thing great for picking up the sound of your voice and instrumentals.
On the flip side, they can be problematic since they’re likely to pick up ambient sounds if a lot is happening in the background. If that’s the case, consider getting a portable recording booth to get some level of sound insulation.
2. Microphone Mount
Carrying around a full-height stand is by no definition of the word, convenient. Remember: The whole idea is to have a “portable studio.” So, you’ll need to get a small desktop microphone mount to hold up your mic and point it in the direction of what you would like to record.
It wouldn’t make sense to carry around bulky monitors just to playback your recording. Besides, that would also mean carrying a power source for them too. The last thing you want is to be a nuisance to those around you regardless of how great you sound when belching-off some amazing tunes.
Open-back and closed-back headphones offer a more discreet way to do this. If you’re working with someone else on a project, you’ll need to get an extra pair for a truly immersive experience.
4. Phone / Laptop / iPad
Bet you didn’t think you could turn your phone, Apple MacBook, or iPad into a recording studio, did you? These devices all offer an environment for multi-track recording, mixing, editing, and mastering, without ever having to set foot in a conventional studio.
All you have to do is download a lightweight digital audio workstation (DAW) to improve the overall quality of your music recordings. Consider getting an audio interface that you can connect to your phone, laptop, or iPad for high-quality recording inputs and playbacks.
Cables are what you use to link everything. Ensure that you carry the right XLR/TRS leads to connect all the different devices. Carry spares just as well. You never know when you might need them.
All-In-One Portable Studio Recorders
You can simplify things further by getting a portable recording device that has everything you need to record music without having to carry a mic, microphone mount, headphones, audio interface, laptop, or iPad. These devices have everything built into the hardware.
The iZotope Spire Studio kit for iOS and Android is a popular choice for individuals who want to record, edit, mix, master, and share their songs all from a single device. It has a built-in mic, guitar, and bass input, and even allows you to record drum tracks with an unprecedented level of clarity.
It has an app that you can download to the mobile device that lets you add effects like delays and reverb, and even allows users to mix up to eight audio tracks at a go. Just plug and play, layer your tracks, edit, and share your music with the world using the app.
Another popular option is the Zoom H4n Pro battery-powered recorder. It supports up to 96,000 Hz four-channel recordings and has 2 XLR and TRS inputs. It also comes with 4-In and 2-Out USB audio interfaces.
When recording music on the go, the rule of thumb is: Keep it simple. The portable recording studio kit or all-in-one device your pick should be convenient to use, any time you want to record music, whether you’re at the park, in a small-town café, or your home living room. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “convenience.”
In the meantime, if you’re looking to set up a recording studio, be sure to check out our blog to learn about the recording studio equipment packages you need to get started.
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