Portable Studio

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by PeakAudio, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. PeakAudio

    PeakAudio Active Member

    Hey so I'm going to be traveling to Morocco this winter and would like to record some of the musicians while I'm there. This is not my first time going. I went there a year and a half ago and have connections with some locals whom I played with. As a personal project I would like to record them but I don't know what equipment to take. I am thinking of putting together a studio that can fit in a suitcase. Something like the Tascam DP-008EX with some xlr cables and mics. My buddy has a recorder that can record up to 4 tracks (two XLR inputs) but can't do any mixing. I want to be able to mix it while I'm there.

    On the mic situation, I don't want to take a box full of mics. I want something that is portable and versatile sound-wise and small. Would say 4 lavaliers work? At most I'll be taking 4 XLR cables.

    Should I research more into the "suitcase recording studio," or should I try to go a bit more simple?

  2. PeakAudio

    PeakAudio Active Member

    Sorry, I meant the Tascam DR-680. Not the Tascam-008EX.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i would bring more general purpoe mics like 57's or 58's, or audix, or whatever. and maybe one really nice condenser. lavs aren't really for instruments. that thing looks like a nice no-nosense recorder (i love tascam!), but really w/ the power and convenience of a DAW, i'd definitely sneak a laptop into the bag and mix/edit on it at the hotel or wherever. yamaha makes some tiny monitors, and i think genelec makes some 4" speakers, or were you planning on mixing on headphones? i love my akg 240s, although i don't really use them to mix, so it'd probably take some practice.
  4. PeakAudio

    PeakAudio Active Member

    Thanks. I have a few 57's and one 58 and one MXL condenser. I'll look into the Audix ones as well. I don't think I'll be able to bring a laptop (I prefer mixing with boards anyway), and I think I'll just use headphones for mixing (I also have a pair of the AKG 240s). However, what are some cheap laptops I'll be able to listen, maybe edit and/or burn the songs to CDs.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Could be a job for the new Zoom H6. You could take one of those plus a couple of SM57s and a pair of Rode NT55s with the interchangeable omni and cardioid capsules. With some XLR cables, headphones, two lightweight folding mic stands and an X-Y spacer bar you would be set up for most of what you might meet, acoustically speaking. The SM57s, being dynamic mics, keep on working in climatic conditions that cause condensers to give poor results.

    I have neither seen the Zoom H6 nor talked to anyone that has, but it has some built-in rudimentary down-mixing to stereo and also a good pedigree in the H4N.
  6. PeakAudio

    PeakAudio Active Member

    Thanks. I have a Zoom H4N which I will use just to record quickly if I don't have time to setup. Otherwise, my idea would be to record, then spend some time mixing. Record some more and so on. However, I like using hardware mixing as a pose to computer mixing which is why I would get a portable multitrack recorder.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If it were me, I'd load a laptop with my favorite DAW platform, add a single rack space multi channel (8 ch minimum) USB audio I/O, throw in a few nice condensers and a few nice dynamics with cables and be ready to go...
    You could probably fit the laptop and I/O into a carry on bag.

    But, you mentioned that you prefer tactile style mixing, at which point you'd be better off to look at a stand alone unit.

    It wouldn't be my personal preference - I think that you'd have much more "bang" at your fingertips in terms of FX/Processing, Editing, etc., and, in terms of mixing, you could always mix laptop based tracks on a real console when you returned from your trip...but I do understand and respect that there are those who prefer the hands-on approach during tracking.

    On a final note, agaion, just my personal preference, I wouldn't rely solely on Lavs. If you had a couple nice condensers, say a pair of 414's, you could get into more creative miking arrays, like X-Y, M-S, etc. I'm not saying to not take the lavs, I'm saying I wouldn't rely on them as my main miking rig.

    IMHO of course.

  8. PeakAudio

    PeakAudio Active Member

    Yeah, I'll probably do as kmetal said mic-wise.
  9. datiko

    datiko Active Member

    Well, it depends on what is going to be recorded.
    As I understood 4 channels will be enough.
    If it is going to be acoustic music, a stereo pair will be useful (cardioids). Any good matched pair can be useful. With stereo set up, any number of musicians can be recorded. 2 additional microphones can be lavalier or dynamic.
    For a recording system, can be used laptop with small sound card. Anyone has laptop when you go to travel, you can use that laptop for recording as well. And 4 channel sound card is very small and light. Something like:
    M-audio m track quad
    M-Audio M-Track Quad - USB Audio/MIDI InterfaceMTRACKQUADX110
    Focusrite scarlett 18i8
    Amazon.com: Focusrite SCARLETT 18i8 18 In/8 Out USB 2.0 Audio Interface with Four Focusrite Mic Preamps: Musical Instruments

    With such setup will be easy to record, mix or even edit audio. With lots of plugins and tools.

    I would take this kind of portable setup...

    p.s. If you buy a usb powered sound card, it will be possible to record without electricity power for 2-3 hours (If you use macbook pro)
    It is low budget solution (with good quality)...

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