Mobile studio?

A separate discussion about notebooks triggered this Topic. As I’m on the road a lot, I love to bring essential gear with me. As I mostly work in the box, it works quite well. Would I fine-tune a mix on the road? No. The mobile studio works best for me when I have the majority of the recorded material ready, up until about 90% of the mixing.

What’s currently in my bag:

  • MacBook Pro 15" with USBeLicenser and iLok

  • RAVPower Bank (with just shy of 100WH - allowed as carry on on most airlines)

  • Chord HUGO DAC (mostly used for leisure but great for travelling since it comes with a built in battery and doesn’t’ drain the notebook’s)

  • Ultrasone Signature Studio with Sonarworks calibration (here I recently switched from Sennheiser’s HD380Pro. Both fold flat and are as mobile as over-ear headphones can get. However, the Ultrasone’s soundstage is just more refined and has a much tighter low-end)

Occasionally, and in particular if I work in a steady temporary space, I bring along

  • UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt

  • Controller, either Akai MPK Mini or Ableton Push

Am I missing something? What are some of your best practices and favourite mobile gear?

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It feels like you have good and well thought of setup there :wink:

I always bring a pair or two of noise cancelling headphones when I’m on the road. And instead of a pair of large headphones I most often bring a pair of nice in-ears from JH Audio to save some space. If I need a minimal setup, I just bring the tiny AudioQuest Dragonfly Red (DAC+headphone amp)… and if I have more space and want to do some simple mastering work I’ll bring one of my mastering DACs with built in headphone amp, but they all need a real power outlet.
And yes, the Akai MPK Mini or Push feels like great alternatives! On my last trip I had my MPK Mini mk2 with me (didn’t have space for Push). Used it on the plane and airport. Great stuff!

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I have almost exactly the same set up now that I have an octo.

However, while I have the Sennheiser HD650s at home, they are open ear so there is no way I can bring them out, everyone 15ft away would hear me mixing. I’d be interested in knowing if you would recommend the ultrasone’s now that you’ve been using them or if you feel there might be a better road headphone for planes/trains/automobiles

Yes, Push is too bulky to produce on the move and I don’t like the dimness of the lights when USB powered. You used MPK Mini on a plane?! I got weird looks from fellow passengers in the past but with a controller in my lab I may top that, thanks for the tip!

I tried the Dragonfly in the past and was impressed by the sound quality. To safe valuable battery time of the Macbook, I switched to something self-powered.

I use my HD650 at home but also leave it there for the reasons you point out. I’m very happy with the Ultrasone. Its case is a bit bulkier than the HD380 Pro’s but its worth it for its more refined and punchier low end. Also, I feel that the Signature Studio doesn’t veil harsher frequencies the way the 380 Pro does. Some people claim that the Ultrasone are too small for their ears. For me, both headphones are very comfortable to wear for hours and (passively) isolate quite well. For a neutral representation, however, I highly recommend calibration.

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