Road Essentials – Top 5

by | Oct 22, 2010 | Equipment | 2 comments

Did I mention I’m in Boise?  Lovely city.  One of the most active and vibrant downtowns in the nation.  And man, they love their Boise State Mustangs!

When I’m here, I stay at the Idaho Heritage Inn.  It’s a classy Bed & Breakfast with a real history.

Wherever I go, I take a mobile recording set-up.  Over the years, it’s gotten simpler and lighter.

Lots of people like the MicPortPro, and I must concur…it’s a lovely little unit for making any XLR mic a USB mic.  I have the MXL Mic Mate, a virtual clone.  Sadly, they don’t make it any more, but there are other alternatives if you want to check ’em out.

K.I.S.S.

Simple is the key.  A mic, mic stand, mic cable, interface and a laptop.  If you have room to pack ’em, you might add a pop filter or a sock.  Some are using an iPad, now, to read their copy.  I still use my iPhone or a Kindle.  Headphones are nice if you don’t want to wake the guy next door while you’re editing.

Harlan Hogan’s Porta-Booth Pro is a mighty fine accessory…very nice for keeping your sound from being hollow.  Personally, I really enjoy the challenge of making-do with what’s available.  Pillows, a chair, some blankets or towels.  Somebody should take a picture!

But it’s the little things that can make or break you.  Inconsequential, overlooked, taken-for-granted items that can absolutely ruin your session if you need them and don’t have ’em.  They’re little in a literal sense, so it’s not a matter of having room.  It’s a matter of having them.  

Here’s my top 5 in order of importance:

1)  3-prong adapter.  You know, the thingy you need when the room where you’re staying doesn’t have an electrical receptor with 3 holes? You’d think they’re everywhere, now, but they’re not (Idaho Heritage Inn a perfect example), and a laptop’s gotta have power.

2)  Converter plugs.  The kind that make your headphone plug bigger (1/4′ phone plug) or vice-versa.  I carry one of each…to make it bigger or smaller.

3)  AA and AAA batteries.  Sure, you can go down to the 7/11 if you REALLY need ’em….but do you wanna pay $7.39 for two AA batteries?… and if you’re already in your pajamas…it’s a hassle.

4)  Swiss Army knife.  You should carry one all day 24 hours-a-day anyway.  I admit, I’m partial.  My dad taught me well.  He actually served in the Swiss Army.  Really.  Not kidding.

5) Redundant cords.  One extra mic cord, one extra USB cable with a rounded end, and one with a standard end.  Also an extension cord…oh!…and an extra set of those earplug headsets.  All the things in #5 together could fit in a coat pocket.

So that’s it!  Keep it simple.  Use available materials.  Take little essentials.  An extra USB “thumb” storage drive is nice too.

CourVO

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2 Comments

  1. Michael Schoen

    One time I was on the road and I had forgotten a mini to mini cable I needed to put my portable wav recorder in the loop. I was in Scranton, PA and right across the street from the hotel was some sort of 1.99 store…and they had one along with a pile of cheap ear buds and other electronics. From then on I have carried two of them. Now, I use a Blue Snowball which eliminates the need for the wav recorder.
    Man, it’s fun taking that thing through airline security!

    Reply
  2. Mike Coon

    Dear Dave:
    Thanks for the great “vo on-the-road- essentials” suggestions. I never would have thought to include the “3-prong thingy!”
    I recently bought equipment to allow me travel recording quality similar to my home studio capability. I bought an Alesis iO2 express mic interface that delivers well for my MXL990 condenser.
    My only “problem” is that the desk stand I bought weighs over 14 lbs! That sure makes the carry-on bag heavy! Do you have any suggestions for securing a full condenser on the road?
    Thanks for all your advice!
    Mike Coon

    Reply

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