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I've often needed to record while at a musicians house/studio/practice-pad (same goes for podcasting on the fly). To do so I needed my studio (or part of it) to be very mobile. I always want to achieve the highest quality sound as possible so it doesn't sound like a portable studio.

What is the best setup for a small, extremely portable studio? (thinking single mic, etc). I currently produce hip hop, electronica as well as do some screencasting/podcasting.

I should note that my current set up for mobile recording is as follows:

General Recording

  • Laptop with a DAW
  • M-Audio Mobile-Pre
  • Condenser Mic
  • MPC1000 and/or Akai LPK25 MIDI Controller

Podcasting

  • Snowglobe Mic (set up for omni directional)
  • Laptop with DAW

Screencasting

  • Laptop w/ Camtasia (for MAC and PC)
  • Snowglobe

Any additional tips/tricks would be appreciated.

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You should move the info from your "answer" below up to the question. –  BenV Dec 8 '10 at 15:56

2 Answers 2

I've done almost exclusively mobile recording for the past few years (simply because I have no space where I live to have bands over). It's been mostly rock bans. Here's some general things I've found to be useful:

  • More smaller racks, rather than fewer huge racks
  • Rack cases with wheels (SKB makes a great version)
  • Ability to support multiple headphones with different mixes. CRUCIAL if you are recording more than one person at a time
  • Duplicate of crucial cables - firewire, optical, etc. Anything that, if it breaks, your entire system won't work
  • Set up your session template files in advance, including sends/etc.
  • Case contents organized by item type, e.g. all mics in one case, cables in another. Again, many smaller cases are better than fewer huge ones, both for your back and for getting in/out of tight spaces
  • Cable ties - avoid tangles; nothing's more annoying than having your musicians watch you untangle cables.
  • Color tape your cables and bring multi-color tape with you - you're most likely going to be using the musicians you are recording as assistant engineers, so keeping things obvious and simple for communication wil help
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+1 for color tape. Never a fun experience once you realise you are hearing left what should be right AFTER you set everything up. –  hydroparadise Apr 23 '12 at 16:40

I'm not sure of the quality or portability you are trying to achieve, but if you want to go on the super-small, super-easy end, check out one of the many portable handheld recorders.

I use a Zoom H4n, as the built-in stereo pair of mics aren't bad, and I can use the jacks on the bottom to hook up additional mics or take a line-in from a board. I haven't used it, but I assume their H2 with 4 built-in mics for getting nice surround recording is good too.

There are also all-in-one rigs with a mixer, preamps, and editing all in one package. Roland pioneered this awhile back. Zoom makes the R24, but again, I don't know about it's quality. It just came out recently. This will allow you to capture a performance, and you can edit later.

However, if you are looking for a more robust solution, davetron5000's suggestions are best. I also second SKB cases, they are quite awesome.

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